Thomas Lang is a drummer, multi-instrumentalist,
composer and record producer. He is the
founding member of the Los Angeles-based
progressive/avant garde metal trio, stOrk.
took up drumming at age 5. In addition to lessons at
local music schools and years of private tuition, he was
classically trained at the Vienna Conservatory of Music.
After leaving the conservatory in 1985, Lang
began working professionally, working his way through
the European pop, rock and jazz scenes. As a session
musician he played for artists such as John Wetton,
Robert Fripp, Glenn Hughes, Peter Gabriel, Asia, Nik
Kershaw, Tina Turner, Robbie Williams, Kelly Clarkson,
Sugababes, Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton, Victoria
Beckham, Ronan Keating, Steve Hackett, 911, Boyzone,
Falco, Nina Hagen, Steve Jones, Mick Jones, The
Commodores, George Michael, Doogie White, B*Witched,
Gianna Nannini, Lighthouse Family, Westlife, Kylie
Minogue, The Blockheads, Sertab Erener, Vienna Art
Orchestra, Bonnie Tyler and Nadine Beiler.
Thomas is considered to be a fantastic instructor and
his instructional products are best-sellers.
Steve Smith Steve Smith's drumming,
while always decidedly modern, can best be described as
a style that
embodies the history of U.S. music. His original love of
rudimental parade drumming is evident in his intricate
solos. Likewise, his command of jazz, from New Orleans
music, swing, bebop, avant-garde to fusion, is applied
with his powerful rock drumming sensibilities and allows
him to push the boundaries of all styles to new heights.
His musical focus is committed to the exploration of
improvised music incorporating styles as diverse as
Blues, Jazz, R&B, Funk, Cajun and South Indian Carnatic.
In 1974 Smith's professional career began in full,
at 19 years old, with his tenure in the Lin Biviano Big
Band, which he toured and recorded with for the next two
years. At that same time he also performed with bebopper
Buddy DeFranco and was a member of free-jazz group The
Fringe featuring George Garzone. In 1976, Smith began
his association with jazz/fusion by joining violinist
Jean Luc Ponty’s group and recording the album
"Enigmatic Ocean," which also featured guitarist Allan
Holdsworth. It was while touring with rocker Ronnie
Montrose a year later that Smith was asked to join the
popular rock band Journey which brought his playing to
the attention of a young rock audience.
Journey, Smith toured around the world and recorded many
successful albums including the immensely popular
"Escape" (Columbia 1981) and "Frontiers" (Columbia
1983), both of which garnered the band many Top 40 hits.
In 1985 Smith left Journey to pursue his original
passion, jazz, and to continue his developing career as
a session player. Over the past 30+ years, Smith has
played on many hits with such diverse artists as Mariah
Carey, Bryan Adams, Zucchero, Claudio Baglioni, Andrea
Bocelli, Y&T, Dweezil Zappa, Ray Price, Corrado Rustici
and Savage Garden.
Smith began leading his own
fusion band Steve Smith and Vital Information in 1983
while still a member of Journey. Vital Information's
release, "Where We Come From," was voted Best
Contemporary Jazz Recording Of 1998 by the Association
For Independent Music. The band’s 2007 Hudson Music
release, “Vitalization,” has gathered critical acclaim
around the world. The album features Steve’s interest
and abilities with rhythms from India including the
South Indian rhythmic vocal art-form: Konnakol.
Steve is also the bandleader of Steve Smith’s Jazz
Legacy, a group carrying on the tradition of many of the
great drummer-led jazz bands; communicating with music
lovers of all generations, striving for excellence and
playing non-compromising, burning, straight-ahead jazz.
In 2008 Jazz Legacy released two albums: “Live On Tour
Vol. 1” and “Live On Tour Vol. 2.” Steve also tours with
a group that is made of up members of both Vital
Information and Jazz Legacy. This band is called Steve
Smith’s Vital Legacy and plays the music of both groups.
Smith has also maintained an extensive touring and
recording career, appearing with many jazz luminaries
such as Mike Mainieri's group Steps Ahead. This band,
which included virtuosos such as Michael Brecker,
Richard Bona and Mike Stern, was one of the most
successful of the '80s electric jazz groups and Smith
contributed greatly to their tight, energetic sound for
seven years (1986-1993 and again from 2005-present).
Other high profile jazz touring and/or recording gigs
that have filled the drummer's schedule include such
artists as Ahmad Jamal, Michael Manring, Stanley Clarke,
Randy Brecker, Zakir Hussain, George Brooks’ Summit and
the Buddy Rich Big Band, with whom he has performed in
many tribute concerts to the late drumming idol. He also
rejoined Journey in 1996 to record the reunion album
"Trial By Fire" (Columbia 1996). Smith's calendar often
includes many drum clinics in which he is able to
display his phenomenal techniques and concepts to
drumming students around the world.
Smith began producing and playing on a series of
electric jazz albums for the Tone Center label with a
revolving cast of talented players including Dave
Liebman, Frank Gambale, Stu Hamm, Tom Coster, Larry
Coryell, Jerry Goodman, Howard Levy, Steve Marcus, Scott
Henderson and Victor Wooten. In 2009 Tone Center release
a compilation music called: “The Best Of Steve Smith –
The Tone Center Collection.” In 2003 Steve Smith and
Buddy's Buddies -- the Buddy Rich alumni quintet --
released two CDs on the Tone Center label that were
record live at the famous London jazz club Ronnie
Scott's; "Very Live at Ronnie Scott's Set One and Set
Two." In 2004 Steve toured with Soulbop, and all-star
group featuring Bill Evans, Randy Brecker, David
Kikoski, Victor Bailey and Hiram Bullock. In 2005 the
group released a live CD entitled “Soulbop Band Live.”
explosive solos and intricate timekeeping served to gain
him much acclaim from sources such as Modern Drummer
magazine, whose readers voted him the #1 All-Around
Drummer five years in a row. In 2001, Modern Drummer
magazine named Steve as one of the "Top 25 Drummer of
All Time", in 2002 he was voted into the Modern Drummer
Hall of Fame and in 2003 his Hudson Music DVD "Steve
Smith Drumset Technique - History of the U.S. Beat" was
voted #1 Educational DVD of 2003. The 2008 and 2009
Drum! magazine readers poll voted Smith #1 Jazz Drummer
and in 2009 Drum! readers voted "Steve Smith Drum Legacy
- Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants" the #1
As a drummer, Steve Smith has
worked for, and with, the best. He is consistently
pushing the boundaries of creative drumming and
constantly expanding his strong musical voice at the top
of the international drumming community. As an educator,
Smith is both the eternal student and perpetual teacher
of the drums. His highly lauded, recently released
educational DVDs, “The Art Of Playing With Brushes” and
“Drum Legacy – Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants,” are
state of the art showcases of his playing and teaching
skills. He is one of the few drummer/bandleaders who
continues to bring world-class bands to all corners of
the globe with a tireless regime of live performances.
Considered by many to be one of the most passionate
yet humble musicians of today, Aaron
Spears is now the subject of major attention on the
world music circuit. His style is one born from those
that inspired him, the likes of Travis Barker, Dave
Weckl, Dennis Chambers, Papa Jo Jones, and Stewart
Copeland amongst others. Aaron is the quintessential R&B
drummer, and his “in the pocket” style of playing and
authentic delivery is unparalleled in the world of
Aaron Spears (originally from
Washington DC) was born into a musical family in 1976,
with his interest in drums first developing through
involvement with the Church. As a result of his
Pentecostal upbringing, Aaron has had instilled in him
such values as keeping the Lord first in his life, and a
strong determination to inspire and encourage other
At 23 years of age, Aaron
joined a local band in DC called Gideon Band (GB). It
was his work with the Gideon Band and the great timing
of one of his mentors, Gerald Heyward, which saw him
gain the attention of Usher's MD Valdez Brantley.
Shortly after meeting Brantley, Aaron joined Usher’s
backing band, The Funk Rock Orchestra, whom he has
played for ever since.
Joining Usher's camp not
only awarded Aaron the opportunity to play with some of
the greatest musicians on the planet in the form of Juan
"Natural" Najera, Arthur Strong, and Valdez Brantley,
but gave him the opportunity to tour the world over,
also appearing on a special performance with Usher and
James Brown during the 47th Annual Grammy Awards.
At this stage in his career Aaron began to gain some
major attention and found his name being mentioned in
the same conversation as some of his heroes and greatest
influences. This was also the period in which Aaron's
musicality took off to incredible heights.
that is not enough, Aaron is also a GRAMMY NOMINATED
Music Producer, being nominated in 2004 for his work on
the USHER album “Confessions”. In 2006, Aaron was
nominated #1 up and coming drummer by MODERN DRUMMER
MAGAZINE. Aaron’s long list of touring and recording
credits include: Gideon Band, Chrisette Michelle,
Chamilionaire, David Cook, Joanne Rosario, Lil Wayne,
Carrie Underwood, Usher, Jordin Sparks, Chaka Khan, Adam
Lambert, Israel Houghton and most recently, The
Backstreet Boys. Dave Weckl
than 20 years, Dave Weckl has developed and maintained a
reputation among fans,
peers, and the international music community as one of
the great living drummers. For this, he has received
numerous accolades and honors; Modern Drummer inducted
Dave into their Hall of Fame and named him "one of the
25 best drummers of all time."
At age 16, Weckl
began to work professionally with local pop and jazz
groups. In 1979, he moved to the East coast to study
music at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. At
just 19 years-of-age, he was getting recognized.
While playing the club scene in New York City with a
band called Nite Sprite, Weckl started to receive
accolades from established studio musicians such as
Steve Kahn, Michael Brecker, and especially drumming
great Peter Erskine. It was Erskine who recommended
Weckl for his first 'big gig' in town with a group
called French Toast, forerunner to the Michel Camilo
band, which has been recorded quite extensively over the
From this group, legendary bassist
Anthony Jackson recommended Weckl for the prestigious
Simon and Garfunkel reunion tour in 1983. After this
tour, it was not long before he was regularly being
called for radio and TV jingles, sound track sessions,
and top recording dates with such artists as George
Benson, Peabo Bryson, Diana Ross, and Robert Plant, to
name a few.
In 1985, Michael Brecker suggested to
Chick Corea that he look into Dave's services for his
new Elektric Band. That was the beginning of a seven
year relationship with both the Elektric and Akoustic
Bands, where nine recordings and three videos were
produced. The Akoustic Band release earned the group a
Elektric Band showcased Weckl’s cutting-edge drumming
and innovative use of electronic and acoustic drums,
bringing him world-wide recognition. Though the Elektric
Band went on a 10-year hiatus in the early '90s, the
band is once again touring from time to time. It
released a 17-part conceptual album entitled "To The
Stars" in mid-2004.
As a solo artist, Weckl has
recorded and produced nine recordings to date, including
GRP/MCA solo releases Masterplan, Heads Up, and
Hardwired. In 1998, Weckl realized his long-time goal of
forming a world-touring band. To date, the Dave Weckl
Band has released five studio records, including: Rhythm
Of The Soul, Synergy, Transition, Perpetual Motion, and
Multiplicity. The band has also released a hot live
album, entitled LIVE (and very plugged in), and a
compilation that includes songs and instructional
videos, entitled The Zone.
When off the road,
Weckl keeps busy with session and production work at his
home studio in Los Angeles. He also accepts a limited
number of private students - and offers classes through
the Virtual Drummer School. Additionally, Weckl has many
instructional video/DVDs and play-along packages on the
A constant student of the art of drumming
and music, Weckl gives back every chance he gets through
clinics and classes all over the world.
Please use the links, below, to
browse information about the camp. Click the
"questions!" tab for frequently-asked-questions and
Steven Orkin Camp Director
Steven Orkin is the owner and executive
Drum Fantasy Camp. He also runs Orkin Marketing
Consultants, LLC, a marketing communications firm in Los
Orkin started his working career
in 1993 behind the news desk of television stations in
Cincinnati and Cleveland. He wrote and co-produced
hundreds of stories for broadcast news programs.
After two years in television, Orkin accepted a
marketing position at MBNA Corporation, then the world's
largest independent issuer of credit cards. It was at
MBNA where Orkin gained expertise in direct response and
customer relationship marketing.
After four years
with MBNA, accepted an account management position at
Wyse Advertising, in Cleveland. He spent the next five
years in the ad agency world before starting his own
Orkin now manages marketing for several
Chris Aleo Equipment Manager
Chris Aleo is a drummer based
in Hillsborough, New Jersey. Chris created Dave Weckl's
official discography. He is a great drummer and jazz
Chris manages equipment at Drum
Fantasy Camp and can be found roaming the halls and
answering questions throughout the event! In his "spare
time," Chris is a high school Honors Physics teacher!
Nick Aleo Assistant Equipment Manager
Aleo is a drummer who helps manage
equipment and the Drum Fantasy Camp store. He works
tirelessly to fix little problems that come up and
really knows his stuff!
During the school year,
Nick studies at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill
Paul Kelly Event
Paul Kelly is a pro drummer
based in Grand
Junction, Colorado. Paul teaches, performs, and helps
coordinate events with drummer Thomas Lang.
addition to chipping in with equipment management, Paul
helps coordinate our opening clinic/concert and Jam
William Wolkoff Jam Night MC
William Wolkoff is our enthusiastic MC at
the three Drum Fantasy Camp Jam Nights. William keeps
the jams organized and fun!
During the school
year, William majors in Electronic Media at the
University of Cincinnati.
One of many things that separates Drum Fantasy Camp from
any other drum education experience: getting to learn
from and play with three top musicians who also happen
to be fantastic people!
Baron Browne is a
first-call bassist who has
performed with some of world's top jazz and fusion acts.
Baro is a regular contributor to Steve Smith and Vital
Information, and has also performed and recorded with
Billy Cobham, Jean-Luc Ponty, Gary Burton, and Steps
Drum Fantasy campers are extremely
lucky to perform with Baron during Drum Fantasy Camp!
Chrissi Poland has been the heart and soul of Drum
Fantasy Camp since it started in 2007!
of Berklee with a four-octave range, Chrissi is the
energetic leader of our Jam Nights and opening concerts.
A composer and recording artist in her own right,
Chrissi has toured/recorded with artists including Moby,
Scissor Sisters and Sam Moore.
Chrissi is a true pro who challenges Drum Fantasy Camp
attendees to play with confidence, passion, and solid
Vinny Valentino Guitar, Vocals
is a world-class guitarist and
educator. He is best-known for his work with the
legendary George Benson and Steve Smith's fusion band
Vinny is a "musician's
musician." He plays "in the pocket" and chooses his
notes carefully. He's a writer, arranger, and performer
of the highest order. He is also a great teacher -
helping drummers understand how to be more musical.
Vinny's company, "Play Along Jazz," produces play
along tracks for musicians of every background and
Interested in getting your
product in front of our campers and concert attendees?