Drummers / Percussionists
Drummer Cafe 20th Anniversary
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BIOGRAPHY

David Stanoch

I was born on September 7th, 1961, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I wear a lot of different hats in the music business where my primary focus is in professional performance work on drumset and hand percussion.

In this realm I've complied a list of credits over the years that is truly eclectic, having performed with popular artists from genres of jazz, rock, pop, R & B, folk and classical music as well as motion pictures, television and Broadway shows, including Lin Biviano, Bobby Bradford, Jackson Browne, Hiram Bullock, John Carter, Charo, George Clinton, Anthony Cox, Sheryl Crow, Richard Davis, The Diamonds, Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Herb Ellis, The Empire Brass, Robert Goulet, Col. Bruce Hampton, Scott Henderson, Freedy Johnston, Shirley Jones, Stanley Jordan, Keb' Mo, The Lettermen, Shari Lewis, Lorna Luft, The Marvelettes, Jack McDuff, Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Minnesota Orchestra, The New Kids On The Block, Bob Newhart, Regis Philbin, Bonnie Raitt, Don Rickles, Joan Rivers, Bobby Shew, Martin Short, Ben Sidran, Timbuk 3, Butch Vig and The Supremes' Mary Wilson. Of particular interest to drummers, perhaps, I've also had the pleasure to perform onstage with renowned drummers, Bernard Purdie, Ed Shaughnessy and Clyde Stubblefield, and I've experienced the thrill of opening for arguably the most famous drummers in the world, Buddy Rich and Ringo Starr in concert.

Though I'm not from a musical family, music was always around when I was growing up. My brother and I would sit around an old suitcase record player when I was little and listen to 45's by The Beatles, The O'Jays, The Temptations and many more, and my parents liked to listen to Louis Armstrong, Pete Fountain and Jim Reeves, in particular. I didn't know anything about labels like rock, R&B, jazz or country then, it was all just music. When I was 7, my brother wanted to take guitar lessons and my folks gave me the same opportunity.

I've been fortunate to have more than my fair share of excellent teachers and mentors. My first guitar teacher, Wally Bramburg, planted the seeds for my future by suggesting I pay more attention to the drums in the popular tunes I was learning to improve my rhythm. It was a challenge at 7 to be learning notation and basic music theory, fingering and technique and get it all grooving but Wally gave me a good foundation and excellent advice. By age 10 my mother had secured a place for me in the percussion section of the grade school band and the director, John Wegner, gave me my first drum lesson. I studied briefly with the rightfully strict Bob Byrnes, who played the New Orleans style of Trad Jazz, and he taught me the snare drum rudiments.

I pined for a drum set. I remember sitting on my bed with my snare drum trying to play John Bonham's entrance on Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" with one hand while manipulating the strainer with the other to simulate the flow from the snare to the toms in the fill. By this time, my brother had a garage band I would quietly watch every rehearsal. When they'd take a break to go upstairs and play basketball I'd sit down at Matt Barber's drumset and try basic beats and fills. The gratification I experienced was far more immediate than what I was struggling with on the guitar. This dedication paid off when my Dad generously provided for me a beautiful, grand Ludwig silver-sparkle drumset and I was off and running.

A host of excellent band directors - Peter Sivanich, Don Bates, Ruben Haugen and Dan Geldert, equally tolerated and guided me over the years in school band and band camps, but the man who really taught me to play the drumset was Elliot Fine, whom I started studying with at 12. Elliot played in the Minnesota Orchestra alongside Marv Dahlgren who also owned the only drum shop in town at that time. Together they are famous for writing the classic drumset method 4-Way Coordination. Elliot opened up my ears and imagination and his infectious enthusiasm and curiosity about drumming has stayed with me ever since. His gifts are invaluable.

Another extremely important mentor I met at Marv's shop was Phil Hey, who has been among the playing elite for many years in Minnesota. Phil not only taught me how to select cymbals and tune drums but instilled in me a respect for the history of the instrument in jazz and rock music, turned me on to many great players, and most importantly, invited me often to sit in on his gigs with the leading groups in town, giving me practical playing experience, advice and criticism from the finest players in town, many of whom I still work with today. Phil provided me a bandstand education I'll never forget and always appreciate.

This was a formative period. I played my first professional gig subbing in the pit a dinner theatre when I was barely 13, and at 16 had won the Minnesota State Competition of the Louie Bellson/Slingerland National Drum Contest. Later that year I was selected to be principal percussionist for the 1978 European Tour of America's Youth in Concert, recording an album and performing in New York City's famous Carnegie Hall before heading overseas to Europe for a six week tour. It was then I realized that music was the direction in which I wished to devote my life's work.

My college years at University of Wisconsin-Madison were a whirlwind of inspiration. I chose Madison both because Marvin Rabin, who conducted the youth symphony I toured with, and Les Thimmig, who wrote music commissioned for the tour, were on the faculty, and also because I could study there with legendary jazz and studio bassist Richard Davis, whom I had been listening to for years on all sorts of recordings. My studies with Richard were profound and I was recording and gigging with him by age 20. Richard introduced me to Ben Sidran, whom I worked with also, and this planted more seeds for my position today on the faculty of the McNally Smith College of Music. Ben's drummer at that time was the award-winning Gordy Knudtson (today of the Steve Miller Band). Gordy was someone I'd always respected but didn't know personally until the connection through Ben. This led to a friendship with Gordy who later hired me to be a part of his team when he took on the role of department head at the school. I've had the distinct honor to be part of this distinguished faculty, which also includes Marv Dalhgren, since 1990. I'm grateful to Gordy for his talent, friendship and support.

College life in Madison offered other gifts I hadn't expected as it is the home of legendary James Brown alumni Clyde Stubblefield (the Funky Drummer), who also mentored me on the bandstand and whom I'm proud to play with today in violinist Randy Sabien's "Rhythm & Bows" Big Band. Drummer Butch Vig, known for his excellent production work with bands Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day, and, of course, Garbage, was another influential artist whom I did session work with as well. Whereas I learned how to play in-between jazz and rock from Clyde with a funky "popcorn-like" flow, combining accented and implied rhythm to feel the funk, Butch's school of drumming is the wide-open, mile-high Big Beat approach, where I learned to truly respect the space between beats to make it groove.

If all that wasn't enough I also had the opportunity to study at school, thanks to my marvelous percussion professor, James Latimer, with jazz icons Max Roach and Alan Dawson, both of whom visited over the course of a year as artists-in-residence. I can sum up that incredible experience by saying they shared with me the keys to truly musical drumming and their lessons resonate in me still.

Between 1985 and 1990, I lived for a while in Los Angeles, where I was fortunate to study with Jeff Hamilton and Chad Wackerman. These were extremely fruitful lessons since each artist's talent was inspiring to me and they both accommodated exactly what I hoped to learn from them and then some. My playing kept maturing and I learned more about networking. Several friends from college, whom are still professional players today, migrated from Madison to L.A. at that time, most notably my college housemate, drummer/percussionist Wally Ingram (Sheryl Crow, David Lindley), who had preceded me by about a year and introduced me to a lot of talented people.

After a brief detour to the Gulf Coast, I spent almost three years working for a cruise ship line in the Caribbean which was quite a constructive experience. I forged lasting friendships with some strong players and I worked through the ranks from sideman to musical director and gained real leadership skills in running, rehearsing and MC'ing a band as well as managing, hiring and firing personnel. It was a paid education and I played six nights a week. I closed a lot of gaps on that gig between what I could only comprehend and actually deliver.

The 90's signaled my return to the Minnesota music scene. The ability to play regularly and teach in a focused environment has given me time and opportunity to gain some insight into methods that are effective means to an end for an aspiring player. Some of these ideas coalesced into a method book I published in 2008 entitled Mastering the Tables of Time, Volume I. I'm very pleased that the method has really resonated with people and has made an impact in a today's heavily saturated market of information. The book has received wonderful reviews and recommendations from PAS, Down Beat, Rhythm, Slagwerkkrant, Drumhead, Drummer Cafe, and was voted #1 Method Book in the 2009 Modern Drummer Readers Poll. It has been endorsed by many esteemed artists including Bernard Purdie, Ed Soph, Peter Erskine, Steve Smith, Ed Shauhgnessy, Walfredo Reyes, Sr., Ari Hoenig, Johnny Vidacovich, Stanton Moore, Johnny Rabb, Joe Porcaro and Vic Firth.

These endorsements and reviews have also led me into new relationships with Vic Firth, Drummer Cafe, Modern Drummer magazine, Alfred Music, and others with whom I can further share ideas to spread both the knowledge and joy of playing. To that end I'd also like to thank the folks at Paiste Cymbals who have supported me for over ten years now and Gary Gauger of Gauger Percussion Innovations who has done the same since I was a teen-ager. Endorsements are great but only meaningful if you believe in the product and have people to work with who believe in you. I'm a lucky guy. At the end of the day, I just love to play my drums and make music. I see the drum chair as "the eye of the hurricane" on the bandstand and I crave being in the middle of it. It's hypnotic, surreal, and an almost otherworldly place where, I believe, magic truly happens. If you feel the same way then we always have something to talk about or play together and that's cool with me.

Today, my wife, singer-songwriter Katy Tessman, and I are proud parents to two beautiful young boys, Katy is retired from performing and focusing on our children. Together we manage our own company, Rhythmelodic Music, through which we produce and distribute our independent music and educational materials. Visit our website for more information.

If you're passing through the Twin Cities, I play regularly throughout the year with around ten different ensembles including Marv Dahlgren's Quintet, Randy Sabien's Rhythm & Bows Big Band, Frankhouse, the Ellen Lease/Pat Moriarty Quintet, Sometimes Y, Axis Mundi, the Cedar Ave. Big Band, Drums Unlimited, the Vanguard Orchestra, and Triplicate. Like most working drummers I also freelance just about anywhere, anytime.

Feel free to look me up on a gig or drop me a line at my website or right here at the Drummer Cafe. My thanks again to Bart Elliott for his great website and great support.

www.rhythmelodic.com

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