DRUM! Night 2011 started with a bang and ended with a series of bigger bangs as 515 drummers enjoyed the second annual sold-out event and benefit concert. DRUM! Night was held at the San Jose Repertory Theater for the second straight year, in conjunction with the opening of the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest.
But this was no ordinary festival concert. Instead it was a six-hour evening of concert, clinics, lessons, and sideshows. Highlights included the performances of the Santana rhythm section, Thomas Lang’s Roland V-drum exhibition, a Terry Bozzio clinic and the presentation of the first-ever Bay Area Drummers Achievement Award to Mike Bordin of Faith No More. "You don't get a lot of awards for being a drummer," a plainly moved Bordin told the crowd, adding that it meant a lot to him and advising students never give up their dreams and never stop practicing.
Call And Response: Performers Get Down With Guests
The event started with a pre-show concert as Street Drum Corp Presents Bang! hit the plaza in front of the theater for an impromptu street jam with members of the renowned San Jose Taiko group.
Pre-show guests were entertained with booths for autograph signings by major stars such as Jimmy DeGrasso (the current drummer for Alice Cooper who was a major force with Megadeth, Y&T, Ozzy Osbourne and other bands); Brian "Brain" Mantia (formerly of Primus and Guns 'N' Roses), and Dino Campanella of local favorites Dredg. Other booths featured electronic drum lessons, stick grip lessons, Also spotted in the crowd were local notables such as drum teacher Ron E. Beck (formerly with Tower of Power) and Francine Bellson, widow of the late bandleader Louie Bellson, as well as drummers such Walfredo Reyes, Sr., author David Stanoch, and others.
On To The Show: From Perazzo Slaps To Thomas Lang Electronic Licks
The show began with an amazing display by timbalist Karl Perazzo and conguero Raul Rekow of Santana. They were originally scheduled to perform with conga legend Armando Peraza, who was ill and could not attend. Perazzo switched to bongos for a solo set that dazzled the audience with his groove and the range of sounds he could pull form the instrument. One drummer backstage was heard to mutter "That shouldn't even be possible."
Next up was Thomas Lang, performing exclusively on an electronic kit. Just recovering from hand surgery, Lang put on a dazzling performance, using the full range of sounds at his disposal to play harmony, rhythm and melody and finished by giving the audience a stick flipping lesson that kept them in stitches.
Bordin Beat Recognized
DRUM! Editorial Director Andy Doerschuk then presented the Bay Area Drummers Achievement Awards (pronounced BADAAS, with tongue-in-cheek) to Mike Bordin. Bordin’s band, Faith No More, formed in San Francisco in 1982, sold more than 25 million records in the 1990s. His style, rooted in big tribal grooves, and his notable setup with toms high and flat, made him an instantly recognizable force in drumming. The award, featuring an impressionistic drum and sticks design in glass, will be given annually.
Bozzio Brings The Beat As Well…
The concert closed with a performance on a massive drum kit by Terry Bozzio. Bozzio, who came to fame with Frank Zappa in the 1970s, and then went on to form the pop group Missing Persons and perform with Jeff Beck, the Brecker Brothers and many others. His mere name elicits awe from other drummers, and Bozzio did not disappoint, delivering a melodic performance that saw him wrench seemingly dozens of sounds from each of his dozens of cymbals.
The annual DRUM! Night event serves to raise money for music education via a raffle of drumming products. This year dozens of sticks, heads, cymbals and drums were raffled to make money for Lincoln High School music programs. Lincoln is a magnet school in San Jose with a great reputation for band, orchestra and vocal programs.