On November 2nd, 2017, The D’Addario Foundation hosted its first ever instrument drive at the D’Addario & Co. headquarters in Farmingdale, NY. This successful event brought in over 155 instruments, and among donors was D’Addario Promark endorsee, Kenny Soule, who donated the first instrument he ever played.
“The instrument was handed down to my family from my dad’s boss at the time. They were both Doctors of Music at Central Connecticut State College (now University). Since my dad played viola, and there was generally a lot of classical music in our house, I was attracted to the sound of strings, and I took up violin in the 3rd grade.
In those days (early 60s) my hometown, New Britain, CT, had a fantastic music program in the public schools. I studied from C. Paul Herfurth’s “A Tune A Day”, and sat second chair in the Gaffney Elementary School orchestra. I remember leading off our Spring Concert with “Little Star March”, an interpretation of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. And instead of renting a full size violin from the local music shop, I had my own three-quarter size, which fit my slight build much better!
However, my string career was short lived, as I switched to piano for the 4th & 5th grades. By grade 6 I had moved to the percussion section of the orchestra. In addition to the different instruments I was learning, I continued to sing in the Trinity Methodist Church choir, where my dad was the organist and choir director.
Things kicked into high gear later that school year when the Beatles exploded into everyone’s lives via The Ed Sullivan show. That was it! I had found my instrument, and knew I would become a rock drummer as I grew older. In 7th grade I got my first kit, an Olympic 3 pc, made by Premier. My classical percussion studies continued as well, with the late Tele Lesbines, of the Hartford Symphony. By the time I was accepted at East Carolina University, the British Invasion, James Brown, Motown, Buddy Rich, surf music, marching band, concert band, orchestra, jazz band, and working at a record shop, had all left their mark.
At ECU I majored in Percussion Performance, studying with the renowned Harold A Jones. I was also playing in a few rock bands, and 1972 decided to go full time with local faves Nantucket Sleighride (soon to become Nantucket). We signed with Epic/CBS in ’77, and began our career as a national act, opening for most of the major acts of the late 70s: Kiss, Boston, Bob Seger, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Foreigner, Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult, and Rush. Upon the release of our 3rd album, we were the support act on AC/DC’s Back In Black US tour of 1980….the hottest tour that year! And as a result of Nantucket’s national profile, I became a Gretsch artist, appearing in several print ads that ran in Down Beat, Circus, and Creem.
In the 80s I co-founded PKM, a full-throttle power trio who’s passionate fans were mostly in NC & SC. During this time I began my teaching career at several locations around Raleigh NC, including 2112 Percussion.
The 90s brought a new funk/R&B project, DAG. We released two cds on Columbia/Sony, and toured heavily throughout the US and Europe. By this time I was endorsing Sonor, Paiste, Pro Mark, and Aquarian.
I relocated to NYC in 2001, and have worked with such artists as soul legend Sam Moore, Walter Trout, Eric Ambel, Dan Baird, Mary McBride, Emily Duff, Moses Mo (of Mothers Finest), Popa Chubby, and NC-based My Three Sons. I often record drum tracks at my home studio, along with full band projects as well.
I certainly have benefited from being raised in a musical family, but had it not been for my early public school music experiences, my musical life would not have developed in the colorful way that it did.
I’m so pleased to have helped out with the instrument donations, and it was great to meet [the D’Addario Foundation] at D’Addario headquarters.”