Saturday, November 14, 2009

An Interview with a Musician: Gino Scalmato

Gino and I met back in 2001 when he and Dedication came down to Arlington, Virginia from their home base in New York City to play a fest for fans of the 70s super group the Bay City Rollers. They were a joy to work with and chat with, and I’m honored to have a special appearance on my blog by this talented professional rock/punk drummer!

LK:  Hi Gino! How about just jumping in and telling us a bit about yourself and your work?

GS: Hi Lorraine! Thanks for finding me. I’ve been a drummer for over 25 years & teaching for about 15 years or so. Currently I own a Drum & Guitar store In Middle Island, NY. I am currently playing & recording with a band out of NYC called THE SKEEVOTZ and doing a reunion with THE BEAUTY SCHOOL DROPOUTS.

LK: You have a long history of playing with different bands. What made you pick up the drumsticks?

GS: Yes, I’ve played in a lot of bands, all different styles of music: Punk, metal, thrash, blues & rock bands.I started playing drums after I heard KISS (The Destroyer album).

LK: Oh, how interesting! I’ve heard other musicians say it was a certain band that made them decide to go into music. It’s wonderful how inspiring other artists can be on us. Speaking of, what has been your biggest breakthrough moment so far?

GS:  My biggest breakthrough is being lucky enough to make a good living as a musician.I think a lot of musicians don’t realize that making it, is making a living.

LK:  A good thing for young musicians with musical plans to know. I’m sure behind that “luck” is a lot of very hard work and determination. Since we’re on that vein, I know a lot of musicians don’t actually read music; they learn to play by doing and by sound. Do you? Any thoughts on the difference?

GS: Yes, I read music. I believe reading music is very important & so is playing by ear.

LK: Nice to hear you say that. It’s similar to writers who study writing theory or not. Knowing the theory makes a difference. So, I see you’re currently in the studio. What do you like best about studio work? Is there anything you dislike about it?

GS: Working in the studio can be stressful & fun at the same time. Sometimes songs & your drum parts come out a lot different then you expected.

LK: I have to tell you, I was a school band drummer (snare, trip toms, timpani), but have never tried a drum set. I’ve often wondered how you go about writing music for the set. Any insights?

GS: Your drum parts should always be played from the heart & then transcribed into notation.

LK:  Ah, also like writing – first draft from the heart. ;-)  How about being on the road? Do you have any road stories you can share?

GS:  I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot great shows with a lot of great bands all over the country and have met a lot of great people. The Bay City Rollers fans always treated me great at all the festivals I was lucky enough to play.

LK: My son, a burgeoning drummer, is rather impressed that Beauty School Dropouts have played with Sum 41 and Rancid. How did that come about?

GS: We all played on the ’01 Warped Tour together.

LK:  Since I brought up family, my daughter, who gets annoyed with having to hear her brother practice, wonders if you drove your family crazy while learning.

GS: My family was always cool with it, the neighbor next door would always call the cops on me.

LK:  Oh, funny! Some people just can’t appreciate music! We’re lucky to have tolerant neighbors, I guess. Speaking of learning, I see you’re writing a drum book. That’s intriguing. Can you tell us about it?

GS:  It’s been in the works for a while now, should be finished soon. Contains all styles of drumming (Latin, Funk, Jazz, Rock, single & double bass with some heel toe ideas).

LK:  That sounds great, Gino! A nice addition to your store, also.  Because I ask everyone, just for fun, do you have a favorite color?

GS:  It changes a lot, but I just got a new silver drumset (LUDWIG), so I guess it’s silver for now.

LK:  Ha! Great answer. One I haven’t heard. How about a favorite artist, other than musical?

GS: Not really.

LK:  Gino, thank you so much for your time! Be sure to let me know when your book is out so I can pass word along to my readers. It may be a nice gift for my son, as well.

GS:  Anytime! I will send you a copy as soon as it’s finished. Thanks!

LK:  I’ll sure look forward to seeing it!

Anyone who would like to keep up with Gino and what he’s doing can find him on Myspace:

If you have questions for comments for Gino, please post them here and I’ll see if I can get him to return to answer. ;-)


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Loraine and Gino,
I clicked over here from The Book Spa because of your drumming topic. We were lucky enough to see the Blue Man show in Orlando recently, which heavily featured drumming. I was blown away by the different rhythms and sounds. I think a part of me has always wanted to be a drummer, so I'm thrilled that you've gotten to live your dream, Gino.

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Maggie! The show sounds incredible. I've caught Stomp on TV specials here and there and that's a lot of fun to watch, also.