Paul Pedro

August, 2017

Paul Pedro has been a drummer in the CT original and cover music scene for the past 20 years. He currently plays in one of the Northeast’s top cover-bands called THE ZOO. He started playing drums in the 4th grade and was heavily influenced by Neal Peart and Stewart Copeland growing up. Over the past 20 years he has had the opportunity to play in bands covering many different genres, from Rock to Reggae, Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Hip Hop, etc. Recording credits include Ultimate Fighting (UFC) / SPIKE TV, in which his band SAVING ECHO recorded intro songs for UFC fighters as they entered the ring. One song was featured in the UFC 70 main event on SPIKE TV. His band DOWN MONDAY was a supported artist on 106.9 WCCC Radio in which they were played in regular rotation on the station and shared the stage with many national acts. His band SAKARA won iRockRadio’s first unsigned artist contest with their song “Androids Can’t Say No” and reached the #1 slot as a favorite song voted by the listeners of the station. They released a video for that song which you can find on YouTube. He has also recorded extensively with a project called BEAUTIFUL HURT. He plans to continue writing and releasing more music with them as well. Currently, you can find him playing every weekend all over the Northeast with THE ZOO, or playing some acoustic gigs with his band BLIND DRIVE.  

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Check out the below interview with Paul!

For our audience that doesn't know you, can you give us a short summary of what you do in the CT music scene?

I have been playing in a mix of cover and original bands for the past 15 years and have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with many great bands. Here is a list (hope I am not forgetting any!) Zoom, Kick, Explicit, MePaul enPaul, Tao Jones, Soul Merchants, Bek Phillips, Saving Echo, Down Monday, Beautiful Hurt, Sakara. Currently I am playing for The Zoo as well as an acoustic driven band called Blind Drive.

What made you start playing drums? Did you ever receive any formal education musically?

Well it all started in the 4th grade when I signed up for guitar. I was then informed that guitar is no longer offered so I chose drums. I took the basic lessons on the pad in school, however never took any formal drum set lessons until high school (for about 1 year). I played air drums to music videos on MTV for the first 5 years of my drumming since I did not have a drum set. I remember the first day playing a drum set was at my cousins house. (he had just started playing and right away had a drum set (lucky kid!). I literally just knew how to play. I started playing the beat to Smells Like Teen Spirit and was just grooving along. Drums always felt natural to me. I guess it was in the cards that guitar was not available! Since then I have taken a few lessons here and there with some drummers that I really look up to. Most notable are Eric Kalb and Mike Levesque. Both are monster players. I unfortunately only had 1 lesson with Eric Kalb. At the time I met Eric, my gig situation had totally changed overnight and I couldn’t get down to NYC because of the new gig schedule. I do hope to take some more lessons from Eric one day. Just that one lesson made such a huge impact on me.

You currently play with The Zoo, one of the biggest cover bands on the East Coast. How did you get that gig?

I had been playing in the cover scene for a long time, so the past experience did help. At the time I was not playing in any cover-bands and my gig schedule with my original project was pretty slow, so I decided to inquire with Randy (singer for The Zoo) about the gig. We tried to set a time to meet up and jam, however both our schedules were pretty much opposite that week. I decided to record a quick clip of me playing 3 different tracks (about 30 seconds each track) and emailed it to him. Next thing I know he calls me and asks me to start playing with them in the beginning of October 2016. 

What are some of the obstacles you have to overcome with such a demanding show schedule?

It is a very demanding schedule, thus it has not been easy by any means. I work full time in the finance field, however am very lucky to have accrued 5 plus weeks of vacation a year at my job. That certainly helps when you are playing Ocean City, MD on a Friday and have to leave at 1pm to get down there in time for sound check. It also helps that we have a roadie/stage manager in the band. This allows me and the rhythm section to carpool together and not worry about all our gear. 

Do you use click tracks while performing? How would you encourage young drummers to start developing their skills with a metronome? Do you feel that the continuous use of playing to a click track with The Zoo has helped you in other projects while playing in a studio or live setting?

We currently use a click track for 90% of the show. I was lucky to be a part of the marching band at Southington High School (which has a very excellent music program). This taught me a lot of discipline with respect to timing and rudiments. I would always practice my snare rudiments to a click track at home. I recommend all young drummers practice their rudiments to a metronome, as it is so important to have excellent timing. I have been playing live to a click track for over 10 years. In the beginning it was a bit difficult because I would tend to over-think the click and concentrate too much on it, however now it has become such a useful tool for me. When doing shows with my original band Sakara, I would use a click just to keep good time. We didn’t run samples, however the click track would help keep me in line. When I play heavier music I tend to get amped up and may play a bit faster than I should, however with the click track it really helps keep my tempo consistent. It is also a crucial skill to have when recording as the vast majority of producers/engineers want the songs recorded using a click. 

What are you currently practicing?

Since joining The Zoo I have been focusing a lot with regards to adding some unconventional beats to some of the cover songs we play. Of course the goal is to always keep a killer groove, however there are so many drum covers out there that are just bringing these pop songs to a whole new level (groove-wise) thus I have been taking some inspiration from those players and incorporating some of those grooves into what we do. It’s a lot of fun. One artist to note is Luke Holland. He is an incredible drummer and has some really interesting takes on these new pop songs.

Any tips for people looking to make a career playing drums?

Be humble and work hard! Take the utmost pride in what you do and always try to learn from others. Nobody knows everything. You can be the best musician, however if you have a horrible attitude nobody will want to work with you. I always play with the thought that there is someone else just waiting to take my job. It is a very competitive industry, if you have the wrong attitude the chances are your gig won’t last long!