On September 9, 2006 the second edition of the Meinl Drum Festival took place on the companies factory ground in Gutenstetten, Germany. Seven of their top artists fed the visitors with clinics and masterclasses. On this warm summer day the heat didn\'t leave the premises when the sun went down. All on account of artists like Thomas Lang, Rodney Holmes, Benny Greb and Jason Bittner.
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Besides the official programm of the day you could take guided tours in the factory as well. The various stands on the festival terrain gave a good impression of the diversity of the product range of Meinl. Not only cymbals but also percussion: from the cajon to the egg shaker, Meinl presented all her products for the more then 1000 people attending.
Thomas Lang A spectacular Kick Off by a drummer who could easily be an \'action hero\' figure, Thomas Lang. Litteraly a kick off because of Thomas\' double bass drum power force, beating you almost into oblivion. Perhaps Thomas is the drummer who challenges the independence of the limbs the most of all. It is more then spectacular to see this man play his drums and cymbals. Not only his stick tricks are impressive, his playing itself goes beyond power, technique and is -simply said- not of this planet. As a special feature Thomas played to of his songs that will appear on his new DVD.
During his masterclass mouths fell open when he demonstrated his double bass patterns or his sticking techniques. While he presents his level and approach with ease and comfort, still, he is able to make you feel comfortable with it. As a teacher he is able to break down his technical skills and thoughts on playing to even the youngest beginner. That\'s a gift.
Peter Wrba & Stefan Maass Peter and Stefan focussed on playing in a band as a drummer and a percussionist. Their clinic started somewhat guessing and free. When they finally hit the groove part they showed why these two guys are being hired as a rhythm section. It is not often you see a drummer and a percussionist so well adjusted to each other, and having fun! With their strong build up they eventually put down a groove that was intensive and filled with musicality. On their indivdual solo parts they prooved their knowledge of the instruments they play. But maybe, the best lesson of these two guys is that it doesn\'t have to be that technical at all! \'Less is more\', is the motto they played and will work better most of the time instead of hitting every count you can count.
Benny Greb Recently Benny did a Wicked Workshop-tour in The Netherlands on conservatories and in major clubs. They were valuable in every way. Bennies style is best described as musical. On his solo CD \"Grebfruit\" he plays many different instruments, sings and recorded all the horn parts himself! Not only is he a technical miracle, he is also capable of introducing humor in his performance and music.
And yes, Benny is a funny guy! During his masterclass he got the crowd laughing while making fun of music, drums and himself. With his creative personality he showed there is more to playing rhythms. New tones and sounds appear out of the blue from his drums, even with his bare hands! It seems a new master has entered the scene most definitely with this young talent.
Jason Bittner Jason is one of a kind. The king of double bass, while openly wondering why he was there to give a double bass course after the performance of Thomas Lang. But he was wrong. Not many drummers will reach his level of beating the double basses. His clinic was loud, fast and it didn\'t look like he was about to stop. Over 45 minutes of power, speed and technical masterpieces almost blew the people out of the mainstage tent. Demonstrating songs of his band Shadows Fall and soloing in major uptempos, Jason stunned everybody.
Like a freight train he took the people attending his masterclass through his \"double bass crash course\", as published in Modern Drummer. A lesson well learned: start with 16th notes, differentiate with hands and feet and slowly take it one step further as you feel your are improving. His advice is plain and simple: \"Use a metronome to practise and start slowly. Slowly but surely wins the race!\"
Rodney Holmes Rodney started the masterclasses of the festival. With his theme of \'developing musicality on the drumset\', as a good teacher and musician he disected his own playing to the core. By showing certain accent patterns on the drums, he layed down the basis of a musical concept on drums. The next step is to incorporate them in a rhythm and make variations on it.
On top of it all Rodney demonstrated how to make use of this concept in different styles of music. Having it explained and grabbing the concept, you somehow wonder how all this can provide such a good basis for drumming. The solo\'s during his clinic were more then beautiful. Have you ever seen a drumkit sing themes? Just go and see Rodney perform. This drummer knows everything about making music on a drumset. His playing is different, has many layers and tells you a story you cannot easily forget.
Rivo Drei Not a drummer but a band was the final act of the festival: Rivo Drei from Berlin with Felic Lehrmann on drums. With his 21 years he amazes you with fantastic rhythmical changes. The band is powerful, surprising and grooves on and on and on. Their music is described with influences like The Dave Matthews Band and The Police. Well, anyone who knows Stewart Copelands playing must know what we\'re talking about here.
This second edition of the Meinl Drum Festival was a huge succes! Seven very different stars from the Meinl Schule who each showed their unique way of playing and left the people in astonishment by their professionality on every level of musicianship. And as professional that they are, they took their time to show their appreciation to the organizer of the festival, Norbert Saemann. By surprise Norbert was presented a signed cymbal by all the artists appearing that day as token of appreciation for his efforts for this day.
So, if you feel like having a cool drum weekend somewhere in September 2007, just visit the Meinl Drum Festival. You can easily arrange a hotel in one of the neighbouring towns and visit the festival. It is extremely well organized, the atmosphere is just great and the surroundig area is very much worth visiting. Meinl announces every bit of international information on her web site every year.
As soon as Meinl announces streams of the festival on her web site we\'ll let you know. For now have a look at the photo\'s published with this article and on the different artist pages. You will find more info about them, more pics, releases they appear on and their references.