5 Drummerszone artists - Dom Famularo

Dom Famularo
* August 26, 1953
United States
Tutored by legendary greats Joe Morello, Jim Chapin, Al Miller, and Ronnie Benedict, Dom Famularo combines the masterful techniques of the past with the parameter-pushing concepts of the 1990's for a highly creative and uniquely personal style of drumming. With hands powered by the famous Moeller technique and feet dancing through high-speed double-pedal bass drumming patterns he delivers performances that dip and dive through dynamics and styles with energy and ease. Elements of jazz, funk, fusion, and latin rhythms permeate his sound, while every stroke speaks to the inventiveness that makes his drumming so exciting, entertaining, and inspiring.

The first Western drummer to perform clinics in China, Dom Famularo is accustomed to making headlines. He was a special guest performer at the first-ever Buddy Rich Tribute Concert, an event which he helped organize. He was a highlight as host and performer at the Pacific Rim Drum Invitational (the first drum event to be simulcast live on the Internet), and he's a primary attraction at star-studded drumming events such as the Koblenz International Drummer Meeting in Germany, the Florida Drum Expo, the Paris Music Show, the massive Drummers Day in Australia, the Heartbeat World Rhythm spectacle for Canadian TV, and the Montreal Drumfest.

Dom Famularo doesn't rely on major band affiliations as a claim to fame, but performances with the Buddy Rich Big Band, B.B. King, Lionel Hampton, Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones), T Lavitz (The Dixie Dregs), and the Louie Bellson Big Band reveal the pedigree of his playing.

He has shared the stage with Dave Weckl, Steve Gadd, Vinnie Colaiuta, Simon Phillips, Billy Cobham, Bernard Purdie, Rod Morgenstein, Chester Thompon, Terry Bozzio, Will Calhoun, Deen Castronovo, Russ McKinnon, Chad Smith, Mark Schulman, Denny Carmassi, Liberty DeVitto and Jim Chapin in worldwide drumming events. Dom Famularo fondly remembers performances with both Jeff Porcaro and Larrie Londin, both of whom he is proud to have had a chance to meet and perform with.

In addition to large drumming expos and clinic tours, Dom Famularo is an active educator at colleges, drum schools and camps. He has performed at the Percussive Arts Society Convention (PASIC), Percussion Institute of Technology (PIT) in Hollywood, California, KOSA Camp in Vermont USA, North Texas State University, the Graham Cole Percussion Camp in England, and Drummers Camp in the Black Forest of Germany.

In addition, Dom Famularo is an in-demand consultant to major music corporations, and serves as Education Director for Sabian, Vic Firth, and Premier Percussion Ltd.

"THE STORY OF DOM"... told by Dom Famularo himself:

I travel the globe performing, meeting, experiencing, teaching, learning and enjoying everyone that I am fortunate enough to encounter in this journey called life.

For the last 5 years, I have traveled to at least 10 countries per year . My passion for drumming and teaching has directed me to great places all throughout North America, the Far East, Australia and to almost every county in Europe. Every place has given me more knowledge and experience to become a much better artist, as well as a person.

I began playing as a professional at the age of 12 along with my 2 older brothers and my younger sister. Eventually, I graduated to other bands and different performing situations. At seventeen years old my desire to commit to a career in drumming led me to many great teachers and mentors.

My first serious and focused teacher was Ronnie Benedict. He is a great motivator and educator. I studied the basics of rudiments, reading, and understanding different musical styles. Ronnie offered me an absolutely perfect way to begin the fundamentals of drumming. Ronnie has taught many great players; Dennis McDermott, Bill Messinetti, and Neil Grover to name a few. To this day, Ronnie remains a dear friend and is currently teaching in Florida.

My next teacher was Al Miller. Al is a tremendous resource for many players. He has taught such great drummers as Tom Brechtlein, Rod Morgenstein and numerous other great drummers. Al focused me on more intense reading, big band playing, drum set independence and a variety of drumming skills. Al also was a very good friend of Buddy Rich. It was through Al, I was able to meet and have many hangout sessions with Buddy. Al continues to teach and perform on Long Island.

My studies continued with Joe Morello. My first lesson was February 27, 1975. I remember that day vividly because he had influenced me greatly through his recordings. Joe taught me the fundamentals of technique and how it is used musically. Joe's list of former students are a "who's who" in drumming. The legendary Joe Morello is currently teaching in New Jersey and still influencing many drummers.

Next, on to Jim Chapin. Jim lives on Long Island and is currently 80 years young. Jim is truly one of a kind and one of the percussion industry's treasures. He provided my main guidance in learning the Moeller technique. Jim was a student of Sanford Moeller. It was because of this technique that doors were opened for my hands and feet to break barriers of speed, control, power and endurance.

In 1976, I attended the Dick Grove music school in California. I took 3 different courses under the direction of Louis Bellson, Joe Porcaro, Shelly Manne, Johnny Guerin, Jim Keltner, Roy Burns and Ralph Humphrey. Each of them gave me inspiration and knowledge, adding another piece to my puzzle. While in California, I took private lessons with Les DeMerle at his school "The Cellar". His high-powered playing and years of experience opened different doors for me. I enjoyed his intense drumming energy.

Moving back to New York in the late 70's, I encountered Charlie Perry, with whom many meetings helped me focus and understand small group Jazz conceptualization. Charlie's influence reached artists Jack DeJohnette, Mickey Hart , Tony Williams, and Joe Ascione to name a few. The percussion industry lost a great educator when Charlie passed away in 1998.

During the late 70's and throughout the 80's I performed in many different situations in New York. I had the chance to play with B.B. King, Lionel Hampton, Barney Kessel, Chuck Leavel and many other great musicians. I also maintained a very active private teaching schedule of 40 to 50 students a week. I have always enjoyed sharing the knowledge I have learned, and I am still developing along with my students. It is very rewarding to see many of my students become strong players and excellent educators.

At this time, the president of Tama Drums, Ken Hoshino, signed me on as Education Director. I began performing clinics throughout the nation opening for artists Simon Phillips, Billy Cobham, Lenny White, Denny Carmassi, Kenny Aronoff and many others.

This lead me to Sabian Cymbals. I had heard the cymbals during my travels and was highly impressed by the quality and sound. As their Education Director since 1989, I travel internationally, circling the globe for various events. Sabian continues to be a leader in developing educational programs. It is always exciting synergizing with Bob Zildjian, Dan Barker, David McAllister and the Sabian team.

I have been playing Vic Firth sticks since 1979. I have always been impressed by the high quality and variety of their sticks. In the early 90's, I became their Education Consultant, assisting with the development of programs and events globally. To work with Vic Firth and his team has been, and continues to be, an amazing learning experience.

I currently endorse Premier Drums. I have had the chance to play a variety of drums, and was very impressed by the quality and sound of Premier. I am now International Education Executive traveling as a performer, educator and developer of education programs worldwide.

Indeed, Dom Famularo isn't your average professional drummer. Apart from the fact that his technique is utterly ludicrous - ask anyone - his career consists almost exclusively of performing clinics... sorry, events. Dom in an interview with Rhythm Magazine (1994): "I'm not a fan of the word 'clinic.' It's too... clinical."

His attitude is positive, his enthusiasm is infectious, his dedication is evident, and his playing is inspirational. Aptly referred to as the drumming worlds Ambassador Of Goodwill, Dom Famularo is perhaps the most widely traveled drum clinician/speaker in the world today. At the end of 1999 Dom states:
"For the last 5 years, I have traveled to a least 10 countries per year. My passion for drumming and teaching has directed me to great places all throughout North America, the Far East, Australia and to almost every country in Europe."
Dom started playing when he was twelve. Looking back on the early years when drums first became an important part of his life, Dom recalls a humorous incident that started the ball rolling. In an interview with Modern Drummer (2000) Dom recalls:
"At twelve years old I was in a band with my brothers. "The Beatles Ticket To Ride was popular at the time. We played the song over and over, sometimes for eight hours straight in the basement of my house. My dad was involved with the local fire department, and one day we got asked if we wanted to play at a firemans party. Can you boys play four hours worth of music? we were asked. Absolutely, we said. We never bothered to tell them we only knew one song. The night of the party we performed our song and they loved us. Lots of applause. So we played it again...and again...and again! Well, this went on for quite some time, until the fire chief came up and asked if we could please play something slow so he could dance with his wife. I said, Of course we can, and we immediately went into Ticket To Ride at sixty beats per minute! We just played the same song - slower."
A well-schooled player, Dom doesnt hesitate to acknowledge the many teachers who guided him along the way. Dom names Al Miller, a great rudimentalist who gave him a solid foundation in reading and rudiments. Ronnie Benedict, Joe Morello who opened him up to the techniques of George Lawrence Stone and Billy Gladstone. Later, Jim Chapin showed Dom the Moeller technique and helped him achieve more power and speed. Dom adds:
"When I moved to California I studied with Shelly Manne, Joe Porcaro, Colin Bailey, and Johnny Guerin. Each experience was extremely memorable. Shelly, in particular, focused on imagination and the different things you could do with rhythms, sticks, brushes, and different sound surfaces."
Theres no mistaking Dom Famularos love for the art of drumming. One need only spend ten minutes in his presence to sense the intensity of that love. Dom claims:
"One of my highest goals is to inspire people to aspire. If you can make somebody feel so good about themselves that they walk away saying, 'I want to become better as a person and as a drummer,' there's not enough money that could possibly reward you for that feeling. So people at least remember 'expression', 'enthusiasm' and feel better about themselves. When I leave town, my job is done, it's on to the next one."