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Throughout my life, I've had a number of musical influences, some great...some kind of goofy. But it takes variety to make life interesting. Here is the short list of artists that continue to influence my approach to music and drumming.

1. Steve Gadd- One of the greatest and most prolific studio and touring drummers of the twentieth century. Steve has toured with such heavy-hitters as Eric Clapton, Paul Simon and James Taylor. Not only does Steve have amazing chops and creativity, but he  has a delicate musicality that makes everything he does a perfect fit.

To understand his creativity, listen to Paul Simon's 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover. To understand his skills and musicality, listen to Steely Dan's Aja (done in one take).

2. Bruce Springsteen- Hey, I'm a Jersey boy, what did you expect?!?!? Like him or not, Bruce is one of the greatest songwriters in rock history. Especially on his older music, the lyrics are insightful, emotional, playful, and uplifting. To study the maturation of Springsteen, is a lesson in how to "build" great music. And in case you've never caught a live show, he is the ultimate front man, giving 110% every night.

3. Nick Mason- A founding member of Pink Floyd, Nick is the epitome of what a good rock drummer should be...a solid foundation on which the rest of the song is built.  Nick is so often overlooked as the mellow, simple drummer behind the genius of Waters and Gilmore. But trust me, this guy can play!

4. Keith Moon- the poster child for a rock drummer. Without taking away anything from talents of Townsend, Entwistle, and Daltry, Keith was the energy of the Who. Although his flamboyance on and off stage could sometimes overshadow his ability, Moonie was one of leaders in "power" drumming, just letting it rip on stage and in the studio.

5. Jeff Porcaro- Jeff was the first drummer that got me to understand the difference between a band drummer and a studio musician. Jeff  (like Steve Gadd) was the quintessential "hired gun". He played with the likes of Warren Zevon, Steely Dan, and Boz Skaggs before finally settling in to his role with Toto. Jeff's sound is signature, great stick work, perfect timing, and a God-given ability to create the perfect beat for any song he played on.

6. Neil Peart- Any drummer who said he or she hasn't been influenced by Neil is probably either lying or not a drummer. A true perfectionist in rudiments, stick positioning, timing and execution, AND never stops learning new techniques, styles or percussive instruments. He is the consummate professional.

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