David’s Drum Off: #9 – Kenneth Schalk

I know those of you that know me were expecting a list full of blast-beating, double-bassing, superhero drummers in my top ten, but that’s just not how it’s going to go.  Not entirely anyway.

Coming in at number 9 is the provocative free jazz/metal/calypso/hip-hip/every-genre-of-music-in-existence drummer Mr. Kenneth Schalk of experimental metal giants Candiria.  This man does more with 3 drums than most drummers could do with a 29 piece-er.  He is the driving force behind Candiria‘s polyrhythmic sound and his unbelievable discipline behind the kit keeps him firmly in the pocket, even when he’s going apeshit.  Simply put, he’s a goddamn machine.

Candiria are known for their seamless genre-hopping ways (and being one of the first bands to successfully do so) and a large part of why it works so well is the interplay between Schalk and guitarist John Lamacchia, both of whom are spectacularly talented musicians and songwriters.  Hell, these guys have pioneered more genre hybrids than you can imagine.

Schalk is no one trick pony though.  He’s been involved in countless other bands, either as a session musician or as a full time member.  In 1999 Schalk, Lamacchia, and bassist Mike MacIvor joined forces to form a free jazz project called Ghosts Of The Canal, releasing two albums under the moniker.  Currently he’s touring with 90’s alt-rockers Fuel.  Odd choice, but it showcases more of his range and versatility as a musician.

All in all Ken Schalk is someone to be admired.  His playing is always spot on, no matter what genre he’s perpetrating, and always manages to keep things interesting behind the kit.  It’s all in the subtleties when it comes to his playing and you have to listen real hard to pick up everything that’s going on, which is why I’m always coming back for more.

Check out the video below for further proof.  The audio quality is terrible, but you get the idea of what I’m talking about.  He’s ferocious when he plays and the energy he gives off is fucking palpable.

If you’re looking for better audio quality check out this video of the song “The Rutherford Experiment” from their 2004 album What Doesn’t Kill You….  It’s a pretty good representation of what these guys are about, and some of Ken’s abilities as a skinsman.

Candiria‘s newest release Toying With The Insanities Vol. III is out now on Rising Pulse Records.

The Top Ten:
#10. John Longstreth (Origin, Dim Mak, Gorguts)

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