Drummerhood: The Drum Beat of the Eclectic and Electric Percussionist Logan Sheppard

By: Rick L. Landers

Logan Sheppard - photo credit: Robert M. Knight

Logan Sheppard – photo credit: Robert M. Knight

The brainchild of legendary rock photographer, Robert Knight, and co-founder, Jim Evans, The Brotherhood of the Guitar led the way to his focus on young talented percussionists, including a young man who pounds the skins with the skill and intuition of many who are now legends.

So, our lead on Knight’s cadre of drummers called Drummerhood is Logan Sheppard.

Already, Logan has played with some of his heroes, like the legendary, Bruce Kulick (KISS), Patrick Stone (Adler’s Appetite) and James Durbin (Quiet Riot), and has shared the stage with acts like Phantogram, Olivia O’Brien, GabrieLa and Missing Persons.

And it’s not an exaggeration to claim that Sheppard is able to shape shift his drumming style to rock out, to drill down on the expressions of traditional and modern jazz, shine on rhythm and blues and syncopate with the best in the business.

We look forward to see and hear more of Logan Sheppard and are honored to present him at Guitar International magazine.


Rick Landers: Growing up some kids are just naturally into banging around with knives, spoons, sticks, and a few become great percussionists. How about telling us about the Logan the younger and your natural inclinations, as well as when you became possibly more technical?

Logan Sheppard: I didn’t really start with banging on pots the way a lot of other kids do.  I had this little blue drum kit in my room from the time I was barely walking, but if I’m being honest it didn’t get a lot of use then.

I was more interested in playing the piano, because my two best friends who lived next-door played  piano. After about a year of piano lessons, my parents realized that I needed to play an instrument that let me be more physical, so it was back to the drums.  I started taking lessons at six and playing in a band when I was 11, and I really only played classic rock songs, maybe a little pop. 

Then one night my parents took me to see Sam Aliano playing with CAB at the Baked Potato.  That show changed everything for me. That’s when I really fell in love with jazz fusion, as a fan and as a player. 

And I knew I had to get way more serious about my practice schedule and my skills, if I was going to play genres like fusion and progressive rock. 

Rick:  I’ve read that you have perfect pitch (So do I). What does that mean in terms of setting up your kit to complement other instrumentalists and vocalists or am I not quite getting the value of it for a drummer?

Logan Sheppard: It doesn’t necessarily affect the way I play or set up my kit, but it affects how I can communicate with other musicians. Whether it’s in the studio to help with production or on stage to help others tune their instruments, it’s a valuable tool that I can bring to the table for other musicians. If someone is trying to find a note, I got it.  I think most people appreciate it.

Rick: I’d imagine you have been inspired by other classic drummers like Keith Moon, Buddy Rich, Ginger Baker and Neil Peart. Right? Or do you have others that offered or offer you inspiration….or should we talk particular songs, like most drummers first inspiration, “Wipeout”?

Logan Sheppard: John Bonham was a huge inspiration to me from the beginning. As I evolved musically I also found inspiration in other incredible players like Dave WecklDennis Chambers, Eric Moore, Fred Dinkins, Dave Elitch, Thomas Lang, Billy CobhamVirgil Donati, Sam Aliano and the list goes on.  

Rick:  Learning how to make full use of a drum kit means there are challenges to overcome that take a lot of practice until the techniques become more intuitive. What gave you difficulties or are you just gifted in a way that things come naturally?

Logan Sheppard - image credit: Robert M. Knight

Logan Sheppard – photo credit: Robert M. Knight

Logan Sheppard: Like anyone else I have strengths that I focus on and weaknesses that need work. I feel like my only real natural ability is the perfect pitch.

That part is easy because I just know the notes, even in every day sounds like sirens, cars, voices. 

As a drummer, though, any growth for me comes from hours of hard work.  Every day. For years.  I like challenging myself with odd time signatures, double bass patterns, Latin music, fun stuff like that.

Rick:  A lot of the time a group’s drummer is a little off-beat, maybe rebellious and their drum kit offers up some kind of controlled wildness or a way to structure or channel their internal pressures.  Have you found that to be the case with yourself, and maybe other percussionists you’ve worked with?

Logan Sheppard: I’m definitely different, just ask anyone who knows me. Drums help me to express myself. I may get anxious in everyday situations, but when it comes to playing the music and performing for an audience, I always feel comfortable, like that’s what I was really meant to do.  

Rick:  I’ve heard that when a drummer is at a performance misses a beat, he or she should give the bass player a dirty look. Make sense?

Logan Sheppard: I wouldn’t know, I’ve never missed a beat. [Laughs]

Rick:  My brother’s a drummer and growing up he was always moving, even sitting in class in high school his leg was moving around, like he couldn’t wait to get out of their so he could attack his drum kit. What about you?

Logan Sheppard: Same here. I’m hyper, I always have way too much energy.  Having an outlet like drums helps a lot. 

Rick:  I see you seem to have some favorite charities and wondered if they were based on a personal interest you are motivated to support or are they more like a grab bag where you just found some that worked for you?

Logan Sheppard - image by Robert M. Knight.

Logan Sheppard – photo by Robert M. Knight.

Logan Sheppard: Charities that cover treatment costs for kids with autism are super important to me.  http://ACT-Today.org give incredible support to kids and their families through treatment, safety fencing, iPads for communication and more.  

Autism Speaks and Autism Society are also important charities that focus on research, and the Autism Rocks concert that I perform in annually promotes awareness and inclusion. 

Autism is something I understand on a personal level, so I’m always trying to do what I can to support kids and teenagers who are on the spectrum. 

I’m also an advocate for Free2Luv, a non-profit organization that promotes acceptance and creates awareness about bullying, discrimination and teen suicide.

Rick:  How’d you manage to work with some of the best performers, did they treat you as an equal or did you have to prove yourself?

Logan Sheppard: I’ve been blessed to play with incredibly talented musicians, and every one of them has been supportive.  It helps to live in L.A., because so many great artists are right here.  I try to play with superior musicians because it makes me work harder and forces me to elevate my playing. 

I have a lot to learn and I don’t want anyone to be easy on me just because I’m a kid.  I definitely don’t have an ego when it comes to my playing. I want honest feedback when I suck.  I just want to learn and improve all the time.

Rick:  How’d you end up meeting Robert Knight and what kind of mentoring has he offered to you as a performer and possibly as a new friend?

Logan: Robert has been super supportive and has connected me with so many different people. He knows basically everyone in the business and they all love and respect him.

Robert is such a cool dude. He originally contacted me on Facebook after seeing some of my videos, and he invited me to be part of his Drummerhood.  So many great musicians in the Drummerhood and the Brotherhood of the Guitar.

Thanks to Robert, I’ve gained a lot of touring and recording experience over the last year and I’ve had a chance to share my music with people who never would have heard it. Robert is the best.  He’s family.

Logan Sheppard - Image by Robert M. Knight.

Logan Sheppard – photo by Robert M. Knight.

Rick: What music projects are you working on now and what dream projects would you like to work on and with whom?

Logan: I recently finished a cover of the jazz standard “Caravan” using the arrangement from the film Whiplash with bass prodigy Gabriel Severn.  I love the movie. I’ve probably watched it a hundred times. 

Before I recorded the song, I went online to check out other covers and saw that basically no one was attempting the solo.  I knew I needed to try it. 

The video is getting a lot of positive feedback on YouTube which is very cool.  It’s with a full band and it’s on my channel now.  I’m very close to wrapping a Latin project that’s coming out in December, and there are some seriously heavy players on that.

I also recorded drums for a killer progressive rock artist in early November and played a couple private record label showcases. 

I’ve been playing drums and programming tracks for Sofya Wang for almost a year, and more live dates are coming up before the end of the year. If you haven’t heard her music yet, you need to check her out.  Great songs!  

Doing all this dope stuff is already like a dream for me, but if I could play with anyone, I’d love to work with great new artists like guitarist Ayla Tesler Mabe, pianist Connie Hahn or bassist Benjamin Shepherd one day.

Of course, the ultimate dream project would be to jam or record with Steve Lukather.  Set those goals high, right?

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