Original Saint Vitus Drummer Dies At Age 58
By Andy Doerschuk Published December 2, 2010
Armando Acosta, the founding drummer for Saint Vitus, one of the leading doom metal bands of the ’80s, died of unknown causes on November 25, Thanksgiving Day. He was 58. Acosta was one of the original bandmembers, whose tenure with the L.A. band began in 1979, when they were known as Tyrant. He reportedly had struggled with health issues for years before quitting Saint Vitus in 2009. His last show was on April 29, 2009, in Stuttgart, Germany. He was replaced by Henry Vasquez.
Airbourne Drummer Sidelined By Gastroenteritis
By Andy DoerschukPublished December 1, 2010
This hasn’t been a very good day for Australian drummers. Following Phil Rudd’s drug conviction, those rowdy rockers in Airbourne had to cancel tomorrow night’s show at the Brixton Academy in London after drummer Ryan O’Keeffe was stricken with gastroenteritis, a painful inflammation of the intestines. O’Keeffe has been undergoing treatment and the band hopes to make its headlining spot at this weekend’s Hard Rock Hell IV festival in Wales.
“This decision does not come lightly and only in a very serious situation would we resort to the postponing of a show,” the band announced on its website. “We sincerely apologise to everyone for the inconvenience. The doctor is telling us that Ryan will have trouble hitting the drums with a drip in his arm. The doc does report that he should respond fairly quickly to the treatments.”
Krupa’s Kit Donated to Smithsonian Institution
By Andy Doerschuk Published December 1, 2010(Left) John Hasse and Ken Kimery of the Smithsonian with their newest acquisition
A family from Cantonsville, Maryland donated an historic set of Slingerland drums once played by jazz legend Gene Krupa to the Smithsonian Institution on November 29. A drummer named Donald Hay bought the used drums at a Baltimore music shop in 1940. Reportedly, Krupa traded in the kit when he picked up a new one at the Fred Walker Instrument Co. Hay died last year and willed the kit to his children.
“It’s a wonderful addition to our national collections,” the Smithsonian’s curator of American Music, John Hasse, told explorebaltimorecounty.com. “It vividly depicts a story of one of America's leading percussionists.” The kit will complement other instruments displayed at the Smithsonian once owned by members of the famed Benny Goodman Quartet – Goodman’s clarinet and Lionel Hampton’s vibraphone.
The Big Beat Raises Money & Food For The Needy
By Andy Doerschuk Published November 30, 2010The sound of drums rumbled across North America on November 7 as 15 Five-Star drum shops held the third annual Big Beat. A total of 1,454 drum set players and 199 hand percussionists participated, along with approximately 6,000 spectators at the 15 locations. Nearly $54,000 was raised for charity and about 6,000 pounds of food was collected! The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation will get almost $36,000 to purchase musical instruments for deserving children in Big Beat cities and the remaining $18,000 will go to children’s organizations and food pantries in various Big Beat areas.
Each location had a variety of fun events throughout the day, from demonstrations by drum corps groups to percussion ensembles to Brazilian samba units. Some had guest appearances by major-name drummers like Kenny Aronoff, Jason Bittner, Bun E. Carlos, Rick Latham, Thomas Pridgen, Jeremy Taggart, Derico Watson and Alan White, among others. And one lucky drummer in Minneapolis-St. Paul won the national prize, a Dream Theater replica tour bass drumhead autographed by the entire band just for this occasion.
The highlight of the day was when all of the drummers and percussionists in the 15 cities played the same groove at the same time, a feat that was achieved through a video internet connection, with the director in each city following the conductor in Seattle.
Scientific Study Shows That Group Drumming Is Beneficial
By Andy Doerschuk Published November 30, 2010Are you having as much trouble as I am keeping up with conflicting news on the health benefits/health risks associated with hand drumming? In August we reported on a study by a pair of rheumatologists at the University Of Pennsylvania who found that drumming could cause certain wrist bones to collapse.
But a different study published in the Oxford Journal now shows how group drumming can improve social and emotional behavior in low-income children. Funded by Remo founder Remo Belli and conducted by the Pediatric Pain Program in the Department Of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School Of Medicine, University Of California, Los Angeles, the study concludes that group drumming can significantly improve such problem behaviors as depression, posttraumatic stress, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity, and oppositional defiance. The researchers, who conducted the study with fifth grade classrooms at Napa Street Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District, reported that its results “underscore the potential value of the arts as a therapeutic tool.”