Dennis Chambers Hospitalized

Jazz drumming legend Dennis Chambers, who has toured extensively over the years with artists such as Steely Dan, Santana, Parliament-Funkadelic and Mike Stern, is in the hospital in intensive care. Bassist Bootsy Collins confirmed the news today.

“Dennis Chambers is in intensive care,” Collins said via Facebook, “and they’re working on getting him off the respirator. They are filtering his liver, as it’s not functioning well.”

In recent performances, including gigs last week with Mike Stern at festivals in Europe, Chambers appeared much thinner than usual. Chambers is a former child prodigy, who began playing at age four and performing by age six. At 18 he joined Parliament-Funkadelic, playing with the band from 1978 to 1985, before joining the band of guitarist Jon Scofield.

Chambers is a ferociously talented drummer in any style. A highlight in recent years were his spotlighted solos with Santana during ‘Soul Sacrifice.’

Tim Alexander Suffers Heart Attack

tim alexander

It was announced yesterday on the Pucifier facebook page that on again/off again Primus and A Perfect Circle drummer Tim Alexander has suffered a heart attack. He is scheduled to undergo open heart surgery next week.

This year Alexander announced the formation of Supergroup Escape The Cult, featuring members of Kamlath, King Diamond, and Merciful Fate. Last fall Alexander also made a heralded return to Primus, the band that originally brought his talents to the attention of drummers worldwide.

ProMark Introduces Three New Signature Sticks

ProMark has announced three new signature drumstick models designed in tandem with some of the drumming industry’s top players and innovators, Anton Fig, Bob Gatzen, and Will Kennedy. “ProMark is thrilled to work with these top drummer s,” says Rob Caniglia, ProMark Product Specialist. “We’re always looking for new stick offerings and what better way than to go straight to the players themselves.”

Anton Fig Sig Stick

The Anton Fig drumstick will be released at the 2014 Summer NAMM show. It has a short taper making it a forward heavy stick that generates a lot of sound. Made of hickory, it features a large wooden barrel tip. The handle of the stick is treated in ProMark’s Pro-Grip solution for better grasp. “The thing about these sticks is that they are so consistent,” says Anton Fig. “You could just take any pain and start playing with them, and they feel great.”

Bob Gatzen Sig Stick

The Bob Gatzen Balanced Groove stick has a unique design that features a long taper and a notch cut out of the handle. The notch shifts the center of balance of the stick towards the butt end. The stick is made of hickory, and it features a wooden barrel tip. “The sticks allow me to be more musical,” says Bob Gatzen. “They vibrate in your hand differently. The groove changes the center of balance and creates a different playing experience.”

Will Kennedy’s stick has a long taper which accentuates the rebound. It is made of hickory and features a wooden teardrop tip.

Blue Man Drum-Off In Boston Coming Up

bluemangroup drum-off

The Blue Man Group has hooked up with Guitar Center for a Boston Drum-Off July 26 during Summer Arts Weekend. They are seeking submissions from excellent and adventurous drummers interested in winning more than $4,000 in prizes from Blue Man Group, Guitar Center, Sabian, DW Drums, and Vic Firth!

To enter, all you need to do is send a video of your best drum solo. Blue Man Group will choose a group of semi-finalists who will play for the judging panel on Friday, July 25th at the Charles Playhouse. The top 5 drummers will be selected as finalists and will each perform a 90-second session in front of a roaring crowd on the Fountain Stage during Summer Arts Weekend on Saturday, July 26. The judges and crowd reaction will determine the Grand Prize winner!

Submission rules:

  1. Film a 1-2 minute jam session on a standard drum set
  2. Upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo
  3. Send your link via the submission form here.

The selection panel will judge on the basis of creativity, technical ability, and musicality.

Tommy Ramone Passes At 65

Tommy Ramone

Tommy Ramone, co-founder of the original punk band the Ramones has died at the age of 62. He was the last original member of the band that he co-founded in 1974 in New York along with singer Joey Ramone, bassist DeeDee Ramone and guitarist Johnny Ramone. The inherent joke in the band was that they all had different last names but took the name “Ramone.”

Tommy laid down the driving beat in songs like “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “I Wanna Be Sedated,” that earned the group an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

For drummers (and musicians and fans) of a certain age, the Ramones eponymous debut recording, released April 23, 1976, was a huge dividing line in the history of pop music. It was a rejection of progressive rock, Hollywood arranging, layered production, long, intricate guitar solos, happy radio-friendly songs, and every value that the world of mid-‘70s rock stood for. It celebrated simplicity, not complexity. The songs, many at 160 beats per minute or more, lasted two-and-a-half minutes tops, and focused lyrically on sex, drugs, violence, and Naziism. Though the debut album was not really a hit, peaking at #111 on the Billboard charts, it was a hit with critics and hugely influential on young musicians on both sides of the Atlantic. Without the Ramones, it’s hard to imagine the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and many other bands. Their emphasis on speed, rebellious minimalism, and tight musical focus still animates many punk musicians today.