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Thomas Pridgen [The Memorials]:”Buddy Rich, I’d try to go at his head…”

Recently we had the privilege to witness one of the intense live shows ever. Former drummer of The Mars Volta collective is slowly wrapping up the extensive run of the European tour with his new hard/funk/rock/afro/punk crew called THE MEMORIALS. They are supporting their newest release ”Delirium”. We caught up with the drum wizard himself, mr. Thomas Pridgen.  Enjoy!


Who is Thomas Pridgen in 2012? Black jesus , your daddy

How’s the tour going so far and what do you think of Europe, the crowd, and the gigs?  I love Europe I’m really excited about being here with my band the crowds are really receptive to our sound and style I think we fit in here perfectly

Can you remember what was the spark that made you go and hit stuff in he first place? Being in church and seeing the energy coming from the bands and choir sparked it in me for sure

What was your first drum kit ever? My first drum was a Reno jr pro it was electric blue

Can you elaborate on your cymbal setup? Why do you play all big cymbals?Because they sound good with the music I’m playing my cymbal setup changes a lot but people rarely notice they usually just freak out on my hi hats

Why do you use a clear snare head? What type of snare are you currently playing and what kind of sound are you going for in combination with that drumhead? I use Evans clear g2 on snare because I’m not playing brushes… A lot of drum concepts are formed because of tradition the coated head..Stock Remo heads on every manufacturers  drums when they come out the box a lot of it is kinda just old people’s/drummers thoughts

 If you could challenge any drummer [living or dead] for a drum battle, who would it be and why? Buddy Rich… I’d try to go at his head. He was so awesome I think coming at him like that would make him pull out the guns

Name your dream super-group with you behind the drumkit? Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane with like Jaco Pastorius on bass that would be dope especially if Tupac was out front man !!! Haha

Who would you like to collaborate with in the future? I wanna colab with Aaron Funk or Squarepusher or even Skrillex  I also would love to play with Chick Corea or Herbie Hancock…. Pfunk would be a total experience

What do you think of Jojo Mayer, Johnny Rabb and Thomas Lang, guys who’re trying to authentically reproduce electronic beats on acoustic drums? Why haven’t you chosen to go in that direction as well?  I’m not here to talk about those Guys. But i totally do play things that replicate electronic music… You should check out our new (the memorials) album ‘’Delirium’’

You are considered a member oft he gospel chops bunch, but your musical projects have always been different from what Gerald Heyward, Aaron Spears or other typical gospel chops players would do. How come? Because I played on a video that’s called gospel chops… I’ve always played all kinds of music just like those guys

What was the easiest and/or hardest record/project you have ever done? Bedlam In Goliath [The Mars Volta] was hard because I didn’t know what was actually going on it was more of a tidal wave of ideas thrown into a album very quickly and I felt I wanted to be able to concentrate on my parts I little more

Would you ever tell a drummer that he’s a poor player? You know, right to his face… ? if he asked me and really wanted to know but I’d also give him good feedback on ways to get better faster

Who’s your favourite Memorial? Jimi , Tupac, Tony Williams, Buddy Miles,  Buddy Rich, Rich James , the list goes on

 What’s the worst thing that has happened to you as a drummer? Worse thing I dunno man I’ve had a lot of great experiences

Have you ever hit on a girl while hitting the drums? Yes… But that was a silly question

A  few quick ones:

Kick or snare? Snare

High or low tuning? Low

Sticks or mallets? Sticks

Whiskey or weed? Weed

Blues or jazz? Jazz

Rock or metal? I dunno man that’s a hard one

Deadmau5 or Skrillex? skrillex is the man

Blonds or brunettes? Brunettes

Billy Cobham or Buddy Rich? Billy Cobham, he played cooler music…