Skip to main content

In The Mix with Drummer, John Xepoleas

Sep 15, 2014 11:32AM, Published by Jennifer Neys, Categories: Community




By Paul Cotruvo

Pleasant Hill’s own John Xepoleas is one of the most versatile and respected drummers and educators in the Bay Area. Not only is he the drummer for one of the most successful party bands, The Fundamentals, as well as the jazz band, Fundz, he hosts a very successful “Online Drum Lesson” website, is the music director for the Soundwall Rock and Roll summer music camps, wrote a top-selling drum book entitled, Style Studies for the Creative Drummer, and maintains a thriving teaching practice. Needless to say, he is one busy guy. As a fellow musician, I have seen John play for many years and really love his technique and style. He grooves like no other! Somehow he fit a little time in for this interview, so sit back and enjoy, and read what John has to say:

How old were you when you first started playing drums and were they your first instrument of choice? 11 years old. First and only choice. 

Who were your some of your inspirations and influences? When I saw Ringo and the Beatles, I got the drumming bug. Other influences include Stones, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Who, and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Then jazz took over for a while, with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Chic Corea and Pat Metheny. 

What have been some of your favorite musical highlights so far? Playing my first big concert with my first real band, The Gates of Eden, at Chabot College in Hayward. We played "Stairway to Heaven" as the closer, and I thought I was in heaven. In the mid to late 70's, I played in a jazz/fusion band called Daybreak LTD. We did one record and had great success in the local jazz scene for five or six years running. Played some great shows in some great rooms. I wrote and produced a two book series entitled, Drum Lessons with The Greats. It was published by Warner Bros. and sold worldwide. It was very exciting because I got to work with Neal Peart, Dave Weckl, Steve Smith, Terry Bozzio, Peter Erskine, Kenny Aronoff, Mike Portnoy, and some other great drummers. Most recently, I've enjoyed some nice success with my online drum lesson videos. It all started out with free YouTube videos and has now turned into an online drum lesson website. 

Who would you name as the best top three drummers of all time and why? Buddy Rich, because he had amazing technique and was able to play things that people are still trying to figure out today. John Bonham, because he had a sound and style that defined how rock drummers should play.  Steve Gadd, because he can play incredible stuff in a variety of musical styles. His drum parts always feel great and are perfect for whatever song he is playing. 

As such a versatile musician, if you could just choose one style of music, what would you choose and why? I would be unhappy if I could only play one style of music. I feel very fortunate that I can play everything, from small group jazz to big band, from funk and rock, to pop and soul. I also get to play with some of the best musicians in the Bay Area, if not the world. 

If you were a funk song, what song would you be and why? "What is Hip" by Tower of Power. Not that I consider myself to be Mr. Hip, it's just that that song and the way it feels and grooves resonates with me.

If you want to hear John and the Fundamentals, you can see them for free, as they are a part of the Downtown Pleasant Hill Plaza Concert Series, held at 6:30pm on Thursday, September 18. The stage is set up between Jack’s and Sweet Tomatoes Restaurants. Make sure you bring your dancing shoes, because this band rocks!

Quote of the Month: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

~~~Henry David Thoreau

Paul’s picks for September:

September 6: Lavay Smith, Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, 8pm 

September 7: East Bay Mudd, Pleasant Hill Summer by the Lake Series, City Hall Lawn, 100 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill, 5pm

September 18: The Fundamentals, Plaza Concert Series, Downtown Pleasant Hill on Crescent Dr.,6:30pm

September 20 and 21: Lafayette Art & Wine Festival, featuring The Sun Kings, Aja Vu, Petty Theft, The Spazmatics, The Big Jangle, Foreverland, and more. Check the website www.lafayettefestival.com for more details.                   

September 27: Delta Wires, Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, 8pm

September 27: Loose Blues, Dallimonti’s, 1932 Oak Park Blvd. Pleasant Hill, 9pm                             

 



  • FPHE Green Team meeting - new members wanted!

    05/25/2017
    04:00PM — 05:00PM

    We encourage and support all things Green in Pleasant Hill schools, including school gardens, sal...


  • Summer of Love

    05/25/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    At 7pm on May 25 and 26, the talented students in the College Park High School choir department w...


  • CHRIS O'CONNELL & THE SMARTALECKS

    05/25/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    "Country, Western Swing and jazz" Chris O'Connell - vocals/ guitar Don Margraf - guitar Ale...


  • Happy Hour & A Half

    05/26/2017
    04:30PM — 06:00PM

    Live music with JAMIE MOONE & THE DRIVERS No cover charge Beverage discount Doors open 4:00


  • Summer of Love

    05/26/2017
    07:00PM — 09:30PM

    At 7pm on May 25 and 26, the talented students in the College Park High School choir department w...


  • Las Lomas High School Chorale

    05/26/2017
    07:30PM — 08:30PM

    Enjoy an evening of wonderful choral music with Las Lomas Chorale. Start: 7:30 pm at Las Lomas T...


  • THE KING COSBY GROUP

    05/26/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    "Jazz" Brett King Cosby - drums Jack Pollard - vocals Doug McKeehan - keyboards Ian Willson...


  • Belly Dancer of the Year Competition

    05/27/2017
    12:30PM — 10:00PM

    Join us Memorial Day Weekend at the Orinda Library Auditorium for the 44th Annual Belly Dancer of...


  • Wish Upon A Star

    05/27/2017
    07:00PM

    Bring the whole family to enjoy this musical spectacular, with princesses, villains, heroes and a...


  • TENDER MERCIES

    05/27/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    "Americana" Dan Vickrey - Vocals, Guitar Patrick Winningham - Vocals, Guitar Kurt Stevenson...


  • THE SUNDAY PAPER

    05/28/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    "Bay Area Funk" With former and current members of Tower Of Power, Cold Blood, Sly & The Famil...


  • MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE

    05/28/2017
    04:00PM — 06:00PM

    Award-winning composer and organist, Luke Mayernik, will be performing works from Bach, Brahms, M...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • Las Lomas High School Spring Concert #1

    05/23/2017
    07:30PM — 08:30PM

    Join us for an evening of wonderful instrumental music. Concerts are very multicultural, and feat...


  • Las Lomas High School Spring Concert

    05/24/2017
    07:30PM — 08:30PM

    Join us for an evening of wonderful instrumental music with our Wind Ensemble and Orchestra. Con...


  • FPHE Green Team meeting - new members wanted!

    05/25/2017
    04:00PM — 05:00PM

    We encourage and support all things Green in Pleasant Hill schools, including school gardens, sal...


  • Summer of Love

    05/25/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    At 7pm on May 25 and 26, the talented students in the College Park High School choir department w...


  • CHRIS O'CONNELL & THE SMARTALECKS

    05/25/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    "Country, Western Swing and jazz" Chris O'Connell - vocals/ guitar Don Margraf - guitar Ale...


  • Happy Hour & A Half

    05/26/2017
    04:30PM — 06:00PM

    Live music with JAMIE MOONE & THE DRIVERS No cover charge Beverage discount Doors open 4:00


  • Summer of Love

    05/26/2017
    07:00PM — 09:30PM

    At 7pm on May 25 and 26, the talented students in the College Park High School choir department w...


  • Las Lomas High School Chorale

    05/26/2017
    07:30PM — 08:30PM

    Enjoy an evening of wonderful choral music with Las Lomas Chorale. Start: 7:30 pm at Las Lomas T...


  • THE KING COSBY GROUP

    05/26/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    "Jazz" Brett King Cosby - drums Jack Pollard - vocals Doug McKeehan - keyboards Ian Willson...


  • Belly Dancer of the Year Competition

    05/27/2017
    12:30PM — 10:00PM

    Join us Memorial Day Weekend at the Orinda Library Auditorium for the 44th Annual Belly Dancer of...


  • Wish Upon A Star

    05/27/2017
    07:00PM

    Bring the whole family to enjoy this musical spectacular, with princesses, villains, heroes and a...


  • TENDER MERCIES

    05/27/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    "Americana" Dan Vickrey - Vocals, Guitar Patrick Winningham - Vocals, Guitar Kurt Stevenson...


  • THE SUNDAY PAPER

    05/28/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    "Bay Area Funk" With former and current members of Tower Of Power, Cold Blood, Sly & The Famil...


  • MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE

    05/28/2017
    04:00PM — 06:00PM

    Award-winning composer and organist, Luke Mayernik, will be performing works from Bach, Brahms, M...


  • MONTHLY MOSTLY BLUEGRASS EXTRAVAGANZA

    05/31/2017
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    Hosted by the Armando's House Bluegrass Band Bruce Campbell - bass Rick Horlick - mandolin L...


  • An Ideal Husband

    06/01/2017
    08:00PM — 10:30PM

    Town Hall Theatre Company (THT) is excited to announce the final show in its 2016-2017 Season, th...


  • NELL ROBINSON and JIM NUNALLY BAND

    06/01/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    Nell Robinson - vocals Jim Nunally - guitar/ vocals Pete Grant - pedal steel Jim Kerwin - bas...


  • Happy Hour & A Half

    06/02/2017
    04:30PM — 06:00PM

    Live music with THE NEW FRANTICS No cover charge Beverage discount Doors open 4:00


  • An Ideal Husband

    06/02/2017
    08:00PM — 10:30PM

    Town Hall Theatre Company (THT) is excited to announce the final show in its 2016-2017 Season, th...


  • Charity Basketball Tournament

    06/03/2017
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    It's the 6th Annual CF Shootout 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament to help raise funds to cure cystic f...


  • Walnut Creek Movies Under the Stars: Sing

    06/03/2017
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Bring your family and enjoy this FREE outdoor moving screening! Bring a picnic or enjoy dinner at...


  • An Ideal Husband

    06/03/2017
    08:00PM — 10:30PM

    Town Hall Theatre Company (THT) is excited to announce the final show in its 2016-2017 Season, th...


  • JINX JONES & THE KINGTONES

    06/03/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    "Rockabilly" Jinx Jones - guitar/ vocals Vance Ehlers - bass Ken Owen - drums In Jinx Jon...


  • MISS LONELY HEARTS

    06/04/2017
    04:00PM — 06:00PM

    "Honky Tonk" Presented by Minor Chords Productions . With their hard driving honkey tonk s...


  • An Ideal Husband

    06/04/2017
    08:00PM — 10:30PM

    Town Hall Theatre Company (THT) is excited to announce the final show in its 2016-2017 Season, th...


  • RED'S BLUES

    06/08/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    Beth Reid-Grigsby - lead vocals Dave Earl - guitar/ harmonica/ vocals Richard, RW, Grigsby - el...


  • An Ideal Husband

    06/08/2017
    08:00PM — 10:30PM

    Town Hall Theatre Company (THT) is excited to announce the final show in its 2016-2017 Season, th...


  • Happy Hour & A Half

    06/09/2017
    04:30PM — 06:00PM

    Live music with THE KILLBILLIES No cover charge Beverage discount Doors open 4:00


  • An Ideal Husband

    06/09/2017
    08:00PM — 10:30PM

    Town Hall Theatre Company (THT) is excited to announce the final show in its 2016-2017 Season, th...


  • MIGHTY CROWS BAND

    06/09/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    “Traditional Bluegrass” Mark Warderburg - fiddle/ vocals Ken Torke - mandolin/ vocals Chris ...


  • Diablo Choral Artists Concert

    06/09/2017
    08:00PM — 09:30PM

    DIABLO CHORAL ARTISTS presents a choral journey of Summer Travels, featuring works by Mendelssohn...


  • Grand Opening of Larkey Swim Center

    06/10/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    Join us in celebrating the new Larkey Swim Center! Free admission to the renovated pool, includin...


  • An Ideal Husband

    06/10/2017
    08:00PM — 10:30PM

    Town Hall Theatre Company (THT) is excited to announce the final show in its 2016-2017 Season, th...


  • WENDY DEWITT & FRIENDS

    06/10/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    "Blues & Boogie Woogie" Wendy DeWitt - piano Kirk Harwood - drums Steve Freund - guitar B...


  • Opera in the Park

    06/11/2017
    03:00PM

    Welcome back... to one of Festival Opera's most popular summer programs — Opera in the Park — whi...


  • Diablo Choral Artists Concert

    06/11/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    DIABLO CHORAL ARTISTS presents a choral journey of Summer Travels, featuring works by Mendelssohn...


  • THOMAS MARTIN & FRIENDS

    06/11/2017
    04:00PM — 06:00PM

    "Original Folk and Covers" Thomas Martin - guitar/ vocals Glen Richards - keys Dan Richard...


  • An Ideal Husband

    06/11/2017
    08:00PM — 10:30PM

    Town Hall Theatre Company (THT) is excited to announce the final show in its 2016-2017 Season, th...


  • SOULFUL SECURITY

    06/13/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    "Classic Rhythm & Blues and Soul" Glenn Walters - vocals/ drums Jeff Tamelier - guitar Tony ...


 

 

 

 

May 2017
Oasis Veterinary Pet Adoption Connection

 

Loading Family Features Content Widget
Loading Family Features Article

 

Interested in advertising or becoming a community sponsor? Contact us at 925-335-6397 or email us at info@ourcommunityfocus.com