This is an online interview I was asked to do for musiciansnews.com ...
|Hi Gregg, for the people not yet familiar with your name and work, who is Gregg Gerson?
Well, I guess I'm what you'd call a fix it guy. I do lots of my work in studios. I'm the person that producers, managers and or recording artist call to fix tracks that other drummers have attempted to play to no avail!!! I'm what they call a ghost, that's a term used by some people, someone who goes in and fixes tracks on stuff already recorded. Or, I go in and record the drum tracks for already established bands, but don't receive the credits for those records I play on, Just the pay check.
But, there's so much more to it then just that... I've had the privilege of making records and playing live performances with some of the greatest artist in contemporary music. It's taken a lot of hard work and perseverance to get to this point. Also, the determination to deliver quality studio and live performances every time I sit down and play.
How did you get into drumming? Were you inspired by a special drummer or did you just pick it as an instrument?
Well, Today I'm based out of New York City, but I grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Atlantic City was always famous for it's boardwalk, this being before gambling. I was four years old and remember my mother taking me to watch the parades as they played and marched down the boardwalk. When I first heard the sound of more then one drum playing cadences while marching, and saw them all playing in concert. My whole body just started to vibrate and I knew, etc. I wanted to play drums. I then asked my mother if I could have a drum and on my birthday (which is in the middle of summer and parade season) she and my Dad bought me my first drum. It was a toy marching drum. I was in heaven! This at four years of age. You can see a photo of me with that drum on my website in; "Gregg, The early years"
Now, as I was growing up, I instinctively found myself attracted to jazz. From bebop artist's like Miles to Byrd, from Coltrain to Mingus strait a head, from Big Bands like Count Basie to The Duke. From fusion jazz artists like John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra to Chick Corea & Return to Forever, also Larry Coryell's 11th House. From Sly and the Family Stone to James Brown, From Joanne Mitchell to the Beatles.
There are so many different musicians/artists that have helped me to shape my own perception and approach to playing drums. The list is infinite. As far as today, I'd have to say that one of my all time favorite drummers would be Jim Keltner...
You have played with quite an impressive list of musicians in your career and you do much session work. Is this something you prefer instead of playing with just one band?
In all honesty, I always wanted to be part of a band! This is something that all my closest friends would tell you if you asked them that question about me. It's just never worked out that way. Let it be known that if the right situation was to come my way, I'd join in a heart beat!!! Musicians that play in bands find an intimate connection with their bandmates. Most people in the audience can hear/feel that right away. It's a magical connection that happens.
"If there's something happening out there that I should know about musically, Let me know about it"
With many people using more loops and drum samples in productions, do you think that the drummer is a species that will be gone in the future?
I asked myself the same question when Roger Lynn first came out with the Lynn Drum in 1982... The answer is NO! Sequencing is great for sound design and some styles of music, but when it all comes to push and shove, there's no substitute for the feel and sound of a real drummer in studio and live... It's just that simple. We drummers are here to stay!!!
When you are doing recording work, are there any aspects of the sound that you like to hear back in the recording of your drums?
Yes, of course. To start off, I always make sure that the kit that I'm using on that session is sonically sound/setup which means tuning. Tuning a drumset is an art in it's own right. A record date starts off with me tuning the kit to the ambiance of the room.
Secondly, When I listen back to tracks I just finished; I listen for note placement, which means in laymen terms, where the groove's sitting. There are three places that a groove sits, behind the beat, etc., inside the pocket or a head of the beat just enough to give the groove some edge. Edge not being mistaken as losing the click or rushing...
Also, I'd like to add that it really makes no difference what type/style of playing is involved. All that matters is, that my interpretation was correct for that particular song, my vision. In other words, I want what I do to be musically correct right from the very beginning and just plain feel good...
Best Regards to you André and to all my fans...
Thanks so much,