Keith Carlock DVD Feature/Review at

Keith Carlock - Photo Rob ShanahanI have been waiting about 6 weeks to review this excellent new DVD by one of the most exciting drummers of this decade. I was waiting for some UK/European clinic dates to be announced which have now been confirmed. If you don’t go and see anybody else this year you must go and see Keith either in clinic or with his band Rudder or both – you will not be disappointed.

Keith Carlock has been in massive demand over the past 10 years working with Sting, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen who (bestowed on him the honour of becoming the first drummer to play on every track on the 2003 Steely Dan album ‘Everything Must Go’) and winning plenty of drumming media awards.

Purdie, Gadd, Dennis Chambers, Jeff Porcaro and Peter Erskine are among the Steely Dan alumni, but Keith then got the call to occupy the drum stool for Fagen’s solo offering, ‘Morph The Cat’, and Becker’s solo outings, as well as sitting in for Steve Gadd on James Taylor and Eric Clapton gigs. He really has arrived in the drumming royalty.

I asked Keith about his achievements “I’m just a drummer trying to do what I can to make the best music,” he suggests. “It’s really cool that people are talking about me, but I’m there for the music.”

I had been looking forward to seeing this unorthodox looking drummers two disc four hour DVD every since I was told about the project and was not disappointed. It is shot the same was as the Aaron Spears DVD with a lucky small selected audience. The first disc covers many in depth topics such as foot and hand techniques, grooving, fills, phrasing and improvisation, and after each track Keith explains in detail his approach. A few highlights for me on Disc 1 is the section on time keeping and using his Hi Hat on various sub divisions while grooving something that I have incorporated into my practice time.

Keith Carlock - Photo Rob ShanahanAs I said previously Keith has what some would say a very unorthodox way of playing. However, it all makes perfect since his body is always moving in perfect motion and his limbs are moving within the subdivisions of the beat to make the played note right in the pocket with such control and dynamics which makes Keith the drummer he is.

“Dynamics are very important to me,” he says. “My whole goal is to be a musical drummer, not just a drummer’s drummer who wows the audience with his technique. I just try and show people that you can have both, but everything has a purpose. It should be music first and technique, all the things you love to do, the flashy bits, second. You have the choice and you have to know when to make the choice. It’s how you react to the other musicians playing around you.”

Disc 2 shows Keith at his best with fellow musicians Wayne Krantz (guitar) and Tim Lefebvre (bass) where the band break down each song and explain Keith’s approach to each track.

This DVD is what we have now expected from Hudson Music – a crystal clear digital video with super high fidelity stereo audio and multiple camera angles, which is accompanied with a downloadable 29-page e-book with transcriptions. This DVD can now also be downloaded from

The collaboration of Hudson Music and Keith Carlock together brings you, in my opinion, the best DVD currently on the market and I urge you to either buy it or download it at and go and see Keith in the UK in March. Hopefully I will see you there.

I got to have a chat with Keith recently to see what he’s been up to.

MD: What have you been up to over the past 6/8 months?

KC: 2009 was a very eventful year. I recently finished a 6 month North American tour with Steely Dan. And around those dates, I managed to fit in about 6 weeks with James Taylor in the States, and a new recording and dates with Wayne Krantz, Rudder, and Oz Noy. I am splitting my time between Nashville and NYC these days, so have been doing some recordings there as well recently. I also got married this past September, and lost about 65 pounds getting ready for those photos! Ha ha!

Keith Carlock - Photo Rob ShanahanMD: What was it like watching the DVD back and are you happy with it?

KC: It was a scary thing to do… all those cameras, lights, sterile room, etc didn”t help matters! But, overall I am very happy with it. There were a lot of things to try and cover within the 2 day shoot, so sometimes it felt rushed, and things got off to a slow start, but I am pleased with the result. I really think the mixes and the audio quality is very good. The students in the room had some great questions that lead to some interesting topics and discussions. The master class with Wayne Krantz and Tim Lefebvre on Disc 2 really came together well, I think that”s what I am most proud of.

MD: What are you up to over the next few months?

KC: I am going to Asia in mid February with Krantz, then will be touring parts of Europe (including a show in London) with Rudder during the first 2 weeks of March, then will finish up in the UK with some drum clinics March 15th thru 18th sponsored by Yamaha drums and Zildjian. Please check the dates at

-Mike Dolbear

UK Clinic Tour

  • Monday 15th March – Reading – DrumWright Tel: 0118 944 1418
  • Tuesday 16th March – Birmingham – PMT Tel: 0121 359 5056
  • Wednesday 17th March – Manchester – Drum Centre Tel: 0161 789 4415
  • Thursday 18th March – Gateshead – Drum Shop Tel: 0191 495 0201

Rudder UK dates

  • 3rd March  8:00PM  at Charlie Wrights London, UK

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