Great Gretsch Educators . . . Sam Aliano: Awesome Aussie
The old saying goes: “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Sam Aliano is a living contradiction to that concept because he most certainly can play great drums, as well as being a terrific educator. He’s also a new Gretsch Drums artist, and we’re very happy to have him on board.
Sam was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1972. He showed an interest in drums very early on, and by the time he was six he was playing drums in his family’s Latin dance band. As a teenager he studied with some of Australia’s top drummers, including Darryn Farrugia and Frank Corniola (publisher of Australia’s Drumscene magazine). In 1996 he expanded his range of study into the US, where he took lessons from Joe Morello, Frank Katz, Anton Fig, Joe Bergamini, and Dom Famularo.
As the result of all this intense study, Sam developed an impressive and versatile drumming style, which equipped him to perform in a wide variety of musical genres. He demonstrated this versatility at the 1998 Ultimate Drummers Day in Australia. Not daunted by the prospect of appearing on the same bill with such drum greats as Dave Weckl, Terry Bozzio, Chad Wackerman, and Dom Famularo, Sam gave a performance filled with blistering technique, dynamic double bass drumming, and stellar showmanship.
Over the ensuing years, Sam has pursued a career that combines live band touring and educational clinic appearances all over the world. He relocated to Los Angeles in 2003, and since then has become an in-demand drummer in the LA music scene. His live and recording credits include jazz-improv rockers Gongzilla, Supernova’s Lukas Rossi, Mr. Big’s Billy Sheehan, Extreme’s Nuno Bettancourt, and ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash.
In 2011 Sam co-authored a book with Great Gretsch Drummer Matt Sorum, entitled Double Bass Drumming & Power Fills Workout. It’s come to be regarded as a must-have workout text on double bass grooves and power fills. More recently, Sam has released his own book, called Advanced Groove Concepts. Describing the book’s content, Sam says, “It’s a collection of intermediate to advanced level grooves and patterns that are applicable to all modern styles of music. The book focuses on developing the ability to play varied and sometimes complex patterns between the hands, while keeping a solid groove—reminiscent of some of the legendary funk and fusion drummers—all while building the weaker hand into a groove-creating engine.”
Today, Sam divides his time between touring with heavy rockers Made-N-America and pursuing his educational efforts. He’s currently booking dates for his 2018 Advanced Groove Concepts clinic tour. For that purpose he can be reached via his website.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Sam was asked to write double bass drum lessons for Australia’s leading drum magazine, Drumscene. You can see several of those published lessons. Check them out.
You can see and hear examples of Sam’s playing by visiting the “videos” section of his website.
Sam also has his own YouTube page, where more videos are available!