“Methods & Mechanics” by Todd Sucherman

Artist: Todd Sucherman
Title: “Methods & Mechanics”
Label: MVD Visual
Release Date: 10/21/2008
Genre: Instructional
Rating: 4.5/5

I wanted to start off my commentary about “Methods & Mechanics” by saying that while I think that drummer Todd Sucherman is a very lucky guy, it must also be said that any perceived luck is actually the end result of many, many years of hard and dedicated work. The musician has been at his craft for over thirty years now and for most of the world had come into his largest prominence when he first sat down onto the Styx drum throne to fill in for an ailing John Panozzo. Sadly, Panozzo would pass away soon after these gigs and this would lead to Sucherman becoming the bands new fulltime drummer. Having been a Styx fan for many years myself, I am happy to report that the role is in good hands and that Todd does Panozzo justice with his talents – he is not only a capable musician but he is also a very innovative and powerful Rock drummer. It must have been a blast for this guy to have been a fan of the band growing up and then eventually finding himself coming to their aid and then joining their ranks no matter how bad the reasons for this might have originally been. Sucherman is also an established Jazz and contemporary player and all of these elements are tied together as he delivers his first instructional video “Methods & Mechanics”. The video comes care of MVD Visual, and this double DVD set is a fantastic look inside the drummer’s brain because not only does Todd explain and demonstrate a number of the tricks of the trade that he follows and had used to better his own development as a player, but it also delves deeply into his personal musical philosophy and this allows the viewer to understand just where his head is at.

The two DVD’s run just over five hours and unless you are the hardest core of up and coming drummers I don’t think that you will be able to absorb this in one sitting. My recommendation is to sit with one of them, and then review the principles that you found of the most interest and then continue on to the next chapter. As someone who also played drums for a number of years I found this to be an excellent instructional film because Todd is talking to you as opposed to talking at you. It’s much more akin to casual conversation with someone who plays drums really well more than it is like sitting in a lecture hall hearing the CEO speak about what he does on the instrument. Let’s face it, while there are many excellent drummers with DVD’s about how they do things, more than a few of them are impossible to grasp based on the level of technical expertise that they are putting forward on the film. I liked Todd’s because it showed even the earliest of beginners that this can be done, and if you keep your mental side of this focused on the work involved and have a lot of fun, even you can become a drummer and a good one. Of the many highlights on the video we have a number of songs where Todd performs along with them. There are only a couple of Styx tracks to enjoy, which was a bit of a disappointment for me since I am a huge fan of their legendary numbers, but he makes it up by doing some other stuff that relates to his life and thereby keeps it interesting. Sucherman recorded the drums on the album “Lullagoodbye” by singer Taylor Mills and four of the albums tracks are visually demonstrated and broken down to the how and why he played a certain way. Todd had some musical freedom for the album because the lovely vocalist is his wife. These inclusions are a nice way to get a sampling of what she is all about, and perhaps they might pique your interest as well if such a sound is of appeal to you. Todd also speaks very highly of former Journey drummer Steve Smith (a personal favorite of my own as well) and offers up a killer drum solo dedicated to the support and inspiration that he received from him over the years. It was cool and a little bit touching.

There are far too many principles and ideas to line out in this article without losing your attention but I will tell you that the viewer will be treated to demonstrations of soloing, double bass technique, equipment choices and suggestions along with a lot of “how one needs to understand the business side of things” to be the best that they can. All of this is delivered in a very personable fashion and I think that angle worked very well for me and made me enjoy the video all the more. I especially enjoyed a lot of the positive advice that he was dishing out because that just made you feel like all the hard work you will be doing is worth it and helps energize you. If nothing else this is encouraging information to receive and I am glad that he made sure to feature it in his instruction. I found it interesting that I also took the fact that one didn’t necessarily need to be a drummer to enjoy what was being explained on the video. Sure this easily can be a motivator to the up and coming player or closet professional level drummer, but you could also enjoy this by simply being a fan of the instrument and being curious about how things work and are thought of by someone who does it for a living. This is a solid recommendation for any aspiring musicians and especially those who looking to the backbone of the band. Nice work Todd.

Track Listing:
1. Tears Of Joy
2. One With Everything
3. Together
4. Anything
5. Center Of Your Heart
6. Consolation Prize
7. Raven
8. Renegade

Official Website: http://www.toddsucherman.com

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