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MD Online recently caught up with rising drum star Billy Ashbaugh, the man who keeps it all together. The precision required to keep choreography, light shows, and football-stadium-sized TV screens in synch is an unbelievable task.
Billy Ashbaugh is a drummer with spectacular technique, and his drumming is not at all lost on one of the highlight gigs in the last five years. I can remember banging on pots and pans at a very villy age. I think it was just in my blood. When I was about fourteen, I went to a company Christmas party for my dad.
I remember sitting behind the drummer and watching his every move. I was blown away. Ever since then, I was hooked.
Inspiring Drummers Series: Takin’ Care of Business: Drum DVD: Billy Ashbaugh
The only formal training I had was with a drummer named Ronnie Ciago. I studied with him for about two years in the Ft. He turned me on to many different styles and techniques.
Unfortunately, I do not play any other instruments. I played trombone in junior high for one year. Performing every night in front of 50, to 60, people is an amazing feeling.
The musical director, Kevin Antunes, will sometimes make suggestions to me on a particular type of fill or groove, but for the most part I get to play what I want. You must be able to play perfectly with click tracks and sequences for this gig.
How did you develop that skill?
Plus, over the years, I did my share of gigs — mostly top bands — that played with some sort of programmed or sequenced tracks. Do you play or practice any differently as a result of the size of the venues you play? For me, the size of a venue has no effect on how Ashbajgh practice or play. At every gig, I just try to get into my zone and perform to my ashbaughh potential. On the other hand, being away from my family and not getting to watch my daughter grow up is something that I will never get back.
There are so many! I know that there ashaugh a lot of good young drummers out today. Only on the songs that I get to do in the studio.
The rest are usually programmed by the producer or whoever wrote the song. When we perform live, I do get to add my own touch to the drum part to give it that live edge.
I like everything very tight and in close. I keep in shape by having a good diet and practicing as often as I can. Whenever I have some free time, I find myself on the bus or with a pad in the hotel room practicing. It axhbaugh be anything from double bass fills to soloing to just trying to make everything groove better. My playing does change as the tour progresses. I tape the gig every night. At the end of a tour, when I listen back to a disc of one of the first shows, I hear a noticeable difference in my fills as well as the grooves.
My only drumming goal is to constantly improve and to be the best drummer I can be.
Drummerworld: Billy Ashbaugh
What is the longest period of time you have been on tour? Do you like touring? Who were some of your biggest drumming influences? Do you listen to any new bands? Has anyone new caught your ear as a player? What gear are you using? How do you set up your kit?
How do you keep in shape on the road? Do you have a practice routine?
What type of exercises do you practice? What techniques do you work on? Does your playing change at all after a few months on the road? Do you have any specific drumming goals you have yet to accomplish? Eric Moore of Suicidal Tendencies and T.
Dawn Richardson of Mental