Featured drummer of the day- Thomas Pridgen

Pridgen won the Guitar Center Drum-Off at age 9 and at age 10 was the youngest recipient for a Zildjian endorsement in the nearly 400 year history of the company. Pridgen is also naturally left-handed, but plays the drum kit as if he is a right-hander with his kit set-up right-handed. Thomas has studied with David Garibaldi, Walfredo Reyes Sr, Troy Lucketta, and Curtis Nutall. He endorses DW Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Evans Drumheads, Audix Microphones, and ProMark Drumsticks. Thomas was also the recipient of a 4 year scholarship to Berklee College of Music in 1999 at the age of 15; he was the youngest musician to ever receive this scholarship.[2] He has played in clinics with Walfredo Reyes, Jr. and Dennis Chambers. By his teenage years he had already done studio sessions with many Bay Area Gospel artists.

In 2006, Pridgen received a call from Omar Rodríguez-López of The Mars Volta:

“Omar asked if I wanted to come check out the band,” Pridgen recalls from his home in El Cerrito, California. “We talked on the phone for a couple of hours, and then I went to Ohio to meet them. Omar invited me to a back room, where the whole band was set up. We jammed for a good thirty minutes. He then said, ‘We’re going to play that groove tonight in front of everybody.’ This was for a huge show in Cleveland, when the band was touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.[3]

In 2007, Pridgen became the new permanent drummer for The Mars Volta. Pridgen’s first appearance was at the March 12th show in New Zealand, where the band debuted the song “Idle Tooth” which was later renamed “Wax Simulacra” for the forthcoming album. After shows in New Zealand and Australia, The Mars Volta toured a few West Coast venues as the headliner, then entered the studio to record their fourth LP,The Bedlam in Goliath.[4] Pridgen’s style on Bedlam in Goliath used “blistering 32nd-note full-set combinations, stunning single-stroke rolls, and blazing single bass drum patterns”[3] along with creative and preciseparadiddle technique.

Thomas Pridgen has been voted as Best Up and Coming Drummer by Modern Drummer magazine.

Besides his work with The Mars Volta, he has also been involved with Christian Scott and Wicked Wisdom. Thomas, for some time, was working with singer Keyshia Cole as her live and session drummer and being her music director. He also was featured alongside with Tony Royster Jr., Eric Moore, and others in drumming DVD entitled “Shed Sessions”, a Gospel Chops DVD.

Thomas was also featured on the Modern Drummer 2008 DVD with footage from his performance at the festival.

On one of the last dates of the Bedlam Tour in Mexico, Thomas and the band ‘wrecked’ the kit and cracked the 20″x24″ acrylic bass drum. After this Thomas was seen only using DW maple jazz kits live, but he now uses his Acrylic kit again with his new band The Memorials.

[edit]Exit from The Mars Volta (2009)

In October 2009, Pridgen left the Mars Volta. As of December 2009 the band has still made no official statement, however, in their most recent shows they have been performing with drummer Dave Elitch.

[edit]The Memorials (December, 2009)

In December 2009, Thomas Pridgen formed another band called The Memorials with friends and former students from Berklee School of Music – Viveca Hawkins (Vocals) and Nick Brewer (Guitars). Thomas describes The Memorials‘ first record,

“For me it was important to put a band together with my friends, and ya know, the record is a rollercoaster. Some songs are hard, but will make you cry by the end….”

The self titled album is due for release in January 18th, 2011.

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