behind the scenesEarlier in the year Percussive Arts Society executive director Joshua Simonds said he was going to try different concepts for the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), the annual confab of drummers and percussionists of all styles taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana, November 14-17, 2018. He was understating by a mile.

The 2018 program is perhaps the best that we’ve ever seen at this event in terms of the wide variety of styles and types of presentations. Simonds gets my Golden Drummie! award for best PASIC programming.

The complete lineup is here and you’ll find the schedule of programs here, but I want to share some highlights.

The appeal of PASIC goes way beyond drum set and clinics. It’s the jams — concerts among players brought together specially for the event — and the chance to see and hear artists in other styles and instruments you may never otherwise get the chance to appreciate, that make it special. Having a full trade show where you can see and play all the instruments, surrounded by other drummers, is just icing on the cake. There’s an evening show with Victor Wooten, Dennis Chambers and others, regular nightly mallet percussion events, and drum circles. Choose from dozens of classes, educational seminars, and sessions. Drum‘s looking forward to open-ended sessions like this one from the Music Technology Committee: “Is the Laptop the New Folk Instrument of the Twenty-First Century?”

Simonds gives all credit to his staff for lining up the hundreds of artists who perform or teach at PASIC. His role, he says, is to make sure they are inclusive of more styles, and are reaching out to relevant artists who should be at the event, but perhaps have never performed there before.

Drum Set Sessions

As far as drum set goes, PASIC is a field of riches in 2018 with an incredible assortment of clinics, performances, concerts, and basic classes. There’s Aaron Comess, the Spin Doctors co-founder whose solo work takes him into brilliant corners of jazz and improvised music; Emmanuelle Caplette (see video below), an otherworldly Canadian marching prodigy in her teens who has evolved into a drum set monster, will be in clinic as well.

Other clinicians include Stephen Colbert drummer and educator Joe Saylor, Zach Danziger, and the legendary Aaron Spears. You can also check out Alice Cooper drummer and respected Drum columnist Glen Sobel, and the amazing Nate Wood. Want more? How about Calvin Rodgers, the three-time Grammy-winning gospel star who has brought a smooth R&B style to many recordings, or Cindy Blackman Santana? If you’ve never witnessed her in performance you’re missing the chance to see a master of power and nuance in action.

Want even more? How about Alex Acuña , the all-world legend on conga, hand drums, and drum set? And Paul Wertico, who came to fame with Pat Metheney and has gone on to break new ground with books, teaching, and his own aggregations and recordings? Perhaps you’d like to see Gregg Bissonette, Todd Sucherman, and jazz icon and cymbal inventor Jeff Hamilton performing in a group context?

On Saturday morning there’s also a special performance with Hit Like A Girl Winners, including DeArcus Curry, the original 2010 Hit Like A Girl Contest Winner who has played frequently with T-Pain and others. She’s joined by Calsey Tory and Roni Kaspi, the 2018 18+ and Under 18 champs, respectively.

If you’ve never been to PASIC, now’s your chance. Next week we go behind the scenes with some of the artists to see what they are planning for their special performances.