Howdy. The name’s Ben. I’m a drummer, audio engineer, stage tech, and an on–again–off–again web developer. I grew up near Oakland, California, before moving out to Colorado to go to school at CU Boulder, studying psychology, music, and TAM (technology, arts, & media — since renamed creative technology & design). While I’m primarily a drumset player, I also have experience with piano and alto saxophone; I played alto in the CU marching band for 4 years, and I played drumset in the CU basketball for 4 years as well. Nowadays I play drums for some local bands and record drums out of a home studio here in Colorado. I update my blog every Sunday, most Sundays — be sure to check it out!
How long have you been playing music for?
All in all, about 20 years. I took piano lessons for a few years when I was really young, starting around age 6. I had my first drum lesson in August of 2005 at the age of 8, and I had private instruction for exactly ten years — my final lesson was right before I moved out in August of 2015. I picked up the sax when I started college that year, and the rest is history. In fact, I’m getting misty–eyed just thinking about it.
What kind of drums do you play?
I have a Pearl set for the studio, although sadly Pearl doesn’t make the exact model anymore… such is life. This kit has Sabian cymbals, and I always use Remo heads and Vic Firth sticks. I have a variety of doodads from LP and Index Drums. I prefer to use DW hardware (when I can afford it).
If you see me drum live, you’ll probably spot me with an old Ludwig kit I got for out of the house playing. I fitted this one with some secondhand Zildjian cymbals.
Who are your favorite drummers?
For first place, we have a tie between John Bonham and Keith Moon. There’s probably a 30–way tie for second place…
What DAW do you use?
I do pretty much everything in Logic Pro. I also make good use of Max Signal Processing, a bit of SuperCollider, and the amazing PaulStretch. I have Isotope’s Rx7 if I need it, as well as the plugins that came with my UA interface (like fancy preamps and oxidizers). Most of the time, I just use what’s built into Logic; I'd argue that EQ, compression, and reverb are all you need to mix drums outside of your volume faders and pan knobs. While we're at it, I should mention that I also have Audacity, like everyone else.
What do you use to create music notation?
I use MuseScore for all my transcribing/engraving. It’s pretty glitchy, but with a bit of patience, I can pretty much do anything I want. I really admire the commitment the developers have to maintain MuseScore and keep it free; I have no reason to shell out for Finale or Sibelius.
What has been your most difficult transcription?
Right now, probably Tommy Igoe’s solo from “Jazz Crimes”, off of the 2014 album The Tommy Igoe Groove Conspiracy. After a bit of proofreading, I shared it in March of 2021. Go nuts...