Myron Grombacher - Drummer with the Pat Benatar Band

by Christopher Buttner

CB - How long have you been playing, Myron?

Myron - I've been playing since I was 17 and I'm almost 40 now, so the math is pretty easy to figure out.

CB - You're such an energetic drummer. The last time I saw you perform, many years ago, you were practically all over the stage. You're rather calmed down from the way you used to perform. What happened? Did you break a leg?

Myron - (Laughs) No. I'm trying to tone it down a bit. At different points in your life you want to communicate a different source of energy. At this point in time, the configuration of the band lends itself for to remain on the drum stool more. I'm really into focusing on the timing and the feel aspect of the music, as opposed to overly emphasizing the theatrics and/or over playing.

CB - What is your overall background as a professional drummer?

Myron - I have been with the Pat Benatar Band from the beginning, except the first album. Prior to the Pat Benatar Band, I played with Derringer and a few local bands out of Youngstown, Ohio and Cleveland.

CB - What do you do as a drummer when not touring or recording?

Myron - I'm with this charity called the Woodland Hills Drum Club. The money we raise always goes to a charitable organization or the direct benefit of a drummer or a drum charity. We're trying to organize it to the point where it will be an annual thing, maybe even one on the East Coast and One on the West Coast.

CB - You stated you began playing drums 17, where you into music prior?

Myron - Well, I was a singer prior to playing drums. I really didn't sing that good, but I moved really well. Everyone said I was one heck of a dancer. One gig the drummer didn't show up, so I sat down and I was just better than he was. When we figured out the rest of the band members could now make three dollars a piece extra, we threw our old drummer out. (Laughs).

CB - What advice do you have to a drummer just starting to learn the instrument?

Myron - It depends why they first started to play the drums in the first place. You have to love the instrument and you want to take the instrument and your abilities as far as you can. The primary function of a drummer is to supply time and feel for the band. Which is another reason why I am dancing less and drumming more. The drummer has the musical responsility to the band. If the drummer has a good night, everyone in the band will sound great.

Working with a singer is very helpful to a drummer. Drummers should always support a singer. There is a kinship there. A singer is an acoustic instrument as are the drums. The dynamics are are very important and a singer can hurt themselves by straining their voice as quick as a drummer can throw out his shoulder. Plus, we're both in the center of the stage.

Also, find a teacher that will teach you what you want to know, but will also give you a good background in music and theory. Being self-taught, I can't read music. Later on in life, I lost out on many opportunities to make a lot of money. I used to be proud of the fact that I did not read music, but know, I equate not being able to read music to being a functional illiterate. I'd be no more proud of that, than the fact that I could not read a newspaper or a story my child brought home from school. Illiteracy is illiteracy, regardless if it's written music or the written word. Also, be musical and original, and have great timing and tone! Too many drummers are too concerned with paradiddles, flopadiddles, whatever. You're going to get hired if you play well, sound great and are original.

I also write songs!! Just so ya' know, you make a whole lot more money writing songs than you do playing drums. (Laughs)

CB - What keeps you turned on about playing the drums?

Myron - The fact that you can reinvent yourself and discover new aspects of your playing. The more you mature as a player and a listener, the broader your pallete will become. So, if I have any philosophy at all, I believe in love and I believe in drums and whenever possible, get paid in cash.