An experiment replacing the snare with a 14″ floor tom, an octoban played with the left foot, and no proper high hat. Featuring FMP percussion and Istanbul Agop cymbals. I often get inspired by different setups, mixing things up a bit, and seeing what happens. This groove appeared soon after setting up a 26″ Gothic Radius cymbal which compliments the toms. Technical note: This was the first time had used Michel Joly modded Oktava 219 mics on the toms.

A quiet groove that I can imagine someone like Jon Hassell or Brian Eno layering some soundscapes on top of.

9 years ago in June of 2005, I was in the thick of building our recording studio, a career and life changing experience. Towards the end of construction, I got a call from the Green Natives who said “We hear you are building a recording studio, and we need to record some music!”. I figured 3 weeks would be plenty of time to finish things up, and get the studio ready. My contractor said “We’ll be done well before 3 weeks”.

Well, we were both wrong.

The night before the session came, and we weren’t completely done (there were still finishing touches and sound baffles to build), but we were at a stopping point. It was 7pm and I was frantically sweeping the floors of studio in a bit in a panic for tomorrows session. The rooms were basically done, but there was no recording gear or instruments inside yet. What to do!?

I called my friend Matt Forger (who helped with the design of the studio), and said “Hey Matt, my first session is tomorrow morning, I know it’s late notice, but is there any way that I could get you to come help me set up the studio?” Thank God and he was not booked that night and the two of us worked for hours getting things set up. We wired up the rooms, brought in the recording gear, mics, stands, drums, etc…We got to recording drum tones around 1am, and miraculously the mic cables and live room input box that I had hand wired all worked, as did the rest of the gear.



It was a modest setup with a PC driven Pro Tools 002 rig, Yamaha AW4416, AIP 3124+ Line 6 Pod, and other gear much of which has been replaced over the years. Except the API.



The next morning, I welcomed the boys with a big smile thinking “Okay, this is it, I hope this all works!”. Thankfully that session went well and the boys were happy.

The reason I mention this story today is that The Green Natives finished one of those songs and just posted it on FB. So here it is from the very first Bright Orange Studios session 9 years ago ‪#‎TBT‬

It’s no secret that I love JZ microphones from Latvia. When I first received the trio of BT-201 microphones, a did all kinds of tests and shootouts.

Here’s a short little video featuring a Meinl cajon recorded with 3 BT-201s. The mics capture the woody-ness of the instrument along with the attack of the hands.

Recorded with API 2124+ mic pres with no eq or compression. Just raw tracks



An excerpt from a recording session I did for composer/arranger John Sawoski. 8:15am is never to early to rock out.

These are raw tracks (no plugins on the individual channels),  with just a little love from the Vertigo VSC-2 Compressor by Brainworx on the master bus in Pro Tools.

All cymbals by Istanbul Agop
All drum heads by Aquarian Drumheads

Instrument: Microphone / Mic Pre:

  • Kick: Shure Beta 52 / API
  • Snare top: Shure SM57 / Universal Audio 4110
  • Snare bottom: Shure Unidyne III / Universal Audio 4110
  • Toms: JZ BT-201s / API
  • Overheads: AKG 451s / API
  • Room mics: Oktava 219s (Michael Joly mod) / Universal Audio 4110

From Jeff Beck’s “WIRED” album

This is the insane drum intro to LED BOOTS which should need no introduction. This is old school-in-your-face fusion drumming (in the vein of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return To Forever). It’s intense, loose, and he just SLAMS those open high hats. Listen to it loud.

It’s hand written from years ago, and here’s a key to the notation:

notes on the bottom of staff = kick drum
notes on the middle of staff = snare
notes with circles on other lines = toms
top of staff ‘x” = high hat (when a 0 is on top = slamming open high hat
top of staff triangle = cymbal

Click on the image or link below to view/download the .pdf file



Another handwritten drum transcription from the archives.

“D.I.Y” is a from Peter Gabriel’s second solo album. The song flows freely between lots of odd meters, but never in a staggering way. Jerry Marotta’s groove is rock solid, and he deceptively keeps a steady quarter note pulse throughout. Like some Beatles songs, you’re not even aware that the meters are shifting because of how smooth it’s played, and that aforementioned quarter note pulse.

If you want to work on changing odd time signatures with a great music track, I highly recommend this one. Jerry Marotta is one of the greats.

It’s hand written from years ago, and here’s a key to the notation:

notes on the bottom of staff = kick drum
notes on the middle of staff = snare
notes with on other lines = toms
top of staff ‘x” = high hat (when a 0 is on top = open high hat
top of staff “x” with circle around it = ride cymbal
top of staff triangle = cymbal

 Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

 Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download


Some musicians (oftentimes the younger ones) tend to work what they practice  at home into the gig. Developing technique is an essential part of becoming a musician, but that technique can often times get in the way of playing music.

When you play music, a bandmate or music director may point out places where you are dragging, rushing, playing too many notes, not being dynamic enough etc… and the ego can get defensive and fight these comments which are usually perceived as criticisms. Why not take these comments to heart, go over your performance material, and see if there is any truth to what they are saying.

I say practice what you play, don’t play what you practice.


Below is a groove idea that I wrote out for my friend Jace D at N.A.M.M. a few years back. We were talking about drum grooves of the 1970s, and how adventurous they were. Even in pop songs. Even the drum fills.

I had been fascinated by Steve Gadd’s groove for “Chuck E’s In Love” , a hit single by Rickie Lee Jones. The basic groove is a swampy, swung 8th note, half time groove which is just loaded with feel. But then there comes a breakdown bridge of just acoustic guitar/vocal, and at a different tempo. So what does Steve Gadd do to pull us back to a swung 8th note feel and original tempo? A funky, straight 16th note fill of course.

I’ve been planing on doing a YouTube video to talk about this incredible fill, and how it inspired me to create some grooves from it. But back to my conversation with Jace. I wrote out one of the grooves inspired by the fill, and then the actual fill below on a scrap of paper:

For the drummers out there, the x=high hat, the middle note=snare, and the bottom note=kick drum. There’s an accent on the second right hand when playing the high hat. All of the snare notes are ghost notes except for the backbeat on 3.

The actual lick from the recording is transcribed at the bottom. Note the open high hat with the right hand on beat four.

More on this later, but if you haven’t heard this great song, inspiring drumming, and an insane drum fill, check it out.

     I remember being on tour with the DUBS and we were playing a show with The Dixie Dregs in Philly. After our set, I was walking though the club, and this guy approaches me with this amazed look on his face. He says to me “How did you do that up there?” I’m thinking maybe he dug the show, or liked my drumming or something. I asked him what he meant, and he says “How could you play up there before Rod Morgenstein???”. I understood after that as he was obviously a huge fan of Morgenstein’s playing. I replied something like “We just did our thing up there…. It’s not a competition or anything”.

     The Dixie Dregs were nice people, and extremely talented. I remember Steve Morse playing the theme to A CLOCKWORK ORANGE during a soundcheck and it was stunning.