MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — They are the heartbeat of every band, providing that driving beat that keeps the music together.
Minneapolis is home to some of the best drummers in the world, and this weekend they will be honored.
Legendary drummer Bobby Z. of Prince and The Revolution is one of the honorees.
“When you are the drummer and your controlling the movement of the beat, literally the heart beat and the party is moving, it’s a pretty special feeling,” Bobby Z. said.
Bobby and five other legends will take part in “Twin Cities Drummers Rock,” a showcase designed to highlight drummers and their contributions to many of the great groups that define the “Minneapolis Sound.”
They will be celebrated by a group of up-and-coming drummers, whose talents are right on par with the musicians they will honor.
Bobby Z. says they are the unsung heroes of most bands.
“They’re kind of like offensive linemen, they don’t the ball when a touchdown’s scored and nobody knows what they do – but the team does,” he said.
Vocalists know how important the drummer is to the entire group, which is why Jamaica Bennett – lead singer of the Sounds of Blackness and CEO of Minnesota Movement – put together a show to honor the keeper of the beat.
“You get some drummers that play for a band that only perform rock music, but then they get home and they play classical and all these different genres of music but it never gets to be seen,” Bennett said.
Legends like Bobby Z. and Perry “Tree” Graham, drummer for the Grammy Award-winning Sounds of Blackness, will be honored.
“It’s kind of like Christmas for a kid with a new toy,” Graham said.
The legends include The Time’s original drummer Jelly Bean Johnson, Stokley Williams of Mint Condition and Michael Bland of Prince’s New Power Generation band and Soul Asylum.
A group of young drummers – including Brandon Johnson and Sean Smith – will celebrate their legacy with performances.
“[I] try to really not be the same as them but to go the same route, but, you know, apply my own methods,” Johnson said.
Musicians Rob Coleman and Ethan Yeshaya are also up-and-coming artists who are ready to show what the new generation’s skills.
“Everything always starts with the drums counting it off,” Smith said.
They plan to get the most out of being around these giants in the industry, as well as showing everyone what the future of Minneapolis music, and that “Minneapolis Sound,” is all about.
The beat drops Saturday at the Minnesota Music Cafe. The red carpet event begins at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.
Many of the young drummers have played for people like Stevie Wonder, R. Kelly, The Steeles, Kelly Price and Prince.
Tickets are still available. Call 651-776-4699 for more information.