05.16.2005 // New Dynasty USA Interview with Dave Ellis of Bakersfield High School, CA

Dynasty USA is pleased to introduce Dave Ellis in our new May Percussion interview. Dave, as many of you know, was a huge hit in the Bradway show BLAST and of course Dave is well know in marching circles all over the world. Please enjoy reading about Dave and the things that make him tick..............

Dynasty: First of all, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Dave Ellis: My name is David Ellis and I am 31 years old. I was born in Ridgecrest, CA and raised in Bakersfield, CA. I have two sisters, Cammy and Amber. I am a former snare drum soloist for the Tony award winning Broadway show, Blast, and am currently the Percussion Director at Bakersfield High School.

Dynasty: How did drumming become a part of your life?

Dave Ellis: I started very young! My father was a country music drummer in CA playing for various country groups so I always had a drum set around the house to play on. I can remember curling up and falling asleep in the pillow of my dad's bass drum during rehearsals so maybe it was beat into me. As soon as I was tall enough to get spoons out of the drawer, I was beating the heck out of everything in the house. I didn't start learning to read music until I got into high school where I knew that drumming was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I never really wanted to be a rock star or anything; I just wanted to be able to make a living at it and to be known by other musicians.

Dynasty: Where did you play?

Dave Ellis: The first drumline I played in was at East High. I transferred to Bakersfield High my senior year and was in the drumline there as well. I played in the drumline at Bakersfield College during high school and after. I moved on to march Blue Devils in '93. I spent years teaching high school percussion ensembles and gig'n on drum set for bands, studio, churches, and musicals. I joined the cast of Blast in 2002 where I was fortunate enough to perform with some incredible musicians. Performing opposite of Jeff Queen, Naoki Ishikawa, and Nick Angelis has bettered my playing and furthered my career. Joining the cast of Blast is easily one of the greatest musical experiences I've had yet.

Dynasty: What are you doing now and what does it include?

Dave Ellis: I am teaching privately in Bakersfield. Being the Percussion Director at Bakersfield High consumes a lot of my time and energy. I am in the process of starting an independent drumline in Bakersfield and hope to have it up and running for the '06 WGI season. If all goes well, I will be scheduling clinics overseas in the near future.

Dynasty: Other than Dynasty, USA, what instruments and accessories are you using?

Dave Ellis: I prefer Evans drum heads and I am a proud endorsee of Innovative Percussion, Inc. and ProLogix Percussion drum pads where I will be coming out with a signature pad in the near future.

Dynasty: What are your loves outside of drumming?

Dave Ellis: There are definitely way too many of them! BMX racing, mountain biking, martial arts, saltwater fish, racing RC cars, collecting Jeff Gordon collectible cars, NASCAR racing, restoring my '72 El Camino, playing fantasy sports, collecting swords, my niece and nephew (Justine and Austin), and spending as much time with family as possible. Financially, there are just way too many of them!

Dynasty: Are you married?

Dave Ellis: Yes. Stephenie and I have been married for six months now. We had a two year engagement; the majority being while I was on tour with Blast. She was one of my best friends for years before we dated and I am happy to say it is the greatest accomplishment I've achieved, yet!

Please answer the question...If you could change one thing in the world today, it would be...

Dave Ellis: That's a hard one! If I had the power to do something like that I'm sure I would have certain people encouraging me to make world peace, others asking me to stop racism, end political parties, cure diseases. I'm smarter than all that. I know I would do the right thing and get rid of the Goodyear blimp. If anybody really needed to see the game from that far away, they would have bought tickets and gone to it.

Dynasty: What is your best experience in life so far?

Dave Ellis: Besides marriage, one of the greatest experiences by far would have to be performing solos night after night for thousands upon thousands of enthusiastic people in Tokyo, Japan.

Dynasty: What advice do you have for young people today who want to become drummers?

Dave Ellis: First of all, learn how to read music! Join your high school drumline...it will help you develop discipline, your rudiments, and social skills that you will need in the future. Study from as many books as you possibly can, be it drum set, rudimental, keyboard, timpani, etc. I definitely believe that private instruction is the greatest way to accelerated success.

Dynasty: What is your favorite color?

Dave Ellis: Blue…obviously.

Dynasty: What is your favorite food?

Dave Ellis: Steak with A-1 sauce.

Dynasty: What is your favorite drink?

Dave Ellis: Mountain Dew.

Dynasty: What is your favorite movie?

Dave Ellis: Oh that’s impossible. I guess I would say:

Comedy: Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke

Love story: Shakespeare in Love

Musical: Moulin Rouge

Drama: The Godfather Trilogy

Action: anything with Bruce Lee in it

But if there’s one movie I have watched more times than any other movie, it would have to be the 80’s bicycle movie RAD. I think as a kid I was just obsessed with it.

Dynasty: What is your favorite drumline?

Dave Ellis: Now that’s REALLY hard. I would have to say the most influential drumline to me is the ’90 Blue Devils line, but the ’90 SCV line is almost too close to call.

Dynasty: What is your favorite country?

Dave Ellis: USA. It might get a little crazy here sometimes, but we live in an amazing and fruitful country!

Bakersfield High School Marching Band