Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Evans Artist Spotlight - Scott Johnson - The Blue Devils

NAME: Scott Johnson

AGE: 50

CURRENT JOB(S): Director of Percussion - Concord Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, Percussion Arranger & Clinician, Percussion Judge - WGI

YEARS AT CURRENT POSITION: Director of Percussion for the Blue Devils – 16 years, Arranger & Clinician (started arranging 34 years ago, at the ripe age of 16), WGI Percussion Judge – 10 years

THE EARLY YEARS: My musical training began at the age of four when I began taking drum lessons from a local percussion instructor. At the encouragement of this instructor I became involved in the drum and bugle corps activity. Before my fifth birthday, I joined the Red Knights Drum and Bell Corps from San Leandro, CA, and later graduated to the Royalairs Drum and Bugle Corps. I remained there until joining the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps at age 18. I was a marching member with the Blue Devils snare line from 1976 through 1979. I was hired as a member of the Blue Devil Percussion staff from 1978 through 1989 and later rejoined the organization in 1994 as Director of Percussion and Percussion Arranger.

During my four years away from the Blue Devils, I was hired as Director of Percussion and Percussion Arranger for the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps from 1991 through 1993, after one year as percussion consultant in 1990.
I was also the Percussion Arranger for Riverside Community College from 1999 through 2003, and through the years have arranged for many drum corps and marching bands across the United States, Japan and Europe.

Personal awards include twelve D.C.I. championships, eleven D.C.I. High Percussion titles, two W.G.I. championships, three DCA championships, two DCA High Percussion titles, ten DCE championships, nine DCE High Percussion titles, four High Percussion titles in Japan, and 1977 D.C.I. & P.A.S. Individual Snare champion.


MY PLAYLIST OF “TOP (5) SONGS” WOULD INCLUDE: I am going to show my “old school”. I can’t get it down to five, songs, so how about five artists -- Sting, Genesis, Eric Clapton, Earth Wind and Fire, and Tower of Power

QUICK PRACTICE TIP: Always use a metronome. At the end of every practice session, challenge yourself by increasing the tempo on the metronome.

WORST NON-MUSIC RELATED JOB, DESCRIBE: Well, since I have been teaching drums since I was 14, there aren’t many. However, the year I lived in Oregon during high school I had a landscape maintenance job on a large ranch. I remember trying to mow really overgrown lawns – always in the rain.

HOBBIES INCLUDE: Sports. I love to play golf and basketball. I also go to every Oakland Raiders home game -- at least if I’m in town.
WHAT EVENT, PERSON, OR MOMENT HAD THE MOST IMPACT ON YOU AS A MUSICIAN? When I was 14 years old, I was in a small drum corps and we went to watch a drum corps show at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, CA. When I saw the eight members of the Anaheim Kingsmen snare line walk onto the field, they looked like they were ten feet tall. I said to my mom, “That is what I want to do!” I worked hard to make sure that I achieved my goal of becoming a member of a world-class snare line. As it turns out, years later I had the privilege of teaching along side Tom Float and Ralph Hardimon, both who were members of that 1972 snare line.

MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE OR TRIP: Following our gold medal performance at the WGI World Championships in 2002, the Riverside Community College drum line performed its winter drum line show at the Riverside School for the Deaf. The show, titled “The Sound of Silence”, was about a Deaf woman’s experience with music. Our show included a signing narrator, Holly, who was a student at the School for the Deaf. We held two performances --- one for the elementary age students and a second for the high school students, and included question/answer sessions and time for the students to come on the floor and play with the drummers. The students and performers both thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and it was a day I will never forget.

WHAT IMPORTANT MESSAGE OR ADVICE WOULD YOU PROVIDE TO YOUNG MUSICIANS? The most challenging part of being a musician is the hours of practice that is required. When you find yourself getting frustrated, try to find the “fun” in it. The motto I have used for years is: “IF YOU’RE NOT HAVING FUN, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!”

Meet Scott and other Evans artists at WGI 2009. Scott will be available for questions and autographs at the Evans booth located in the WGI marketplace during the following times...

Friday, April 17th - 11:30 am
Saturday, April 18th - 4:30 pm

For more information on Scott Johnson and the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps visit http://www.evansdrumheads.com/