A native of Chicago, Illinois, Chris Infusino started playing the drums at twelve years of age.
His Dad, a professional drummer was a major influence on the wide variety of musical styles Chris began to learn. He listened to everything from R&B to rock, jazz and soul. In high school he also began studying with Tom Tedrahn. It was at this time that Chris began a serious practice regimen which continues to this day.
While attending Chicago’s Roosevelt University he played with the Roosevelt Jazz Orchestra, numerous jazz groups and continued his studies with drummer Phil Gratteau. Chris’ other teachers have included Ndugu Chancler, Lewis Nash, and Paul Wertico.
In 2010 Chris moved to New York City from his native Chicago, and later to Los Angeles where he is presently based.
For over three years Chris Infusino has been the heartbeat of psych rock group The Vim Dicta driving his Psychogroove to the outer reaches of the galaxy.
I asked Chris for his thoughts on the role of the ride cymbal in drumming and music:
This is my first time gracing the pages of Not So Modern Drummer, and I am very humbled to say the least.
I’m writing you from Shifnal, England right now - been on the road with my band, The Vim Dicta, on an 8 month U.K./ European tour. Heading to Germany in just a few days. In discussion, is the importance of the ride cymbal…
The ride cymbal really is such an integral part for nearly all drummers, regardless of the genre they are playing. I grew up listening to everything, rock, jazz, blues, multiple styles of latin music. Whether you’re listening to Stewart Copeland, John Bonham, Matt Cameron, Chad Smith, Jimmy Chamberlin, Max Roach, Papa Jo Jones, Keith Carlock, Brian Blade, or whoever your favorite drummers are…there is a distinct sound that the drummer creates on the drums, and especially on the ride cymbal. As the drummer is the driving force, metaphorical bus driver, and a very essential part of a band…they create this energy that only that one individual can create. It’s the good juju that gets the people moving and makes the music created by the other members of the band, as good as it can possibly be…if they have a good drummer that is… :-
Notice, if you’re out for the night, and hit up a nearby club…they’ll usually have a “house kit” that the bands of the night are using. Spend that night listening to the two, three, or four bands (if you have that time and patience to spare) and notice how each drummer sounds completely different…even though they’re using the same gear. Call it a social experiment.
The strike of the snare and when their leading hand goes to the ride, whether it’s a simple or complex pattern, crashing it, or hanging on the bell…it’s their own characteristics coming out through what would otherwise be, a completely silent, inanimate object. The drummer brings the instruments to life…in their very own, unique way. I myself do take it for granted…as I’m sure all of us do at some point…but it really is quite amazing how we all really do sound “like ourselves” on an instrument that millions of people play.
If you’re not feeling very social, and want to stay in…listen to your fave records…and listen to your drummers of choice. The true greats can get twenty sounds out of the ride cymbal…it really is the ultimate extension of one’s creative emotions on the drums…even more so than the snare in my opinion.
Even if I isolate the drum track from a recording of one of my favorite records…I can always tell who it is…based on their approach of the ride, and their snare sound…it’s the “DNA” for people like us, and no two are alike.
I hope this was in some way informative, and that we get to chat more down the road. Feel free to write me on the socials as well. Be well, and don’t practice too much…keep your drumming human…not perfect, that’s what a soulless drum machine is for… ;-)
Chris Infusino ~ The Vim Dicta
The Vim Dicta (Official Website)
The Vim Dicta - Name Of The Game
The Vim Dicta – Point Blank
The Vim Dicta – Stallion
Facebook - The Vim Dicta
Facebook – Chris Infusino
Twitter – Chris Infusino
The Vim Dicta “Von Tango”
Dave Cavalier “Howl”
Dr. John “All Washed Up (So They Say)”
Michael Gallant Trio “Completely” *Grammy Nomination*
PHOTO BY MARK FITZGIBBONS