Travis Orbin: One of My New Faves


I’m very excited when I get my YouTube subscription update and there’s a new Travis Orbin video link inside. In a sea of Internet “superstar” poseurs, this guy’s the real deal. It doesn’t hurt that the production of his videos is excellent either!

His influences are clear, and comparisons to Mike Mangini are inevitable, but he nonetheless has a very unique style. I’m particularly impressed with his dynamics, ambidexterity, and super-clean feet-and-hands runs around that cool Mangini-meets-Bruford set-up. There’s a lot of really inspiring stuff here that makes me wish I could lock myself in a practice room for a week straight!

Here’s a video of a session Travis did with Pete Peterson. It’s a really neat, complex tune in the vein of Zappa / Mike Keneally / Mike Patton (the Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, and solo stuff). I’d love to see a chart for this thing. It’s rife with meter changes, polyrhythms, and metric modulations—and that’s just the rhythmic stuff!

More Travis vids here.

Mike Mangini Clinic 04.09.10


Axiom Mangini flyerI haven’t seen Mike Mangini since I graduated Berklee in 2005, so I was very excited to see what he’s developed in the last five years. I was sure he, unlike me, had added a truckload of new tricks and concepts to his arsenal.

A big reason why Mike is often derided by YouTube baboons for not being “musical” is that his abilities are impressive on both a very technical and cerebral level. What often sounds like drums falling down stairs is actually something that is conceptually nothing short of astounding. So, I thought it was unfortunate that Mike had to issue a disclaimer before sitting down at the kit, stating that not everything he would be playing would be “musical”, comparing clinic drumming to a slam dunk contest, etc. The internet nonsense had already begun back when I was studying with him, but it was evident in Mike’s demeanor that it’s a worsening distraction that gnaws at him at least enough to now warrant a verbal disclaimer before taking the stage.

I’m of the opinion that if people can’t understand or appreciate what he’s doing, then, well… so what? The disclaimer should be “I’m about to blow your freaking mind. If you can’t understand what’s going on up here, I will explain. If you’re just going to right nanny-nanny-boo-boo things about me in 3rd-grade English on the Internet anyway, eat a turd and leave—in either order.” But then again, I’m not an internationally-known drum superstar with endorsements and fans that are legion…

Flam Rolls in Jazz Drumming


Check out this lesson in flam rolls from House of Drumming’s Steve Holmes. I, too, have always been a fan of this type of roll phrasing, and he does an excellent job here explaining and demonstrating it. Definitely check out his other videos as well; the guy’s a monster!

Craig Ferguson on “Justified”


Craig Ferguson, Jake Bartfield, & me at my senior recital 12.02.04

It’s quite a surprise to see someone you know on TV. You think you’d be all nonchalant about it, but you usually wind up screaming at everyone in the room “I know him! I know him!”

I had a moment such as this over the weekend while watching a DVR’d episode of the new FX series “Justified”. In this episode, two incarcerated musicians in a prison band loaned to a private party are planning to flee.

So, who did I spot in the band? My fellow Berklee alum Craig Ferguson. Craig and I played many sessions and recitals together. He’s an amazingly skilled and versatile musician, and it was always a rewarding experience to play with him. I was very lucky to snag him for my own senior recital.

Check out his solo album, Nobody but the Moon and Me, on iTunes. Also check out the “real” band, Cliff Wagner & the Old #7 .

Craig Ferguson (right) on "Justified"

Craig Ferguson (right) on "Justified"

Congrats, Craig!

The “Weird Al” Biopic: Portrait of a Tortured Artist


You many have noticed “Weird Al” Yankovic on my Musical Influences page. No, it’s not a mistake or a joke. Silliness aside, the band’s creativity and versatility have always been, in a strange way, an inspiration.

This is hilarious:


Alex Rudinger


Very cool stuff here. Fast, clean chops; ambidextrous grooves. Sweet…

And more videos here.

Marco Madness!


Here are some great Marco Minnemann clips I just found. Awesome, inspiring stuff. It’s especially thrilling to hear him, Mike Kenneally, and Brian Beller slamming statistical density off each other.

Click here to see the vids

Welcome to the Redesigned Dominion!


You mean, you’re not dead? I was really hoping you were…

Sorry to disappoint. I’ve taken a long (read: LONG) break from The Tubes for many reasons. The biggest being a waning interest in the face of new technology. I mean, what did I have to offer against 14,000,000 self-righteous teenagers posting shitty videos and bile-fueled retardo-comments to YouTube? And I certainly couldn’t do it in a timely fashion with slow-poke HTML.. If you’ve just stumbled upon this, you probably didn’t even know it existed in half-a-dozen lame, HTML-based incarnations before. But it has existed for years… This thing’s been chugging on for too long to die now. My four readers and I will see it into perpetuity!

Thanks to the marvels of CMS (and WordPress specifically), it’ll be so much easier for me to post regular content. Who’da thought this technology would exist when I started this silliness with the Netscape editor in the mid 1990s?

Some of the content from the old site will make it back either en masse or in dribs and drabs. A lot of it was outdated and/or puerile and will be vanquished to the far reaches of cyberspace. I want to use the new site mainly to post more timely stuff: album reviews, videos I’ve found, etc.

Comments… We’ll see. I’ll leave them open for now, but as soon as those retardo-comments start appearing I’m slamming ’em shut.


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