096 – Herman Matthews: Being a Feel Specialist, Giving Each Groove its Due, “Have Drums, Will Travel”
Herman Matthews has been an L.A. fixture for almost three decades and his resume includes names such as Tom Jones, Kirk Whalum, Tower of Power, and Hugh Laurie. Between the big gigs, his “have drums, will travel” attitude has always kept him working with other acts, either on smaller tours or playing locally in L.A. He is currently the touring drummer for Timothy B. Schmidt of The Eagles.
Herman grew up in Houston, TX, and began playing drums in his uncle’s blues organ trio at age 11. He moved to L.A. in 1987, when he was offered the drum chair in saxophonist Kirk Whalum’s band.
In this podcast, Herman talks about:
The challenge of diversifying your playing in a market full of specialists, and avoiding being seen as a one-trick pony
The experience of getting fired, along with the rest of the band, from the Tom Jones gig
His approach to navigating songs and the group dynamic when taking over for another drummer
Trends in drumming, and incorporating only the ones that fit his character
Why he prefers bigger drums and cymbals, and finding the drum sounds that compliment your particular tendencies as a player
His favorite bassists to play with
Knowing how to negotiate to stay busy
This episode is sponsored by Sonor Drums.