Twin Cities' busiest and most talented drummers share life lessons

JT Bates, Jeremy Hanson, Arlen Peiffer, and Anthony Poretti tell it like it is

Try everything and have faith

Since the drummer plays such a foundational role, it relieves some of the pressure to focus on one type of music, allowing drummers to play across the spectrum of styles and sounds. Aside from rock, folk, country, and punk, Bates and Poretti are noted for their free-jazz improvisations. In order to challenge himself, Hanson has made a venture into jazz territory with his new band, Biological Father, which he said was a necessary respite from falling into a pattern of playing songs the same way, especially during a prolonged tour. With his intense focus while playing, like a chemist mixing solutions, Hanson says that his focus is "to listen to whatever group I'm in and feel that instead of bring something that I've already learned."

There is also a Rube Goldberg quality to drummers: There are infinite configurations of the drums themselves, and drummers are willing to use anything to get the sound they want—chains, bells, saucepans, trashcans, tin cans, paper cups. Poretti offers, by way of example, "If you were to make a guitar out of a car door and one string, that's a big thing to put on the table, but with percussion, it's not so distracting, you can add to other people's sounds." A part of his regular kit is a pot he had used for soup until it fell out of a cupboard and rang with a unique resonance. The possibilities are endless.

Top to bottom: Anthony Poretti, Jeremy Hanson,  JT Bates, and Arlen Peiffer
Stacy Schwartz
Top to bottom: Anthony Poretti, Jeremy Hanson, JT Bates, and Arlen Peiffer

And that's the gleam in Bates's eye. "That's my insanity," he says. "It's all sounds to me. It's infinite. If you really think about it, how many different ways can you hit this thing? It's like a leap of blind faith—I don't know if anyone else hears this differently but I do, so I guess that's what I have to give to the world." 

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