Diffusion of Useful Beats, a book of Exercises, Beats and Fills for Drum Set, by Spit Stix (Tim Leitch), best known as the drummer for the LA punk band FEAR.
“When I started teaching drums 13 years ago, I began to compile new beats and exercises for my students. I studied mixed and cross sticking, reverse engineered electronic beats, and learned new 8 bar phrases regularly for the drum kit to keep my lessons interesting and progressing. Unexpectedly, I found my own creative pool and comfort zone expanding. I started creating new beats and sticking patterns my drums had never spoken before, and I excitedly shared them with my students.
“Of course you have to invest some time to become good at anything, but I found playing things outside the old go-to box was expanding my abilities.
“The exercises and beats in this book are meant to make your drums sound new without necessarily buying anything new. They are also intended to strengthen weak spots that you may have, and fill your creative drumming toolkit.
“I may sometime expand my focus in the future on other things, but this book is dedicated to things that got me off my laurels and breathed fresh air into my chops. I hope it does the same for you.
“Finally, there is a period of time where I feel like a like a dumb-ass when I’m learning something new. Sometimes just one bar! If you find yourself feeling like me in that grey zone, just bear with it and when you hear yourself play it just once, even roughly, you’ll know you are close to having it.”
Spit Stix was born in Los Angeles into a musical family. Both his parents and all his siblings played or performed. At the age of eight, Spit chose drums and began to play Bossa and Jazz. At 12, he began tutoring with Marine drum and bugle corps instructor Don Clark, and speed drummer Deane Hagen (son of film/TV composer Earle Hagen). By 17, he had studied with Joe Pass and Art Pepper, and performed with Ralph Humphries and Don Ellis.
Later he joined seminal hardcore LA punk band Fear, performed with avant-garde singer Nina Hagen, Lydia Lunch, John Belushi, LA African Beat Kwashi and Dick Dale. He performed on Fear’s infamous Saturday Night Live “riot show” on Halloween 1981. Stix learned production, engineering, and songwriting skills from mentors Richie Podler and Bill Cooper, Paul Dobbe, and muses Bob Clearmountain and Keith Forsey. He also has performed in movies like The Decline of Western Civilization, American Pop and The Ratings Game. In 1983, Stix produced the first Red Hot Chili Peppers demo recording that led the band to its first recording contract. Those sessions were later released in 1994 as “Out in LA”. (EMI) His credits also include scoring the feature film, Night Eyes II and the film short, In the Meantime, as well as ghost- composing other feature films under Steve “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” Shift.
In 1991 Spit had a Merenge hit with “Paraiso (Radio Mix) The Way Into Paradise” with the popular all-female musical group from Puerto Rico, Chantelle”. (WEA Latina).
After his move to New York City in 1992, Stix came off the road with FEAR in 1993 and began learning Sonic Solutions and Pro Tools. By 2000, Spit was writing jingles for Bang Music, engineering, producing, licensing, IT servicing, teaching Logic Pro software privately, and demonstrating for software and digital audio hardware manufacturers at trade shows.
In 2003, he partnered with Emmy award winning composer Patty Stotter, scoring HBO documentaries and music and sound design for children’s books online.
Spit’s solo project Sol-I won 1st place at the 2004 Just Plain Folks Independent Music Awards in the category Electronica Album of the Year for his album, “Leap Before You Look”, . Docs Without Borders Film Festival awarded his piece “Is Anybody Listening?” for its 2016 Official Selection in the Human Spirit category.
Spit recently reunited with his FEAR bandmates Lee Ving and Philo Cramer. He has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 2005 where he teaches and performs.