Drumming as Performance Art

Drumming as Performance Art has been the result of all of my experiences as a musician, artist, person, technician, shaman, and whatever else. Why would a twenty two year old, successful, healthy rock star drummer leave the coolest job of backing up the Top Male Vocalist of 1974? I was blending authentic Rock n Roll, Rhythm n Blues, with Afro Cuban, folk, rudimental march drumming, jazz, symphonic percussion, indigenous voodoo, and trance drumming, which was putting Tim Buckley’s vocal improvisations into the realm of extraterrestrial and even spiritual at a time when godless arena rock reigned. The decadence had set in and overshadowed the flashes of cosmic consciousness insights from the Sixties. I sensed a dead end to my rhythmic investigations into conjuring consciousness in front of thousands of willing, enraptured participants. I needed to find another venue without the restrictions of the music business. Ending my career as a celebrity I returned to art school at San Jose State, a California hotbed of conceptual and performance art. After Tim Buckley’s murder it was difficult for me to play any kind of music. But the muses persist and in this case, the ghosts too. But there was a spiritual pressure to perform again. I had to testify. But it had to be hip. I had to find a way to play some sort of sacred groove. There was nothing in the culture to suggest this activity. Creating the drumming meditation using a djembe and foot tambourine with vocal talking and singing evolved out of thin air. It was a new arrival in our culture. I was led to this by the drum itself.

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