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Thomas Pridgen Feature

Thomas Pridgen can undoubtedly be described as the best young drummer of today. At the age of 9, he won the Guitar Center drum off competition, was fully endorsed by Zildjian Cymbals at 10, and received a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music at 15 (being the youngest person ever to receive such a grand offer). Thomas Pridgen has already had a prolific career at the young age of 26, drumming for the likes of Christian Scott, Keyshia Cole, The Mars Volta, and more recently, his new band, party-rock outfit The Memorials. Bear Annihilator is proud to feature an interview that we conducted with the young drumming god.

BA: Your drumming is ridiculous (and we mean that in a good way)! Before
you achieved the fame and status that you have now, what was your
practice regimen like as a young drummer?

TP: In the summers, I know I practiced all day. In the fall I’d practice after school. I’d sometimes play to CD’s, then other days just soloing. I’d even solo over many of the CD’s I played along to, but just disregard what the song was actually doing, because I was the only person there.

: Can you tell us how you guys decided on the band name ‘The Memorials?’

TP: Yeah! Nick came up with it, it’s everything you do to celebrate or remember days or people are memorials of the time, birthdays, and 1st steps, etc…  it’s a memorial of the times…most times great events are implanted in your mind as some kind of memorial.

BA: The Memorials, your new band, includes talented singer Viveca Hawkins
and the eccentric guitarist Nick Brewer. I also read that you guys met
while attending Berklee. Were there always future plans for the three
of you to start this band?

TP: No, but I always knew there would be a band with the three of us. I’ve known Viv forever, we hung out a lot but never did much music together .Me and Nick lost contact, but I always thought he was amazing. Me and Nick had an all black metal band in Boston named Sabaii, I’ve always thought he was a great songwriter and guitar player.

BA: Who has influenced you lately, as a drummer?

TP: Derek Roddy, Sonny Emory, Buddy Rich, Jojo Mayer, and Trilok Gurtu.

BA: What bands/artists have you been really into lately?

TP: I don’t know…I’ve been getting pretty bored lately! Lots of one trick one song ponies really. I’ve just benn listening to an array of different dub, afrobeat and prog rock, punk metal records mostly too.

BA: Are there any main influences on this new and upcoming self-titled
Memorials record?

TP: Just life, the heartaches, the loves, the pain, the happiness, the emotions of the times.

BA: Did you guys produce your upcoming self-titled album yourselves? Or
did you bring in somebody else?

TP: Yeah, I kind of steam plowed this whole project without a producer. We’re really good at being honest and everyone involved has pretty good taste.

BA: Do you have any sort of self-rituals you do to get you “in the zone”
before you go into recording? What about performing live?

: Not really…I stretch, practice, pray… people know what I do, haha.

BA: There’s an awesome youtube video of you and Tony Royster Jr. having
a drum-off or “shred” session from gospel chops I believe, what was
that like? Did you have a hard time playing with him, or rather, did
he seem to have a hard time keeping up with you?

TP: No, I like to do me know matter who’s in the room. Me and Tony have known each other well over 10 years, and we’ve played together a lot. He does the Tony thing, and he does it well. I like to treat drumming like iron chef; I get my ingredients, then I’m off cooking on something, and if it turns out great, cool, if it fails, whatever, try it again. I really get bored playing licks and beats. I know I can play in situations like that and with spontaneous chops.

BA: You’re no longer with the Mars Volta, but will you be featured on any
more Omar-Rodriguez solo albums in the future?

TP: Nope, not for a while.

Check out the Memorials “West Coast.” Their new album drops January 18th!

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