Matt Johnson Reflects on Jeff Buckley's "Grace"

We recently caught up with Vater Drumstick Artist Matt Johnson in Boston while he was on tour with St. Vincent. While Matt was here, we asked him to discuss his work on Jeff Buckley's "Grace" album as 2014 marks the 20th Anniversary of it's release. "Grace" was Jeff Buckley's only completed studio album to be released as Jeff died in a drowning accident in 1997.

In this video, Matt talks about meeting Jeff just a very short time before they tracked the album, and goes somewhat track-by-track to talk about his drum parts, the recording process for the album, how the drum set configuration varied, and how some aspects of his playing on that album were a result of, what he calls, "fear and stark terror" during the recording process.

 Matt Johnson reflects on "Grace":


 
 
 
Matt Johnson uses the Vater Sugar Maple Power 5B 

Posted by Chad on Monday, April 07, 2014 2:03 PM

NAMM 2013

The 2013 NAMM Show was another successful one for Vater! At the show, the New 5A Stretch, 7A Stretch, Whip Brush and Splashstick Rock were all officially introduced. The booth was packed all 4 days of the show with people coming by to check out the entire Vater Product line, picking up a copy the new 2013 catalog and checking out the new stick offerings. TONS of Vater Artists came by to show their love and support and to fill us in on what they have coming up in the new year. Our after show adventures were filled with hanging with friends and Vater Artists and catching some of the live performances that included some by Vater Artists Jen Lowe (who fronted her own band) Chris Dave and Drumheadz at the Sabain Live Party and much more. 

 

3 Part video series of our footage from the NAMM Show 2013 Floor 

 

 

 

Here's some pictures of some of the action at the Vater booth! 

 

New 5A Stretch and 7A Stretch making their debut on the booth wall!  

 

Mike Byrne [Smashing Pumpkins] meets Chris Dave [D'Angelo/Maxwell]  
 
Cyrus Bolooki [New Found Glory]  
 
  Brann Dailor [Mastodon] always excited to see his Vater 5B's!
 
Benny Cancino, Andrew Cook [A Rocket to the Moon], Aaron Montgomery [Trapt] and
Ryan Carman [Rocco Deluca and the Burden]  
 
  2 thumbs up from Mike Byrne [Smashing Pumpkins] and Brad Davis [Adventure Drums]
 
All visiting the Vater Booth at the same time were, Left to right: Jacqueline Cassell,
Jessica Goodwin [Diamonds Under Fire], Brad Davis [Adventure Drums] Dusty Watson [Dick Dale],
Branden Steineckert [Rancid], Cyrus Bolooki [New Found Glory], Jay Weinberg, 
Christian Poezach [Cirque du Soleil-Alegria], Eric Leiderman [Pearl Aday],
Kate Shellenbach [Luscious Jackson] and Didi Negron [Cirque du Soleil-Amaluna]
 
 
  Chaun Horton and Quinton Robinson catch up
 
  Didi Negron of Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna Show
 
  Evan Stone, John Cowsill [The Beach Boys], Xavier Muriel [Buckcherry], Erick Slick [Dr. Dog],
Nate Walker [Lit] and Ed Udhus [Zebrahead] 
 
  Jessica Goodwin [Diamonds Under Fire] with her Vater 5B's!
 
  Graham Hawthorne [David Byrne]
 
  Ilan Rubin [Paramore]
 
  Jen Lowe, Jeffrey Jones, Nick Oshiro [Blue Man Group] and Paul Bostaph
 
  Jeremy Stacey [Noel Galllagher's Flying Birds/Tom Jones]
 
  Kofi Baker, Jay Weinberg and Rancid's Branden Steineckert
 
Chris Korzin and Phil Ehart [Kansas]  
 
Mike Fuentes of Pierce The Veil  
 
Who's more shocked to be with the other one???  Mike Johnston [Mikeslessons.com
with Brad Davis [Adventure Drums]
 
Mike Johnston [Mikeslessons.com] with Serge Lysak [The Drum Lab]  
 
Miles McPherson [Kelly Clarkson, Isaias Gil and Sammy Balfour jacked with excitement!  
 
  Mona Tavakoli [Jason Mraz], Greg Clark Jr., Quinton Robinson and Manny Dominick
 
  Scott Pellegrom
 
  Scott Travis of Judas Priest
 
  Kate Shellenbach [Luscious Jackson]
 
  Sinbad and Fred Dinkins
 
Smitty Smith and Gorden Campbell 

Posted by Chad on Friday, February 22, 2013 11:22 PM

Gorden Campbell Releases New DVD

Vater Artist Gorden Campbell has relesed an exciting new educational DVD package, Secrets of the Working Drummer. Campbell’s resume—which includes Earth, Wind, and Fire; George Duke; Jessica Simpson; Ne-Yo; Whitney Houston; The American Idol Tour; Mary J. Blige; and Jonathan Butler—clearly illustrates his qualifications for creating such a DVD. The program contains advice and discussion on career-related topics often overlooked on other DVDs, as well as lots of great playing.

Among the many useful topics addressed in this package are the basic role of the drummer, the concept of pocket, learning basic song form, versatility (being able to play various styles), soloing in a musical situation, playing with a click, working with electronics, and conducting business professionally. These discussions are aimed at players of all levels who want to get more and better gigs. There are also informative and useful sections dealing with playing ballads, getting good tone from your drums, working with a group, and dealing with different types of gigs, from clubs to bus tours to sessions.

Interspersed among the educational segments are killer performances from Gorden and his group, The E&G Band, playing various song styles and grooves. There are also interview/advice segments from other famous working drummers, including Aaron Spears, Russ Miller, Will Kennedy, and a segment with jazz/fusion great George Duke, who also performs with Gorden.

Produced by Campbell and Eric Dorris and released on the Hudson Ltd. label, the main program of the DVD runs approximately one hour and 45 minutes, and is followed by extensive bonus footage including a detailed tour of Gorden’s gear (with explanations of the instruments) and a lengthy interview highlighting Gorden’s childhood, development, career, and more. Click here for more info and to purchase Secrets of the Working Drummer!

  

 
 

Posted by Chad on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 4:55 PM

Jose Pasillas of Incubus Videos

We caught up with recently new Vater Artist Jose Pasillas II of Incubus at the first stop of the 2012 Honda Civic Tour in Boston. Jose took a few minutes out of his crazy schedule that day to talk about why he moved over to Vater and also answered the questions that were submitted on Vater's Facebook Fan Page and Twitter Page

Jose Pasillas Vater Artist Spotlight Video:

 

While we were there, we had our long time friend and Jose's Drum Tech, Sean Bates, talk about working for Jose, what his daily schedule is like, Jose's kit set up, maintanence, how he got into drum teching and more!Check that video out here:

Sean Bates Vater Video: 

Posted by Chad on Monday, September 10, 2012 12:11 PM

Brittany Harrell In the Studio

Brittany Harrell of Veara checked in with us from the studio where she's finished tracking drums for Veara's upcoming release:

"I just wanted to give everyone out there an update on recording the new Veara record! First off, everything is sounding absolutely AMAZING!!! I can't tell you enough how sick this record is going to be. Working with Dan Korneff has been un-real. He's a great dude and a super solid producer. We're doing things on this record that I could have never dreamed of!

We recorded the drums in a big empty warehouse next door to the studio. We set up room mics, as well as the mics on the kit, in various parts of the warehouse to get that all natural reverb. The drums sound friggin' HUGE!! The drum set I recorded on was an old Tama w/ a Pearl Vinnie Paul sig snare and we used my SJC floor tom. I used all my hardware and cymbals. And of course I rocked out with my Vater Universal model sticks!

We would pre-pro a song in a room with the whole band and Dan then we'd immediately go to the big warehouse where the drums were set up and track it. That way the song would be fresh in my mind with the new arrangements, fills, etc. We did this for about a week and half. I'd usually get two songs done a day depending on how well pre-pro went. I was playing drums for 14hrs a day for that whole week and half. My sticks held up so awesome! That's why Vater is the best, haha. I can bang the living crap out the drums for 14hrs a day and my Vaters take the abuse great!

 

  

So we're nearing the end of recording now. We have all the basics done pretty much. Now were onto reviewing the songs and figuring out what else the songs need. Adding in extra vocals/harmonies, guitars, percussion, gang vox, etc.

The new record will be our 2nd release out on Epitaph Records! It's expected to drop the beginning of next year. Be sure to check back with Veara on all of our social networking sites for updates on the new record, tour dates, etc. This record is going to be amazing and I can't wait for y'all to get to hear it!"

-Brittany Harrell [Veara]

 

 

Posted by Chad on Thursday, August 23, 2012 10:10 AM

When You've Found The Right Stick, It Really Hits You: New Ad

Readers of Modern Drummer Magazine or Drum! Magazine, have been seeing a brand new Vater Ad that features Mike Johnston. The new ad entitled: "When You've Found The Right Stick, It Really Hits You!" has been gettting a lot of attention and creating quite a buzz already! The most heard comment is: "Is that picture REAL!?" And the answer is: YES! The ad is pictured below and there is also a brief video with great info and footage on how photographer Sasha Leahovcenco capured the shot that you see in the ad. 

Here's a bit about the ad from Mike:

"So about 2 months ago I did a shoot for a new VATER Drumsticks ad at this scary abandoned sugar mill. It was definitely the scariest location I had ever been on, lol. My photographer, Sasha Leahovcenco, had this idea that he wanted tons of sticks just floating around me and flying right at my face, and me looking as non frightened as possible right before they all hit me, lol. The concept of the ad was to show every model of stick that VATER makes flying in the air and for me to be holding my signature sticks. We wanted to show that with the huge variety of sticks that VATER makes, there is one model that is just right for you. In my case it's the 2-4-5-1's but I want everyone to find their "perfect stick". Sasha is very big on doing shots that look fully Photoshopped, but doing them for real. Here is the shot. Hope you like it! " -Mike Johnston

 

Behind the Scenes Video:

 

 

 


Educator Mike Johnston's 2451 Model is a great all-around design that can be used in any musical style. It has a grip size between a 5A and 5B with a gradual taper to a barrel tip for ride cymbal definition. The gradual taper gives the model a fantastic and quick feel around the kit.
 
The 2451 model is available in both Hickory and Sugar Maple. The Sugar Maple version is perfect for lower volume and lesson room type settings, while the Hickory version is the right choice for live and harder hitting performance settings.

 


Posted by Chad on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 11:34 AM

Patty Schemel Documentary - Hit So Hard

The acclaimed documentary "Hit So Hard" The Life and Near-Death story of drummer Patty Schemel is being released April 13, 2012!

When Nirvana burst onto the national scene in 1991, the music they played spoke directly to a generation that had emerged from the Reagan-Bush years angry and disenfranchised. As grunge took off, the music industry was completely transformed in a way nobody expected... especially the young musicians who went from tiny shared Seattle apartments to international superstardom, sometimes overnight. Some handled it well... and some did not. Just three years later, the drug-related deaths of several prominent musicians, capped by the suicide of Kurt Cobain, closed the books on an all too brief era.

As the acclaimed drummer of Courtney Love's seminal rock band Hole, Patty Schemel was right in the middle of all of it. The openly gay woman who always felt "different" never dreamed she would be part of a multi-platinum selling band, touring with legends, or on the cover of Rolling Stone. Or that, thanks to drug addiction, she could lose it all. HIT SO HARD tells the story of Patty's rise to fame (and nearly fatal fall from it), with no punches pulled... and it's one hell of a story.

Told with insider interviews and stunningly intimate, never-before-seen footage shot by Patty and her friends (Patty was given a Hi-8 camera just before Hole's infamous Live Through This world tour), HIT SO HARD is not only an all-access backstage pass to the music that shaped a generation, but a harrowing tale of overnight success, the cost of addiction, and ultimately, recovery and redemption.


"Hit So Hard" Trailer:

 
Patty Interview about "Hit So Hard" 

 
 

Patty Schemel uses the Vater Power 5A  in wood tip
 
Please visit HIT SO HARD for mre info.

Posted by Chad on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 1:03 PM

Dan Whitesides talks about The Used's New Album

Vater Artist Dan Whitesides of The Used took the time to write up his insight into the bands new album that was released March 27, 2012.

Our new album VULNERABLE comes out MARCH 26 it's our fifth studio album and my third with the band. Out of all of our albums I think this one might be my favorite for the simple fact that the songs are amazing. It's such an experimental album, there are so many different types of songs but it all ties in so well and It still has that classic THE USED sound. I think if you like THE USED then you'll love this album and if you don't like THE USED I really recommend checking it out because I'm guaranteeing there's a song in there for any music lover.

One of my favorite tracks is called KINDA TURNIN' ME ON. It has one of the coolest beats on the album; it's a beat that uses kick, snare, hi hat and floor tom to make one of the more original sounding beats on the album. You'll need to listen to it to hear what I mean. I'm a rocker at heart so all of the crazier jams are my favorites. KISS IT GOODBYE is another one that rules. That song stemmed from someone saying "play something sort of crazy" and that beat came right out and we wrote that song really quick.

I think this album is probably the most experimental album we've ever done. Some of the songs were written in our practice space as a full band, some were written on a keyboard, on piano, on acoustic and some we wrote in the studio. I think we work best when we mix things up and sort of keep things fresh. It was cool coming up with electro beats, jamming over the top with real drums and coming up with some interesting beats. It's also fun to just come up with a beat and then Jepha or Quinn will jam out to it and write something that fits well over the top of it. We really do try write in every and any way possible.

Vocally this album is one of the more positive albums we've done. There are definitely some super dark songs but we went in to this album on a positive note so we had no choice but to write a few positive songs.

I've played VATER drumsticks since I was a teenager, so basically since they started making sticks over 1000 years ago! I use the VATER MV-10 stick model.

I love VATER sticks because I'm a heavy hitter, their sticks are hard to break, they weigh the same and they feel solid when you're playing with them. I know that sticks and really any drum gear is expensive but VATER makes a great stick at a great price. I truly believe they are a stick company that really understands drummers and percussionists in general better then any other stick company out there. I'll always be using VATER... even when I'm 2000 years old!

VULNERABLE is available in stores and online now. A huge thank you to Chad Brandolini and to everyone at VATER for all their hard work and support over the years.

Thanks for your time,

-Dan Whitesides

Posted by Chad on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 11:15 AM

Los Angeles Drum Services

While in California for the 2012 NAMM Show, we popped over to see our good friends at Los Angeles Drum Services. We thought we'd film a quick feature about them to show you what they're all about and give you an inside look into a different and cool side of the drum biz. While there, we ran into Vater Artists Brian Frasier-Moore (Madonna) and Chaun Horton (Natasha Bedingfield/Toni Braxton) who were "working" in the custom hardware shop!



Chris Achzet and Bobby Boos have a combined 50 years in the professional drumming area of the music business. It is this knowledge and skill level that open the door for all the services that LADS provide, From the musician just starting his professional career to music veterans, LADS can handle all your drumming needs. If you can think of a service that could benefit a professional drummer, more than likely LADS provides it.

For more info, visit: www.ladrumservices.com or call: (800) 686-3096

Posted by Chad on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 11:09 PM
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