Drum heroes week: Keith Carlock

The hugely-respected US sticksman has his own instrumental jam band, Rudder, but Keith's big breakthrough was recording and touring with Steely Dan which led to a series of high-profile gigs with Sting, James Taylor and hugely popular blues-rocker John Mayer. Who better to give Rhythm some guidance on nabbing the big name gig, which he did back in 2010?

On making a gig with an existing band your own...

"You have to be able to vibe with the people you're playing with personally. You don't want to be a high-maintenance guy demanding attention. I try to prepare so I know the music inside and out before I get there. Often there's little time for rehearsals and these guys don't really want to rehearse anyway, so it is nice when you can come in and just nail it.

"I always ask for the latest show recordings which I study, get to know what they are used to doing. I make tempo markings and even write charts if there is a lot to learn in a short time and that will help me through rehearsals. Hopefully they also appreciate me bringing something different to the table."

On having a solid groove...

"I have a lot that I draw from because of my background. But getting past all that now I am older, what really matters is just knowing what mature choices to make in the music and the most important thing is having a solid groove. Everything goes from that. Even the complex-sounding stuff, there is always that pulse underneath. There should be a danceable beat."

Check out: Steely Dan, 'Things I Miss The Most'; Keith Carlock //The Big Picture: Phrasing, Improvisation, Style, and Technique// (DVD, 2009)

For 100 moreDrum Heroes, get yourself a copy ofRhythm Presents 100 Drum Heroes, available in the shops,onlineand onNewsstand foriPad, iPhone and iPod Touchright now! It's got loads of interviews and profiles with a ton of drummers, plus it's beautifully illustrated with classic and new photographs!