Monday, September 29, 2008
Chris Pennie is a ridiculously skilled, diverse, and creative drummer and a busy, busy man. When he’s not touring the world with Coheed and Cambria, he’s working on his two side projects, Return to Earth
and Enigma Machine. When he’s not working on his side projects he’s traveling to drum festivals, teaching drum clinics, writing articles, and practicing for hours every single day. He recently collaborated with Joe Bargamini on an instructional book on his drumming techniques, Polyrhythmic Potential: Creating a Polyrythmic Vocabulary. And I think he sleeps sometimes, too.
Chris joined Coheed and Cambria in 2007 and wrote the drum tracks for their fourth release, Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow. Because he was still under contract with Dillinger Escape Plan he was unable to record the tracks. Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters was brought into the studio to record. Chris looked at this as an opportunity to learn from watching how another drummer played what he wrote. This eagerness to learn is a core part of Chris’s personality, and is likely a huge part of what makes him such a success.
Return to Earth released Captains of Industry in December 2007 and are currently working on new material. Brett describes the new material on the MySpace page as “heavy and brutal… yet beautiful.” Chris says “The tunes are definitely a lot darker, a little bit more frenetic. I think everyone is bringing it a bit more, all the while still being very melodic.” Expect a new release, tentatively titled Automata, sometime in early 2009.
Enigma Machine is a project in development. Chris says this project has been a ton of fun. He says the music “will be very heavy and is definitely some of the most difficult music he has written and played in a long, long time.” And he’s “really looking forward to diving in” to this project.
Discography (with links to purchase on Amazon):
Coheed and Cambria: Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow (Drum tracks written by Chris Pennie and recorded by Taylor Hawkins)
Return to Earth: Captains of Industry
Dillinger Escape Plan: Dillinger Escape Plan, Under the Running Board EP, Calculating Infinity, Irony is a Dead Scene EP, and Miss Machine.
Boxer: The Hurt Process
Idiot Pilot: Wolves
All Else Failed: This Never Happened
It’s not just my circle of friends who consider Chris a drum hero and highly respect him as an artist. He was named “Drummer of the Year” by AP Magazine in 2007 and has won several awards from Modern Drummer. Apparently playing (probably non-stop) from the age of 13, having supportive parents, listening to a diverse mix of music, earning a degree from Berklee in Musical Synthesis, and continuing to take lessons even while playing sold out arenas is the perfect formula to become (and remain) one of the best drummers around.
Keep up-to-date on all of Chris’s projects by adding him as a friend on MySpace.
(Note: On www.carlfischer.com, search by the book title. Pennie is spelled incorrectly on their site)