Free Intro to Hand Drums and Drum Jam every Thursday 5-6pm
“I’m the antithesis of anything that was popular in 1985… and now it’s come full circle…”
So says the single-greatest guitar legend of the past decade -Slash
And who did Slash choose to lay down his rockin' beats? Matt Laug from Florence, South Carolina. Pictured here under Slash's arm is that same old grinnin' Matt that I grew up with. Matt used to tag along with me and the famous Rubba Say when we thought WE were cool, sneaking out and walking the streets of Flo Town with our jam box crankin' AC/DC and talking about how WE were gonna be rock stars. Well, looks like Matt surpassed us, carrying our dreams with him. And talk about full circles...Guess who opened for AC/DC's 2000 tour...Matt and Slash with Snakepit!
Matt's got a lot of other credits to his name too. He left South Carolina for LA like a lot of other wannabe's but instead of just enrolling at MIT/PIT, Matt was good enough to teach there! He's gone on to play with some names we've all heard like Alice Cooper (A Fistful of Alice), Alanis Morissette (Jagged Little Pill - six tracks including the mega hit "You Oughta Know"), The Corrs (Talk on Corners), The New Radicals (Have You Been Brainwashed, Too?), Beth Hart (Screaming For My Supper) and South Park (What Would Brian Boitano Do? #2)
I remember two things mostly about Matt growing up that have been a part of my drumming life's memories ever since. One was the first time I went to his house and saw him play his drumset. I was in seventh or eighth grade and he was two years younger. His drums were set up in his bedroom and he put on a Rush album. (We were lucky because our older brothers were friends and they were into Rush and Styx and all the REAL music while we were cursed with the disco age, so this saved us!) But the thing that stood out was that when he played along with Rush he didn't miss a single beat! If there was a fill that Matt didn't have enough toms for, he played them in the air as if he did. I was blown away...and by a fifth or sixth grader!! The other thing was when we were in Jr. High School band together. Now, being a teacher myself, I have to add that I don't recommend this to any school band students but it seemed to work in Matt's case. What happened was one day in band, Matt got frustrated with the band teacher and threw his sticks down and said, "I quit! I'm gonna start my Own band!". And he stomped out of the band room! Man! We were all left with our mouths hung wide open and Matt my man, we still are! Good Job, We're proud of you!
Let me tell you about Jimmy Diamon. Jimmy IS the ultimate old school drummer. If you were to look up old school percussionist in the dictionary, there'd be a picture of Jimmy. And I don't care if the picture were in color or black and white, taken today or thirty years ago...you'd get the same smile and same determined look saying, "yeah man, give them sticks".
I can't tell you how lucky I am to have crossed paths with Jimmy almost ten years ago when I opened my first store in Myrtle Beach. I'm still amazed at his ability to lay down a smooth jazz beat and his willingness to teach anyone who'll take the time.
Jimmy lives in North Myrtle Beach after retiring from The Long Island Drum Center in New York City. When he first walked into the store I had no idea how my drumming experience was going to change by leaps and bounds. I was attempting to call myself a teacher, showing what I thought I knew to the beginners for free who bought drum sets. Then along came Jimmy, just in time to show me what teaching was all about. At first, he aggravated me by telling me I was holding the sticks all wrong. I thought to my self that I was going to hold the sticks any way I wanted, after all, its not the way you hold the paint brush but what you paint! Well, that was just ONE of my idiotic and limiting ideals. In just a few months, Jimmy had me speeding tastefully all around the drumset. He had me playing polyrhythms and syncopations like an octopus. But the best part of it all was that gleam in his eyes each time he witnessed even the slightest advancements. There's nothing like seeing a tear of excitement come to a grown man's eyes and nothing more inspirational.
Jimmy's been involved in music his whole life. He was raised in New York City and enjoyed a very successful career playing at some of the Big Apple's most prestigious clubs with big bands when big bands were big. He toured such venues as The Tavern on the Green, The Essex House, and The Metropole on 52nd Street, the Mecca of jazz in New York. He studied with a number of well-known teachers including the legendary Henry Adler at Julliard.
He moved to the Grand Strand in the early 90's and brought to the beach the big band sound like it had never seen. With his group, Jimmy Diamon and the Skylarks, he left his mark on such places as the Yard Arm, Trawlers, The Surf Club, Manhattans, Sea Trail Plantation, and Doc Holliday's.
I can't attempt to share with you all that I've learned from Jimmy nor the endless stories of his journeys. I will advise, if you're in the Myrtle Beach area to book a lesson if he can fit you in. There aren't too many of the real Old Schoolers left and besides that, he's also a GREAT GUY!
Through all you've influenced, your beats will never stop being felt. Never.