In my former Sonor dealership, I had numerous occasions to enjoy life
with Sonor that I couldn't have as only a customer. Of the many
transactions, and conversations I had, none have been more exciting to
me that this opportunity. I have had dealings with Todd before, and
knew him to be a sincere, down to Earth person. I am very glad that he
agreed to be a part of what we have going on here on SRC, though he
has left the Sonor world behind.
That said, what an incredibly beautiful set of Pearls! They sound
wonderful, as well. I highly recommend the DVD to anyone wanting to
push the envelope with their playing, or who just wants to enjoy some
My thanks to Todd Sucherman. He really is a class act!
Hello Todd. Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. With your
DVD, working with various artists, including your wife, Taylor Mills and her
project, have you had some time to recharge, or do you thrive on being
Hey Julian. Thanks for having me--it's my pleasure! I just got back from
Hawaii yesterday where we did 4 shows in 4 days on 4 islands. The year is
wrapped up for us now with the exception of a sprinkling of shows, but it's
been about 5 solid months on the road. So the recharge time begins now!
Well, I do have a few clinics at the end of October and a few in November
so I'll have to get
back to the drum room soon. I do thrive on being active but I'm also
looking forward to some chill time at home with my wife Taylor, although
she has about 3 weeks of touring coming up with Brian Wilson.
Are there any upcoming projects that we should be getting excited about?
I'm looking forward to these upcoming clinics and promoting my DVD
"Methods and Mechanics" which was about a year in the making although
the filming was done in 4 days. The editing process was mammoth as we
had 5 terabytes full of HD film to comb through. It was an incredible learning
experience and working with the guys from Altitude Digital on the project
was a joy. It's two discs, over 5 hours, and features musical examples from
Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra), STYX and Taylor Mills. There are
many solo examples, lessons and these "Thoughts" sections which
concentrate on more esoteric concepts of approaching music, touring,
getting along with others as well as career navigational ideas. I feel we've
created a unique and useful tool that hopefully puts younger musicians on
the right path---and something that will hopefully inspire other drummers
with their playing and thinking.
So really, that has been the focus of the past year for me. I'm thrilled with
the attention it's been receiving and the Modern Drummer piece and being
invited to perform at the Modern Drummer Festival were dreams come true.
Sometime in the next 12 months I hope to start on another Taylor Mills
record when we find the time.
How long do you think Styx will continue at the present rate? If that slows down, do you see yourself taking on another full time
Well, STYX has been doing over 100 shows a year for the last 9 years in a row. I think this band can continue long into the
foreseeable future for as long as it wants to--and as long as everyone stays healthy.It's astounding that there's really a strong
audience for the band and people come out to the shows. That's something I don't take for granted and I feel fortunate to be in
that position where I don't have to get on the phone and hustle. I did a lot of that in my younger days! So we'll
see what happens, but I have the feeling we'll be around for a while.
About your gear...you have been a Pearl endorser for some time now. When you were looking for a new drum company, what led
you to Pearl? You obviously have a good relationship with Pearl, and your drums not only look great, but also sound incredible.
How would you compare the sound of your current gear to you kits in the past?
When I was looking around for a new home, I was knocked out with the idea of the Masterworks line and when I saw the bubinga
finish (which wasn't as common in 2000 as it is now) I got that same feeling when the Sonor Signatures were introduced in '81. It's
no secret that I was I huge Sonor nut. I played Sonor from 1980 to 1999. I just couldn't get on their radar. I was playing arenas
and I wasn't getting any service, and waiting 7 months for hardware. You couldn't find someone more brand loyal than I regarding
Sonor---and it got to the point where I couldn't conduct my career if I stayed with them. It's a long heartbreaking
This Masterworks kit I received in October of '07 was designed by myself based on the Signature Special Editions with thick maple
shells, bubinga inside and out, but with gold hardware and standard depths. It's an unbelievable kit. It sounds stellar and
inspires me every night. That's what I look for in a kit. No matter how I'm feeling on any given day, I wanna feel like a kid at
Christmas everytime I sit down to play. Your drums should excite you and inspire you. I've found that with this kit.
I see that you still use a Sonor Hi Hat. Do you still have a soft spot for
Sonor? Any other Sonor comments?
Again, my departure was a private issue. I was getting zero love, zero
support, just big fat zeros all around. I'm pretty low maintenance too. I just
need what I need to do the gig and I wasn't getting it. Every Sonor kit I
have, I bought. I received nothing from them. It was, shall I say, somewhat
ridiculous. That being said, nothing feels like a Signature (or Protec or
Phonic) hi hat stand to me. The Designer feels horrible in my opinion. So I
use the Signature hat stands and the Pearl guys are cool with it. I do use
the Pearl Eliminator hi hat stands when I do clinics and they are certainly my
second choice---they're great. But the Sonor hi hats have a special place in
How do you go about choosing what gear you will use? Do you go through lots
of prototypes or models and narrow it down, or do you pretty much know what
you are looking for when you're first getting a rig together?
I pretty much knew what I was looking for based on past experiences. Like I
said, I designed my Masterworks after the SSE's and Pearl nailed it and
knocked it out of the park. I also went with the Reference style round bearing
edge cut which adds warmth and a strong fundamental note to the overall
tone. As far as cymbals go, Sabian has been amazing with their creativity and
it's great to check out their prototypes and see what's in development. With
my signature stick I just knew the dimensions and cut I wanted and Pro Mark
nailed it on the second round. I like a fairly thick 5B size (.600) but with a sharp
taper so there's not too much weight near the acorn tip. I love maple which
lightens the stick a bit so you can control it easily---so the stick isn't playing
YOU. Maple tips never chip and the shank doesn't splinter away like hickory
does. They feel natural, silky and organic. Truly an extension of my hands.
check out the Todd Sucherman SD330 W from Pro Mark
in their Autograph Series.
What drummers have been your biggest inspirations over the years? You obviously
have tremendous technique. What first inspired you to develop your style? Any words
of inspiration to aspiring technical drummers?
There are too many to list---everybody, really. But a few off the top of my head: Smith,
Vinnie, Copeland, Weckl, Gadd, Elvin, Tony, Katche, Terry, Simon, Buddy, Erskine......the
As far as developing your voice on the instrument, I cover a lot of this on the DVD.
Besides putting the time in on the instrument, studying and learning, taking various
stickings and hybrid rudiments and experimenting with different orchestrations----it
comes down to who you are as a person. That's who you are when you play. If you can
do interesting things in your life like traveling and having unique experiences, that will
translate into your playing because that's who YOU are. It's your story, your
As far as words of inspiration? Have fun when you play. Be patient when you practice
and take your time internalizing what you're working on. Be focused and organized
(andpatient) and results will come easier that way. Enjoy the process of improving. Be
involved in the arts whether or not you do this (or want to) for a living. It's one of life's
greatest joys. If everyone in the world had a passion like drums and music, it would be
a much different world---so be involved and create!
(Editors note: check out Todd Sucherman's "Methods and Mechanics" DVD at
Altitudedigital.com The text below is a description of the contents. Modern
Drummer called the DVD "A stunning achievement that sets the bar high for
others that follow" and "perhaps the best looking and sounding DVD yet.")
Todd Sucherman brings the knowledge of thousands of gigs, shows and
recording sessions along with over three decades as a professional
drummer to this useful and unique DVD package. Astonishing technique,
power and musicality explode from the various musical and solo
performances throughout this presentation. Working with artists over a
myriad of genres diverse as Styx, Brian Wilson, Spinal Tap, Eric Marienthal,
Peter Cetera, John Wetton, Steve Cole, The Falling Wallendas and countless
more, there's a wealth of knowledge imparted that goes way beyond just the
technical aspects of drumming. Methods and Mechanics is filled with
practical career tips that will help you navigate through the music
business as well as mental aspects and cerebral approaches to the art of
playing music on the drums. Filmed in 16X9 in High Definition at a stunning
location this DVD features music from Styx, Taylor Mills and Jerry Goodman
and contains various solos and playing examples in an array of styles
as well as technical lessons to enhance your rhythmic and musical
Methods and Mechanics includes:
Grip and stroke analysis with many rudiments and hybrid rudiment exercises
practice pad with slow motion examples
Orchestration of hybrid rudiments and stickings for musical application on
In depth analysis of hi hat techniques and how they effect groove and feel
Emphasis on mastering a simple vocabulary before moving on to more
Thoughts on practice and patience
8 performance songs with full analysis--some with "play by play" voice
Full double bass drum vocabulary for unique use in grooves and fills
Odd time break down of more complex time signatures
Musical notation and downloadable PDFs
Jazz kit performances and tips for swing time and brushes
Tips for music business career navigation, as well as tips for recording
sessions, shaping songs with dynamics, paying attention to lyrics, traveling
on the road, keeping things fresh, thoughts on gear, gear maintenance,
Building a drum room, and loads of extras that include A Day On The Road,
Drum Room Tour, Thoughts on working with Styx, Brian Wilson and Taylor
Mills, personal history, tribute fills, an extensive photo gallery, and even a
Methods and Mechanics is a stunning achievement that reminds us
the music comes first and that the arts are one of life's greatest joys.
Entertaining as well as educational, music and truth flow through this
Available worldwide from Altitude Digital.
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