After months of local and regional competitions held at each of Guitar Center's 214 stores across the country, the top six undiscovered drummers in the nation have been selected from a field of nearly 5,000 competitors. The six finalists will go head to head on Saturday, January 10th, 2009 at Guitar Center's Drum-Off Grand finals in Los Angeles for a prize package worth over $45,000, as they perform in front of a capacity crowd at the historic Music Box at Fonda Theater. The show will also feature performances from drumming greats Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden), Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall), an exclusive collaboration by Thomas Pridgen (Mars Volta) and Thomas Lang and a headlining performance by Papa Roach. The evening will be hosted by Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction).
The Six Finalists are:
Juan Carlos Mendoza (E. Brunsick, NJ)
Jerome Flood III (Lawrenceville, GA)
Sherman Arnold (Englewoodm CO) Timm Newton (La Mesa, CA)
and Anthony Burns (Saginaw, MI)
MCB spoke with Anthony Burns a few days ago about his participation in Drum-Off'08 and sent him a few questions...
How did you hear about the Guitar Center competition and what prompted you to sign up for it?
WELL, I HEARD ABOUT THE COMPETITION IN 01 WHEN MY FAVORITE DRUMMER CHRIS COLEMAN WON THE NATIONALS. THROUGH THE YEARS I HAVE TRAINED MYSELF BY STUDING DIFFERNT DRUMMERS AND COMING UP WITH DIFFERENT PATTERNS AND RYTHYMS. AS I GREW OLDER, I BECAME STRONGER AND MY SKILL LEVEL BEGAN TO INCREASE. I JUST DECIDED ONE DAY TO ENTER THE DRUM COMPETITION IN 04.
You advanced through a few stages and went on to win the regionals - are you suprised to see yourself heading to Los Angeles to compete in the finals at The Hollywood Bowl?
IM VERY SUPRISED TO HAVE MADE IT THIS FAR IN THE COMPETITION. THERE ARE SOME CRAZY TALENTED DRUMMERS OUT HERE NO MATTER THE SIZE OR AGE. ITS A REAL GOOD CHANCE YOU WILL MEET YOUR MATCH. BUT THROUGH IT ALL, ITS A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE, WIN OR LOSE.
How long have you been drumming and do you play any other instruments?
IVE BEEN PLAYING DRUMS FOR 20 YEARS NOW. I ALSO PLAY KEYBOARD AND ORGAN. MY NEXT INSTRUMENT IS BASS OF COURSE.
Are you in any musical groups? Describe your musical background/interests/training/history?
IVE BEEN IN CHURCH ALL OF MY LIFE. CHURCH IS WHERE IT ALL STARTS. I GREW TO MEET SOME PEOPLE AND I ENDED UP GETTING A PLACE AS MUSIC DIRECTOR OF A GROUP BY THE NAME BREATH OF PRAISE. GREAT GROUP JUST STARTING OUT. WITH THIS GROUP I PLAY KEYBOARD. AS FAR AS DRUMS, I ONLY PLAY AT CHURCH ON SUNDAY. ITS FUN AND COMFORTABLE. THERES A LADY BY THE NAME SHARRIE WILLIAMS. IVE PLAYED DRUMS WITH HER A COUPLE OF TIMES, BUT WHEN SHE LEARNED THAT I PLAYED KEYS TOO, SHE SWITCHED ME BECUZ ITS HARD TO FIND THOSE FROM WHERE WE ARE FROM. NOW THAT I HAVE MADE IT FAR IN THE DRUM OFF, SHE WANTS TO TAKE ME OVER SEAS TO PLAY DRUMS. I HAVENT MADE UP MY MIND ABOUT THAT YET. I WAS IN BAND FOR A VERY SHORT MINUTE IN HIGH SCHOOL. I PLAN TO GO TO SCHOOL AND LEARN MORE ABOUT DRUMS AND KEYS. I WANT TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO READ MUSIC. IT JUST SEEMS LIKE A SMART THING TO DO. GOD WILLING, I WIN THIS DRUM COMPETITION AND ME AND MY LITTLE BROTHER ARE GOING TO FLY HIGHER IN THE DRUM INDUSTRY. WHEREVER I GO, HE GO.
How would you describe the music scene in Saginaw, Detroit Michigan in general?
THE MUSIC IS BANANAS. THERE ARE SOME VERY SKILLED MUSICIANS AND PRODUCERS AND SINGERS IN MICHIGAN. I LOVE IT THERE MUSIC WISE. WE ALL HAVE FUN PLAYING AND WE TRY HARD TO LEARN MORE AND MORE EACH MONTH TO A YEAR. THERE ARE THOSE HUMBLE ONES WHO MAKE IT BIG IN DETROIT. THOSE WHO THINK THAT THERE IS NO BETTER THAN THEM ARE THE ONES WHO DONT REALLY GET ANY RECOGNITION. AND MOST OF US TRY HARD TO KEEP GOD FIRST BECUZ WITHOUT HIM, NOTHING IS POSSIBLE. THERE ARE NO POSSIBILITIES IF YOU DO NOT KEEP GOD HEAD OF YOUR LIFE. BUT WITH DETROIT THERES A BIG NUMBER OF CRAZY MUSICIANS. SAGINAW DOESNT HAVE THAT MANY, BUT AS MUCH AS WE HAVE WE ALL PLAY FROM THE HEART.
Who is your favorite drummer of all time?
CHRISTOPHER R. COLEMAN............HE'S NOT HUMAN AT ALL. THATS ONE MAN I KNOW THAT KEEPS GOD FIRST. HE'S OUT THERE BIG TIME NOW. I ALSO WANT TO SAY VIRGIL DONATI TOO. BOTH OF THEM ARE NOT HUMAN AT ALL. I CANT FORGET MY BROTHER EITHER, CHRISTOPHER JONES. FOR HIS AGE, HE'S VERY MATURE IN HIS PLAYING. AND HE CAN SET UP A DRUM SET FOR ANYBODY IN THE WORLD. I LOVE THAT DUDE FOREAL.
Describe your favorite style of drumming and why?
MY FAVORITE TYPE OF DRUMMING WOULD HAVE TO BE BETWEEN ROCK, FUSION AND RnB. I SAY ROCK BECUZ ITS POWERFUL AND BIG. IT KEEPS THE BLOOD FLOWING. ITS VERY FUN TO PLAY AND THERES A NUMBER OF WAYS TO PLAY IT. FUSION BECUZ ITS TECHNICAL. I LOVE A CHALLENGE. I STILL HAVE A LOT TO LEARN IN FUSION, BUT THATS WHATS GOING TO MAKE ME DEVELOP INTO A GREATER DRUMMER. RnB BECUZ ITS SMOOTH AND IT MAKES YOU FEEL REAL GOOD. WHEN YOU DO FILLS IN AN R&B SONG ITS LIKE THE SIMPLEST THING CAN GET ANYONES ATTENTION. YOU JUST LOVE LISTENING TO IT.
Do you have any particular favorite brands when it comes to building your drum kit?
I LOVE TO PLAY WITH ZILDJIAN CYMBALS , A PEARL EXPORT OR DW (PDP) OR YAMAHA, VIC FIRTH PEARL AND PRO MARK STICKS, AND PEARL OR DW PEDALS. ALL THESE DIFFERENT PIECES FEEL COMFORTABLE AND HAS AN AMAZING SOUND.
Do you know anything about your competitors in the finals?
ALL I KNOW ABOUT THE COMPETITORS IN THE FINALS IS THAT THEY ARE CRAZY GOOD. I KNOW THEY'RE GONNA GIVE ME A RUN FOR MY MONEY. I KNOW THAT THEY CAN EXPECT TO PLAY AGAINST A MAN WHOSE HUNGRY FOR A NEW LIFE AND GREATER POSSIBILITIES. LA HERE I COME.
Tell us your strategy for winning The Guitar Center Drumoff in Los Angeles this coming weekend?
YOU HAVE TO TAKE UR TIME, DONT RUSH INTO THE GOOD STUFF. NO MATTER HOW BETTER YOU FEEL THE OTHER CONTESTANTS ARE, PLAY WITH POWER AND DONT CHOKE. REMEMBER THE RULES OF JUDGING. HAVE A GREAT TIME PLAYING YOUR SOLO. A GOOD FRIEND SAID TO REMEMBER THE THREE R's RELAX RELEASE AND RELATE. BE AN ENTERTAINER. DRAW THE CROWD. NO MATTER WAT YOU SEE, MAKE SURE YOU DO YOU. AND MOST OF ALL PRAY AND KEEP GOD FIRST.
Feel free to say anything that you want - I will not be editing this for content.
I WANT TO TAKE THE TIME TO THANK ALL MY SUPPORTERS. MY MOM ANDREA JONES, MY DAD ANTHONY JONES, MY BRO CHRIS, MY SISTER TRIKINA BURNS, MY GRANDPARENTS, MY BRO THUMPER, SWAH, DANNY, WILLIE,DEE, TAY RAY, TRINIE, MY COUSINS DIONTE, KARENA, SHAWNA, BABYMAN, TORI, JROCK, BJACKSON, LARRY FROM FLINT, MY GOD BROTHER CHRIS COLEMAN, MY GOOD FRIEND SPIDER, J ELLIS FROM FLINT, JORDAN SMITH, MARLO DUNN, HURLEY TJ COLEMAN AND GREATER COLEMAN TEMPLE, LIL JAMES, BIG JAMES, ALDEN AND FAM, SIDNEY OLIVER, AUDREY HOPGOOD (BLAAAH...LOL) NICOLE, BATMAN, JEROME AND PRAISE, WORD OF LIFE IN FLINT PASTOR GEORGE WILKINSON, REFUGE, VICTORIOUS BELIEVERS MINISTRIES, MY UNCLES BOO AND DRE, MY FAM ELLIS BURNS AND IRIS BURNS, DAN BURNS AND KATHY BURNS AND FAM, GOOD FRIENDS J DREW AND KIKI SHEARD, JOE OTIS AND HIS BRO DARNELL, GUITAR CENTER EMPLOYEES FOR SAGINAW MICHIGAN, CJ ON BASS, TIM MILLER, SAM DOAN, RODNEY, JOHN, HURRICANE B3, DAVE FROM FLINT, EDDIE BROWN, CHRIS DENT, RONI DENT AND FAM,...........THE LIST GOES ON. I LOVE YOU ALL AND GOD BLESS. - Anthony Burns-Saginaw MI
Last but not least Guitar Center will posthumously honor the legendary drumming icon Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience) along with living legends Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) and Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Ted Nugent, Rod Stewart) during the show, as they induct them into Guitar Center's "Drum-Legends" Hall of Fame. Started three years ago, "Drum Legends" was created to acknowledge the contributions of many of today's most legendary and iconic drummers. Guitar Center has dedicated a special section in their flagship San Francisco location to "Drum Legends", featuring past inductees including Steve Smith, David Garibaldi, Alan White, Greg Errico and others.
For 20 years Guitar Center's annual Drum-Off has been recognized by the music community as one of the most important platforms for unsigned talent, and a springboard to stardom for many seriously talented young drummers. Prior Drum-Off champs who have gone on to become successful pro drummers include Cora "CC" Dunham (Prince; Drum-Off '02 Champ), Eric Moore (Bobby Brown, Sly and The Family Stone, Infectious Grooves, Suicidal Tendencies; Drum-Off '03 Champ), Tony Royster Jr. (Jay Z; Drum-Off '95 Champ) and Thomas Pridgen (The Mars Volta), who became Guitar Center's Drum-Off champion in 1993 when he was just 9 years old!
Like all Guitar Center music programs, Drum-Off is designed to provide developing artists with support-based opportunities that vastly improve the potential for their success as professional musicians. In addition to the incredible exposure these drummers receive from participating in Drum-Off, one lucky winner will also take home $25,000 cash, plus another $20,000 in gear, including a Roland TD-20 kit, and a custom designed drum kit by DW, Pearl, Gretsch, Tama, or Orange Country Drums as well as a drum, stick, cymbal, and drum head endorsement deals, be featured in Modern Drummer magazine, and in a Guitar Center ad campaign, along with a VIP appearance @ NAMM 2009 and shopping sprees with Levi's, Converse and Guitar Center. A Monster Energy Drink endorsement deal is also part of the prize package, making the total prize package worth over $45,000.
If you are in Los Angeles this weekend don't miss Guitar Center's Drum-Off Grand Finals!
Saturday, January 10, 2009 – 7pm
The Music Box at Fonda Theater
This is an all-ages show.