Photo above: thomasondrums at Graceland
Thank you all for checking out thomasondrums.net! I am very grateful and excited to announce that I will be continuing my journey with the drums next fall at USC Thornton School of Music – Popular Music Program. I want to thank my family, friends, teachers, mentors, bandmates, and drumming influences for inspiring me to follow my dream! I look forward to working with the incredible staff of professional musicians at USC Thornton!
Photo above: My last live show recording at Orange County School of the Arts, Popular Music Conservatory
My time at Orange County School of the Arts, Popular Music Conservatory is coming to an end when I graduate in June. Due to the Covid-19 lockdowns, we have not been on campus at the school at all in over a year, with zoom classes and zero live shows. We all missed out on what we love to do most, which is live performing. When I went into the Webb Theater to record for the last time recently, it hit me how much we got cheated out of at OCSA. There were so many Popular Music live shows cancelled, live jam shows during lunch breaks on 10th Street, and the usual high school events and experiences that we all missed. I don’t think we will forget that.
thomasondrums: Drum Instructor –
I was excited to have been asked to teach a class at Orange County School of the Arts during my Senior Year there. I taught Drums 1 (Beginner Drums) during the Second Semester, and really enjoyed it. I taught a class of between 16 to 20 Seniors depending on the day. I went over lesson plans of executing grooves, how to feel the backbeat, basic reading and transcribing, drum rudiments and how to apply rudiments to everyday playing, etc. I was asked and answered questions about the student’s different interests in the world of drumming, whether it was their own interest to play drums, or, if they wanted to chart/write out natural drum parts for other musicians to correctly interpret.
Photo above: My last time playing live for OCSA at the Webb Theater recently was surreal. The theater that was always sold out when we played live, was quiet and dead.
My last interview with Orange County School of the Arts
In May of 2021, I was interviewed for the last time for the social media of Orange County School of the Arts, Popular Music Conservatory:
OCSA: What made you apply for the Commercial Music Conservatory (now known as the Popular Music Conservatory)?
thomasondrums: “I wanted to attend a music school instead of simply a ‘regular’ high school. The Commercial Music Conservatory at OCSA was the ‘Varsity’ music program in the county.”
OCSA: What song is constantly on repeat right now?
thomasondrums: “Listening to my buddy, Mario – on ‘Sphinx’ by Gojira.”
OCSA: How do you usually spend your free time?
thomasondrums: “I walk my dogs and I lift weights.”
OCSA: What’s a fun fact about yourself?
thomasondrums: “Fun fact. I was playing professional gigs before I ever attended OCSA.”
OCSA: Do you have any hidden talents?
thomasondrums: “I can play ice hockey.”
OCSA: Do you have an unpopular opinion?
thomasondrums: “Contrary to popular opinion – Rock music is not dead.”
OCSA: If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be?
thomasondrums: “Steven Patrick Morrissey.”
OCSA: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done, and would you do it again?
thomasondrums: “I did an impromptu live speech on stage in front of Peter Criss, Rob Zombie, John 5 and Steven Adler. Would I do it again? Hell yes!”
OCSA: What college (if any) are you planning on attending?
thomasondrums: “USC Thornton School of Music.”
OCSA: How many years were you in the Popular Music Conservatory?
OCSA: What was your favorite Popular Music show and why?
thomasondrums: “Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame – because each band got to focus on one specific artist.”
OCSA: Favorite Popular Music memory?
thomasondrums: “I’d tell you the story, but I can’t use profanity.”
OCSA: How has PM helped you as a musician?
thomasondrums: “PM helped me improve a great deal on the transcription and theoretical side of music.”
OCSA: What is the most valuable piece of advice you received at Popular Music?
thomasondrums: “When I was a freshman, I was holding back and Tony Torres came up to me and said, ‘Kid, you can hit harder.’ Have gave me the green light to be myself on stage.”
OCSA: Craziest Webb (theater) story?
thomasondrums: “Tech week – plus two live shows, playing 9 minutes of ‘Kashmir’ on repeat – broke about 17 of my sticks and tore up my hands pretty good.”
OCSA: Who in your life inspires you?
thomasondrums: “My parents are the most inspirational people you will ever meet.”
OCSA: Favorite childhood memory?
thomasondrums: “Going to Disneyland with my sister, Kylie.”
OCSA: What will you miss most about the Popular Music Conservatory?
thomasondrums: “Live performances.”
OCSA: Any parting words?
thomasondrums: “Enjoy the process.”
Parting Words from my OCSA Drum Teacher, Tony Torres
Photo above: Thomas Lowrey and OCSA Drum Teacher, Tony Torres after a Oingo Boingo Dance Party show at The Coach House in 2017.
Before I share the words from Tony Torres, I want to send my sincere thanks to him for being my favorite teacher at Orange County School of the Arts. He made a great impact on my journey with the drums, and I won’t forget what he taught me! You should know, that he calls me “Kid” which will make sense when you read his comments:
Parting thoughts about Thomas Lowrey – by Tony Torres, OCSA Head Drum Teacher:
“The Kid pushed me constantly as an instructor. And I am grateful to him for that. He was always bringing in a transcription or an odd time groove that made me smile! The Kid has been a star for years! After teaching at OCSA for 10 years, I’ve seen many great drummers go through that program – but, I can honestly say that Thomas is the MOST gifted drummer/musician to grace the drum lab – hands down!”
thomasondrums: DRUMS – JAMS & RECORDING
Photo above: thomasondrums heavy artillery
Since my last blog post I have stayed busy with music and of course, the drums. Julia Lane and I have been working hard on recording the Iterum demo, which I wrote about in my last blog. Stay tuned, we will have more Iterum band news coming soon!
I still practice on the pad and drum set five days a week in my home studio. I also work on tracking/recording projects in there as well. In my free time, I like to video drum covers, or drum solos to post on my Instagram, @thomasondrums. The drum videos I make for Instagram really evolved due to the lock downs, and not getting to perform in live shows. My practice time was of course not as hard hitting and exciting as I like to play the drums in live shows. In live shows, I bring the high energy and excitement of playing the drums in a performance vs. simply at practice. The year of not getting that live show feel really got old, and I missed it. So, I started to set up my Instagram videos as if I were playing in front of an audience. I bring the live feel to those videos, and it really helped me fill the void. The videos started to get a positive response, and that was cool to see. So, if you’d like to see the way I play the drums live, please check out Instagram @thomasondrums
Photo above: the thomasondrums Instagram posts of drum covers are all about having fun and the love of the instrument!
There was a bombastic metal jam in my drum studio back in November with guitar shredder and rock star, Jason Hook! Jason and I blew the roof off the studio with some heavy metal and hard rocking jams! Jason is a really cool guy to hang with, and talk about music, and his journey from Toronto to LA rock star. Check out his awesome documentary film, “Hired Gun” that he produced and starred in, along with so many musicians that share their behind the scenes stories of touring and what it takes to play songs with the world’s most iconic bands. I can’t wait to do it again! Thanks, Jason!
Photo above: Jason Hook and thomasondrums rocking the studio
Photo above: Jason Hook and Thomas Lowrey
Sacha Carlson in the studio with thomasondrums:
I had another kick-ass jam here at the studio recently with Sacha Carlson. You might know Sacha from the Netflix show, Julie and the Phantoms. He is an actor, but, he loves to play guitar and sing. We broke into this multi-hour R&B/Zeppelin/Stevie Ray Vaughn/Nick Perri – style jam that was killer! Playing for the music is what it’s all about! Maybe next time we’ll get some video!
Photo above: thomasondrums and Sacha Carlson jamming in the studio
Photo above: Sacha Carlson and Thomas Lowrey
thomasondrums: Music History travel blog
I wanted to share that I took a trip with my family to Graceland, in Memphis Tennessee last week. It was an honor to pay my respects to the King of Rock ‘n Roll, Elvis Presley. Touring his beautiful home and property, and learning more about the man that is the legend of Elvis was a trip to remember. I believe that seeing Graceland gave me a better appreciation of what Elvis meant to music.
My family has some unusual “connections” with Elvis that I’d like to share with you. First, my grandmother was the President of her high school Elvis Fan Club! How classic is that! My dad used to play his mom’s Elvis 45’s from the 1950’s when he was a little boy, and his mom bought him his first record album which was “Elvis: From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis” a double LP. Then it gets crazy. My mom was actually born on the SAME DAY as Elvis’ daughter, Lisa Marie. And finally, and I’m most proud to say, that my dad worked as a bodyguard for Lisa Marie Presley.
Photo above: thomasondrums at the famous Gates of Graceland
Photo above: On the front steps of Graceland. It is a peaceful place.
Photo above: Elvis’ gravestone at Graceland. I have to say, thank you Elvis for your generosity and for leading the way – opening the door for so many rock stars in the world. TCB forever!
While in Memphis, I checked out Beale Street, the birthplace of the Blues. And also toured the legendary Sun Studio, where Elvis and so many early rock ‘n rollers recorded. I really learned a lot about the history of music by taking the tour in that classic studio.
Photo above: thomasondrums at the legendary, Sun Studio
Photo above: thomasondrums on the kit in Sun Studio, where a 19 – year – old Elvis Presley first walked in on his lunch break and recorded…
Finally, I stopped and checked out the Memphis Drum Shop. I have been to Pro Drum in Hollywood, California so many times, that I had to check out what the Memphis Drum Shop was like. The staff there were polite, and the drum shop is huge and kept super clean. They have a great selection of drums, and an amazing snare drum room. I’m glad I got to see it.
Photo above: thomasondrums at Memphis Drum Shop, April 2021
12 Years at Rob Ferrell Drum Studio
My formal drum lessons from age 6 to 18 non-stop at Rob Ferrell Drum Studio has reached the end of the line. Thank you, Rob! What a run it has been! Rob laid down the foundation for my journey on the drum set; he taught me reading, rudiments and the fundamentals of playing the drums. It was Rob that helped me prep for all of my live shows from rock schools – to pro gigs, and beyond. Rob also helped me prepare for my auditions at Orange County School of the Arts, and USC Thornton School of Music. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it to the day I die: Rob Ferrell is a great drum teacher, but he is also the nicest guy I know. If you’re looking for a formal drum teacher – please contact Rob Ferrell Drum Studio!
Photo above: My last day at Rob Ferrell Drum Studio. Thank you, Rob!
2021 Musician of the Year – Orange County School of the Arts, Popular Music Conservatory
I’d like to thank Rachel Kramer, Tony Torres and the rest of the staff of OCSA Popular Music Conservatory for this prestigious award. I am honored and thankful.
Photo above: The award I received from Orange County School of the Arts, Popular Music Conservatory
LIVE MUSIC! After 15 months of Covid-19 lockdowns – Orange County School of the Arts Popular Music Conservatory’s “Class of 2021 Senior Showcase” – June 7th & 8th, 2021
Two live shows with the Seniors from OCSA Popular Music, and a 14 song setlist for me behind the drums was the closure to this chapter of my journey with the drums. Thanks to all of my friends, and OCSA Popular Music Conservatory bandmates – keep rocking!
Photos above: Evening One – Outside Orange County School of the Arts
Photos above: Evening Two – at The Hangar, in Tustin, California
OCSA Graduation Ceremony Performance
It was an honor to have been one of four musicians asked to perform at the Class of 2021 OCSA Graduation Performance at the Honda Center in Anaheim. I joined Jacob Burkett, Cole Daniel and Sean Antongiorgi on stage to perform the National Anthem and three songs during the ceremony. It was a nice way to end my days at Orange County School of the Arts!
Photos above: First time drumming in a graduation gown!
Photo above: thomasondrums (The Graduate) with the Founder of Orange County School of the Arts, Dr. Ralph Opacic.
Next stop – USC Thornton School of Music!
Thank you all for checking out thomasondrums.net
Keep on drumming! – Thomas