Chris Dave And The Drumhedz

Johnny Brenda's Presents

Chris Dave And The Drumhedz

Sun, August 26, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$15.00 - $17.00

This event is 21 and over

All shows are 21+ Proper I.D. required for admission

Chris Dave And The Drumhedz - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Chris Dave And The Drumhedz
You already know the Drumhedz. You just don't know that you know the Drumhedz. They've been
playing on your favorite albums for years, setting the tone or keeping time at the best shows you've ever
seen, making the young stars sound like legends and the legends sound like gods, quietly stacking
Grammys without ever delivering an acceptance speech, and moving onto the next gig with the simple
satisfaction of a job well done. They're the session players and the road warriors, or, "Cats that were
looked over, but they're bad," in the words of the Drumhedz bandleader Chris Dave, who's drummed
for everyone from Adele to Bieber and Dolly to D'Angelo. "They all have stories like mine." Sure enough,
the group's self-titled debut LP showcases a family of musicians whose credits coil like ivy around nearly
every pillar of modern sound, getting together to do things to music they couldn't on anyone else's
project.
"I never knew what it was going to sound like when we all got together," says Chris. "But I could picture
it, like, 'This album is gonna take place in a portal. You're getting away from Earth, from all the bullshit.
You're safe, but now you're in our world.'"
It's a place without genre, where elements of funk, soul, gospel, hip-hop and jazz mix until they're an
indistinguishable surging mass of solid groove. But this isn't a jam session and Chris isn't much for solos.
His compositions are like his drumming: precise but tweaked just so, syncopated to allow the merging of
multiple ideas, and flexible enough to triumph in all manner of tunings. As for this interstellar world's
residents, well, how much time do you have? There are nearly 50 Drumhedz in here, spanning core crew
like Pino Palladino (bass), Isaiah Sharkey (guitar), Cleo "Pookie" Sample (keys), Sir Darryl Farris (vocals)
and Keyon Harrold (horn), to old familiars like James Poyser (the Roots), Stokley Williams (Mint
Condition) and Shafiq Husayn (Sa-Ra), to fresh guests like Anderson .Paak, Bilal, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Phonte
Coleman.
"People say you can't have all of these sounds in one place," says Chris, "but how we hear things, it's just
music. You like it or you don't. This is a 'why can't you?' album."
It's the album the Drumhedz founder has been building toward his entire life. Chris first reached for the
sticks at 3, hoping to hit skins for his brothers' funk group. He was denied, but found his second chance
at church, on percussion initially. At home dad would listen to soul and jazz, mom gospel, and his two
brothers would listen to funk bands. When he started practicing in his room, "it became like a video
game," as he obsessively tried to emulating the styles he was hearing. By the time Chris hit middle
school, he was drumming for Houston choirs, backing singers like Kim Burrell and Yolanda Adams. All of
which made him a shoo-in for the revered High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. And thanks to
a student exchange program, he'd soon be cribbing beats from boarders—non-4/4 stuff from Japan and
India. Chris kept building his chops, and playing out, and graduated with a full ride to Howard University
in D.C.
"But after first semester, I was trying to figure out what I'd even do with a degree," says Chris. He didn't
have to wonder long. "Mint Condition was doing a black college tour and I cut class to see it. Jimmy Jam
and Terry Lewis were there, so my friends and I went up to them, like, 'Yo, you should sign us.' We didn't
even have a band. But Jimmy's like, 'I'll listen to y'all for five minutes.' I don't even know what we
played, but next thing you know, Mint Condition is calling me to be their drummer."
Chris dropped out to open for Janet Jackson, and the work started pouring in soon enough. Lionel
Richie. Mary J. Kenny Garrett. Living with Stokely in Minneapolis, he made his own Dilla-inspired beats
and worked on songwriting. In studios, on tour and in private, he was perfecting his style. Early on, he
met the Time, and explained to Jellybean Johnson that he learned his part on "777-9311." The band's
response: "What the fuck? You know that was a drum machine, right? You're not supposed to be able to
play that." Chris's need to sponge up all he heard paid off—from 2009 to 2012, he worked on three
Grammy-winning albums across three genres: Maxwell's BLACKsummer'snight, Adele's 21, and the
Robert Glasper Experiment's Black Radio. In the personnel credits for those LPs, you'll find the
foundation of the Drumhedz.
"I always wanted to be in a group," says Chris, and he was to a degree. "Me and Rob started the
Experiment living together in New York, after Maxwell. But he was also signed solo, so after we did the
Adele stuff, me, Pino and Poyser were like, 'Let's just play sometime.' We booked a random gig in
London and it sold out. Then we started doing festivals, as Chris Dave and Friends, and out of that, we
start casually, some-kind-of-way touring, like, 'How are we doing this when we don't have a record
out?'"
So in 2013, they drop the Chris Dave and the Drumhedz Mixtape (GLOW365), a free 23-track set of "nod
your head to this" type grooves swirling up all the genres these guys were working in. Some of the
material was culled from old recordings—like when Chris, Glasper, and Mos Def rocked Houston's Red
Cat all night—and other bits were new, but it was all overture for the album to come. It took a while, but
in late 2015, Chris blocked out a month and change at Kingsize Soundlabs in Los Angeles (his primary
home now). He spent a few days prepping the studio like he would his kit before a gig, then put out the
call and the Drumhedz flocked from their various dimensions to help build a portal that'd transport the
rest of us to their world. Chris recalls giving Goapele lyrical direction for "Atlanta, Texas": "You're not a
woman, you're the sun." They'd record constantly. He'd cut it down later. The flow was most important.
"I want to play at nighttime at the festivals, not 'you can catch me at Carnegie Hall for $200 a ticket or
don't talk to me,'" says Chris. "We just want to party. It's a getaway."
Sure enough the LP opens with a liftoff sequence, gives way to the astral rap of "Universal Language,"
where KRNDN rhymes and Sy Smith coos, then opens up with "Dat Feelin'," a go-go paced march
through the center of the galaxy—you can almost picture space dust and hurtling asteroids as brass
blows and drums pop. But despite the celestial bent, these are very human songs. There's .Paak
detailing the struggle on "Black Hole," conflicted emotions taking musical form on "Sensitive Granite,"
the flirty jaunt of "Whatever," and Bilal and Tweet getting their Marvin and Tammi on, in five-four,
during "Spread Her Wings." Because for all their otherworldly ability, the Drumhedz are who they are
because of connection. At the end of the day, they're the cats who came together. And now that they
did, you might be a Drumhed too.
Venue Information:
Johnny Brenda's
1201 N. Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA, 19125
http://www.johnnybrendas.com/