Guitar Center, the world’s largest musical instrument retailer, has held the twenty third-annual Guitar Center‘s Drum-Off, the nationwide search for the next great undiscovered drummer, at Club Nokia in Los Angeles on January 14, 2012. In addition to the five grand finalists competing for the nearly $50,000 grand prize, the evening featured performances from some of the world’s biggest drumming icons who are bringing along their heavy-hitting friends for the performances. The lineup includes:
* Ilan Rubin (ANGELS & AIRWAVES, NINE INCH NAILS) — Performance features Hayden Scott of AWOL NATION also on drums plus Daniel Rubin on bass and synth.
* Aaron Spears (USHER, ALICIA KEYS) — Soul/funk set featuring Jabo Starks (drummer for JAMES BROWN) and Iz Avila (DJ for USHER) as well as Arthur “Buddy” Strong on organ, Tim Stewart on guitar, Eric Ingram on bass, Kevin Williams on trombone, Sean Erick on trumpet and Leon Silva on sax.
* Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD) — Performance features Billy Sheehan (MR. BIG, STEVE VAI, DAVID LEE ROTH) on bass, Tony MacAlpine (neo classical-metal style, STEVE VAI) on guitar, and Derek Sherinian (DREAM THEATER, PLANET X, BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION) on keyboards.
* Dennis Chambers (SANTANA, PARLIAMENT-FUNKADELIC) — GRAFITTI (funk jazz and latin fusion) featuring Gary Grainger on bass, Haakon Graf on keys, and U-Nam on guitar
* Brooks Wackerman (BAD RELIGION, TENACIOUS D) — Performance features Robert Trujillo (METALLICA) and Armand Sabal-Lecco (PAUL SIMON), both on bass, plus very special guests.
* Terry Bozzio (FRANK ZAPPA, MISSING PERSONS) — Jimmy Johnson on bass (JAMES TAYLOR, ALLAN HOLDSWORTH) and Alex Machacek on guitar
The evening’s panel of judges also includes a “who’s who” of drumming royalty, including:
* Cora Coleman–Dunham (BEYONCE, PRINCE) (former Drum-Off champion)
* Tony Royster Jr. (JAY-Z) (former Drum-Off champion)
* Peter Criss (KISS)
* Dave Elitch (MARS VOLTA)
* Ray Luzier (KORN)
* Jose Pasillas (INCUBUS)
* Tommy Clufetos (OZZY OSBOURNE)
* Thomas Lang (session player)
You can watch fan-filmed video footage of Drummer Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD), bassist Billy Sheehan (STEVE VAI, DAVID LEE ROTH), guitarist Tony MacAlpine (neo classical-metal style, STEVE VAI) and keyboardist Derek Sherinian (DREAM THEATER, PLANET X, BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION), drummer Brooks Wackerman (BAD RELIGION, TENACIOUS D), bassist Robert Trujillo (METALLICA), bassist Armand Sabal-Lecco (PAUL SIMON), drummer Terry Bozzio (FRANK ZAPPA, MISSING PERSONS), bassist Jimmy Johnson (JAMES TAYLOR, ALLAN HOLDSWORTH) and guitarist Alex Machacek performance below.
In addition to all the incredible performances, the night featured the Drum Legend induction of drumming greats Peter Criss (KISS) and Terry Bozzio (FRANK ZAPPA, MISSING PERSONS). The Drum Legend induction honors icons in the drum world that have paved the way for today’s drummers. The award is given to those that have made significant contributions to the craft and have hugely influenced players by their style and illustrious musical career. Past inductees include John Bonham, Billy Cobham, Nicko McBrain, Steve Smith, Dave Garibaldi, Alan White, and Greg Errico.
The Drum-Off champion won the grand prize package, valued at nearly $50,000, which includes: $25,000 cash, a feature in Modern Drummer magazine, 2012 NAMM VIP Experience, recording time at the Converse Rubber Track Studios and thousands of dollars in gear and endorsement deals from the drum world’s top manufacturers.