Guyton Sanders / Part 3

Continue from Interview with Guyton Sanders Part 2

S: So, after 2-3 years on pillow, what did you start playing?

G: When I really started playing the drum a lot more was primary from the, when I started going to the junior high and high school, I started playing the snare drum.

S: For the marching band?

G: For the concert and marching. The concert is like the symphonic or just orchestra. Those are the concert. The marching band is more field based, snare drums are much bigger. The concert snares are much thinner and they don’t require the brace.

S: So, many people do the marching drum?

G: Oh, there are tons of marching bands. We have the DCI, which is the Drum Corp International. The Drum Corp International is a huge marching leagues. For instance, Santa Clara Vanguard, Blue Devils, if you look up any of these, you will see it. If there was a marching band that reached professional level, then that will be the Drum Corp International. That’s huge in pretty much everywhere in the United States.

S: And also people play the drums at churches. What type of style you play at the church?

G: As far as anything with churches, you definitely come across with lot of gospel style type of playing. There are also lot of contemporary style. When you start dealing with the contemporary style, that’s when you start go into the kind of realm of hillsong, hillsongs united where it’s more pop and rock based. If you look up on YouTube with hillsong, you will easily see so much. There are a couple of country gospel. But, that’s not played as much in here, surprisingly. I haven’t noticed it. I might be hidden from me at the moment. I may have not noticed it.

S: Your band, Vandoliers is country oriented. That’s Texas style, right?

G: I guess you could call it that. Lots of influences are based on like Old 97 which originally are from here. Turnpike Troubadours, which is another good example of Texas style.

S: When you guys make songs, and when you put your drums on the music, do you intentionally make it stick to the Texas style?

G: Not really. Whatever sounds good. I try not to think of it as a drummer, as much as I think of it as a songwriter. You don’t necessarily have to go nuts and try to put as many notes into one song as much as you possibly can. Sometimes, it’s also the space between the notes.

S: Yeah, I noticed your drumming has good space and good time. You are really good with keeping time.

G: I try to be.

S: How do you try to accomplish that? How did you make yourself so good with time?

G: Well, metronome really helps. Yeah, whenever you practicing your rudiments or anything like that, timing is always important. I was lucky, because before I was doing stuff with Vandoliers, I was playing with a band that requires playing with click tracks, or lot of loops, those were already fixed to a certain tempo. So, it was really the matter of getting in there with basically playing that along to the beat. After that, it was more of dancing around the beat as opposed to just playing exactly what’s on. That makes it a lot of fun.

S: But with Vandoliers, you don’t play with the click, right?

G: I do not. I do not play with the click. I only play with the click on whenever I am doing any kind of recording with them. But, whenever in live, I don’t ever use that. Lot of times, they like to play it lot faster anyway. It’s just a matter of energy sometimes.

S: So, when you play with the band, what are you thinking?

G: I am thinking what my lead singer, Josh, can throw in my way. Typically, I am so used to playing the song, like as the structure. I know exactly how many measures I supposed to do the train beat, and how many I supposed to do this, which comes in handy. Because when I go into a venue, and the monitor system goes out, which does happen, then, they have to rely on me. I don’t have a choice. If I know my part, then everybody else can play along to me. But, sometimes the lead singer likes to add more measures. I try to keep eye and ear out for everybody in the band, but I do primary pay attention to Josh, who is the lead singer of the band. Sometimes he reaches to the crowd, that’s one thing he does extremely well at. If he feels that he needs to extend out another phrases, he is pretty good at giving me the cue, and that’s when I do that. But, I have to constantly watch out for everybody.

S: Your base player uses the upright bass, right?

G: Oh, our old bass player used the upright. Our current bass player uses the hollow body bass, which is the acoustic electric type of bass.

S: In Japan, Rockabilly was popular once. It is country and rock.

G: Yeah, that’s another form of Cowpunk, basically. It’s kind of technically where we are at, in a way. There is definitely some influence there. Lot of 2 beats. Lot of train beats. Lots of it.

S: You are on tour.

G: Yeah, we are just back from tour, and going to tour again with Old 97.

The other tour we are doing is that we are heading to West Coast. We love it. Sometimes we take the tour bus. Sometimes, we take a van. I have no idea whether we are taking the bus or we are taking the van for this tour.

S: Do you carry your drum set?

G: Yes I do.

S: Are you going to take the stainless kit?

G: I probably not going to use my stainless for the tour. I try not to take stuff that’s extremely heavy with me on tour. It is very heavy, yeah. What I generally want to use is my 26 inch kick drum. That’s a Super Classic Deluxe in black oyster. And, 13 inch rack tom and 16 inch floor tom and 18 inch floor tom.

And, I generally carry a Ludwig Supraphonic snare drum with me or I carry my Copperphonic from Ludwig. I am pretty happy with every single sound from that. The Copperphonic is 6 ½ inch. You can get it in 5 inch too.

S: So, it is made of Copper.

G: Yeah, it’s made of copper. As a matter of fact, we have it right here.

It’s a beautiful snare drum. It is the exactly the same one that I got, with same finish and everything. It’s a new one. They never made Copperphonic before. This is the first time they ever made the snare drum with Copper. I love it. I absolutely love it.

S: Oh Guyton, I asked you so many questions. Finally I want to ask you what musicians here love to eat. Any kind of soul food for musicians?

G: Oh wow, what do I like? Oh, wow, um, I fell in love with a place on Legacy. There is another place in Carrollton, too. It is the conveyor belt sushi place.

S: Huh, that’s KULA Sushi.

G: Yeah, that’s the name of the place.

S: Oh, you like Sushi.

G: I LOVE THAT. I love sushi in general. But, that place is absolutely incredible. It’s absolutely awesome. I love it.

S: So, you like Japanese food.

G: Oh, I LOVE Japanese food. It’s so easy to go overboard with that place, too. I keep pulling the plates in, and next thing you know is you owe like $200.

S: Do you eat $200 at Kula? That’s a lot of food!

G: I did not, but I came really close.

S: Really! That’s a LOT OF FOOD.

G: Yeah, that’s a lot of rolls. It’s so easy to do. You put wasabi and along with soy sauce. I just don’t even eat half of that. I usually swallow the whole thing.

Yeah, honestly, now I think about it, I like either Thai food or Sushi are the 2 of my favorite around here. Especially KULA. I love KULA. I can never have enough KULA. If there is a way that I can afford to eat there everyday, I would.

S: Guyton, thank you so much.

G: Thank you.

Guyton Sanders / Part 2

S: I am interested in Lonestar Percussion. It seems that you guys are doing well.



G: We are definitely doing not too bad.


S: How long ago this company started?

G: This company has been around since 1978. It’s been long.

S: How long have you been in this company?

G: It’s been a little over a year. It was last year of March 29th (2016). It was my first day work in here. When I did it, it was just mind-blowing. I was on the same tour that I was taking you on, you know when I showed you around. And, that was the first time of me going to the actual back. I used to work for Sonor Drums and Sabian Cymbals. When I did that, I would come to Lonestar Percussions and talked to the old owner as far as purchasing some stuff from the company I was working for. So, I didn’t even see the back. Basically, I just went straight to the office. I talked to them and did the order, and that was it. When you go back there, it’s so incredibly over-whelming, to see all these drums, all the sticks, all the mallets and everything. It’s so mind blowing.

S: Is it secret now? Can I take pictures of the back?

G: Well, originally, we were able to, but since we opened up the new location in California,

S: Oh, you opened one in California?

G: Yeah, we opened up one in Fullerton, California. And, unfortunately, because of that, it opened up some stuff with OSHA. We are not allowed to let anybody go back there.

S: How did Lonestar Percussion start?

G: Most of vendors who try to open up in the first place, most of the time, they are basing off from the brick and mortar type of stores, or store front. Originally, when Lonestar Percussion was strictly mail order catalogue. That’s originally what it was. So, when you came in here, there was no showroom, what’s so ever. This right here, was just one counter and you can go in there, ask exactly for what you wanted, and they go back to the back and pull out and they would sell it to you. That was it. You didn’t get to see all this cool stuff you see now.

I think we started doing the showroom about … maybe 6 years ago.

S: I saw a gentleman came in and he received just a tom holder. So, I can see you guys take care of each customer’s requests.

G: Oh, we love it.

S: What kind of musicians are they? Do they play in the band?

G: There are a lot of them. We have all kinds. There is not really specific demographic. We have plenty of church drummers coming in here. We have a lot of rock drummers coming in here. We have a lot of Jazz musicians. We have a lot of over all school performers. It’s a big healthy dose of everything. Yeah, I mean the demographic is way too wide. It’s really huge.

S: When I came to Texas and I did the drum gig search, I found church’s ads looking for drummers. I went to one of the churches, and I was surprised with how hard and energetic they play music at the church. That’s something I don’t think we have in Japan. Later on I realized that I witnessed Southern Gospel Church music, which is very well known good culture that people admire from all over the world. So, this is heart of the culture, right?

G: It’s kinda, yeah, I mean this is the part of bible belt, so.

S: Do you play that too?

G: I have done it. I have played for a couple of different churches, yeah.

There are a couple of guys that work here do that as well. I personally at the moment, don’t really have the time to take up that type of gig, because of the band I play with right now keeps me very busy. That and I work at this place, too, so that’s pretty much what I do. So, if I am not playing the drum, then I am talking about the drums.

S: How did you start playing the drum? When you were kid?

G: Yeah, I started when I was eight.

S: What inspired you to play the drum?

G: What really was the family. There was this red sparkle Gretsch kit. It was vintage, round badge, from early 60s, with 22 inch kick, 13 inch rack tom, 16 inch floor tom. I remember when I was kid, I was trying to hit on the kit. And, my dad really wasn’t gonna have me doing that, because he pretty much loved the kit like you know, nobody’s business. He wouldn’t let any people touch it at all.

As a matter of fact, when I started playing the drum, the first thing he did was, he gave me a pair of sticks, and he gave me a pillow.

Kids are all into the instant gratification. It’s not as much fun to hitting a pillow than hitting the drum kit. On the drum kit, you wanna make noise, you wanna know that you are the one who is hitting the drum, and you are the cause of the noise. It was something about that really kind of got me, apart of seeing how my father did all that. So, my father just gave me a pair of sticks, and put the pillow right in front of me and said ‘Al right, you’re gonna start with your first rudiment’ It was right, left, right, left, R, L, R, L, which was the single stroke roll. During the first 2-3 years of playing, it was really frustrating. Hahaha, because that was all I was doing, playing on the pillow. When my dad left, I went behind the drum kit and played with it. Luckily my mother didn’t say much about it. Hahaha. But, I had the feeling that my dad knew.

S: Was the drum kit sitting in the house? You were playing the drums in the house?

G: Oh yeah. You wouldn’t wanna play in the garage or something like that, because if you do, there’d be so much humidity that can go into the drum shell. You don’t want your shells to warp out. Because you never gonna be able to tune or never sounds right. Humidity can really do a number on drum shells.

S: Well, first of all, in Japan, if you play the drum in your house, your neighbor will get upset.

G: Yeah, I kind of figure that.

S: So, in Japan, we have rehearsal studios. If we want to use the studio just for single musician’s practice, you could use it for probably US$5 per hour. If for the band practice, it might be something like $20 per hour.

G: Oh wow, that’s not bad at all. I mean, most of the rehearsal spaces around here generally, like hourly wise, anywhere from $30 to $50 depending on the room.

S: How do people in here practice?

G: Well, as far as individually goes, it’s up them. Most of them generally have houses that they can rehearse in. Personally, I’ve been just using the practice pads. Most of the time, though, I don’t have to practice that much because I go on play so much. When I get home, I just wanna sit down, and just watch TV. Lot of times, I pretty much just use the pad just to brush up on my chops. Whenever I am on the tour bus, I just kinda sitting there, right on my table, I practice on my practice pad all the time.

S: How about for band practice?

G: We used to have a practice space. When we started going out for tour a lot, it didn’t make sense to have our rehearsal space when we are barely there. It was monthly thing, yeah. The rehearsal place was like $450 a month. That’s a good chunk of change, just for handing out for a practice place that you are not using.

S: When kids start playing in the band, do they sign with monthly lockout studio?

G: It’s really depends on the person. Most of the one I know at least play in their house. Even some of the students I teach, they basically play on their kit in their bedroom. Things are lot more spacious here, spaces are not as nearly tight in as for instance when you go to New York, everything is extremely tight. It’s very much like Tokyo. You get the cops called in easily.

Continues to next

My first visit to the Southern Gospel Church

This footage is from a Sunday service at Restoring Faith Ministry in Arlington Texas.

They are very sweet, warm, and welcoming. They are absolutely wonderful people. I love them. The church is always filled with the positive spirit and great energy, with pastor Wayne’s integrity and his pray for better life of all of people.

And, their great praise team always pumps us up for better tomorrow.