Matt Johnson Reflects on Jeff Buckley's "Grace"

We recently caught up with Vater Drumstick Artist Matt Johnson in Boston while he was on tour with St. Vincent. While Matt was here, we asked him to discuss his work on Jeff Buckley's "Grace" album as 2014 marks the 20th Anniversary of it's release. "Grace" was Jeff Buckley's only completed studio album to be released as Jeff died in a drowning accident in 1997.

In this video, Matt talks about meeting Jeff just a very short time before they tracked the album, and goes somewhat track-by-track to talk about his drum parts, the recording process for the album, how the drum set configuration varied, and how some aspects of his playing on that album were a result of, what he calls, "fear and stark terror" during the recording process.

 Matt Johnson reflects on "Grace":

Matt Johnson uses the Vater Sugar Maple Power 5B 

Posted by Chad on Monday, April 07, 2014 2:03 PM

NAMM 2013

The 2013 NAMM Show was another successful one for Vater! At the show, the New 5A Stretch, 7A Stretch, Whip Brush and Splashstick Rock were all officially introduced. The booth was packed all 4 days of the show with people coming by to check out the entire Vater Product line, picking up a copy the new 2013 catalog and checking out the new stick offerings. TONS of Vater Artists came by to show their love and support and to fill us in on what they have coming up in the new year. Our after show adventures were filled with hanging with friends and Vater Artists and catching some of the live performances that included some by Vater Artists Jen Lowe (who fronted her own band) Chris Dave and Drumheadz at the Sabain Live Party and much more. 


3 Part video series of our footage from the NAMM Show 2013 Floor 




Here's some pictures of some of the action at the Vater booth! 


New 5A Stretch and 7A Stretch making their debut on the booth wall!  


Mike Byrne [Smashing Pumpkins] meets Chris Dave [D'Angelo/Maxwell]  
Cyrus Bolooki [New Found Glory]  
  Brann Dailor [Mastodon] always excited to see his Vater 5B's!
Benny Cancino, Andrew Cook [A Rocket to the Moon], Aaron Montgomery [Trapt] and
Ryan Carman [Rocco Deluca and the Burden]  
  2 thumbs up from Mike Byrne [Smashing Pumpkins] and Brad Davis [Adventure Drums]
All visiting the Vater Booth at the same time were, Left to right: Jacqueline Cassell,
Jessica Goodwin [Diamonds Under Fire], Brad Davis [Adventure Drums] Dusty Watson [Dick Dale],
Branden Steineckert [Rancid], Cyrus Bolooki [New Found Glory], Jay Weinberg, 
Christian Poezach [Cirque du Soleil-Alegria], Eric Leiderman [Pearl Aday],
Kate Shellenbach [Luscious Jackson] and Didi Negron [Cirque du Soleil-Amaluna]
  Chaun Horton and Quinton Robinson catch up
  Didi Negron of Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna Show
  Evan Stone, John Cowsill [The Beach Boys], Xavier Muriel [Buckcherry], Erick Slick [Dr. Dog],
Nate Walker [Lit] and Ed Udhus [Zebrahead] 
  Jessica Goodwin [Diamonds Under Fire] with her Vater 5B's!
  Graham Hawthorne [David Byrne]
  Ilan Rubin [Paramore]
  Jen Lowe, Jeffrey Jones, Nick Oshiro [Blue Man Group] and Paul Bostaph
  Jeremy Stacey [Noel Galllagher's Flying Birds/Tom Jones]
  Kofi Baker, Jay Weinberg and Rancid's Branden Steineckert
Chris Korzin and Phil Ehart [Kansas]  
Mike Fuentes of Pierce The Veil  
Who's more shocked to be with the other one???  Mike Johnston [
with Brad Davis [Adventure Drums]
Mike Johnston [] with Serge Lysak [The Drum Lab]  
Miles McPherson [Kelly Clarkson, Isaias Gil and Sammy Balfour jacked with excitement!  
  Mona Tavakoli [Jason Mraz], Greg Clark Jr., Quinton Robinson and Manny Dominick
  Scott Pellegrom
  Scott Travis of Judas Priest
  Kate Shellenbach [Luscious Jackson]
  Sinbad and Fred Dinkins
Smitty Smith and Gorden Campbell 

Posted by Chad on Friday, February 22, 2013 11:22 PM

Gorden Campbell Releases New DVD

Vater Artist Gorden Campbell has relesed an exciting new educational DVD package, Secrets of the Working Drummer. Campbell’s resume—which includes Earth, Wind, and Fire; George Duke; Jessica Simpson; Ne-Yo; Whitney Houston; The American Idol Tour; Mary J. Blige; and Jonathan Butler—clearly illustrates his qualifications for creating such a DVD. The program contains advice and discussion on career-related topics often overlooked on other DVDs, as well as lots of great playing.

Among the many useful topics addressed in this package are the basic role of the drummer, the concept of pocket, learning basic song form, versatility (being able to play various styles), soloing in a musical situation, playing with a click, working with electronics, and conducting business professionally. These discussions are aimed at players of all levels who want to get more and better gigs. There are also informative and useful sections dealing with playing ballads, getting good tone from your drums, working with a group, and dealing with different types of gigs, from clubs to bus tours to sessions.

Interspersed among the educational segments are killer performances from Gorden and his group, The E&G Band, playing various song styles and grooves. There are also interview/advice segments from other famous working drummers, including Aaron Spears, Russ Miller, Will Kennedy, and a segment with jazz/fusion great George Duke, who also performs with Gorden.

Produced by Campbell and Eric Dorris and released on the Hudson Ltd. label, the main program of the DVD runs approximately one hour and 45 minutes, and is followed by extensive bonus footage including a detailed tour of Gorden’s gear (with explanations of the instruments) and a lengthy interview highlighting Gorden’s childhood, development, career, and more. Click here for more info and to purchase Secrets of the Working Drummer!



Posted by Chad on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 4:55 PM

Max Weinberg is now a Vater Artist

Vater is very pleased to announce that Max Weinberg, the legendary drummer for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, has joined the Vater Artist Family!



In 1974, Max Weinberg was playing in pit bands for theatrical productions when he answered the Village Voice advertisement that requested a drummer capable of playing R&B and jazz for an immediate audition. Weinberg had never seen the E Street Band and was unfamiliar with most of their material.
He was, however, a talented drummer and possessed superior instincts. Legend has it that Max’s performance on “Let the Four Winds Blow” during his audition won him the job. Weinberg could easily play the beat for the song, but it was his ability to take cues from Springsteen — specifically, playing a rim shot when Bruce held up his hand to stop the band and then starting back into the song — that was most impressive.
Max joined the band at the same time as new pianist Roy Bittan, and the new lineup of the E Street Band went on to record some of Bruce’s best selling and most highly regarded albums. Mighty Max’s crisp, powerful drumming is a highlight of hits such as “Born in the U.S.A.,” as well as deeper album tracks such as “Candy’s Room.” 
Following the band’s breakup in 1989, he would find great success as the musical director and band leader for “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” Having literally talked his way into the job following a chance meeting with O’Brien on a New York City street, Weinberg put together a top flight set of musicians to form the Max Weinberg Seven.
When the E Street Band reunited and proceeded to tour regularly in the 2000s, NBC allowed a special dispensation, permitting Max to take leaves of absence from the show in order to go on tour. When scheduling difficulties associated with O’Brien’s move to the “Tonight Show” forced Max to miss several E Street Band shows in 2009, Bruce chose Max’s son, Jay, to serve as a temporary replacement.
Max is currently on an arena tour with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in support of their new release, Wrecking Ball. Released on March 5, 2012, Wrecking Ball debuted at No.1 in 16 countries and was Springsteen's tenth No. 1 album in the United States, tying him with Elvis Presley for third-most No. 1 albums of all-time.
“We’re very excited and honored to welcome Max Weinberg into the Vater Family!” said Chad Brandolini, Vater’s Artist Relations Director.  “When Max and I started talking early in the year, he explained to me the importance of the feel that he was trying to get out of the drumsticks when he played. Kudos to Vater’s production manager, Billy Clark, and the guys in our factory, who quickly turned Max’s thoughts into a design that perfectly met what he had been searching for. We’re thrilled that Max’s stadium filling sounds now start with Vater sticks in his hands.” 



“Such a huge inspiration growing up watching him play. He will forever be one of my favorite drummers!”  -Nate Walker [Lit]
“Such raw, powerful, positive energy while maintaining an unsurpassed level of integrity and class. Sums him up both on and off stage.  He's been such a great influence on my life as a drummer and human being. A true mentor and role model." –Branden Steineckert [Rancid]

 "A drummer who's determination, incredible playing and charisma has led an amazing example of how to stand out from behind the kit and grasp many different opportunities in the world of music and show business" -John Fred Young [Black Stone Cherry]

"Watching him play for the first time was a revelation - he was a guy who had all the chops in the world but instead he favored grooving and serving the song. It changed the way I thought about approaching the drums and that’s the biggest compliment I can give!" -Eric Slick [Dr. Dog/Adrian Belew Trio] 

“He is a pivotal part of his band and a perfect fit for their music. Rock n' Roll’s busiest drummer! Period.” –Kevin Baldes [Bass player for Lit]

“To me, this drummer signifies the best qualities that any musician would look for, driving the band with a rock solid feel regardless of the musical style!” –James Harrison [Boise State University Drum Line]
"His drumming is like a velvet fisted steam engine that can seduce, provoke, and conjure any emotion known to man!!" –Dave Krusen
"This man's drumming is legendary and he will no doubt go down in our musical history books as an icon of rock-n-roll!" –George Sluppick [The Chris Robinson Brotherhood]
" An MVP in a band full of MVP's. A Marathon Man, a Superhero and one hell of a drummer." –Mike Levesque [Seven Mary Three/Independent]

"When I see a drummer go from being a cooperative, solid backbone of one group, to being a fun, outspoken leader of another group in a totally different style, I'm really impressed and humble myself to the guy. This dude does it well." -Sean Winchester [Everclear/Something Bot Metro]

“Whether you regard this legendary player as a drummer’s drummer or a fan favorite, he is always at the top of the list. His career has spanned decades and he has remained not only relevant but groundbreaking, influential and pioneering. His accolades are many and his accomplishments unmatched. This guy defines taking things to the max in everything he does.” –Kenny Livingston [Sugarcult]
 “The King of the Big Beat.” - Modern Drummer Magazine
 "An American drumming icon. Known by name to even non-drummers. I don't know if it get’s any cooler than that!" Jimmy Pemberton [Educator/Kiley Evans/Independent]
“The man, the myth, the monster drummer! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him and watching him play up close before, and that was amazing. So happy that he’s now a part of the Vater family. “ –Morgan Rose [Sevendust]
“First time I saw him I was mesmerized by the razor sharp precision and execution he had on the drums. His form, charisma, and style is so killin! He is a master of his craft that far exceeds drumming!  We are blessed to have him as one of our drumming heroes!” –Mika Fineo
Powerful rock drumming that keeps the beat banging for hours on end…year after year after year!” –Billy Amendola [Modern Drummer Magazine]
“This gentleman has impeccable posture at the kit ...he's funny as hell..And swings like he's in a Big Band too..oh, wait...he is!” –Chad Smith [Red Hot Chili Peppers/Chickenfoot]
“One of the most iconic and successful drummers in American music history” –Tony Escapa [Ricky Martin/Franco De Vita]

Categories: Artists | Video
Posted by Chad on Thursday, September 27, 2012 11:17 AM

When You've Found The Right Stick, It Really Hits You: New Ad

Readers of Modern Drummer Magazine or Drum! Magazine, have been seeing a brand new Vater Ad that features Mike Johnston. The new ad entitled: "When You've Found The Right Stick, It Really Hits You!" has been gettting a lot of attention and creating quite a buzz already! The most heard comment is: "Is that picture REAL!?" And the answer is: YES! The ad is pictured below and there is also a brief video with great info and footage on how photographer Sasha Leahovcenco capured the shot that you see in the ad. 

Here's a bit about the ad from Mike:

"So about 2 months ago I did a shoot for a new VATER Drumsticks ad at this scary abandoned sugar mill. It was definitely the scariest location I had ever been on, lol. My photographer, Sasha Leahovcenco, had this idea that he wanted tons of sticks just floating around me and flying right at my face, and me looking as non frightened as possible right before they all hit me, lol. The concept of the ad was to show every model of stick that VATER makes flying in the air and for me to be holding my signature sticks. We wanted to show that with the huge variety of sticks that VATER makes, there is one model that is just right for you. In my case it's the 2-4-5-1's but I want everyone to find their "perfect stick". Sasha is very big on doing shots that look fully Photoshopped, but doing them for real. Here is the shot. Hope you like it! " -Mike Johnston


Behind the Scenes Video:




Educator Mike Johnston's 2451 Model is a great all-around design that can be used in any musical style. It has a grip size between a 5A and 5B with a gradual taper to a barrel tip for ride cymbal definition. The gradual taper gives the model a fantastic and quick feel around the kit.
The 2451 model is available in both Hickory and Sugar Maple. The Sugar Maple version is perfect for lower volume and lesson room type settings, while the Hickory version is the right choice for live and harder hitting performance settings.


Posted by Chad on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 11:34 AM

Kenny Do It AGAIN?

Vater Artist Kenny Livingston (Sugarcult/Good Man Down) is looking to embark on his 2nd Kenny Do It journey this summer, pedaling his beach cruiser accross the United States to deliver a message that is very important to him. Here is the info from Kenny as taken from his Kickstarter page:

My name is Kenny Livingston. At age 45 I can honestly say I have had the great fortune of realizing most of my childhood dreams. As a musician I’ve sold over a million records worldwide, been nominated for a Grammy Award and have traveled the globe many times over. Call it good fortune. Call it tireless pursuit. Chasing down and achieving what most write off as unachievable is a challenge that I have always embraced.

In 2010 I set down my drumsticks to begin work on what I consider to be my greatest undertaking. On July 24th, of that year, I began pedaling a simple beach cruiser bicycle across America to inspire my fellow Americans, through the power of example, in making a commitment to change the way we approach our personal health, nutrition and lifestyle choices. The 76 day (3,600 mile) journey was aptly named “Kenny Do It?” There was no real budget. There was no formal training. It was all fueled by heart and soul. A new path was set. A new chapter begun and a new challenge awaited…

So WHAT… people bike across America all the time…. While this is certainly true, most merely do it to prove to themselves that they can. That wasn’t my mission. Not even close…I did it in front of you and documented it several times daily to show to YOU that YOU can do it. All the while atop a $400 beach cruiser in surf trunks and a t-shirt. It was the common mans journey and an odd yet powerful visual metaphor to drive home the idea that change takes time and commitment. We all have the inner strength to affect change in a big way and while we may not all be Lance Armstrong, we all have our own personal Everest’s out there waiting. That is how Kenny Do It began. Then…it quickly evolved into much more…


Kenny Do It 2010 Route 


THE GROUNDWORK: During the 2010 pilgrimage I posted over 130 daily inspirational and educational webisodes. These were filmed from the many organic farms, orchards and grass fed ranches I visited to farmers markets, campgrounds and the road itself. Since completing the ride on Oct 7th, 2010, I have been approached by several independent film groups about creating a documentary around that first ride. I have always felt there needed to be more content…. Please take the time to visit to see everything from the 2010 campaign. I would also encourage you to visit my You Tube Channel. 2010 was clearly the groundwork for something much bigger.


THE GOAL: I have my sights solidly set on taking the Kenny Do It campaign to the people once again this summer and enhancing the Kenny Do It visual experience with over 60 new health “topic” videos. This will be in addition to the roughly 130 forthcoming 2012 “From The Road” videos that will be posted throughout the journey. All of this new footage, in addition to the 2010 footage, will not only end up being the bulk of the forthcoming documentary, it will live on online for anyone to visit 24-7 for inspiration, information and education about healthy lifestyle choices and daring to dream.

THE FACTS: I have budgeted the 2012 endeavor many times over. This is, once again, a bare bones grass roots effort. The costs are a motor home, fuel, a driver, a videographer/webmaster, production, accommodations (campgrounds), and insurance. The gas and motor home rental alone are over a third of the budget.

THE OUTCOME: This really depends on you. Word of mouth was the most powerful tool in putting Kenny Do It on the map. In the end, there will be no Kenny Do It 2012 or documentary if the word isn’t spread and pledges are not made. I am committed to taking on this grueling physical feat that most half my age wouldn’t attempt, in order to get people to pay attention to the MESSAGE. Kenny Do It is already a channel. It should be a documentary. If you believe in the message that fuels this endeavor please pledge and pass it on. Thank you so much. I hope to see you out on the road.

Kenny Do It AGAIN Kickstarter Site
Kenny Do It You Tube Channel

Kenny with Sugarcult: Memory

Kenny with Good Man Down: This is Not a Rodeo

Posted by Chad on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 8:52 AM

Patty Schemel Documentary - Hit So Hard

The acclaimed documentary "Hit So Hard" The Life and Near-Death story of drummer Patty Schemel is being released April 13, 2012!

When Nirvana burst onto the national scene in 1991, the music they played spoke directly to a generation that had emerged from the Reagan-Bush years angry and disenfranchised. As grunge took off, the music industry was completely transformed in a way nobody expected... especially the young musicians who went from tiny shared Seattle apartments to international superstardom, sometimes overnight. Some handled it well... and some did not. Just three years later, the drug-related deaths of several prominent musicians, capped by the suicide of Kurt Cobain, closed the books on an all too brief era.

As the acclaimed drummer of Courtney Love's seminal rock band Hole, Patty Schemel was right in the middle of all of it. The openly gay woman who always felt "different" never dreamed she would be part of a multi-platinum selling band, touring with legends, or on the cover of Rolling Stone. Or that, thanks to drug addiction, she could lose it all. HIT SO HARD tells the story of Patty's rise to fame (and nearly fatal fall from it), with no punches pulled... and it's one hell of a story.

Told with insider interviews and stunningly intimate, never-before-seen footage shot by Patty and her friends (Patty was given a Hi-8 camera just before Hole's infamous Live Through This world tour), HIT SO HARD is not only an all-access backstage pass to the music that shaped a generation, but a harrowing tale of overnight success, the cost of addiction, and ultimately, recovery and redemption.

"Hit So Hard" Trailer:

Patty Interview about "Hit So Hard" 


Patty Schemel uses the Vater Power 5A  in wood tip
Please visit HIT SO HARD for mre info.

Posted by Chad on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 1:03 PM

Brann Dailor on Cover of DRUM! Magazine

Vater Artist Brann Dailor of Mastodon is the cover story of the current issue of DRUM! Magazine (Dec 2011) issue.

Another Vater Artist featured in this issue is Andy Farag of Umphrey's McGee.

As if that wasn't enough, on page #106, there's a review of some of Vater's new products including the Cora Coleman Dunham, Chris McHugh, Mike Johnson 2451, Chris Pennie, Big Mike Clemons models as well as Vater Grip Tape.

Grab your copy of DRUM!'s Dec. issue today! 



Check out our Vater Artist video spotlight on Brann Dailor here:

Posted by Chad on Monday, November 21, 2011 10:28 PM

Vater Artist Video: Fred Eltringham (K.D. Lang)

We caught up with Vater Artist Fred Eltringham at the Boston, MA stop of K.D. Lang's US Tour in September.

Fred has worked with The Wallflowers, Dixie Chicks, Ben Kweller, Pistol Annies, Tracy Bonham, Juliana hatfield, Tears for Fears and many more. Fred took a few minutes to discuss his musical background, influences, carrer advice and the various Vater products he uses.

Posted by Chad on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 11:04 AM

Video Feature-Joe Sirois (Mighty Mighty Bosstones)

Mighty Mighty Bosstones drummer Joe Sirois has been a Vater Artist since 1993. We caught up with Joe at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA where he was playing with his side project, Roll The Tanks, just a few days before the two Bosstones shows at Boston's Fenway Park opening for Dropkick Murphy's. In this video, Joe talks about what got him into drumming, Bosstones' history, why the Vater 3A Wood Tip has been his stick of choice and more.



Posted by Chad on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 10:17 AM
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