Pedal Power

by Chris Medici

Once I bought my first guitar I realized that it was only the beginning of my journey towards sounding like my guitar heroes. So, back to YouTube I went, seeking guidance as to how I could capture the sound – that tone that is in my head. It turns out that many others have been on the same quest. In fact, one music store in the UK has a whole series of videos about sounding like their favorite bands. Also, some of the companies that make pedals have produced videos that walk viewers through analyzing and re-creating the tone of a particular song or band. 

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Celebration Day Indeed

Whoa. It seems a little surreal, but it’s time to rock! After three months in our sheds at home, we’re opening the studio today for lessons, practice, and jam sessions. Physically distanced but socially together, we’ve created an environment that enables bands to play together again and take lessons live. An environment where you can come in and practice again. Drummers and neighbors rejoice!

Have a look at the post here that outlines the protocols we’ve put into place to keep everyone safe. In addition to what we’ve all learned about safety over the past twelve weeks or so, the studio setup and plan to safely get people in and out should make it as seamless as possible. That said, please forgive us as we work out the kinks over the coming weeks, and feel free to let Jason, Chris Medici, or me know if you have any suggestions along the way. You will need to book time online through our Pike 13 software system. To book a room, go to your dashboard and pick the room you want. You’ll be able to book it if it’s available. If you’re looking for a jam, you’ll be able to book your band during jam/rehearsal hours. If you have any questions or need help, text or call Jason and he’ll help you out.

Our instructor hours are:

Mon – Bree 11-7
Tues – Jason 11-7
Wed – Vinny 11-7
Thursday – Jerry 11-7
Friday – Closed
Sat – Nick 12-6

If you’re in a band, expect to hear from Jason, Nick, Bree, Jerry, or Vinny. They’ll reach out to you help you keep growing in music with your bandmates.  If you’re not in a band and would like to be, reach out to Jason and he’ll hook you up. While there may not be many traditional gig opportunities on the horizon, we’re getting creative to score some live performance opportunities, including our planned Sunday Stage live streaming performances.

As promised, we’ll continue our scheduled online programming and Zoom lessons in addition to our in-person activities from here on out. We think it will be a nice balance of in-studio and at-home experiences. Thank you from my soul Bree, Nick, Jerry, Jason, Chris, Cristina, Dave, and Vinny for your creativity and hard work to provide musical connectivity and a taste of normalcy (what is that now anyway?) over the past three months.

And thank you everyone for the incredible support you’ve shown our community. Crazy times, man, and I feel so very blessed for our Altered Stage family. Onward together.

With love and in music,


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Ultimate Drummers Playlist II

by Dave Agee

A “fresh four” have been added to the playlist!  Check ’em out!

I’ll be assembling weekly Spotify playlists for the drummers (and friends of drummers!) who are looking for some material-specific direction in their practice.  Feel free to use these tracks to supplement your own practice goals – here are things to look for in each track…

1. Care of Cell 44 – The Zombies

Swingin’ and shufflin’ bass drum patterns.  The pairing of the steady hi-hat on quarter notes and fairly active bass drum playing lots of upbeat 16ths makes this tune worthy of the shed.

2. Bell Bottom Blues – Derek and the Dominoes

This one came up in a class over the last couple weeks – a unicorn of snare drum patterns lives in the verses.  Snare on 1 and 3, you might ask?!  How can this be?!  Well, it exists.  In addition to altering your drumming reality, there are some wonderful 16th note fill ideas throughout and a killer pre-chorus floor tom vibe worth checking out.

3. Golden Age – TV on the Radio

Linear groove alert.  16th-y… and demands the drummer to get comfortable with getting the L hand to the snare drum on the “a of 3” in the pattern.  Sure, try to transcribe and play the verse groove back, note for note… but allow yourself to just listen to the chorus, glean some ideas (w/ toms and a steadier stream of 16ths), and play the style using the vocab that you feel like you have a handle on.

4. Can’t Run But – Paul Simon

(***I’m thinking in “fast 4”) Oooooh man.  Not a typical drumset part, but here’s my list.  #1 – play the soupy 8th notes (shaker sounds) and really try to get inside that swinging feel.  #2 – that marimba/mbira background texture that shows up in the beginning… play a similar repeating pattern like that around the kit, while grooving with the rest of the tune.  #3 – play kick on beat 3 only, and then layer options #1 and #2 on top of it!

We’ll chat more about these tunes and break them down during the Drum Q+A hang Wednesday!  See you then.

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A Message From Our Founder

“My my my I’m so happy
We gonna join the band
We are gonna dance and sing in celebration
We’re in the promised land.”
-Celebration Day, Led Zeppelin
Now that we have Mayor Lightfoot’s plan to move to Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois program in place, I wanted to share our plan to get us all back to what we love to do: Jam together.


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