Ask Russ Moy how long he has been playing the drums and he will look you straight in the eye and tell you, “I don’t remember a time when I didn’t play drums or have an interest in drumming.” When Russ was four years old, he banged on pots and pans. Every Monday night in the neighborhood where he lived, the Salvation Army had a band that would perform on a street corner. Russ’s Mom brought him there faithfully every week for over a year to watch the band perform. It wasn’t long before the drummer showed Russ how to keep time with the bass drum. This, of course, was the most important lesson Russ ever learned which eventually led to playing the cymbals and snare drum. This lasted for over two years. In inclement weather, the band rehearsed inside but performed on that street corner for the rest of the year. By the time he was seven, he had convinced his parents that he wanted to be a drummer. In 1951, he was presented with his first set of drums. That set, an old Ludwig, manufactured in 1944, had a 26 inch bass drum complete with a mountain scene painted on the front head and lights inside the drums to warm up the calf-skin heads. You could hardly see Russ playing in back of the set because it was so big. “I got plenty of use out of it” he says, “and it lasted until my 8th grade graduation in 1958 when I moved up to a brand new kit!” Additionally, from the third through the eight grade, he was also playing in the marching band at the elementary school that he attended.
When most kids were out playing, Russ was either practicing or rehearsing with his band and they began to do “gigs” in as early as the sixth grade. At fourteen years of age, he became a member of the musicians local. The time was the 1950’s and the band made the rounds of most of the TV shows for teens at the time that were presented live in New York City including the Clay Cole Show, Alan Freed, The Ted Steele Show, and for two summers performed at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, NJ winning first prize in “Tony Grant’s Stars of Tomorrow.”
“Our popularity was heightened when we won first prize on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour.” It was in 1960, that the late Gene Krupa, the world’s most famous drummer (Benny Goodman – Sing Sing Sing) who became a good friend to Russ and his family suggested to Russ’s dad that he study with Sam Ulano of NYC who as Gene put it, “Sam’s the cat to study with in New York!” That was the beginning of a relationship that has endured to this day. Sam became Russ’s mentor and dear friend. Additionally, Russ furthered his studies with drum teachers: Ted Reed, Jim Chapin, Charli Persip, & Freddie Waits.
Those were the roots of a life which has spiraled into a career that has lasted until the present day. Russ’s interest in drumming and his desire to constantly learn is very evident when you have a conversation with him, because he is always researching new concepts and ideas for drummers. ” One of the things that Sam Ulano taught me early on in my career was, ” you have to remember in this business, you are only as good as your last performance, and if you are not practicing, it catches up with you.” Two other “Ulano-isms” that Russ likes to quote are “Let’s see where you are ten years from now in this business!” and “You have to please the musicians you work with or your phone isn’t going to ring.” “The bottom line being, you are only as good as your practice routine.”
Recently, Russ presented the Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by the Sabian Cymbal Company to Sam Ulano and Jim Chapin for their sixty years of dedication to percussion education and performance. Russ has taught countless drummers over the years and is very proud of the many students that he has worked with and their accomplishments.
Rick Downey – Blue Oyster Cult / Anthrax
Pat O’Donnell – “Cats” “Dream Girls” “Phantom of the Opera” “Starlight Express” “Les Miserable” “Radio City Music Hall”
Todd Walker – Port St. Lucie, Florida – Drum Teacher – Todd is one of the busiest teachers in Florida. First Place Winner of the Pearl Players Drum Challenge 1994 in Vancouver, Canada
Steve Demet – “A Chorus Line” “Bubbling Brown Sugar” “Evita”
Chris Goger (Dan Heartman – I Can Dream About You)
Craig Scoppa – Drum Tech for “Anthrax” “Living Color” “Kings X” “Candlebox”
Anthony Cartinella – Percussion Instructor, Clinician, New York Skyliners Drum and Bugle Corps and owner of the Dark Horse Percussion Drum Company
Nick Remo – currently in Artist Management – former drummer for Sergio Mendez
Alan Abraham – band director Manasquan High School
Vinnie Capodice – Well known NJ Drum Instructor
Drummer extraordinaire Al Selert
Popular NJ drummer Don Guinta
Drummer & educator Mark Klein (Cyrcle IX)
Joe Caroselli “Looking Glass” “The Five Satins” “Dion” “Dion and The Belmonts” ‘The Drifters” “Petula Clark” “Ice Capades” “Don Imus” “Dionne Warwick”
Jack Earles – One of the busiest drummers in Key West, Florida – currently performing with “Paradise Swing” “Group Therapy” and drummer in residence for shows at the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Theatre of Key West
Donald Boyle – Colonia, NJ Private Drum Instructor, Popular area show drummer, owner Boyle Mallet Co.
Mark Giroud – Drummer – Educator
This represents a small group of the countless drummers Russ has taught, many of whom are performing with nationally known Latin, Jazz and Rock groups.
Russ Moy’s dynamic energy and contemporary drumming knowledge and ability belie the fact that he is a drum teacher, and performer with over forty five years of experience!
A professional drummer since the age of eight, Russ Moy has performed and recorded with some of the top names in the entertainment industry; including Connie Francis, Vic Damone, Pearl Bailey, Jack Jones, Bobby Rydell, Don Cornell and Miss Toni Arden, Anne Marie Albregetti, and Lanie Kazan.
For the last twenty years, he has been a member of the David Aaron Big Band and for ten years concluding in 1995, Russ performed for the dinner cruises on the ship, “The Imperator” owned by the APA trucking company, which sailed out of Weehawken, NJ. This ship which was the largest corporate yacht on the east coast. Russ has many fond memories of playing on the ship and recounts many stories of all of the celebrities that he had the opportunity to meet and talk to over the years including Tony Bennett and Sammy Davis Jr. Helen Hayes, the first Lady of the American Theatre, had her last birthday party on the ship and the guest list read like a “who’s who of the entertainment business”.
Additionally, Russ has been kept busy playing with his Trio as well as pianist Tomoko Ohno.
He is in demand nationally as a performer and clinician. Russ has conducted drum clinics with drum legend Louie Bellson, Butch Miles of the Count Basie Orchestra, Ed Shaughnessy – former drummer for thirty years with Doc Severinsen’s “Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” Orchestra, Jim Chapin “The Father of Jazz Independence” and the “Dean of all Drum Teachers” Sam Ulano of NYC.
For four years, Russ was on the faculty of the Elon College, North Carolina Music Festival, and the premier percussion seminar and was one of the founders of the Premier Percussion Seminar, held at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He has been on the committee for the last six years to present “The Drum Master Award”, sponsored by Sabian Cymbals to drum legends such as Ed Shaughnessy, Sam Ulano, Jim Chapin and Jack DeJohnette. Russ was asked by his good friend, world famous drummer, Tico Torres (Bon Jovi) to co-ordinate the music and perform at his wedding.
Russ hosted and starred in his own television show for the New Jersey Cable Television Network entitled “Let’s Talk Music” for several years. He has also served on the Board of Directors of both the municipal Anti-Drug Alliance of Union, NJ as well as the Coalition to House the Homeless of Elizabeth, New jersey.
Russ has dedicated his life to percussion, performance & education. His message to everyone is to constantly develop their skills in addition to growing spiritually. He is a strong anti-drug advocate and brings that message to schools when he performs the show “Drums Drums Drums” with his friend, Joe Caroselli. Russ is married to Dr. Marianne Moy, a clinical psychologist (and saint). Russ considers her to be one of the most incredible people God ever put on earth.
Please be sure to visit Russ Moy’s recommendations page for more information on the Russ Moy Drum Studio.
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