What's an interview with a guitarist doing on a website for drummers? Gannin Arnold is an LA-based session guitarist and producer who has worked with an impressive pedigree of drummers and picked up plenty of tips along the way. Throughout his career so far he's recorded with the likes of Vinnie Colaiuta and plays guitar in Taylor Hawkins' '70s inspired Coattail Riders band. In 2011 Gannin put out a solo album, Not From Here, featuring a host of his drummer friends including Hawkins, Terry Bozzio, Simon Phillips, Jimmy Chamberlin and Gary Novak.
The album spawned a DVD project, 5 World Class Drummers, released via Drum Channel (trailer below). The premise of the DVD was to have Phillips, Bozzio et al performing tracks from the album, and in one case each drummer playing the title track as an experiment to highlight the different nuances and personality that each drummer brought to the table. It's a fascinating watch.
With so much experience working with and knowledge of the world's greatest drummers, who better to ask what makes the perfect session drummer than Gannin?
What are the main characteristics a session drummer needs?
"Someone who has great time and great feel. Also, someone who understands many different styles. I think it's important for a drummer to have a good grasp of history and understand the lineage of drumming."
Who, in your opinion, are the best session drummers on the scene right now and why?
"Well, there are a lot of amazing drummers. But here's a few off the top of my head: Adam Watts - Adam, Andy Dodd and myself have a production company called Red Decibel and I have to say Adam is one the best drummers I know. He has perfect time and amazing chops and he always knows what's right for the song.
"Josh Freese's resume pretty much speaks for itself. He comes in, plays a few perfect takes and leaves. He's a powerful drummer with a great feel.
"Vinnie's the most versatile drummer and best reader I've ever worked with. Let's face it he's probably one of the greatest drummers of all time. Everyone is in awe of Vinnie!"