News Column

MARCO MINNEMANN [MD: Modern Drummer]

September 1, 2013


The drumming Aristocrat comes of age.

Marco Minnemann spends much of his time between tours writing for his solo recordings, as well as for his prog-fusion band the Aristocrats, featuring bassist Bryan Beller and guitarist Guthrie Govan. "Most of what I write will end up on my releases," Minnemann says, speaking with MD from his lakeside home in southern California. "Then some will end up on recordings like the new Aristocrats CD, Culture Clash.

"The Aristocrats is a joyous experience," Marco adds, "because we share the writing, and all of us contribute three songs to each of our recordings. We write for each other's playing style and personality. But what makes the band really special is that we are all great friends and get along well. That's very important when you're on the road together as much as we are."

Aristocrats members are involved in several of Minnemann's other endeavors as well, including Porcupine Tree mastermind Steven Wilson's solo album The Raven That Refused to Sing. Minnemann recorded drums on the Alan Parsons-produced release, and he and Govan have been touring with Wilson in support of the album. Minnemann and Beller, meanwhile, will be backing Joe Satriani on the guitar wizard's upcoming world tour. (Chad Wackerman is filling in on the Wilson dates that Minnemann can't make.) "The new Satriani music is very refreshing, with lots of different musical directions," Minnemann says. "He used Vinnie Colaiuta on the recording, who is one of my childhood drum heroes. So to be called to do this tour is very special to me."

The ever-evolving Minnemann, who has spent the better part of the past fifteen years contributing to a steady stream of high-level progressive material, says that he has reached a point in his career where he's being recognized for his depth and individual drumming style. "I feel like I'm finally getting called because of my musical abilities," Marco says, "and not just for the crazy drumming stuff. The Aristocrats have really been the catalyst for much of what I'm doing now. And the band came together totally unexpectedly. It's ironic how I'm now involved with so many of the musicians who inspired me to play music. It's a bit strange to realize that I'm part of that circle."

Later this year Minnemann will be performing in Europe with Banned From Utopia, which features Frank Zappa alumni, and writing for a new project with bassist Tony Levin and Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess. "There's always a mission for me to write music," the drummer says, "and I'll continue to do it-as long as it's fun. There is much joy in what I do now. This is something money can't buy."

Mike Haid

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