198 – Rod Morgenstein: Drumming for The Dixie Dregs, Winger, The Steve Morse Band
Rod Morgenstein’s unique, dynamic and musical drumming style has led to Rod’s winning the Best Progressive Rock Drummer award in Modern Drummer Magazine’s Reader’s Poll 5 years in a row (1986-1990) and Best All-Around Drummer (1999), earning him a permanent position in the magazine’s prestigious Honor Roll. Rod was a founding member of the groundbreaking group the Dixie Dregs. Rod is also very well known as a member of the award winning rock group Winger. These two groups have reunited in recent years and continue to tour regularly.
Other projects that Rod has been involved with are The Steve Morse band, The Rudess/Morgenstein Project, the jam band Jazz Is Dead, Platypus, whose two recordings feature John Myung (Dream Theater), Ty Tabor (King’s X) and Derek Sherinian (Planet X) as well as an offshoot of Platypus, The Jelly Jam, a power trio featuring Rod, Ty Tabor and John Myung.
In addition to his recording and touring credits, Rod is very active in drum education. He recently retired from the position of Professor of Percussion at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. Also, his highly recognized instructional materials include videos, audio cassettes and books. His most recent offering is Drum Set Warm-Ups, touted as the definitive text for developing and improving all aspects of drum set playing.
In this episode, Rod talks about:
- Diversifying your workload
- How his teaching position came about at the Berklee College of Music
- The early years of the Dixie Dregs
- The unique challenges the Dixie Dregs faced within the music business
- The Steve Morse band opening up for Rush in 1985
- The awesome story of what lead to Rod playing on the Burning for Buddy project
- His audition for Winger
- His audition for Journey in 1986
- Taking chances on stage and the benefits of his book: “Drum Set Warm-Ups”
- Developing Berklee online courses https://online.berklee.edu/courses/rock-drums