My week with some Masters


Anthony Amodeo

I have just returned from spending a week studying with Peter Erskine, Will Kennedy, Steve Smith, Dave Weckl, and Keith Carlock

after spending about 10 to 12 hours a day with these guys....both individually and collectively I have come away with an unbelievable wealth of information that I wish I could just spread and share with each and every one of you...... because every bit of it is absolutely amazing ......things that even after nearly 30 years of playing the instrument made me feel like a fresh faced child learning things for the first time.
everything from the bare root essence of a quarter note to the most complex ideas.

each teacher in their own unique way has given me a whole new outlook on my approach, and intentions in many very very specific areas of playing this instrument we all love.

these guys are all absolutely amazing communicators and each have a distinct way of conveying information in a way that makes it so amazingly easy to absorb.
so many times throughout the week I felt like I was being given the keys to decode the matrix and I wanted to run home to work on these concepts ....hahahaha

I look forward to taking some time to look over the plethora of notes I took through the week and revisit this stuff.....some of which I am sure I forgot about because it was like sensory overload after a while.
thank goodness for digital recorders, pen and paper

I'm obviously still high off the experience and not sure I'll come down for quite a while .

I thought some of you may enjoy a few pics taken through the week.

I did get a chance to sit and have a meal with Vic Firth himself and regret not getting a pic with him.....but he is a wonderful man

Peter of the coolest and funniest men on the planet

Steve Smith

Steves kit

Will Kennedy is a mad man

Keith Carlock

Keiths Kit

Dave Weckl...the drill sergeant :)

Bill Platt......the absolute best hands man in the business...was an honor to learn from him

my crew

one of the best band I have ever been blessed to play behind
Vinny Valentino, John Benitez, and Josh Dion
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Anon La Ply

I spent some time with gurus on a mountaintop and have been told the meaning of life! That's right - I've been told the meaning of life ... it's ...

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
Wow, I'm envious!!! Must have been one of the experiences of your life!

What are the essential things you gathered and took home from these days?


Platinum Member
Gvda, this is just so awesome! Thats like 6 mega tons of drumming kryptonite that you're hanging with.

Would love to hear some of the individual stories about your week..... Will Kennedy, damn!

You must be reeling...

PS_ yup, steve's band is great! did you play with them..?



Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Absolutely awesome Anthony, a truly wonderful experience, I bet you have 10 lifetimes worth of drumming lessons ahead of you :)

Geez, Keith Carlock is a giant, both on the kit and in person...

I'm still awaiting to be told the meaning of life... but your week seems to be exactly that...

Did you had the chance to play on the masters kit?


Platinum Member
What a tremendous opportunity! It's so awesome that these types of events make it possible to get to the elites of today's musicians.

I'll bet you are going to soak this one in for years....

Share as much or as little as you want. I'm totally interested.


Platinum Member
Awesome! I plan on being there next year. My wife told me that will be my birthday present next year.


Platinum Member
Very impressive. thanks for sharing and can't wait to hear some of those great secrets they must have shared with you...C'mon, you know you want to tell us :)


Platinum Member
Very cool,some giants of the drumming world for sure.I guess now you have something different to think about.I think I know some what how you feel,having taken a few lessons with Joe Morello,back in the day.I'd bet that they were all just regular guys.....who can just play the daylights out of a set of drums:)

Steve B

Anthony Amodeo

@ Pocket - haha real discussions about metal besides some basic discussions about techniques and ways to keep yourself safe from harm when playing hard...but this was only when asked.....granted because none of them are metal players

@ Matthias - it would be very hard to pin point some essentials because there was such an abundance of info flying at me constantly ....but each one of them did stress one thing ...something that I'm sure will sound very basic and almost stupid when I type it but when these cats are in front of you showing you exactly what they me it is compelling ...and that is the absolute importance of the quarter note and owning it .....much deeper than it sounds and I wish I was in the room with you so I could break down what Steve Smith shared with us ...something Freddie Gruber shared with him about the essence of the quarter note alone...Steve expressed how it changed his whole approach to drumming....and it did to same for me .....Erskine also talked about a similar thing
...and yes my beard has many stories :)

@aydee - yes I played with the band....absolutely fantastic
the only actual member of Vital Information is Vinny but it's all insestuous ...they all do projects together ....John Benitez is one of the most solid bass players and coolest cats I have ever met.....the love of music just oozes from his soul ....and Josh Dion is an absolute phenom....I urge everyone to look him up if you have not heard of him

@Mad - yeah I played on all their kits.....
at one point I traded 4s with Carlock for about 20 minutes... intimidating to say the least but we had some sick grooves going and after a few minutes my nerves settled down and I was able to express some emotions with him.....we fed off each other and i kept up with him as best as i could.....of course I do not have the chops he has but I feel I played well.....and we laughed the whole time...there was genuine joy there was a surreal experience
played along with Will, Steve, and Dave as trading of 4's though....more just concept stuff, and grooves....talking about beat placement and stuff like that ....Steve has this great way of counting 15/8 the way they count it in India.......7 1/2
didnt play along with Erskine but playing in front of him in a class and got him to critique my swing.....which was amazing ...he gave me some pointers that have already changed my life....I absolutely love playing is my passion.....and to have a master like Peter in front of me guiding me and actually digging what I was doing was amazing.
Peter had a great story about him teaching Neil Peart to swing on the hi hat....but in fear of turning this into a Neil debate I'll keep that one to myself
Weckl gave me a small tip on my trad grip that immediately changed how it felt...literally on the spot.
and they are all there when you jam with the band and will come up and talk to you about it after.
just great to have feedback from masters

...and yeah Keith is a tall cat....but everyone is tall to me ...I'm 5' 4"
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Platinum Member
Most awesome experience! Congrats.

Weckl gave me a small tip on my trad grip that immediately changed how it felt...literally on the spot. (...)
Is this something which could be shared or better kept a secret? Curiosity here ;-)