Hometown Chicago, IL
Lives In San Diego, CA
Current Band Little Hurricane
Day Job Drummer. Retired Chef.
Tom Tom Magazine: We’re told that Little Hurricane came to be because of a Craigslist ad that you placed looking for other musicians to play with after being away from a kit for eight years. What made you want to play again?
I spent many years cooking professionally, and took a break from kitchens to bartend. While bartending I met a lot of local musicians and had more free time to check out small shows. I had kept a pair of drumsticks through the years and just started jamming on hardcover books. This led into buying an electronic drum set to see if I even remembered how to play but with a little practice I felt confident enough to reach out to find someone to start creating music with.
Once you found Tone, did you know right away that you wanted to keep it as a duo?
I knew before I met him that I wanted to be in a duo. I like the simplicity of it. We have played with bass players from occasion to occasion, and have considered adding a keyboard player. At this stage, it seems to make the most sense to leave well enough alone, but are not ruling out additional members either.
When did you start playing drums?
I started in middle school, and continued until my first year of high school. I loved playing marching snare drum, but hated hanging out at football games and wearing goofy uniforms.
Why an affinity with the drums?
I don’t really know. It makes sense to me. Being behind a kit feels right, more than anything else I’ve ever done.
What’s your favorite part about drumming?
I like learning. Playing a fill or beat for the first time is so awkward and frustrating, but it’s fun to hear and feel the progress that comes from nothing else than repetition.
You’ve said that you don’t just want to be a girl drummer, but you want to be the best girl drummer. What do you think it takes to be that?
I think I said that in the very first interview we ever did. I don’t really feel that way anymore. I will never be the best female drummer, but I do aspire to be a great female drummer. I don’t want to just be a novelty because I am a girl in a dress behind a drum kit. I think it’s important to keep growing and never stop pushing to be better. I have learned no matter how great you are there is always someone to look up to and ways to improve.
Did you take formal drum lessons or learn it on your own?
I took lessons for a couple years, and had classes in school.
What is your musicianship/relationship like with your band mate Tone?
He is a great friend and mentor. He has quite a bit of experience in sound, and has taught me a lot about music and the business- I had no idea what I was getting into!
You also sing and play mandolin in Little Hurricane. Are there any other instruments you know how to play?
I try to play harmonica, and I would love to learn the piano. I have ADD with instruments, and constantly want to try something new.
Your style and your kit setup are very elegant and feminine. What’s the inspiration behind that?
I love anything vintage, and this goes from drums as well. My drums are from 1965, and they have heart. I’m not sure who has played them or where, but they were lovingly cared for and I feel honored to play an instrument that is older than I am.
Little Hurricane has been touring a lot. What helps you get through the mundane moments on the road, besides shopping for cool boots?
Haha! Well, I like to play harmonica and I work on my vocals in the car and try and find awesome places to eat in cities. Yelp is awesome for that.
What drummers have inspired you?
Ron Bushy. I got my first drum kit around 12 years old, and my dad bought me Inna Gadda Da Vida. I’d never heard a drum solo like that, and would try and replicate it. I more recently saw some great footage of Karen Carpenter playing the drums, and I just loved how talented she was, and how happy she seemed while playing. She is a great inspiration because the drums were her first instrument, and she went on to do so many other things musically.
What can we expect to see from Little Hurricane in the coming year?
More touring and music. Homewrecker will be released May 1st, and hopefully some festivals. Bigger drum parts, bigger songs and bigger stages!
By Jen Ruano
Photos by Wes Sutton