“What drummers have inspired you?”
I pondered over this question as I was recently asked and began to reflect upon the evolution of my drumming in my lifetime. There have been numerous musical influences throughout my life; however, there are only a handful of these musicians and artist stuck with me.
I began playing drums when I was around 14, after a young childhood of piano lessons from the sweet old lady from church (she played the organ during Sunday congregation). Then later, in junior high, I played stand-up bass (I could play Lowrider, that was the only talent I had), then I fell into percussion. The typical stand-up snare and stand-up bass drum in the back of the orchestra room. Then Christmas 2000 was upon us and the snow was filling the streets. The magical world of winter wonderland was finally here, and Santa was sure to deliver. I wrote him a letter, left out milk and cookies and everything. But to no end... he never showed. Truth be told, I did not believe in Santa at the age of 14, but thankfully my parents were wonderful and got me a kit. Soon enough, I was taking lessons in town and on my way to 14-year-old stardom. So what do you do with your friends after school and you all play instruments, you find a cheap beat, 3 chords, and play that over and over again. The typical middle and high school music, bad grindy punk music, screaming metal, and then to chill out, sublime covers and Ben Harper covers. So where did I fall into once I got a drum kit for myself? Bad grindy punk music. We called ourselves Tripped Out Space Monkeys.
As much as I would like to go into details of my complete evolution as a drummer, today I am focusing on the question at hand. So out of inspirational drummers, I have always found to be a highly interesting and talented drummer would be Brian Viglione.
Being the yang to the yin of Amanda Palmer, The Dresden Dolls duet have a beautiful cohesion, bringing together drums, keyboard, and vocals into very powerful and sometimes heart-wrenching emotional sounds. Spanning from their beginnings with their playing in mall pubs in Boston, A is for Accident (Live), to their final album No, Virginia, this duo from has always delivered. It wasn't until I found their live shows that I really saw the destructive and powerful nature of Brian's drumming. Following the strong vocals, he bellows up a storm to drive Amanda Palmer through a musical journey. You have drummers and percussionists. This man falls into the realms of the latter.
Around two years ago we had our very first show at Taproot, we did in fact cover the Dresden Dolls’ song, Sex Changes. Keep in mind this was the first time I was on a drum kit in about two years, so I had a lot of work cut out for me. Viglione’s drumming is highly expressive and has a dancing dynamic with Palmer, and when one has to bring that to the table... well, it's no easy feat. But I will say, I think we rocked that song and that show was hot!
It's hard to choose one inspiration to talk of, and out of the handful of bands I have fallen for throughout the years, Brian Viglione’s talent has taught me to utilize my character and channel the expressive power one can use with an instrument.
If I have one suggestion for musicians, artists, and other imaginative minds, it is to embrace it and see where it takes you. Art is an expression of our inner minds and our thoughts, but that can take us in directions we never imagined.
Thanks for reading my thoughts,