Interview With World-Class Drummer and Educator Todd Sucherman

Todd Sucherman is a world-class drummer and educator, also known as the drummer for the multi-platinum selling band Styx. His instructional video 'Methods & Mechanics' won awards in drumming education.

Todd will be giving some masterclasses in the UK in March 2024.

By Magesh MageshContributing Author

Article photo - Interview With World-Class Drummer and Educator Todd Sucherman

Magesh, Musicngear: You have done so much in the music industry from playing drums on platinum albums to touring the world. Can you talk about your solo release 'Last Flight Home' which you also wrote and sang on?

Well, that was really a grand experiment that came to fruition from my dear old pal, JK Harrison. He kept badgering and cajoling me to do a record with him, and I finally relented. We got together and it was kind of like lightening in a bottle from the first day.

So I followed through on it. Being that it’s a more “singer-songwriter” record than a drum centric, or fusion record—it caught many folks off guard. But I thought that writing good songs with great melodies was significantly more difficult than just blowing chops over instrumentals—and it’s what I needed to do at the time. There’s some drumming on it for sure, but it’s supportive playing for the music, and the music was the most important thing.

Every note, every lyric, every performance I had to be able to stand behind. It came out early in the pandemic, and the correspondence I received from those who embraced the record was just incredible. Music gets you through certain times in our lives and that was a moment in time that was unique in history.

So it was a grand experiment to see if I could do it. And I’m really proud of what JK and I did with “Last Flight Home.” It’s a cohesive collection of music.

Your instructional drumming videos 'Methods & Mechanics' won awards in education and your Drumeo 'Rock drumming masterclass' was also very successful. What aspects of drumming do you think require a teacher?

Empathy, compassion, and patience. At the same time, you have to have a drive and motivation. A balance of kindness and tough love in a way. You have to recognize and diagnose issues and come up with solutions.

The feel is best developed with a balance of practice and playing music with other musicians. It comes with wanting to play with a good feel and putting that before everything else

You will be performing some masterclasses in the UK in March. What can people expect in these sessions?

To be perfectly honest, I don’t like to disclose or advertise much of what I do in my masterclasses. This is only because there are a few group experiments that we do together and then the penny drops— certain big realizations are made and you have to go through it as a group.

Some life-changing realizations are made in the very first hour of the three hours— and if I talk about it, frankly, it ruins the experiment for anyone who would come to a future class. Ultimately we work on mental aspects of relaxation in the mind and then in our physical form, from our fingers, up the arms, into the shoulders, and back.

Those are also connected to the brain and if we are relaxed we’ll do our job better. Whatever your occupation is, you’ll do it better when you are relaxed. Most drummers are doing things mentally and physically that are counterproductive. They have certain habits that keep them from improving or being able to play certain things that have eluded them so far in their playing life.

Breakthroughs on so many levels occur if they are up for it and accept what must be done to achieve levels that are beyond their current ability. It’s doable. It takes realization, acceptance, and then the work ahead.

Although there is a lot of focus on how drummers can play fast today, how do you think a drummer can develop feel?

The feel is best developed with a balance of practice and playing music with other musicians. It comes with wanting to play with a good feel and putting that before everything else. A little age, maturity, and experience go a long way with that.

Do you think the future of drumming will change now that so many people learn from tutorials, as opposed to back in the day when people would learn from going to see drummers perform at bars and clubs?

Well, it will change because the experience opportunities seem less and less available for musicians. Years ago there were circuits that bands could play around a multi-state area. The discos killed that in the late 70s.

In the 80s, I played every summer at a resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin from the time I was 13 to 19 years old. It was six nights a week, reading charts and playing shows for various comedians, singers, magicians, dancers, you name it. Six nights a week. Where does a young musician go to get THAT kind of experience now? It doesn’t exist anymore.

So the generation of musicians I grew up playing with that were older than me had that experience. They had their ten thousand hours plus on the actual gig. They all knew countless songs and could play them in all keys. I’m not sure how things will change but, man, those were the days.

What's the best piece of advice you ever received about the music business?

Well, I have a hard time answering that but I can give you MY best advice. There are five things you can do to put your career into a positive trajectory.

Number 1, always be on time. And what that means for a drummer is to be devastatingly early. It’s one of the best gifts you can give yourself. You are relaxed and set up when it’s time to play. Always be devastatingly early.

Number 2, be prepared. If you are playing with new musicians and they give you 20 songs to learn— you learn them and have them down cold. You said “yes” to the job, so be prepared.

Number 3, have the right tools for the job. Your gear is in great shape and it’s all the right choices for the music you will be playing.

Number 4, nail the job. It’s easy to nail the job when you are prepared. That’s a gift you already gave to yourself.

Number 5, leave everyone happy that you were there. Be a good person, be fun to be around, listen, take direction, and be a breath of fresh air. This world has enough malcontents and grumpy, bitter musicians. Don’t be one of them. Leave everybody happy that you were there.

Most people can’t put those five things together— much less musicians. The successful ones do. Do that for a number of years and see where it takes you.

Connect with Todd Sucherman
FacebookInstagram / Website

Make sure you check out Todd’s UK masterclasses.  He is a true Drumming Master!

email host for London, Mike Dolbear at

email host for London, Mike Dolbear at


email host Matty Roberts at 


SOLD OUT!!! Call Drummers Only to be put on the alternate list: +44 141 429 3799

email host Bob Wynne at

About Magesh Magesh

Magesh is a musician and producer who has worked with Rihanna, Lionel Richie, Ricky Martin, Chris Brown, The Pussy Cat Dolls, Nelly Furtado, and Vernon Reid of Living Colour. He released an instructional drumming DVD called "Unique Beats" where he mixed the drum kit with electronics and Indian hand percussion. He recently moved from Australia to the UK to explore new musical opportunities.

Contact Magesh Magesh at

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