Aaron Anderson is a Vernon-based drummer who has been playing professionally for more than 30 years. He has worked with artists such as Buddy Miles, Trooper and Dave Goodman and is a founding member of popular Okanagan rock band The Goods.
Q: I know that you’ve recently opened up your own drum school. Can you tell us a bit about it?
A: “Yes I did. After teaching at other schools for eight years, I decided to go on my own thanks to many requests from many students and parents. I have always needed to do things my own way and without restrictions. Now at my school (AA Drum School) I have two sets of electronic drums face to face, and two sets of acoustic drums face to face as well as two sets of congas and all sorts of hand drums. I also have recording capabilities in my studio for recording performances and also teaching studio recording techniques with my students.”
Q: How did The Goods come up with its name?
A: “Our singer/bass player Todd York and I were driving down Hwy. 97 throwing ideas around and I said in a Godfather type of mafia voice: “You can’t have a party if ya ain’t got da goods” and that was it, we knew that was the one.”
Q: How do you use your platform of influence to change and shape the world that we live in and the future that we’re headed towards?
A: “I’m not sure I am in a position to change the world at this point but I do know that we can positively affect a room full of people. People are always telling us how much fun we made them have. As a teacher I see it all the time. Taking a new drummer at any level and showing them the way to the next level and on is really something special. I get to watch people realize a potential on a very physical instrument that they never thought possible and that is a very cool experience. It is very intensive coordination training that shows itself in sports and activities as well.”
Q: How did you get your start with drumming?
A: “I think I was around seven or eight. I was wearing a hole on the armrest of our couch with rulers and pencils. There was always music in my house thanks to my mom. When I got my first set of drums for Christmas, they were put in a little out building we had and I would play every day after school. My oldest sister had the forbidden collection of records that had most of the best music from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Once I had proved myself a worthy student, I was allowed into the world of Cat Stevens, Tower of Power, Deep Purple and everything in between. In my Grade 8 year I had earned the drum chair of my high school’s junior and senior concert and stage bands. I was in every band in the school and I loved it. Going to the New Westminster Jazz Fest with Grade 11 and 12 was something I will never forget.”
Q: What’s worse, failing or never trying?
A: “Without question, never trying is by far worse. In the world of music it is so easy to think you are not ready or not good enough. It’s not like sports where the obvious succeed. The arts are so subjective and unpredictable.”
Q: What’s the best part about being in a band?
A: “The best part of being in a band is taking the key ingredients and continually refining and adding new spices. Keep moving forward and see how good you can get. Out of every five songs we learn only one will be kept. If a song does not get a great reaction from our fans, it doesn’t get to stay, period.”
Q: Where and what would your dream gig be?
A: “My idea of the dream gig has changed many times over the years and it is quite possible that I have had some of my dream gigs. When I think about it today, Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas or something like that would be great. I could be challenged in all aspects of my playing and go home to my family at the end of the day.”
Q: What’s the craziest thing that’s happened during a show?
A: “Wow this one is tough! It could be the mad wife trying to smack the keyboard player on stage or thinking a bomb went off just to find Matt Frenette (of Loverboy) playing my floor tom like a mad man while I was in the middle of a song. But the craziest thing was when I was very young. I was in an Alice Cooper show band and one time the python tried to squeeze the singer to death in the middle of the show. It took two crew members to unwind that monster off that skinny little singer.”
Q: If you could invent something what would it be?
A: “Besides the obvious cure for cancer and things like that, I would invent a way for the music industry to make and pay artists the way it should, like the old days.”
Q: How would you describe your future in three words?
A: “Family. Healthy. Happy.”
– Getting to Know: a special feature in The Morning Star, featuring Q&As with local musicians, is conducted by Kalamalka Secondary School graduate Aniko Forgo.