Interview with Drummer David Elitch
16 Jul, 2012
David Elitch, a musician and drummer based in Los Angeles, California, but originally from the Sonoma County region of Northern California, has played for such well-known and popular acts as Justin Timberlake and The Mars Volta. Elitch has toured Europe and South America, and in October, 2010, he opened for Rage Against The Machine in Brazil and Chile playing in front of a crowd of 70,000 people. His love for drumming stems from his exposure to great music at a young age, which he commends his father for: “He was always playing great music around the house like Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Nat King Cole when I was growing up.” An accomplished drummer in the LA music scene, Elitch desires to give back to the community by teaching drum clinics specializing in “advanced level instruction, including complex phrasing concepts and an approach towards technique, which focuses on efficiency and letting your body’s natural mechanics work uninhibited.” When asked about his passion for live performance, Elitch states: “It’s like nothing else on Earth. The adrenaline and the roar of the crowd is irreplaceable…I give it everything I’ve got and push myself to my outer limits and I think that comes across.” Read more. [February 6, 2012]
Dig In Magazine: When did you move out to Los Angeles and where were you raised?
David Elitch: I was raised in Sonoma County (Sebastopol, Santa Rosa and Healdsburg) and moved to LA when I was 19.
DIM: Are you a full-time musician/drummer?
DE: Indeed I am.
DIM: Who do you play with?
DE: Whoever calls me! As long as the music is good, I’ll do it.
DIM: How many bands have you played with?
DE: I’ve never counted – A LOT!
DIM: Who are some well-known musicians that you have played with?
DE: The Mars Volta, Juliette Lewis, Daughters Of Mara, etc….Just did a record for this killer singer Bren on Interscope with Justin Timberlake producing. That was a lot of fun.
DIM: What type of musical genre would you categorize yourself in?
DE: Well, I usually get called for Rock/Metal stuff, but I play anything that I need to.
DIM: What types of music and bands have inspired you?
DE: Oh man, this is always a tough one. Meshuggah, Deftones, Gotye, Bjork, Ray LaMontagne, Imogen Heap, Karnivool, Brad Mehldau….I could go on forever.
DIM: When did you begin drumming and how did you get into drumming?
DE: I got my first kit on my 10th birthday. I don’t remember why I wanted one – there was just some sort of magnetic pull happening. I just said “I want that” and it was game over from there on out.
DIM: Have you always had an interest in music and drumming specifically?
DE: My dad would take me to see the Bob Lucas Piano Trio at Coffee Catz when I was really young and I think that might’ve had something to do with it. He was always playing great music around the house like Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Nat King Cole when I was growing up.
DIM: Was there anyone that inspired you to become a drummer?
DE: All of the teachers that I’ve had. I was lucky enough to have Vance Reagan as my band director at Analy High School and he pushed me to work hard while I was still young. All the music I listened to and watching MTV had something to do with it I’m sure.
DIM: What is it about the instrument of the drum that draws you in?
DE: Drums span across pretty much all cultures and are the oldest instrument that we have. It’s in our DNA. There’s going to be a connection there, whether you’re aware of it or not. Some of us are just more in tune with it then others. All that I know is that when I’m playing a show, I can’t help but feeling like putting my fist through a wall.
DIM: I understand that you teach drum clinics, what sparks your desire to teach others to play the drum and where have you taught? What do you specialize in teaching?
DE: Well I’ve had a lot of great teachers in my life and I think it’s really important to give back. It’s also in my blood. My dad and sister are also teachers. There also aren’t a lot of people out there who are able to articulate what they play, and I’ve been doing that since I was 16. Knowledge is power as they say.
DIM: What type of drum equipment do you use?
DE: DW Drums
Remo Drum Heads
Vic Firth Sticks
Protection Racket Cases
DIM: What do you like about live performance?
DE: It’s like nothing else on Earth. The adrenaline and the roar of the crowd is irreplaceable. I tend to go a little nuts when I’m playing live – I can’t help it! I like putting on a show. It bums me out when people just stand there and play, you need to make it entertaining! I give it everything I’ve got and push myself to my outer limits and I think that comes across.
DIM: I understand that in 2010 you traveled the world to play with The Mars Volta sharing the stage with Muse and Rage Against The Machine, which countries did you tour and what was that experience like?
DE: We toured solo all over Europe back in 2009 and then did Big Day Out in Australia back in Jan 2010 w Muse, Mastodon, Lily Allen and a ton of other bands. That was the first time that I’d played to 30-50,000 people, so the first time that I walked out on stage in Auckland, NZ was pretty surreal. Opening for Rage back in Oct. 2010 in Brazil and Chile was beyond crazy. Walking out to 70,000 people going off is crazy. They really go off down in South America! I thought the stadium was going to collapse at one point!
DIM: What is it like being a young drummer in the LA music scene?
DE: It can be tough, but I’ve got no complaints at all. I’m very grateful and I love my life. As long as I’m never chained to a desk, all is well!
DIM: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
DE: I go to the gym 6 days/wk. That’s a huge part of my life that I take pretty seriously. It’s my place where I go to unplug and turn my brain off. We all need something like that in our lives. I also am currently putting the finishing touches on my 1970 Plymouth Barracuda that I got when I was 15. Really excited for that! Drums, Gym, Cars. That’s pretty much it!
DIM: What is upcoming for you in 2012 and beyond?
DE: I’ve got a new band with Greg Puciato (Dillinger Escape Plan) and Max Cavalera (Sepultura). We’re getting ready to do our record in a few months, so just writing right now. It’s going to be really heavy. Can’t wait to kick people’s teeth out when we play shows!
For more on David Elitch, visit: www.DavidElitch.com