Drummer Troy Luccketta of Telsa: Balancing Raw Energy And Technique

Cris: How have you changed as a drummer over the years?

Troy Luccketta

Troy: Well, if you want to go back to where I started, I was pretty much self-taught. So what happens is, you get better in time. You have all that young, raw energy that you just play music and you play what you hear. And there’s a sense of heart and feel that goes with that, without technique. And as you mature as a player, you gain more technique. So obviously my technique has improved dramatically.

And it’s interesting depending on what I am doing and who I am playing with how much technique I’ll apply versus how much I’ll take out. I just try to lose the technique if I want to get something a little more raw.

Always play for the music

Cris: As you progressed with technique, was there ever concern with losing that same heart that you had at the start?

Troy: I think I had to balance some of my studying and my application, my playing. When playing with Tesla, I try not to put in Dave Weckl licks. Always play for the music. But when I play in other situations, sometimes I have to apply a lot more technique.

Cris: Yeah. When you did the Keith Emerson ‘Three Fates’ album, that was some seriously busy playing.

Troy: Isn’t that a beautiful piece of work? I’m so proud of that. You know, that’s where my technique really came into play. So thank goodness I have enough of that. Cause I never did the full on college thing. I never went to North Texas or Berklee or anything like that. I was always playing. Since I was 23 until now I’ve been busy (thank goodness). I didn’t have an opportunity to just take off and put all of this time into studying.

So it has just been over the years, listening to records. And it’s continued. I got up this morning and I was going through Rich Redmond’s workouts. I take as much information as I can get and I apply it over a period of time. I’ll absorb it kind of slowly, but it’s being absorbed. And it can naturally come out in my playing and get used when necessary.