Zildjian's Artist Relations staff keeps us all in the loop during the 2010 Thomas Pridgen Clinic Tour. Keep checking back for more updates & photos!
Monday, May 17, 2010 - Midwest Drum, Wichita, KS
Midwest Drum in Wichita, KS was packed full tonight with people eager to see and hear Thomas Pridgen perform. After the first ten minutes it was clear that they would get what they came for. Thomas played with his usual speed and energy and the crowd was very vocal about their approval.
When the floor was opened up for people to ask questions, Thomas received quite a few inquiries about his influences, people he looks up to, and where he gets his inspiration from. After naming some of the drummers he has always followed and loved, including Buddy Rich, Tony Williams, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Kozo Suganuma, Thomas elaborated on what and who inspires him. He explained that he is not only inspired by other drummers, but by other musicians, art, movies, food, cartoons, and activities such as skateboarding. He can find inspiration in many places for his drumming. He not only takes licks from the drumming greats and makes them his own, but he takes the vibes he gets from musicians like Jimi Hendrix and skateboarders like Tony Hawk and makes their vibes his own.
Thomas also took some time to talk about his new project The Memorials. The musicians in the group are all people that Thomas knew would be not only great musicians, but also great people to work with and spend time with. Their debut album should be out by this fall and they hope to tour then as well.
Thomas wowed the crowd, not only with his playing, but with his insight and advice.
Sunday, May 16, 2010 - Explorer's Percussion, Kansas City, MO
Today's afternoon clinic at Explorer's was a full house. This crowd was treated to a very energetic Thomas Pridgen! He played some blistering combinations around the kit and demonstrated the speed and technique that make Thomas so unique.
In this clinic, Thomas was asked many questions about his gear. He explained that he uses such big drums and cymbals (including 19" Hihats!) because it's more of a challenge to play fast around a big kit, and because some of the people he has played with play so loud that he has to match their volume. Thomas was asked if he plays electronic drums and he explained that he doesn't but he does use a few electronic items such as his mixer. He also demonstrated that the way he holds his sticks controls the volume of his playing. When asked about the way he tunes his drums, Thomas answered simply, "I tune my drums until they sound good. I try not to get caught up in the technical stuff."
When asked about his time at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, Thomas said that he really thought of his time there as a big practice session. He spent all of his free time in practice rooms and in the Library of Music studying the drumming greats. He watched drumming videos and listened to CDs every day to try to improve his technique and he was certainly successful. The crowd showed their agreement after a few more songs as they gave Thomas a standing ovation for his performance.
Saturday, May 15, 2010 - Mozingo Music, St. Louis, MO
Mozingo Music provided the perfect venue for tonight's clinic. The room right next to the store was more like a concert venue and the sound was excellent. The "standing room-only" crowd was very responsive to Thomas and involved in the clinic. After he played to a few recorded tracks, including a Victor Little tune, and a couple that he recorded with Zenith Patrol, Thomas asked if anyone had questions.
The question and answer session had Thomas demonstrating the exercises he uses to get faster at playing around the kit, and explaining how he still challenges himself y creating difficult combinations and practicing them until he masters them. He showed the crowd a few bass drum exercises that he uses to get faster with his single pedal playing. When asked how he strengthens his left hand, Thomas said he just plays everything left-handed and it really works. He told the crowd that he believes that having the right technique (knowing your rudiments and practicing) gives you the vocabulary you need to move around the kit and the freedom to create. He also explained his stretching and breathing techniques and his biggest trick to making it through a show playing as hard and as fast as he does: pacing himself.
Thomas treated the crowd to some more amazing drumming and ended the clinic by saying that when he played drums for the money he didn't make any, but when he played for fun he started making money at it; so the lesson is to do what you love to do, do it well, and do it for the fun of it. A great lesson from a great drummer!
Friday, May 14, 2010 - All Pro Percussion, Tampa, FL
Tonight's clinic had a sold-out crowd of 150 at All Pro Percussion. The audience was filled with excitement and they were not disappointed! Thomas played to a few pre-recorded tracks, grooving along and soloing over the music in the way only Thomas can. He kept the crowd laughing with his stories about his childhood experiences and the people he has played with over the years.
In the light atmosphere of the clinic, Thomas managed to deliver a more serious message to the young drummers in the crowd and their parents. He talked about how his grandmother and mother nurtured his talent when he was a child. They didn't push him too hard, or put too much pressure on him, but they did give him all the support he needed to become a great player. He asked the parents to keep their kids focused, expose them to all different kinds of music, and get them lessons. He told the kids to have a positive, "can-do" attitude and to be dedicated and have ambition. Never stop playing and, above all, look at playing like it's an adventure.
After answering questions from the crowd, Thomas played to a couple more tracks and then signed many autographs and chatted with all the attendees. It was a great night!
Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 - Dynamic Percussion, Hartford, CT
Its on!! Thomas brought his "A" game to our 2nd clinic at Dynamic Percussion, Hartford, CT. Boy oh boy can he wail! Bang up job by Art Benson and his staff at Dynamic ercussion. Great venue + Pro Sound + 100 people in attendance = awesome show!
Earlier in the day, Thomas and I picked some cymbals at the Zildjian factory for the evening's performance, including a pair of his "trademark" 18" hi-hats. We found an Armand Med Thin for the top and an A Med Thin for the bottom. They sounded really good - crisp and BIG - not as crazy as you would expect. Other cymbals he used in his set-up were a 22" Bounce Ride (used as a crash), 24" A Med Ride with 3 Rivets, 20" K Constantinople Hi-Bell Med Thin Low, 20" A Custom Crash and a 20" A Custom EFX Crash.
To conclude the evening, Thomas was joined by 2 friends - and long time Dynamic Percussion customers - each on their own kits while the 3 of them traded 4's and 8's.
It was a fantastic performance! Thanks Dynamic Percussion! Next stop Long Island Drum Center, Plainview, NY.
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010 - The Drum Shop of Portland, ME
We kicked off the 10 day Thomas Pridgen tour at the The Drum Shop of Portland, ME and it was a huge success! This is going to be one incredible clinic tour. Thomas does things on the kit like no other and he will blow you away. It was standing room only at The Drum Shop and people travelled long distances to see Thomas, including a bunch of TMV fans. Thomas' 1 hr 45 min clinic featured some blazing solos (of course), many invaluable lessons to the kids in attendance and tracks from his new project, The Memorials, whose first album will be released in September. Thanks to Chris Dealerman and his entire crew from The Drum Shop, Portland for a very pro event and for making Thomas feel so welcome.