Ever grateful for the "family" relations developed over many years with the following companies.

1920's Leedy Snare Drum

Some Thoughts
I'm fortunate and grateful that my father made sure I had good teachers and lucky that both of my parents made sure I practiced And I'm happy I listened. My Dad gave a lot of his time in order to take me to my lessons, to clubs, jam sessions and did all he could to buy what I needed, drums, vibes or whatever. I can never say "thank you" enough to him for that. But having good teachers doesn't guarantee that one becomes a good drummer or good anything for that matter. . We have to take the advice and USE it for ourselves. Disipline. We all know our weak points, and by concentrating on and challenging them we broaden our musical horizons. And above all the technique, the most valuable tool we have is a human one. It really hit home when I heard Lenny White say on stage: "on stage with me tonight are five really good human beings who also happen to be musicians."
Me, Chet and my brother Steve in April, 2001  

My Learning History

I started lessons with Chet Nicora, a local teacher in Springfield, Mass when I was 7 years old. In the beginning, there was only a practice pad.......then a snare drum with a Billy Gladstone pad on it. Rudiments, rudiments and more rudiments. About a year later my Dad bought a used Slingerland drum set(Gold Sparkle with a 24" bass drum). My older brother was also taking lessons so we shared the kit, playing/practicing to records; Count Basie, Eddie Condon, Bags Groove, Ella etc. and with my piano playing Father, Sid. Then one day Chet tells my father that he felt it was time to find a better teacher for us; what sincerety! I then took some lessons with Joe Sefjic(one teacher of Joe Morello). This man could really touch your heart!

Below: Joe Porcaro with my father at Al Lepaks retirement party.

A few years before Chet said that to my Dad, we had gone to see the "Fiercely Enthusiastic Jazz Band" in Connecticut, where I saw a left handed drummer for the first time. This was Joe Porcaro. During a break, my Dad invited him to the table where he wrote out a rhythm on a napkin for me, and also left his number. So now, a couple of years later, my Dad still had the napkin, and called Joe. I went down to Hartford, Conn, for an audition, and started lessons the following week. Then Joe started me on Vibes too. When Joe decided to move his family to L.A. he "auditioned" me for Al Lepak, one of Joe's teachers, at at that time the head of the Percussion department at the Hartt School Of Music, University of Hartford and a renowned tympanist and educator. Al took me on as his only private student, drums one week, tympani the next and then mallets the third week..I also took some piano lessons during this period too.. What an experience!

Al Lepak with Sid.


Alexander Lepak has been the principle tympanist for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra for 56 years! He's known for his educational methods, orchestral compositions AND is one hell of a nice guy!!! In my hand you can see my "second cigar" (I smoked my first one 4 years ago when visiting Al. He had said to me, "what you're a musician and don't smoke cigars?" Al takes credit for introducing cigars to my friend Peter Erskine. Al passed away in the SPring of 2009.

TOMMY & AL - Sept 2005

More Blah Blah
Throughout my Junior High & High school years, I was in the All District, and the All State orchestras, one year playing in both the Orchestra and Band. Then I was selected to be in the All American High Shcool Band...What was challenging about this experience is that it was a marching band, and my High School band didn't march!!! There I was, amongst a lot of really trained and disiplined drummers, all of whom had marching experience. Some of the guys from the mid-west had all the tricks down too, flipping and twirling the sticks while playing. We then had a section audition to decide who would play snare drums, bass drums or cymbals. Fortunately I ended up on snare drum. We marched in the Macy's Day Parade in New York, and then in Pasedena for the Tournament of Roses Parade.
Once I got my drivers license, I was teaching for Falcetti Music, a chain of stores in the Springfield area, and my father no longer had to drive me to gigs. He had done that for years, even when we weren't playing togther. Drop me off with my drums, and then return during the last set to watch and listen. While I was packing up my drums, he'd get "feedback" from the musicians on my playing, and then we'd talk about it in the car.

Equally important are the things we learn from other musicians. For this, my recent years based in Paris have given me great opurtunities, whether as a player, or as producer. The MAKINTO recording sessions were exciting with musicians from 16 different countries, crazy drummers like Paco Sery....all very musicially enriching experiences.
The 10 years I lived full time in Japan was also a unique experience. see (GODIEGO)(there'll be more info on this "story" later on) For many years I did drum clinics all over the country for TAMA, had the chance to play double drums with Billy Cobham(talk about disipline!!) & Elvin Jones...or even interpret English to Japanese for a Simon Phillips clinic. Then with the evolution of technology and it's applications, I also started helping out ROLAND with their development of electronic percussion.
I'm still very involved today on the R&D side as well as doing presentations, demonstrations at trade fairs, clinics, workshops etc. This has given me a chance to see a lot of the world, meet a lot of wonderful people, and because it's mainly for musicians, I always have a challenge to be in good drumming condition. The concept of electronic drums is here to stay, and their use in music production, performance, practice and creation will always be needed. Electronic drums are not replacements for accoustic drums, but offer the drummer the possibilities to integrate into the world of MIDI, and to be able to create new and interesting sounds with the push of a button.. So I balance the use of both. The Snyders Market CD (HAYAMA) features both accoustic and electronic drums. I wonder if you can tell the difference..
Playing positions photos.

Handsonic 10 Demo NAMM 2007 (english)


Me On YouTube (live on Handsonic)

Drum Kit & Tour Photos - Godiego 2006

Tommy's Schedule

Links Page



With my teacher, Joe Porcaro at the NAMM show, January 2007

Photos from the CC Lemon Hall concert-Tokyo, November '08

2007 Recording set-up for a Godiego session.


Recording Kit for Godiego's October single. I adapt my kit to the needs of the each song.

Some Drum Photo History

1978 - Drum clinic tour with Billy Cobham
1979- Ad for TAMA Drums (Yes, I had a beard!)
In the studio in Paris-1990

1998 A very simple set
(used for one song during a Snyders Market recording session-I recorded in Mono, using one B&K mike. We adjusted the sound by chossing between sticks, brushes, Blasticks or Hotrods. I recorded the same thing twice, mostly playing exactly the same, occasionally complimenting the other track. Fun challenge.

(The snare is a TAMA Birdseye Maple13" Piccolo. Kick is a TAMA Birdseye Maple, 22", that I've had since '86.)

Drum Set used for Godiego recordings in 1999:
TAMA Star Classic series, with a 13" Piccolo Maple snare. Zildjian Cymbals (12" Hi-Hats and 13" Hi Hats on an X-Hat holder) On the left you see ROLAND V-Drums, used for both extra drum and percussion sounds.
Percussion Dubbing
Here I'm playing a cowbell in water. A pitch bend effect can be obtained this way. I first saw this done watching Arnold Moueza, a fantastic percussionist living in Paris.
! Kit for the Godiego reunion tour in 1999 & 2000
Home Studio Kit - V-Drums

Current Drum Kit- TAMA Star Classic Bubinga - + Roland SPD-S & Handsonic 10