Ray Kanter's Musical Influences - From the Beginning to Today

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As memory serves me, my first recollection of rock music came from listening to Elvis Presley at the neighbor’s house. I remember how much I liked how I felt when I listened to the music and the affect that the music had on others.
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From there it was Ringo. He was so cool, with his black pearl finish Ludwig's. He and the Beatles were taking the world by storm and I immediately wanted to be like him. I have an appreciation for all of the drummers of, what is for me, that original era.
It's 1966 and my musical career begins. After some months of persistent asking, my dear mother figures out a way to pay for my drum lessons. I could only play drums if I took lessons and practiced. No problem.

Enter Mr. John Will, an eloquent gentleman and pure musician. He taught drums at the Music Note, a local music store. Some how this man taught me to read and play, and for that I am eternally thankful. He has an infectious air of cool confidence in the way he plays and teaches. I appreciate that about him.

Now I get really lucky. I find what every young drummer needs, another drummer friend. That would be the incredible monster Jon Reynolds. Still to this day my favorite drummer. An intelligent and insanly creative musician, Jon invented being on the cutting edge.

Jon and I had matching Ludwig Blue Sparkle drum sets, which Jon would constantly experiment with. Jon eventually built and played a drumset that even Keith Moon would have approved of. We played in Orchesta's and Concert Band's and Marching Band. Later we delved into Rock and Roll
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As my taste for main stream rock shifted to prog I was drawn to the precise excellence of Michael Giles. His work on the first King Krimson album still inspires me today.
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I was also into the incredible Michael Shrieve. At first, I didn't even understand what he was playing. I just knew that I liked it. As the original drummer for Santana, he held down my all time favorite percussion section with style. He showed me that jazz chops could convert to Rock or Latin Rock with power and grace. Plus, he reminded me of my next idol.
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Mitch Mitchell, well maybe only in hair style, which was flaming out of control. Mitch was just plain nuts. He was so solid and all over the place. Mitch could lay it down, and I liked that a lot.
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That brings me to Ginger Baker. Ginger's whole style was to be admired. He’s somewhat of the drummer’s drummer, in my book, for his ardent campaign to bring drummers to the front. No sideman here. Groovy rock beats are his forte, and his double bass drum solos are the best.
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By this time I'm fully into drummers, and I see Buddy Rich on the Tonight Show. Stop the presses. Whaaat is this? I've heard the name, but was not drawn to the music at that time. Well, as it can be for some drummers, it was over for me. I kind of measured everything on some kind of Buddy Rich scale after that. Buddy was the epitome of confidence on the drums. He made the Drums seem regal to me, and I appreciate that about Buddy.
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Now, I'm grooving on Tony Thompson. This cat lays down the heavy head boppin’ groove and everything I do on drums is inspired by his choices
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I liked all the groove drummers and flowing beats of that era, which led me to the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Mr. Billy Cobham. Power and precision wrapped up in a groove. He had intensity with purpose. Billy inspires me to play anything and own it.
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My current influnces are Mike Clark, Stacy McMillan and Mr.Gregg Gerson. Mike Clark is the smoothest, cleanest live drummer that I've ever seen. He is hypnotizing in his meter.
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Stacy McMillan was one of my teachers and taught me to be like all of these drummers that I admire. I admire Stacy because he is one of the best drummers I know and he taught me to play the drums rather than hit them. Stacy's touch on the drums is a thing of beauty to behold, he can groove deep or go funk solid.

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Currently I have the privilege to be taking lessons from Rock Icon, Gregg Gerson.

Like all of the legends that preceed him, Gregg, exemplifies that uncanny quality that all great musicians do, he gives back. Gregg takes the time to teach others what makes him so successful. Gregg's ability to educate is only riviled by his insane gift to play music on the drums.
Being influenced by all of these great drummers has instilled in me the will to follow my dream. Each one of these great drummers did it in their own way, as I will, as you will.

I know one thing, these guys can't all be everywhere at once, so there is a gig for all of us who practice hard and want one.

Drummer Gregg Gerson Drums
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