Music feature: Cock & Bull hosts a show with 20 drummers this Friday

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Published Oct. 12, 2009

John Lichtenstein, Joe Pezzino, Dan Rixon, Doug Rogells, David Curran, Mike Murphy, Jonas Canales and Greg Ferris (left to right)

Drummer Night
8 p.m. Fri., Oct. 16, Cock & Bull Pub, 975 Cattlemen Road, Sarasota, $5.

If you’re anywhere near Cattleman Road this Friday you won’t be able to escape the constant rhythm ringing through the air. Those sweet beats will be coming from the second installment of Drummer Night. The inaugural event back in late March brought together 13 drummers from bands all over the area for a jam of massive proportions. Judging from the packed house of spectators dancing on Cock & Bull’s picnic tables, producer and promoter extraordinaire John Lichtenstein thought a repeat of the night was in order.

“I saw a band called the Boredoms bring 88 drummers together in Providence, R.I.,” says Lichtenstein. “I wanted to see if I could put something like that together.”

Lichtenstein plans to hold a Drummer Night every six months and sees the event becoming a huge draw for Sarasota. He’s contacted over 35 drummers to play at this week’s edition; no doubt that number will grow in the future. “I didn’t want to make it a competition or, ‘Who’s the best drummer in Sarasota?’” he says. “I wanted it to be bringing musicians together and giving drummers an opportunity to play with people that they wouldn’t normally get a chance to play with. It’s so epic having that many drummers together. You don’t get an opportunity like that too often.”

The drummers will set up their kits in a classroom fashion — ordered rows — and take turns playing in groups of five to 10. Mike Murphy, drummer for Maid Mosephine and the Equines, will help pair everyone up. “We’re going to try and keep the groups in the same area, and if somebody really wants to play with another group there will be some drum kit swapping,” says Murphy. “I want to shake things up and see what really comes out.”

At about midnight all the drummers will sit on their kits and solo from one end to the other, then they will all play at once for the grand finale. “This is probably the most visually stunning show,” says Lichtenstein, “especially with the amount of drummers we’re going to have.”

A new feature to this Drummer Night will be the addition of guest guitarists. Each drummer group will be paired with either solo artist Dan Rixon, Jimmy G from Girls Night Out or Letters From Elvis’ Pat Johnson. “I listened to [the last show] and decided that it would be nice to have guests play along with all the drummers,” says Lichtenstein. “The groups that went with a guest accompanying them sounded smoother and more cohesive together. So this time we’re trying to expand on that.”

Every drummer that participated in the last show will be back for this one. All of them agree that the experience is something they just can’t pass up. “The only way I can equate it is after you play a show and you have that awesome ‘hell yeah’ feeling. The feeling after Drummer Night was so intense that it broke that feeling for like two months,” says Murphy. “People would come up after shows and be like, ‘Holy shit that was awesome,’ and I would be like, ‘Eh, it wasn’t as cool as Drummer Night.’”

Envy on the Coast drummer Doug Rogells agrees: “It’s a musical experience. How much can you pull back, or what can you not do to help somebody else’s voice sound that much louder? Because it’s not about you. It’s like a conversation and if anybody wants to add a comment they can just jump in and say it. I think it’s a good thing for people who speak better on the drum kit than they do in person.”

Jonas Canales, drummer for Sons of Hippies, sees Drummer Night as an important event for the Sarasota music scene. “No other city is doing this around the area and there’s a very creative music scene happening in Sarasota. We bring all these bands together and we all know each other. People from other cities are totally knowing what’s going on in Sarasota right now.”

MeteorEyes drummer David Curran believes that the Sarasota music scene has such a tight relationship because all the players in the game are there for the same reasons. “No one has this super big agenda. We all just want to do what we do and have a good time doing it,” says Curran. “It’s passion. You have someone like John who is a freaking ringleader of passionate folks in Sarasota. He cracks the whip and people listen, but he does it very smooth. I sit down with my son who bangs on shit like you wouldn’t believe. He’s only 18 months old and he’s tearing it up. I hope Drummer Night is still going on by the time he’s old enough to fucking beat ’em down.”

 

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