As Hoboken’s Drum Den celebrates its tenth year in business, I reached out to my old friend Pete to talk about the business and life behind the drums. http://www.jerseybeat.com/petemartinez.html
In my ten plus years as a Hoboken Resident I’ve driven or walked past the Neumann Leathers building countless times. And though I had taken many pictures around and outside of the sizable landmark. I had never once ventured inside the building. That was until today. In recent weeks I’ve had the pleasure of running into Pete Martinez. Best known to me as the drummer for New Jersey Power Pop kings Stuyvesant. I consider him, like many of the musicians and bands I rub elbows with to be more of an acquaintance than anything. Yet during the last couple of times we’ve talked at shows, he’s extended a hearty invitation to come pound on the drums at “The Drum Den”. Which, by the way, is located just inside Neumann Leathers. So today, with a few hours on my hands and a lot of aggression to work on. I took Pete up on his invitation.
Following a hearty welcome and a healthy tour of the facilities, (The place is a lot larger and organized than I ever envisioned.) we got down to business and started laying the foundations of learning to play the drums. Though I went in there to just basically make some noise and take out some pent up aggression. I found myself listening and wanting to learn more. Though I lacked any sense rhythm, I listened and learned about the kick, the snare, the toms and the symbols. I learned how to position myself, hold the sticks and hit the snares properly. Honestly, I got a lot more than I came for and Pete? I just can’t say enough about the guy. He put up with my lack of timing and rhythm and was a true teacher. So much so that I’ve convinced myself to go back and take some lessons.
After we finished I managed to stick around for a while, take some pictures and eventually meet Mitch Cady. We briefly spoke about the place and me wanting to take some shots. I gave him a couple of business cards. Both of which featured images taken at Maxwell’s. Turns out he used to do sound there. Well, small world. From there I creeped around the building getting some shots of the old factory. It’s become quite evident that there are fewer and fewer of these places around anymore. Places with a sense of history and character. I feel lucky to have had a chance to see it in it’s original form. I’m sure that my return will reward me with further corners and crevices to explore. Hopefully my rhythm and timing will be improved when I do. Thanks Pete. Thanks Mitch.
The older I get the more I find myself playing catch up. I work harder, sleep less and seem to be having more fun than any other time in my life. This creates an unforeseen problem. There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day or days in the week to accomplish the tasks I hope to accomplish. You’d think that with all the modern technology at our fingertips, things would be made easier. Maybe it’s just me, but it only seems to make things more difficult. My neglect towards this blog only serves as a reminder. One of the things I decided to do is start a new installment to the blog titled “Flashback Friday”. This will allow me to free myself from any time
constraints and show work that from the recent or somewhat recent past.
This weeks install doesn’t go that far back. The second week of August to be exact. I was still recovering from surgery when I was contacted by Dromedary Records head Al Crisafulli and Jim Testa of Jersey Beat asking if i
would cover a two day, three show music fest at Maxwells. The festival, strangely named “Camelfest: would benefit the Roots and Wings Foundation. A group that serves to help those that are aging out of the Foster Care System. It sounded like a great cause. Definitely worthy of attention. The thing was I was just out of the hospital recovering from surgery. I still had my stitches/staples in (Eleven if anyone’s counting) and was told to rest and stay out of crowds or situations where you might be bumping into people. “Fuck it” I said. You only live once and Maxwell’s is only a few blocks from me. It wasn’t as if I’d be getting caught in a mosh or have people stage diving on my head. So I went, covered all three shows and had a great time. The few times when I really felt the pain of my surgery was when I bumped myself with my own camera. By the end of it all I was exhausted and needed an entire day to sleep it off. Regardless
, I’m glad I got to be a part of something special. I finally got to meet Al from Dromedary. He’s an all around awesome dude. It was really special getting to see him really enjoy himself on the final night. Enjoy the pics.
Here’s a thought for all the shooters out there. When photographing a band, if at all possible, get some shots of the drummer. The drummer is the back beat of the band. He’s the first one to arrive and the last to leave yet everyone else follows. They’re always the last to be interviewed. If at all. The last to get paid. The last to get laid. They sweat through clothes faster than an Eskimo in the amazon. And their about as visible as a goalie in the NHL. Yet there is no band without them. (That is unless you want to use a drum machine. We all know how awesome that sounds.)
The conversations I’ve had with drummers have been the best. Tales of aliens, going crazy from banging shit all day and other tales of descent into madness. So give it up for the drummer. Say hello when he’s done packing up his ton of shit and buy him a drink. He’s the drummer. He’s worked hard for it. This one’s for you Pete. (This blog post does not exclude female or transvestite drummers. They work just as hard, if not harder.)
If your up for some great Power Pop tuneage be sure to check out Stuyvesants new record coming soon.
Last night I had the guys from Stuyvesant over for some Band shots. Brian told me they wanted an “Unforgiving Look” while Ralph pointed to Television’s “Marquee Moon” album. I personally looked for inspiration from some of my favorite SST and Dischord Records. In less than an hour we knocked out what they were looking for. I offered them more time and ideas but they were very happy with what they got and were gone before knew I it. Brian, Ralph, Sean and Pete were very easy going and fun to work with.
When I heard Jenifer Convertible were getting together to play the Dromedary showcase I was pretty psyched to say the least. During my time living in Hell’s Kitchen I saw them about a half dozen times and loved them. Their Maxwells set did not tarnish my fond memories in the least. In fact they renewed them. I don’t know if they have plans for more shows. Judging from this one. They certainly haven’t missed a step.
I’ve known Brian for quite a while now but it’s only recently that I’ve been listening to his band Stuyvesant. A couple of months back I sat down with the band and inrterviewed them for my website. Friday night the band was in top form representing Dromedary Records at Maxwells for the CMJ Festival. Brian wore the Elmer Fudd hunting cap and Ralph was his usual nutty self. Check out my interview with them here.
This Friday night Dromedary Records will be representing the CMJ festival at Maxwells here in Hoboken. It’s an all Dromedary bill featuring Jennifer Convertible, Shirk Circus, The Mommyheads and of course Stuyvesant. I’m really excited about the show and happy to be covering it for JerseyBeat.com. In the meantime I thought I’d post some images of Stuyvesant. They just recently invaded Maxwells for their record release on Dromedary.