Chris Belin Drums - Traveling Drum School & Freelance Drumming
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April 2012

Musical Reflections & Remembrances of the Week

The Positive Spin on Drums
by Chris Belin 

Musical Reflections and Remembrances of the Week 

Levon Helm 

   This past week I’ve been running into all kinds of Levon Helm tributes. For those who are not familiar, Levon passed away Thursday April 19th at age 71 after a long battle with cancer. He was primarily known as being the drummer and one of the vocalists for The Band. You can find a lot of information on him and The Band, as well as some great stories about his affiliation with Bob Dylan. On a side note, I actually got to see Bob Dylan last year (minus Leon on the skins) in concert and he didn’t disappoint one bit! This week I also discovered lots of Levon Helm solo material I was previously unaware of via Sirius radio. All the above really showed his talents as a multi-instrumentalist.   
   In the last few years I’ve performed “The Weight” & “Up on Cripple Creek” with a few bands, getting a chance to analyze Levon’s tasteful drumming first hand. Also,   two of my favorite clips of Levon that haven’t been featured in any articles i’ve seen are his appearance in the Steve Jordan drum video “The Groove is Here” as well as his scene in the “The Shooter”, a movie starring Mark Wahlberg. 

Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame 2012 induction 

   I was so psyched to hear a few weeks back that three bands I was heavily influenced by as a kid, Guns N’ Roses, The Beastie Boys, & The Red Hot Chili Peppers, were all going to be inducted into the hall of fame. I was looking forward to seeing the original  G N’R lineup perform the most, but it was not to be. I’m still hopeful but not holding my breath. Based on Axl’s letter to the hall of fame it looks like I won’t be seeing his goofy half microphone stand circa 1992 from the Use Your Illusion tour, my first concert when I was 12.  Maybe Steven Adler will donate his logo bass drum head from the “Sweet Child O’ Mine” video. Regardless, I thought Duff McKagan gave a great speech & the rest of the band seemed grateful for the honor. Looking forward to next year’s list. Maybe Kiss & Rush??   

Drum Book Update #1

The Positive Spin on Drums
by Chris Belin

Drum Book Update #1

   As many people in my life know, one of my major goals is to release an instructional drum book. This vision started back in 2007 and finally the first book will see the light of day very soon. The first book will be a short self released book, focusing on a major concept that has challenged every drummer, in some capacity, I’ve ever brought it up to. Plus there has not been a book focusing on this topic as of yet so I’m psyched to introduce it to the drum universe. Now that my taxes are finally done (can’t stop smiling about that!!), it’s back to work putting on the final touches. Drum Book Update #2 coming this June. 

Live Album Awareness

The Positive Spin on Drums 
by Chris Belin

Live Album Awareness 

  There is something about a live album that has always captivated my interest. Whether it’s a typical album opening with crowd cheers, or the fact that a live album usually captures a specific moment in time for an artist, they’ve always been an extremely integral part of my music collection. Sometimes live albums have been my intro to a new group or genre of music. Other times they’re just a more raw in-the-moment interpretation of songs from a band I’m interested in. Above all the most important influence I get from listening & absorbing live albums is the desire to be a part of a live concert experience, as a performer or attendee.    
  I started playing drums along to live albums as a kid. Back then my music collection was mostly cassettes & some vinyl. So i’d play through the first side & when complete I would flip it as fast as possible, pretending that I was playing a real concert. Even though I was an energetic 11 year old I would get tired after a few tunes, especially since the gap between songs is approximately 2 seconds on a album! Regardless I would trudge through usually completing every song. Over time it got much easier to finish. This helped me tremendously when I started really playing live.   
   As I got older & started to drive, the live album, now on CD, became a great soundtrack to a road trip. Just like playing I still loved listening from beginning to end. Nowadays I still play live albums in my car via the iPod. I usually tend to shuffle them, especially with one artist, listening to tracks that span portions of their career.    
  The following is a list of what I feel are the quintessential live albums for all the major musical genres. Do yourself a favor and check some of these out. They are in alphabetical order as there is NO way I could pick a “best live album of all time”. I would love some comments, your lists, reviews, recommendations, etc. Hope I didn’t forget any!!
Aerosmith-Live Bootleg 
Allman Brothers-Live at Fillmore East  
Anthrax-Live, the Island Years  
Average White Band-Person To Person 
Erykah Badu-Live 
The Band-The Last Waltz 
Blink 182-Mark, Tom, & Travis show 
Clifford Brown / Max Roach-Live at Basin Street 
James Brown-Live @ the Apollo  
Dave Brubeck Quartet- Live at Carnegie Hall  
Jeff Buckley-Mystery White Boy 
Johnny Cash-At Folsom Prison  
Cheap Trick-Live at Budokon 
John Coltrane-Live at the Village Vanguard 
Miles Davis-Live Evil 
Deep Purple-Made in Japan  
Eric Dolphy Live at the Five Spot 
Bela Fleck & the Flectones-Live Art  
Peter Frampton-Frampton Comes Alive 
Genesis-Seconds Out 
Dizzy Gillespie-A Night in Tunisia  
Grand Funk Railroad-Live Album 
Grateful Dead-Europe ’72  
Jimi Hendrix-Band of Gypsy’s
Iron Maiden-Live in Rio  
B.B. King-Live at the Regal 
Jack Johnson-En Concert
Led Zeppelin-The Song Remains The Same  
Lynyrd Skynyrd-One more From The Road 
Bob Marley-Babylon by Bus  
Dave Matthews-Live at Red Rocks
Medeski Martin & Wood-Tonic  
Thelonious Monk Quartet w/ John Coltrane @ Carnegie Hall  
Nirvana-Unplugged in New York  
Maxwell-MTV Unplugged 
Ted Nugent-Double Live Gonzo 
Pearl Jam-Live on Two Legs 
Phish-A Live One  
Poison-Swallow This Live  
Portishead-Roseland NYC live 
Prince-One Night Alone Live  
Rage Against The Machine-Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium 
The Ramones-Loco Live 
The Rolling Stones-Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out 
The Roots Come Alive  
Rush-Exit Stage Left  
Jill Scott-Experience Jill Scott 
Shleigho-Live @ Ho-Down 2000 
Slayer-Decade of Aggression 
Spin Doctors-Homebelly Groove 
Steely Dan-Alive In America 
Tower Of Power-Soul Vaccination Live! 
U2-Rattle & Hum 
Stevie Ray Vaughan- Live Alive the raw 
The Who-Live at Leeds 
Widespread Panic-Light Fuse Get Away

Chris Brozek: "Sweet Child O' Mine" drum cover

The Positive Spin on Drums
 by Chris Belin

Chris Brozek: 'Sweet Child' O Mine" drum cover

  Today is the 5th annual World Autism Awareness Day. In honor of that my blog this week will feature Traveling Drum School student Chris Brozek, who has been diagnosed w/ pervasive developmental disorder, PDD, a mild form of autism. Below is his performance of the Guns N' Roses song "Sweet Child O' Mine", which was one of my favorite songs to learn as a kid. This clip is from a Norwin High School concert last year, for which Chris received a standing ovation! 
   Chris has been recognized numerous times recently for his talent, not just in the documentary film posted on my site, but with a great article in the Norwin Star as well (link below). Both tell a detailed story about a person with a passion for drumming and his journey thus far in learning the art.
   As I've stated before, it's been a pleasure working with Chris since 2004. He is gifted in so many ways, this video is just a small sample of what he can do. Chris & I are currently putting the finishing touches on the song he will be doing for this year's concert, which I feel is even more impressive. Look for that this summer on You Tube! The sky is the limit for him, no question. Hope you all enjoy this! :) 

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"Sweet Child of Mine" on the drums
This is my 19 year old cousin Christopher and he has autism. He is an amazing drummer and he just loves music in general.
*Norwin Star Article Link:

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