Rick Latham is one funky drummer.
Originally from Columbia, South Carolina, and now living in Los Angeles, Rick is currently a drummer with the Grammy Award–winning artist Juice Newton as well as the founder and driving force of his own L.A. all-star jazz supergroup Rick Latham and the Groove Doctors and his Italian trio Latham—Robin—Sorato.
Rick Latham at Work
Rick was a featured member of The Edgar Winter Band for nearly a decade, with hundreds of stellar performances, including a very special appearance at the 1999 Montreux Jazz Festival. Before moving to L.A., Rick lived in Dallas, where he was a member of the R&B bass legend Chuck Rainey’s band, Rainey Man. He also performed with such greats as the bluesman B. B. King during this time.
Rick has enjoyed the opportunity to perform with a long list of other leading figures, including the rockers Rick Derringer, Neal Schon, and Pat Travers, as well as the jazz greats Howard Roberts, Bill Watrous, Jerry Coker, David Samuels, and Paul Smith, to name a few. His versatility has been highlighted in the theme for television’s 9 to 5 series, Fame, the Quincy Jones–produced soundtrack for Fast Forward, and more recently the DVD releases of Gone in Sixty Seconds, Daredevil, and Spiderman. As a composer, his music has been featured in network-television series, feature films, and product jingles.
Rick Latham is celebrating the 40th Anniversary of his book Advanced Funk Studies, this year.
Shortly after relocating to L.A., Rick released his second successful book, Contemporary Drumset Techniques, followed by instructional videos that paralleled his works. 2005 brought the release of his highly anticipated 25th-anniversary DVD, which became an immediate hit. His latest solo release is his best-selling DVD package All About the Groove. Rick has toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, and Asia, and is frequently invited as a featured performer to leading jazz festivals, drum festivals, and percussion-related events around the world.
In a recent feature interview, Modern Drummer magazine referred to Rick as “a man who many consider to be one of the best clinicians on the planet.” The magazine also named his Advanced Funk Studies among the “25 greatest drum books ever published.” The legendary jazz drummer Louie Bellson has referred to Rick’s book as “like a bible” for drummers.Louis Bellson is the initiator of the double kick drum idea. It started as a sketch in art class. Gretsch would later develop the idea.
of the day. Playing club dates during his high-school years throughout North and South Carolina and the Eastern Seaboard, Rick attended to the technical aspects of drumming, but his primary focus was always playing the “groove.”While earning a bachelor of arts degree in percussion performance at East Carolina University, Rick expanded his rhythmic and percussion-related vocabulary, studying the snare drum, mallets, and timpani with Harold Jones. Rick was the winner of the school’s Young Artist Concerto Award, performing Milhaud’s Concerto for Battery and Petit Orchestra with the school’s
orchestra. In 1977, Rick was granted a prestigious teaching assistantship at North Texas State University, where he taught mallets and snare while pursuing his master’s degree in percussion with Robert Schietroma and Ron Fink, and studying the drumset with Jim Hall. While at NTSU, Rick was also a featured soloist, performing with the school’s wind ensemble, percussion ensemble, symphony orchestra, and the legendary North Texas Lab Band, and he instructed the NTSU drum line. Since relocating to L.A., Rick’s career has remained at a whirlwind pace, with only more great things on the horizon for this “doctor of groove.”
The Doctor of Groove was kind enough to take a little break from his kit to talk to us:
Chuck Schiele MakingMusicMag: Thanks for taking a few minutes for us, Rick. Drums are your life. Life is your drums. What’s going on, Doc?
CS: You have found a certain freedom through discipline. How does that work for you?
CS: Please share a bit on the skill of “listening” (as opposed to simply playing what you know…)
CS: On the subject of being the real-deal and walking the walk: While skill and proficiency are paramount, there’s more to being a successful musician that just “chops.” What are your three best non-musical practices that positively affect you as a musician.
CS: What are three musical practices that positively affect you as a person.
CS: Wow. “Tacet is a good word to know.” I think I want a t-shirt that says that. What’s the one thing you do every day to persist as a musician?
Rick Latham: Practice!
CS: What do you think about the evolution in our planet’s music culture that is ushering in the now-future of being able to play together from different locations?
Rick Latham: I love technology and use it daily in my own studio. The ability to interact and collaborate remotely with someone on the other side of the world is truly amazing and offers so much for musicians today. I feel this will become even easier for us all as time goes by. Also, as a teaching tool, for study online. This opens up a whole new world of endless possibilities to access that would not be possible without the internet and streaming. I look forward to what the future will hold in this area for sure.
CS: Number one drumming tip that comes to mind for Rick Latham is…?
Rick Latham: It’s All About The Groove.
CS: Thank you, Rick. It’s been great chatting with you.
Rick Latham: Thank you, Chuck. It’s been a pleasure.
You can visit Rick’s website at www.ricklatham.com.
Register to Win a Lesson with Rick Latham!
May is International Drum Month
The Percussion Marketing Council (PMC) (www.PlayDrums.com) bring you a great new program Drum lessons with a Master. Rick is one of 4 master in-demand drummers offering lessons as Grand Prize.