Ed Breckenfeld is one of the top drummers in the Chicago area, playing with The Insiders, Pride Of Lions, the Cathy Richardson Band, Jim Peterik’s World Stage, The Dooleys, The Juleps, The Starch Martins, and The Fuzz-Busters in the last several years. His recording work includes album sessions for Midwest, national and international artists.
Ed Breckenfeld also writes a monthly column for Modern Drummer Magazine called Off The Record, as well as other drum technique articles. Ed has over 35 years of drumming includes 25 years as a well-known drum instructor, specializing in beginning, intermediate, and advanced drumset and snare drum technique.
Ed Breckenfeld's biography - in his own words:
Like all kids in the ‘60’s, I was energized by The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. Too young to do anything about it at the time, I banged on boxes in the basement, dreaming of being a drummer. My other great musical influences were my older brothers, Del and Bruce, whose rock bands rehearsed at our house, and who turned me on to music that other kids my age weren’t aware of.
I got my first drumset in 1971, and began playing parties and school dances with various bands throughout high school. My main teacher was Chuck Schwartz, who stressed sight-reading, rudiments, four-way independence, and technique. Chuck became another huge influence at a formative time. After high school, I attended art school for a while, but left to hit the road with original and cover bands. At this point I was practicing 8 hours a day to learn my instrument. I also began giving drum lessons in my spare time.
The early ‘80s brought my first brush with success: I joined a new-wave/pop band called The Odd, and toured the Midwest, playing shows with bands like The Talking Heads, The Romantics, and Split Enz. The Odd was searching for a record deal, but fell apart before we could find it. In 1984, I helped form The Insiders, a Chicago-based roots/rock band. The group signed a major label deal with Epic Records, and released our first album: Ghost On The Beach, in 1987. The title track hit the top ten on the AOR charts, and the video became MTV’s “Hip Clip Of The Week.” The Insiders toured the U.S. extensively through the end of the decade. In the ‘80’s, I also started to take drum instructing more seriously. I enjoyed the challenge of giving lessons, as it helped focus my understanding of my instrument, and I began to have real successes with my students. I strive to balance teaching with my playing schedule to this day.
In the first half of the decade, The Insiders broke with Epic Records, and released several CD’s on the band’s own Monsterdisc label. I began to branch out into session work. By the latter half of the decade, the band had wound down, and I started to explore other playing situations. A few Insiders members formed the Juleps, and I also joined the Cathy Richardson Band. I picked up some guitar to use as a teaching aid, adding a welcome musical element to my lessons, and helped design a rock band course for the Music Center of Deerfield. In 1999, I began to write technique articles for Modern Drummer Magazine, the most widely read drum magazine in the world.
Over the past several years I’ve performed live with various bands including Pride Of Lions, CRB, World Stage, The Dooleys, Off Broadway, The Juleps, The Starch Martins, The Fuzz-Busters, and an occasional INSIDERS reunion show. I keep a busy session schedule, drumming on numerous CDs and demos, in addition to occasional TV and radio commercials. I’ve been writing a monthly educational column in Modern Drummer Magazine for several years called: Off The Record, as well as contributing other technique articles and features. I teach private drum lessons at Hix Bros Music in Batavia, IL (www.hixbrosmusic.com), and Musical Expressions in Naperville, IL (www.musicalexpressions.net). One of my more illustrious students was Kevin Clark, the young drummer in Jack Black’s classic movie “School Of Rock”.
I consider myself a musical drummer. I’ve been strongly drawn to great songwriting all of my life, and have had the pleasure to work with many outstanding writers. My goal is always to give that performance that presents a song at its best. And, along with the necessary techniques of drumming, I hope to instill that musical approach in all of my students.
Through it all, I’m still the kid banging on boxes in the basement. I’m living that childhood dream!