This past summer, Gordy Knudtson and The Steve Miller Band rocked the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
“The Heartbeat of the Band…On The Drums – Mr. Gordy Knudtson!” -- Steve Miller
It was a truly memorable night, considering Steve Miller had emergency dental surgery just hours before the concert. Onstage, Steve was still recovering from the effects of the anesthesia, and was in rare form… Cracking jokes and having a great time with his numerous fans. They were crowding the front of the stage experiencing Steve’s awesome vibe…Loose yet focused - with the band following suit. A distinctive party-like atmosphere occurred that night, with the audience absolutely loving it. At 73 years of age, Steve Miller hasn’t lost anything. His vocals and guitar solos sounded just as powerful as the early 1970’s.
Steve opened up the show with ‘The Stake’ right into ‘Swingtown. By this time the audience was going crazy. The rest of the show was hit after hit, including: Abracadabra, Living in the U.S.A. Take The Money and Run, Dance Dance Dance, Space Cowboy, Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma, The Joker, Fly Like an Eagle, Rock’n Me, and an encore including - Jungle Love, and Jet Airliner.
It was another epic show featuring the long-time talents of Steve Miller Band members, Kenny Lee Lewis on bass, Joseph Wooten on keyboards and Jacob Petersen on rhythm guitar. Together with Gordy Knudtson’s truly amazing drumming – It was a night to remember.
"Even after multi-decades of commandeering the drum chair for rock icon, Steve Miller, Gordy Knudtson continues to remain one of the most-underrated trapsmen in rock. Perhaps it's because his power, agility and technique make it all look too easy. Any aspiring player who is serious about the instrument should catch G.K. live and see for themselves what Steve and many of us knew from the onset. Pure and simple: Gordy is one of rock's best practitioners...taking care of business and delivering the goods all the way."
-Bob Girouard, Modern Drummer Magazine
The sentiments expressed by Bob Girouard are shared by numerous musicians worldwide. Gordy Knudtson has turned drumming into an art form. His amazing open-close technique has to be seen to be believed. Watching Gordy demonstrate his unique style in a multitude of You Tube videos is a visual and aural shock to the system.
“In the late 1980’s Gordy began exploring an obscure old drumming technique called open/close, push/pull, or drop/snap technique, which allows you to play a very fast, continuous stream of notes in one hand at a time. Even though this technique had been around for many years it was far from commonplace because it was tricky to do, and appeared to have only a few esoteric uses. It’s also interesting to note that prior to 1999 it seemed no one had figured out how to synchronize it in both hands at the same time to fulfill it’s most obvious potential, a single stroke roll!
Gordy was the first to publish this Open/Close Technique single stroke synchronization solution, which he now calls the SINGLED FOUR, in the April 1999 issue of Percussive Notes Magazine. The article titled ‘A New Approach to the Single Stroke Roll’ noted that the synchronization was actually comparable to the old heel/toe hand drumming technique.”
In 2002 Gordy created and published the first books and instructional videos on his Open/Close Technique. These materials introduced nomenclature, notation, and synchronizations, then showed how it could be used to create a family of single stroke rolls built from multi-note strokes which directly parallels double stroke rolls.
Upon seeing Gordy play, Ed Shaughnessy declared:
“You have developed a historically important form of technique that ranks with the Moeller system!”
This endorsement from Ed Shaunessy generated an invitation from the Percussive Arts Society. Gordy was one of three presenters chosen for a special clinic series on hand technique at PASIC 2003. It was titled the “Hand Development Series”. The other two presenters were legendary drummers Joe Morello and Jim Chapin.
After Gordy’s presentation Joe Morello said…
“I’m so glad you did this! Billy Gladstone was messing around with this when I was studying with him, but he never documented it. I think you took it further than he did!”
READ MORE at https://www.notsomoderndrummer.com/not-so-modern-drummer/2018/4/18/gordy-knudtson-the-visionary-part-one