We caught up with Drummer Queens creator Joe Accaria and Drummer Queen Stef Furnari ahead of their much-anticipated Melbourne show, to give us a rundown on what to expect.
Comprising eight extraordinary women, Drummer Queens is the brainchild of music industry stalwart Joe Accaria, a renowned drummer whose rich theatre and drumming experience in the field led him to create the upcoming – and mind-blowing – stage show.
“I was a classically trained musician at Sydney Conservatorium, then went into pop music as a session drummer. Eventually I started working with a show called Tap Dogs, which introduced me to the theatre element of dance, drums and percussion – it was almost like a rock show, but with a cloak of theatre about it as well,” Accaria says.
This carries through to Drummer Queens, a show that isn’t “just drumming for 85 minutes” but a unique exploration into the worlds of the eight Drummer Queens through music, circus and genre-bending – all of which are important elements to Accaria.
“It’s about amalgamating music and rhythms from around the world, putting them in a setting and putting them in the hands of multi-faceted and talented female drummers.
“There are elements of percussion from all around the world, but integrated with new, electronic percussion and sounds,” he adds.
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For Accaria and the Drummer Queens, being front and centre is much more exciting than the usual drummer spot.
“I’ve always been fortunate to work with people who think you’re more than the drummer up at the back, I’ve always been involved in the performance aspect, it makes it a bit more interesting than sitting up the back and accompanying.”
For Accaria, the show follows a storyline, making it similar to a musical: “There’s a sense [the Drummer Queens] belong in a world, there’s an underworld, and they’re powering the lights and energy of this underground world through drums.”
Accaria notes that one of the most important elements of Drummer Queens is creating an unforgettable and unmatchable experience for the audience – an area he and the Drummer Queens excel in.
“What can I do on stage to make people feel like they’re excited by or connected to something? I suppose the sum of my experiences [in the music industry] has sort of helped me understand that if you’re putting something in front of an audience, then you want them to feel something.”
Each of the Drummer Queens has been a part of the popular show on several occasions – each having met Accaria at a different point in their career – and their immense talent and chemistry ensures every show is the unforgettable experience that it is.
“Some of them have been with me since 2013, they’re really excited to see the progression of the show, some of them have done other shows for me as well, including Tap Dogs, where we sort of flipped it. There were two male drummers [in Tap Dogs], we flipped it to females [for Drummer Queens] to create a different energy in terms of the male and female energy of the show as well.
“It’s been great watching their development, not only professionally, but within the parameters of Drummer Queens. Some of them are new and some of them have been with us for quite a while, so I love watching the excitement that goes with that.”
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Stef Furnari is one of Australia’s most in-demand drummers, and her skills and upbringing in the drumming scene have led her to be one of the Drummer Queens.
“I’ve been drumming since I was about 11, I always had some weird fascination with, and automatically felt drawn into drums, so as soon as I got my first opportunity to perform, I just kept rolling with it, the stage felt like home to me.
“Once I turned 18, I started to do real gigs, and by real gigs, going to the pub and playing gigs,” she laughs.
“I ended up auditioning for Joe’s Tap Dogs, then he realised there were a lot of really good female drummers in Sydney, so he came up with this concept of, ‘I’m going to put a drum show together for just the female drummers’, and he invited me to be a part of that, so I’ve been a part of Drummer Queens for about 7-8 years since it was created.”
Furnari and her fellow Drummer Queens are not only putting on an awesome show, but influencing and inspiring the next generation of killer drummers out there.
“It’s all coming out in this one show. We wanna inspire people, we have young girls, young kids coming to see our show, we want to be able to inspire people to get into music, play drums, and get them excited about whatever makes them happy in life.
“It’s theatrical, it’s rhythmic, it’s energetic, but it’s not anything you’ve ever seen before. I guarantee it’ll be different to what you imagine.”
Drummer Queens hits Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre from Wednesday April 28 to Saturday May 8. Grab your tickets here.