By Emile Milgrim, Beatriz Monteavaro, & Maggie Rivers for Tom Tom Magazine
Music isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of South Florida. Besides the perception of the region being just a massive sub-tropical tourist attraction, it’s also considered “too far” for many touring bands to hit. But whereas geographical isolation has deterred many from coming in, over time South Florida has foster a strong local music community that figures, “if the sounds can’t come to us, let’s just make noise ourselves.” It’s a place where most nights you can find myriad genres atypically paired anywhere there’s some semblance of a space to perform. Sludge metal alongside country-tinged acoustic folk at a dive bar? Why not? Free-jazz and techno in someone’s backyard? Sure, that works. The open-mindedness and camaraderie within the South Florida scene facilitates music making. It’s and incredible place to be a musician and also home to a diverse group of female drummer. A few of them joined forces to put together this guide to Miami drumming for you.
Beatriz Monteavaro drums hard for local metal band Holly Hunt. When she’s not practicing or working at her art studio she can usually be found performing at Churchill’s, “the center of the universe.” She usually gets her gear at Resurrection Drums and likes to pick up her records at Sweat Records. As for recording studios, she frequents The Laundry Room (which is local legend Rat Bastard’s studio) or Jonathan Nunez’s. For food, Betty suggests Dogma (a hot dog place), Enriquetas (a sandwich shop), or Churchill’s (bar food).
Maria Chu calls Miami home but lives in Ft. Lauderdale drumming for her band Sorus. She enjoys playing at Treasure Coast Café for it’s healthy meals and ice cream floats and last played at the Covenant Music House of Rock in Doral. For her gear, Chu likes Resurrection Drums for cymbals and Guitar Center for the rest. She recommends The Shack North for a recording studio and but keeps her practice space top secret and secure with “guard dogs, surveillance, and ninjas as hired security.” When hunger strikes Chu heads to Thasos Taverna for some Greek food close to where she lives.
Timeless drummer/washboarder Tex Merlot has drummed for Boise Bob and his Backyard Band in the past. Living in Fort Lauderdale, Merlot last played at Churchill’s, her favorite venue. Although she’s not in a band at the moment, Merlot tells us she likes to get her gear at Guitar Center, except her electric washboard, which is custom-made. She shops for her records at Sweat and had recorded at The Laundry Room in Miami Beach. When she’s hungry Merlot chows down at Tom Jenkins BBQ, which can be found in Fort Lauderdale.
Emile Milgrim is right in the center of the local music scene as a drummer and the manager plus record stocker at Sweat Records. Working at Sweat, Milgrim gets most of her records there but also uses Discogs. MIlgrim frequents Craigslist and thrift stores when looking for gear to find “weird percussion stuff.” Drumming with bands Quarter Horses and Parker Posey Posse, Milgrim found her favorite venue to be the Fillmore and usually records either at home or The Laundry Room. Her favorite food spot is Lokal in Coconut Grove for burgers and beer.
As a sixteen year old, Alejandra Campos taught herself how to play drums. Now Ale, as she is often called, drums in a riot grrrl band called Testökra, where she even “screams in a couple of songs.” As she’s been doing for the past six years, Ale still practices in her parents’ living room. Campo’s favorite place to perform is Lester’s Café in Wynwood and has recorded at the Laundry Room and friend Diego Oliden’s place. She works behind the accessories counter at Guitar Center and buys a lot of her gear there. Campo’s recommends 1909 Café for food and the Beehive for some “killer juice” which are both in the same shopping plaza on Bird Road.
Sophie Sputnik is usually found playing in duo Killmama or doing her own thing as a solo artist. Sputnik usually practices at Solid Sounds and enjoys playing at the last venue she performed at, Five Points Lounge in Fort Lauderdale. She records at the Vinyl Militia headquarters when she’s not recording with friend Alejandro at “whatever warehouse.” When it comes to gear and records Sputnik opts for Resurrection Drums and Radio Active Records, which are found in Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, respectively.
COCO DE SALAZAR
Estonian Couch Surfer drummer Coco De Salazar has played in the past with bands such as necrofabulous and MEAT. Although the last venue she played at was Churchill’s, she says her favorite venues are people’s houses, where “the vibe is more relaxed and there may be a pool as well.” Practice and recording time all take place in Dennis Fuller’s garage, the lead of Estonian Couch Surfer. Her choice for grabbing gear is Resurrection Drums and she likes to shop for records in thrift stores. Rather than going out, De Salazar’s favorite food spot is her kitchen.
Dorys Bello drums for her bands BBQ Bitches and Slither but keeps her schedule packed by working with other local musicians Jonathan Nuñez of Torche and Dennis Fulller of Estonian Couch Surfer. Bello likes to practice on her Frankenstein drum kit, which is mostly bought off Craigslist if not borrowed, at General Practice, Nuñez’s studio, or Fuller’s shack. She usual records at either the Laundry Room in Miami Beach or Nuñez’s studio in Pinecrest. As for food, Bello likes Disco Fish in West Miami maybe a little bit more for the name than the food.
Hailing for Lima, Peru, Sandra Marquez drums for Miami bands Aeval, Brujas, and Ssandra’s Propject. When she’s not practice or recording at Green Flower Music, Marquez likes to perform as some of her favorite venues such as the Culture Room or the Brickell Irish Pub. Marquez tends to get her gear at either Guitar Center or Musician’s Friend and when it comes to records she usually shops online.
High school drummer “Rage” Paige Cantrill lives just northwest of Miami, in Weston, where she drums with band Siren. Even though she is just in highschool, Cantrill already has already played with plenty of bands including Wild Roses, White Lies, and Barbee Reputation. She usually practices at her home studio and chooses Resurrection Drums and Drum Workshop for gear. She last played with her band at Weston Regional Park but her favorite venue hands-down is Hollywood Bandshell. Come recording time, Cantrill goes to Studio Center in Miami. She also likes to get her food fix at Sushiyama in Boca Raton.
Loveless Lies drummer, Paige Swalley, says she loves performing at her school more than other venues like her last, Jimbo’s Sandbar. She practices in her drum room at her home and likes to get her gear at Resurrection Drums, Guitar Center, and MAE. Swalley says she usually goes to f.y.e. when purchasing records. She also likes to eat and her favorite place to eat is Denny’s.
Elisa Seda likes to go simply by “E.” Drumming for Urban Rebel, she’s also drummed prior for bands Sticks Deep, The Scarlet Ending, and Just Kait. She practices with her band in her own warehouse space and likes to grab some grub at Angelina’s Coffee and Juice. Seda has last played at the Native Tap Room, but her choice venue is the beloved Culture Room. When recording Seda uses Sonic Projects and usually gets her gear online. She also suggests visiting Uncle Sam’s Music on Miami Beach, an independent record store.
MICHELE (MAX) KANE
Michele Kane, or Max as is more commonly know by, has been a Miamian all her life. Kane keeps herself busy by playing for several band at the moment, which are Curious Hair, Laundry Room Squelches, Max Dance, Double Duh, and Bag Hag. Her favorite place to play is Miami’s best know small venue, Churchill’s but she also enjoys playing at Bagdaddies, where she has last played. She does not stray far from home, opting to practice and eat there most of the time. When she goes out to get records, Kane suggests Sweat.
Green Flower Music | 2120 SW 17th St, Miami | greenflowermusic.com
The Shack North | 9809 NW 80th Ave, Hialeah | shacknorth.com
Studio Center | 6157 NW 167th St, Hialeah | studiocentermiami.com
Sonic Projects | 5050 Biscayne Blvd Suite 104, Miami | sonicprojects.com
Vinyl Militia Headquarters | vinylmilitia.com
The Laundry Room | squelchers.com
Resurrection Drums | 1323 S 20th Ave #4, Hollywood | rezdrums.com
MAE | 3301 Davie Blvd, Fort Lauderdale | mae-music.com
Guitar Center | 7736 N Kendall Dr, Miami | guitarcenter.com
Sweat Records | 5505 NE 2nd Ave, Miami | sweatrecordsmiami.com
Uncle Sam’s Music | 1141 Washington Ave, Miami Beach | unclesamsmusic.com
Radio Active Records | 845 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale | radio-active-records.tumblr.com
Churchill’s | 5501 NE 2nd Ave, Miami | churchillspub.com
The Fillmore | 1700 Washington Ave, Miami Beach | fillmoremb.com
Lester’s Cafe | 2519 NW 2nd Ave, Miami | lestersmiami.com
Covenant Music House of Rock | 9851 NW 58th St 110, Doral
Gramps | 176 NW 24th, Miami | grampsbar.com
Brickell Irish Pub | 1451 S Miami Ave, Miami | brickellirishpub.com
Five Points Lounge | 2608 S Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale
Culture Room | 3045 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale | cultureroom.net
Jimbo’s Sandbar | 6200 N Ocean Drive | jimbossandbar.com
Native Florida Tap Room | 2006 Hollywood Blvd | nativeflorida.net
Treasure Coast Cafe | 116 Avenue A, Fort Pierce
Dogma | 7030 Biscayne Blvd, Miami | dogmagrill.com
Thasos Taverna | 3330 E Oakland Park Blvd | thasostaverna.com
Tom Jenkins BBQ | 1236 S Federal Hwy | tomjenkinsbbq.net
Lokal | 3190 Commodore Plaza, Miami | lokalmiami.com
1909 Café | 5710 Bird Rd, Coral Gables | 1909cafe.wordpress.com
Sushiyama | 7050 West Palmetto Park Road | sushiyamaonline.com
Angelina’s Coffee | 3451 NE 1st Ave #102B | angelinascoffee.com
Beehive Juice Bar | 5750 Bird Rd, Miami
Enriquetas | 186 NE 29th St, Miami