Stanton Moore

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Stanton Moore


Steeped in the culture and heritage of his native New Orleans, Galactic’s Stanton Moore has become known as a drummer who’s pocket is a mile deep, no matter what genre he lays his limbs to. Along with his great ability, being part of such a thriving and revived music scene with such a tremendously rich spirit of collaboration has most certainly helped propel him into the international drumming spotlight. Stanton spoke to us after having finished a run of 27 gigs over an 11-day period at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and just before he heads down to Australia for the Ultimate Drummers Weekend and Drumscene Live tour.

“I’ve been out to Australia twice before,” says Moore. “I loved it and I’m really looking forward to coming back over. It will also be the first time that I’ve played the Ultimate Drummers Weekend [AUDW], so I’m really looking forward to that.”


Playing specialised drumming events might not be something the average rock punter considers when they see their favourite drummer smashing away at a gig. But for Stanton, the events are an obvious highlight of his year.


“My first one was the Modern Drummer Festival in 2001, and I was like the new kid on the block. I think I played after the guy who was awarded the Best Up And Coming Award, so that was fun. At that festival there were guys like Bernard Purdie [legendary drummer in Aretha Franklin’s band, among others] and [recently deceased jazz drummer] Joe Morello all hanging out in the wings – you have to get over any feelings of intimidation. What’s really cool about drum events is that everybody truly brings something different, and that’s so great to watch because you can have so much fun learning new things. It’s important to remember that you’re doing your thing, and no one else can do that quite like you can. So there’s no real reason to get too nervous or flustered because everyone else has their own slant and strengths on the kit. For me it’s the New Orleans thing.


He admits his recent effort of playing 27 shows for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival left him a little fatigued.


“Yeah, 27,” he sighs. “And that doesn’t include rehearsals and sound checks, house guests, sit-ins and crawfish boils! It’s a full, full schedule. I was actually happy to get on the road so I could get more than four hours of sleep a night. But the gigs are all so much fun. I’ve got my long-time drum tech who has been with me for 10 years now and we’re running four or five kits around town. He’ll have a kit set up for me at the next place, meet me at the gig I’m finishing with my traps case, cymbals and snare, and run to where the drums are already set up, and then he runs back to the previous gig and collects the kit and then comes back again. It’s pretty hectic!”


With all this on his plate, as well as performing in funk/jazz jam band Galactic and hair-raising instrumental outfit Garage A Trois Stanton has still managed to whittle out some time to release a solo album Groove Alchemy as a package incorporating an instructional DVD and book. Still he has more to tick off his list.


“I’m actually about to film another DVD that’s going to be more of a beginner-based thing, but that also works its way right up through intermediate and advanced levels of playing. The book is written by Mark Wessels, who does the Vic Firth website, so it’s like a “fresh approach to drum set” thing and I’m gonna do all the video aspects of it. I’ll be starting work on that at the end of this month after this tour and one festival gig with Galactic. Garage A Trois have a new record out, so I’m planning on touring that, and I’m going to be doing a Stanton Moore Trio tour this year. I’m concentrating more on Galactic, which will always be a main project, and then filling in the holes with Garage A Trois. But the aim is not to be on the road as much as I was last year.”


Anytime he can find to spend at home will no doubt be focused in part on another new venture: Stanton Moore Drum Company. He’s just released a titanium snare and the drummer says, “We may do some accessories and stuff, but the reason I really started that company was actually to put out just one drum, because I am very happily with [my] Gretsch [endorsement] – they treat me very well. With Gretsch we developed the 4.5-inch signature maple snare drum, which I’m very happy with, but they decided not to deal with titanium. So they were very kind to let me do the drum on my own, since I had spent so much time developing it. Gretsch have also just made me a new kit that I’m really excited about, but that I haven’t gotten to play yet. We’re going to debut it for this Fresh Approach DVD.


As for the Ultimate Drummer Weekend Moore plans to “play a good bit, demonstrate some things, particularly some of the things you can do to improve your grooves. I really like to take questions, too, and give people an opportunity to learn about what they’re personally interested in. For big events like this I really like to do more of a presentation type of thing and gear it more towards that education side of drumming.” But, he enthuses, “We’ll have fun!”


Catch Stanton Moore as part of the 2011 Drumscene Live tour on Saturday August 20 and Sunday August 21 at Darebin Arts Centre, Preston.