Mike Carroll archive

Category : Pictures (24)

Melting Pot…

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Published on: February 6, 2014

I arrived home from Memphis, Tennessee last week and there is much to report! As I mentioned before, I went down with the Dan Doiron Band to compete in the 30th Annual International Blues Challenge representing the east coast of Canada. Big thanks to Dale Schimph and Cathy Prothro from the East Coast Blues Society for their tireless efforts and support. Though we didn’t bring home the prize, we had an amazing time and made some new friends and contacts.

For many newcomers to Memphis, their experience begins and ends on Beale street. It is true that Beale is a vibrant and bustling destination filled with bars, clubs, and restaurants billowing music of all sorts, but the one place that has everything I want to see is located at 926 East McLemore Ave.; home of the Stax Museum.


Stax Records was responsible for launching the careers of countless soul, blues, and funk artists like Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Isaac Hayes, and Booker T and the MG’s. I had visited once before about four years ago and it was a gratifying and emotional experience, but this time was extra special. Our organ player, a 20 year old prodigy named Leith, grew up on a steady diet of Stax artists and he credits Booker T and the MG’s as his main inspiration. To be standing with him in the same room as Booker T’s Hammond M3 he used to record ‘Green Onions’ was spine tingling to say the least, and for him it was downright spiritual. He was visibly overwhelmed.


Standing next to Al Jackson Jr.’s drums was another goosebumps moment:


We also got to check out Sun Records, which represented a starting point for many legendary acts such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis. In fact, early in their careers all four got together for a jam session at Sun and we got to stand in that very room; Hallowed ground indeed!


Later that day, my travelling companions indulged me by joining me on my visit to the famous Memphis Drum Shop. After much perusing, I discovered a room full of vintage drums of all kinds. Being a part of a Beatles tribute band for almost ten years, the picture below was naturally a highlight:


In the evening, Brad the bass player and I caught a Memphis Grizzlies game. It was my first NBA experience and it won’t be my last. I was thoroughly entertained the entire time. For those interested, the Grizzlies trampled the Houston Rockets.

Another landmark that I unfortunately missed last time was the Civil Rights museum. I managed to rectify the oversight this time around and am so glad I did. There was so much fascinating information to take in regarding the events leading up to Martin Luther King Jr.’s tragic death as well as his historic efforts to put African Americans and minorities on equal footing. There is so much more progress that needs to be made, but it was shocking and heartbreaking to read peoples accounts of how blacks were treated back then. The picture below shows the very place where MLK was assassinated.


All in all, the Memphis trip was one of the best and I’m so proud and grateful to have been a part of it. Kudos to the boys in the band for all their hard work! I got to witness some great blues music, see some historic sights, catch an NBA game, and eat some tasty ribs. By the way, I never made it to Graceland this time either….there’s always next time!

Here is a link to one of our performances at the New Daisy Theatre:

Dan Doiron Band at the New Daisy


Categories: Gear, Media, Pictures, Sundries
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Published on: October 23, 2013

photo(5)I am thrilled to announce that I reached a deal with Los Cabos Drumsticks and am now a proud endorser of their products! I have been using their sticks for over a year and I couldn’t be more pleased with the feel and durability of them. Recently, I played an in-store concert with Matt Andersen at Tony’s Music Box in Fredericton, NB. I borrowed a pair of Los Cabos brushes to use and was amazed by their balance and sound. I bought them without hesitation!

Acquiring an endorsement deal is a major step in a drummer’s career. Personally, it is confirmation that I am headed in the right direction and it is gratifying that someone thinks enough of me and my work to support my endeavors. I am truly thankful. I am looking forward to getting a tour of the factory and meeting some of the Los Cabos folks in the near future. Below is a link to Los Cabos’ official new artist announcement. A special thank you goes to Artist Relations Rep Matt Carter for his kind words and assistance.





Mike Carroll proudly endorses




Exit Stage Left…

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Published on: July 22, 2013

The Rush concert last Sunday (July 14, 2013) was even better than I imagined! The set list, though heavy on their mid-eighties material at first, spanned most of their almost 40 year career. They even added a couple of my favourites! (The Pass, Dreamline) The tickets that I won (see post below) ended up being 9th row centre which gave me and Jay Freake a perfect view of the action. The tickets I had purchased went to my brother and his wife. They had to relocate because their view was impeded by some tall folks, but really enjoyed the show once they got resituated.

The whole experience felt rather surreal. After so many years of being a fan, I finally got to see them in person virtually in my own backyard. The performance was nearly flawless and was heightened by some amazing lighting, pyro, and giant video screens. At times, I wished the sound was better, but they were playing in a hockey rink after all. I did notice that the sound seemed to improve for the second set. I’m not sure if it was because the sound was tailored to suit the heavier edge of the new material, (set two consisted mainly of songs from 2012’s Clockwork Angels) or if it was just a figment of my poor abused (mostly self-inflicted!) ears’ imagination.

During the show, I developed a whole new respect for them. To see and hear three guys 60 years of age (or close) perform that well for that long (about 3 hours) was nothing short of astounding. The show also included a special appearance by the Trailer Park Boys in the middle of YYZ that electrified the crowd. I am so glad I was able to catch them on this tour because it is difficult to say how much longer they can keep going. However, if this show serves as evidence, I’d say they still have plenty left in the tank.

Our view:


The Professor in fine form:


Yours truly and Neil’s drums:


Brought to you by the letter ‘ewe’.

A Night Not To Be Missed…

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Published on: March 13, 2013

On March 22nd, I will have the pleasure of playing with renowned blues artist and good friend Matt Andersen, along with Symphony Nova Scotia at the Rebecca Cohn in Halifax! It has been a long time since I’ve had the chance to play with Matt, so this night will be extra special. Topping it off, I get to perform with the symphony again! (Last time was as a backup singer for one of Matt’s shows) I can’t wait for this, and I hope you have your tickets already, because it is sold out and it’s going to be a night you won’t soon forget!


Original photo by Dan Culberson. Painting by Ryan Hupman.

Click here for more info!

Bill Stewart Revisited…

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Published on: March 8, 2013

Back in October 2012, I uploaded a video celebrating Bill Stewart’s Birthday. That video quickly became my most popular on YouTube, with over 4600 views as of this writing. As a small token of thanks to all who have taken the time to watch and subscribe to my channel, I have decided to do another one dedicated to Bill’s work.

The first part contains three short clips demonstrating a lick he often plays in solos. The second part is a groove from the John Scofield tune ‘Dark Blue’ off the album ‘Hand Jive’. In the final part of the video, I am playing a transcription I did of Bill’s solo on ‘Everybody’s Party’ from the John Scofield/Pat Metheny album ‘I Can See Your House From Here’.

Thanks so much for all the nice comments and encouragement! I am always working hard to bring you neat stuff and I hope you’ll keep checking out the site!

Here is a transcription of the lick and groove:


…and one of the solo:


Happy Birthday Tony Williams!

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Published on: December 12, 2012

The late, great Tony Williams would be 67 today. (Dec.12, 2012) A huge influence on my playing as well as countless others, Tony transcended the boundaries of jazz drumming in the ’60’s and created a fresh sound. His tenure with Miles Davis is well documented in jazz history and he is known for being one of the fathers of jazz fusion with his own group Lifetime. Tony was a rare example of both fluid technique and superb musicality, never letting his technical ability impede his musical expression. His playing on Miles’ albums such as ESP and Nefertiti altered the landscape of jazz forever with his creative use of polyrhythms and metric modulation.

I’m still in the middle of unpacking from a move and have had trouble locating the resources necessary to make the video I want to make, but rest assured, I will post a new video as soon as I possibly can. This post will serve as a placeholder until then!

Photo by Sid Maurer

It’s Official…

Categories: Media, Pictures, Tour Dates
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Published on: November 19, 2012

POGEY will be participating in the 100th Grey Cup festivities in Toronto! We will be performing at the ‘Tigertown Wreckers Ball’ put on by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. This is sure to be a great time so come out Toronto and Hamilton friends and fans! Details below…

Happy Birthday Bill Stewart! Drum Licks 6 and 7, Drum Groove 3 – Multicam

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Published on: October 18, 2012

The fourth installment of the ‘Drummer’s Birthdays’ series celebrates Bill Stewart’s 46th. (Oct 18, 2012) Bill, without a doubt, has been the greatest influence on my jazz playing. His creativity and precision are second to none and he has a very identifiable sound. I first discovered him through a random cd purchase while still in high school. I immediately fell in love with his playing as well as his compositions (one of which I performed at my St.FX graduation recital) and soon bought everything I could find that had him playing drums. I actually got to see him perform in a duo setting during my first year at X and was amazed with the musicality and almost telepathic level of improvisation between him and pianist Bill Carrothers. He is perhaps best known for his work on some outstanding albums with guitarist John Scofield.

The first clip in the video is an idea he employs often in solos. I play it at full tempo first, then slower to illustrate the sticking, then at full speed again. The second clip is another solo idea that he orchestrates in several clever ways. I demonstrate two of them at fast and slow tempos. The last clip is a quick demonstration of a groove he plays on a track called ‘Crosstalk’ from his album ‘Snide Remarks’. (The one I bought in high school) The second half demonstrates the sticking. It is a very complicated rhythm in that he is playing it as a 6 over 4 crossrhythm while the feet play dotted quarters continuing over the barline. I’m sure I’ve lost the non-musos at this point, but what are you doing on a drummer’s site anyway?! : )

Have a good one, Bill!

Update – I’ve had many requests for notation, particularly for the first lick, so I’ve decided to include (poorly) handwritten transcriptions below. The first one is kind of an approximation, but gets the job done. I also jotted down the stickings where necessary.

Bill Stewart Licks

Ali Jackson Drum Intro to ‘The Next Step’ by Kurt Rosenwinkel – Multicam

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Published on: October 15, 2012

This little project came about thanks to my friend and colleague Matt Gray (Matt is the George Harrison to my Ringo Starr), who lent me a cd by jazz guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel entitled ‘Deep Song’. The entire album is genius, but I was particularly inspired by the final track, ‘The Next Step’. The drums are played by Ali Jackson, whom I had never heard of before listening to this cd, and he kills it. I had to rewind the first 30 seconds and listen to it over and over because it had so much energy and creativity. I was in Fredericton at the time staying at Freake’s place recording some multicam stuff for this site and I decided that I would learn the part and record it for inclusion.

The process was an interesting one because I felt that the drums themselves would have little weight without context; for this reason, I committed myself to learning not only the drum part, but the piano and bass parts as well (in hindsight, I wish I had recorded video of the keys and bass, but I wasn’t thinking at the time). Learning all three parts proved to be challenging, but extremely rewarding! I actually played the piano and bass parts first and the drums last, which is a terribly backwards way to record, but I’ve had experience doing that sort of thing. After the keys and bass were done, I stayed up late transcribing the drum part and got up early to practice it.

All the parts were recorded to a click using Reaper and were painstakingly synced to the video captured with four cameras by Freake. A curious sidenote is that during the recording of the drums, we discovered that the click I was using through Freake’s Ipad was faulty. We couldn’t get the drums to sync with the other instruments and soon realized that not only was the click off by a good 10bpm, but that it was also inconsistent. Nice! We also noticed when trying to set a tempo, that the original track speeds up by about 10bpm once the drums come in – not a bad thing in this case because it creates so much forward momentum and still maintains a great feel. For our purposes though, because I was playing all the instruments, it was important to stick to one tempo.

A couple performance notes worth mentioning: Ali Jackson plays a five-piece kit on the track and I adapted it for a four-piece. Many of the ride accents I play can be substituted for a crash cymbal. Lastly, the first piano chord you hear is on the ‘and’ of beat 4.

Jay and I had so much fun creating this short little video and we hope you’ll enjoy it (rudimentary piano and bass skills included). Special thanks to Jay Freake for his technical wizardry and to Matt Gray for introducing me to some very cool music! The transcribed drum part is below the video for those interested. All eighth notes are swung.

For an informative rundown of the technical specifications, including gear and software used, please click here.


Categories: Audio, Media, Pictures
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Published on: October 6, 2012

Last week I completed nine drum tracks for blues rocker Dan Doiron’s upcoming release. The tracks were recorded at Don Chapman’s DC Productions in Dartmouth over two days. Even though there was a great deal of hard work involved, it was a very relaxed and productive session thanks to Don and Dan’s expertise and laid back approach. Also, a big shout out to Los Cabos drumsticks is in order! A drummer friend of mine turned me on to this Maritime company and I was able to record the entire album using just one pair of sticks! I even used them on a few gigs before and after the session. Impressive!

I prepared extensively before the session by writing out charts for myself, playing along to demo versions of the songs, and making sure my drums had new heads and were tuned properly. Being prepared is crucial as it helps to make the day go more smoothly and can end up saving the artist a great deal of money in expensive studio time.

Charting out the tunes:




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Mike Carroll proudly endorses Los Cabos
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