I started playing the drums when I was 10 years old. Over the years many different drummers have influenced my playing but one in particular that I saw play in the early 90s basically changed the way I thought about playing the drums, and the instrument as a whole. That drummer was Damon Che of the band Don Caballero.
I grew up in Morgantown WV, and quite often my friends and I would head up to nearby Pittsburg PA to see touring bands that weren’t making it to Morgantown. This time we were heading up to see the band Tar. Tar were an awesome band and we were all very excited to see them. There were two opening bands, and one of them was this band I’d never heard of at the time called Don Caballero.
I barely remember them setting up, but I do remember some tall lanky dude standing outside behind the glass doors of the venue before they got started in a long black trench coat, drinking water out of a gallon jug and smoking a cigarette. That dude was the drummer of Don Cab, Damon Che.
Don Cab came out and their first song was like a sudden explosion of a sonic fireball that basically leveled the audience. You could feel everyone in the room staring at the stage like they were witnessing something like planets colliding. At the center of all this, and the one directing the collision was the drummer. He was seated behind a cheap black Pearl Export series drum set, with huge toms setup nearly perfectly flat and gigantic shiny B8 Pro cymbals set up very high and tilted.
I was close to the front of the stage, and watching him play, but couldn’t really believe my eyes. His motions were completely alien looking, and the way his drums were setup looked amazingly uncomfortable. But the sounds I was hearing were unlike any drumming I had previously encountered. It was busy, really busy, but with a very deep pocket feel and incredible power. Every couple seconds I was hearing a new beat I hadn’t heard anyone else play before. It was complex, bombastic, intense and incredibly tight.
At this moment I knew the drumming world had just received an upgrade and I felt incredibly inspired to get even better at drums and my love for the instrument grew even stronger than it already was.
So let’s take a closer look at Damon Che and see what exactly made him such an awesome force behind the drums.