The South Florida music community is in for a treat. Todd Sucherman, current acclaimed drummer of the multi-platinum band Styx, will be here April 1, hosting a drum clinic in Fort Lauderdale at The Bienes Center for the Arts at St. Thomas Aquinas High School.
In addition to spending the past decade and a half as Styx's drummer, Modern Drummer readers voted Sucherman's instructional DVD, Methods and Mechanics, number one last year, and was voted top rock drummer. He was also named best clinician by the readers of DRUM! magazine.
Admittedly, the expression "drum clinic" sounds serious, but these types of gatherings are great fun and the perfect place to get drumming tips, drumming secrets and industry insights from some of the most well-respected artists in the business.
Veteran drummer Jeff Lee, owner of Resurrection Drums in Hollywood and promoter of this event, explains how he picks artists to host his drum clinics. "Obviously they have to be famous and respected drummers," he says. "Not necessarily in famous bands, but famous and respected in the eyes of fellow drummers for their drumming accomplishments. Another consideration is who is hot, who is in the limelight."
Past clinicians include Jo Jo Mayer (Nerve) whose DVD, Secret Weapons For the Modern Drummer, was voted number one in Modern Drummer magazine's readers' poll. Jim Riley (Rascal Flatts) visited in November 2009, after winning the Modern Drummer readers' poll for best clinician. Additionally, notable drummers Dave Weckl, Dennis Chambers, Cindy Blackman and Russ Miller have visited.
Sucherman doesn't limit his clinics to music-related questions or content. "I just did a clinic in Toronto and someone asked me about my choice in hair products," he says with a laugh. "I do plenty of playing but I keep the discussion organic so the attendees can take home the information they are looking for. I depend on their questions and contributions."
Mark Poiesz, graduate of the University of Miami's School of Music and drummer with the up-and-coming band Ghost of Gloria is looking forward to Sucherman's clinic. "I like to see the clinician under a microscope, so to speak," Poiesz says. "Also this will be a great chance to hear all the finer details of Todd's playing separate and apart from hearing it at a Styx concert."
Most importantly, these clinics are fun. Lee says Sucherman will perform, either solo or to pre-recorded tracks minus the drums, he'll talk a bit, explain some techniques and he'll answer questions. When the show is finished, he'll be available at an after party of sorts for more questions, autographs and photo ops. Who knows, you might even leave with a prize!
Why do artists like Todd love doing drum clinics? "I enjoy making connections with other drummers and musicians. I like the idea of saying something that will resonate with them and help them on their own path," says Sucherman. "Music is not a sport or a competition. People should be involved in the arts, whether it be music, painting, whatever... even if they don't want or intend to do it for a living. It is one of life's greatest joys."
-- Sayre Berman
7 p.m., Thursday, April 1 The Bienes Center for the Arts at St. Thomas Aquinas High School 2801 SW 12th St., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $15.00 at Resurrection Drums or $20.00 at the door or over the phone. 954-926-0204; www.rezdrums.com