World-Renowed Drummer Hits Big For Local Clinic

Some East Texas musicians got a chance to see a professional up close Saturday. World-renowned drummer Chad Wackerman was in town, putting on a free clinic in Tyler.

Like the kids at his drum clinic, Chad Wackerman picked up drumsticks pretty early.

"Once I was old enough to figure out you could be a doctor, or a fireman, or a lawyer, or you could be a musician I thought, 'Well this seems like so much fun,'" Wackerman says.

In his 25 year career, Chad has played with the best, artists like Frank Zappa, Barbara Streisand, Allan Holdsworth and Steve Vai.

"They've all been amazing experiences," Wackerman says."It's amazing to work with anybody at that high level."

Saturday, Chad got to play and speak to the up-and-coming drummers of East Texas. The previous night, he played with a high school ensemble in the metroplex, performing a tribute to Frank Zappa.

"The high school kids, they just came up to me," he says, "And said they had the best time."

"That's what it's about."

For Chad, his drum kit as not just a backbeat. It's an instrument, a means of expression.

"It's not an instrument to bang," the veteran of more than sixty albums says. "It's an instrument you would approach just like you would a piano, or violin. It requires touch and sensitivity as well as power."

"All in all, it's a great thing to spend your life doing."

Reid Kerr ( reporting.