Pass the Mic
Dave Masud has traveled the world playing drums with his band, Vampirates. He’s been in the band for more than 15 years, but he credits the opportunity to tour the globe to much earlier experiences when he was just a kid in grade school.
In the early ’90s, Masud attended Veterans Memorial Elementary School and took private drum lessons. When he reached the fifth grade, he had the option to take band class and thought he’d play the drums—but he soon learned drums were reserved for seventh graders. This was when the school’s musical director, Amy Vorreyor, and Masud’s private instructor, Lee Warner, stepped in.
“They worked together to transform the choir into a percussion ensemble, so we did that for fifth and sixth grade,” he said.
The young vocalists in the choir didn’t mind the dramatic overhaul, he said.
“I think everybody was pretty excited just to get to bang on stuff,” Masud said. “And Stomp was really big at the time, so the first semester we were doing non-conventional drum stuff. We had the brooms and all that. It was great, especially having both worlds there—my private teacher, who I really looked up to, working with my choir teacher, who I also looked up to.”
Both have since passed. Now, Masud is hoping to take on the role of mentor himself and inspire a new generation of musicians with a series of youth music workshops he’s calling “Pass the Mic.”
“It’s funny,” he said. “I’d had this idea for a while, and right when I was like, ’All right, I’m going to announce this to see who’d be into it,’ that’s when the Girls Rock Reno thing came out. And I was like, ’All right, more people are on the same wavelength than I knew.’ That’s really cool.” (For more about Girls Rock Reno, see “Queens of noise,” cover story, June 27.)
The first Pass the Mic workshop—on Aug. 3—will be the drummers’ edition, and Masud is hoping to pack the Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor showroom with kids and families and local drummers.
“If you have eight drummers from different bands in town, and they all have their kits, and they’re able to give you pointers—I think it’s going to be something really cool,” he said. “And each of them will take a turn going on stage and focusing on [things like] tuning and basic beats, the rudiments. … Our main speaker will be Mike Young from Elephant Rifle. We’ll have Daniel Lee from Ozymandias, Bob Conrad from Basement Tapes … I’ve got Kodeus [McKinley] from Donkey Jaw.”
Custom Ink is providing T-shirts for all of the volunteer drumming instructors, Masud said, “so it’s not just random guys talking to your kids.”
The event will also feature a raffle with prizes from local sponsors that include Recycled Records, Black Hole Body Piercing, the Reno Aces, Junkee Clothing Exchange and local cosmetologists and tattoo artists.
“It might be a little chaotic, but it should be a lot of fun—all the drum sets going at once,” he said.
In the future, Masud plans to hold a Pass the Mic workshop every few months and cover everything from guitar and vocals to keyboards and sound engineering.