11.16.2004 // Mike Stevens Interview

Mike Stevens from Winston Churchill High School in San Antonio has finished his interview with Dynasty USA. Don't miss this!

1. First of all please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Mike Stevens. I was born in Glendale, CA. and moved to Portland, OR. when I was about one and was raised there. I consider myself an "Oregonian". GO DUCKS! I have two older brothers, Pat and Chris, both excellent musicians themselves.

2. How did drumming become a part of your life?

My family was given an old sparkly gold Gretch drumset in about 1979-80. We all just started messin around on it, and that was the start...oh, and in 6th grade I switched violin teachers...hated my new one so I switched to drums. I had also played piano since I was old enough to sit up. My family has always been involved in music - my mother plays flute, guitar, piano and sings, my brothers both can play the drums and guitar. My dad always made sure we were in music lessons. So I come from a long musical background - going into music was almost inevitable.

3. Where did you play?

I started playing in my middle school band, then high school, then joined the Spartans from Vancouver, WA. in 1986. I marched there for three years, then went and marched with BD in 89-90, then Cadets 91.

4. Did you go to school for percussion or how did you become the teacher/clinician that you are?

After marching at Cadets, Tom Aungst asked me to teach the Quad line, and that's how I got started. I had done a couple lines in So. Cal. before I moved to NJ. But my real teaching began by studying under Tom. Prior to that, I had a lot of great teachers and influences that inspired me. I worked with and studied with a lot of great people over the years. Mary Gromko, the female snare player from the 1980 27th Lancers snare line, Gary Gimmestad, Scott Johnson, Ralph Hardimon, Adam Mason, my brothers, my mom and dad... I went back to school after a few years and finished my Composition degree at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette under Adam Mason and then Jeff Prosperie. But I have to say I learned the most and attribute most of my success to Tom Float. He taught me everything that I value about drumming. There isn't a program in the country that hasn't been influenced by him in some way - whether they realize it or not!

5. What are you doing now and what is involved?

Currently I am the Percussion Director/Assistant Band Director at Winston Churchill High School in San Antonio, TX. This includes writing and teaching all of the Percussion music for the Marching Band, and either Percussion Ensemble or Indoor Percussion in the Spring.

6. Other than Dynasty USA what other instruments and accessories are you using?

I use Promark sticks and mallets exclusively, both for myself and my students.
Check out the new TS-7 "Stevens Sticks" for quads, hot off the lathe! Other than that, at my school we use Sabian Cymbals and whatever else is on the district bid list.

7. What are your loves outside of drumming?

Writing music and Mandy!

8. Are you married?

Not yet...

9. What is your best experience in life so far?

Tough one...but having my whole family come out to my Senior Composition Recital was pretty cool. Oh..and getting my own drumstick. Uh...and the look on the kids faces when we won WGI in 2003. Meeting my girlfriend, growing up in Oregon - there are a bunch!

10. Please answer this question. "if I could change anything in the world today I would..............."

That's easy - have everyone value and enjoy the process. I've been trying to learn that for years, and I see more and more kids as time goes on that only want the reward, and not the work. That kind of value system will be the end of society as we know it. I'm afraid that has become the new American dream, and it's not good...

11. What advice do you have for young people today that want to become drummers?

Practice the stuff you aren't good at. Don't ever try to take the easy way out. RELAX!

12. What is your favorite color? Food? Drink? Movie? Drum Line? Country? and finally what is your favorite way to travel?

Fave color - green. Food? Mexican (hey, I'm in San Antonio). Drink - water is life! Movie..."Ben Hur" or "Chariots of Fire". Recently, there have been some movies that value quality...like "Hero" and "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow". Anything that is well done and not cookie cutter. Drum Line? Why, mine of course!LOL...Country - good ol' USA no question. I enjoy flying, although getting on the bus and waking up in the next town isn't too shabby.