Drumroll the credits

Bradley Jon Sanders


Roseville’s Bradley Jon Sanders has been in the music business for nearly 20 years, since 1993, crossing the country, putting together drum clinics, holding down rhythm sections in dozens of different acts. In recent years, Sanders has contributed drum tracks for several major documentaries and released a solo instrumental album. He is currently the drummer for local trio called Apple Z, as well as running a clothing company that he co-owns, Musical Genius Clothing Company.

Most musicians typically don’t set out to get their music on movie soundtracks. How did you get into recording music for movies?

A friend of mine named Stuart Michael Thomas, who did the original score for Bustin’ Down the Door [a film documenting the professional surfing scene in the 1970s], is familiar with my musical background and asked me to record the drums for a couple of the songs in the film, which I was totally blown away by.

Also, growing up, I was heavily influenced by Rush and have always thought that songs like “Xanadu” off their album Farewell to Kings and “Natural Science” off their Permanent Waves album could be used in movies. As a result, a lot of the stuff I write sounds like it could be used the same way.

What other movies have you recorded drums for?

I did drum tracks for the theme song and the rolling credits of another movie that’s actually not out yet, called July Moon, which is about the lost NASA tapes recorded during America’s first mission to the moon.

Are there more movies in your future?

Most definitely. I love it. It’s been a great opportunity and a unique outlet for my playing.

What else are you working on?

I’ve got two projects going. I’ve been working with Scott Rodell, who is an incredibly talented guitarist and songwriter from Roseville, and a phenomenal bassist named Steve Leonard. Scott called me up one day last year and told me that he wanted to start playing around Sacramento regularly. So we put together this little trio called Apple Z. It’s just to get out of the studio for a little while, because we all basically live in the studio.

How would you describe the music?

It’s all over the place. There is a lot of rock influence, some funk and just a little—I mean just a little—country, and only old country, like Johnny Cash. If you’re going to come see us, bring earplugs. Not because we suck, but because the music is loud and heavy.

Tell me about your first solo effort.

I started the album around August of 2009. It was an aggravating but blissful process—I never want to go through it again. I actually started out writing the music on keyboard, and the intention was to add my drum tracks to it later. But the producer I worked with, Michael Curtis Jr., suggested that it would be worth it to actually play every instrument that you hear on the album—drums, bass, guitar and piano.

Writing and recording the album was intended to be a one-month process and actually became a six-month process, but the end result is something that I’m very happy with.

What does the album sound like?

I grew up listening to Rush, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and the Police. But I also love Jazz artists like Miles Davis and Chick Corea, so I think a mixture of all those influences comes out on the album.

How was it playing other stuff besides drums?

I’ve fiddled around with the guitar when in the studio in the past, but in this case, I had to relearn all the parts I had played on keyboard and then transfer them over to every other instrument. I have to say that I now have a lot of respect for guitar players; my hands were nearly bleeding after my first attempt at recording the guitars.

Why are you called Apple Z?

If you have a Mac computer, and you want to undo something, you hit the Apple and Z keys. So we’re basically the delete button. There’s no real meaning behind it; we like the way it sounds and so it stuck.

You’re also in the clothing business?

Yeah, that’s the other project. I’m the co-owner of a company called Musical Genius Clothing Co. that started out in the early ’90s, about the same time I began drumming professionally. The first shirt design was called “E=Fb: The Musician’s Theory of Relativity.” I put it in a catalog and it ended up going worldwide. Soon after, I recruited my good friend Ben Cademarti to help design and handle the business side of things. We were fortunate enough to sign a couple of big names to help promote the company, the biggest two being legendary bassist Jeff Berlin and Roger Smith [keyboardist from Tower of Power]. So I’m very excited about what’s happening.