Loading...
xymox rum practice pad and sticks
About 2018-05-30T00:33:17+00:00

BIO

 

Neil started playing drums in 1993 in middle school which afforded him the incredible opportunity to be immersed in percussion under long time friend and teacher, John Dunlap. While in school, Neil was a member of the 1998 WGI Scholastic Concert Bronze Medalist and Gulfcoast Color Guard and Percussion Circuit (GCGPC) Hall of Fame Inductee, Paragon, and section leader for the award-winning percussion section of the Harrison Central High School Band. He has since performed in numerous rock and fusion bands in Mississippi and Alabama, and Independent Indoor Marching Percussion with Cynosure (Pensacola, FL). Neil also has experience playing drums and percussion in Musical Theater.  While earning his degree at the University of South Alabama, he performed with the Jazz Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Pep Band and Symphony Band.  Neil has taught marching percussion, concert percussion, and drumset at schools across the Southeastern United States including Harrison Central High School (Gulfport, MS), Davidson High School (Mobile, AL), and St. Paul’s Episcopal High School (Mobile, AL) While in this capacity, he wrote, designed, and taught shows for Marching Band and Indoor Percussion including taking 3 Indoor Lines to WGI World Championships.  One of his compositions, “Up All Night”  has also been featured on the Tapspace: Virtual Drumline© Website demo section.  With the addition of a family, Neil currently records various drum videos demonstrating both drumset and marching percussion techniques and also does studio percussion work for various groups from around the world. His YouTube page has an ever-growing following with over one million views and above four thousand subscribers as of June 2010. He also consults and teaches privately in the Williamsport, Pennsylvania area. Going into the future, Neil is open to any project that can challenge him as an artist.

drumset WGI World Championships
drumset 2002

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. What is your approach to music?

  • I like to approach things I perform in the most musical and expressive way possible. As I grow older, the more I realize that it is not about ramming as many notes on the page that I can. It is about telling a story and leading the ear where it needs to go while keeping the playing interesting. Some of the most catchy musical passages I have ever heard have also been some of the most simple. My best advice to anyone creating music, especially younger people is this: Make every note count towards the bigger picture in the music. Drums can be very musical instruments and just as much a part of a song as a guitar or a trumpet if you approach them correctly.

2. What drummers / musicians / bands influence you the most?

  • Drummers: Carter Beauford, Mike Portnoy, Neil Peart, Peter Erskine, Zoro, Atom Willard, Charlie Adams, Stanton Moore.
  • Marching / Rudimental: John Dunlap, Tom Aungst, Thom Hannum, Mark Thurston.
  • Musicians / Bands: Dave Matthews Band, Dream Theater, Rush, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Dave Brubeck, Santana, Weather Report, Nirvana, Weezer, Live, Nickelback, Dr. Dre, blink-182, Angels & Airwaves, Aerosmith, Gaelic Storm, and too many others to name.
  • Composers: Alan Silvestri, Claude Debussy, James Horner, Hans Zimmer, Thomas Newman, Howard Shore.

3. I want to learn how to play drums. How do I learn?

  • My best advice is to get a private instructor, get in the school band, etc. Anything that is going to teach you to read and write music is profoundly beneficial. I could write a book on the benefits of being literate in music. A quote that comes from the Berklee College of Music that I once heard is this: “It is better to have it and not use it, than to need it and not have it.” I cannot take credit for that quote, but it is so true. Another good rule to follow is to start everything slow and build up to fast in anything you are learning. BASICS first. Also, practice ALOT. If you don’t enjoy it, then why drum at all?

4. What kind of drums are those on your YouTube Videos?

5. Acoustic Drums vs. Electronic Drums? 

  • I get many questions/comments regarding acoustic drums versus electronic drums. As a percussionist that is proficient using both kinds, my philosophy is this: Acoustic drums were the original instrument and therefore electronic drums could not be created or modeled without them. I believe strongly that a person must learn to play using an acoustic instrument. It is the foundation for learning the correct feel of the instrument and developing proper muscle memory. High-end electronic drums come close, but I would still not recommend learning on electronic drums initially. I played acoustic drums for 15 years before ever purchasing a set of electronic drums. I use them strictly to practice and record videos in my home because of my neighbors. I would like to perform with a hybrid setup one day consisting of both kits mixed, but as of now there is no musical need for that in any project that I am a part of. Just a side note: I play the electronic Roland kit as if it were acoustic. I don’t try to play softer or lighter. They were built to be tough, so don’t hold back.

6. What sounds do you use for your electronic drums?

  •  I use two different products for my sounds depending on the situation.
    • Toontrack Superior Drummer 2.0 Check out their website.
    • V Expressions LTD Drummer’s Dream pack. Check out their website.

7. How do you record your drum covers? 

  • I use a high definition camera to record the room audio and video. Then I use Logic Pro to record the drums into. Once I have the audio mix correct, I then sync the audio and video together using Final Cut Pro.

8. Why does it take so long between your drum covers?

  • Job. Family.