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The Wall and Beyond – Burleigh Drummond

The Wall and Beyond – Burleigh Drummond

By Todd McFliker | Photos by Jay Skolnick

South Florida music lovers flocked to Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach on January 15th for two sold-out presentations of The Wall and Beyond. Revisiting timeless Pink Floyd records, concertgoers enjoyed a multidimensional experience with brilliant music, vocals, surround sound and LED lasers. Following the amazing show, I had the chance to speak with the drummer Burleigh Drummond, who’s been around the block in his decades-long career with Ambrosia.

SFL Music: Do you live in South Florida?

Drummer Burleigh Drummond: No. I would like to have a home there. That would be nice. I seem to spend a fair amount of time in Florida, so I wouldn’t mind having my own place. A little shack on the beach maybe?

SFL Music: So you are in Los Angeles?

Drummond: We are in Thousand Oaks, which is about 30 minutes north of L.A.

The Wall & Beyond at Gulfstream 1.15.22 ©jskolnickphotography2022

SFL Music: You have quite an extensive career, but let’s start with The Wall and Beyond. Can you pinpoint what makes this particular show unique?

Drummond: It all started when we worked with James Guthrie. He was an engineer on The Wall. He produced and engineered the last Ambrosia record, Rhode Island. That was my original connection to The Wall. Of course, the sound of the record was the first thing to impress me. Then I really connected to Pink Floyd in the last couple months doing this show. I always appreciated Pink Floyd and knew the hits. But I wasn’t a die-hard fan until I started preparing for this show. Slowly, I began to realize ‘Wow, this band is deep!’ Now I have a profound appreciation for Pink Floyd. To try to emulate them and add a little of my own thing to it was interesting for me. It was quite a transformation.

SFL Music: How was it working with your daughter Sierra?

Drummond: It was the best. Just fantastic. I am very proud because there wasn’t really one defining role for her. But she came in and carved out her place and now she is essential to the show.

SFL Music: Are there any moments, good or bad, from Saturday night’s performance that stand out in your mind?

Drummond: In the Middle of “Pigs” at the second show, the battery died in my ear monitor. All of a sudden, I could not hear anybody. So the band had to fake it without me for a couple minutes. It was terrifying. My heartrate was way up.

SFL Music: Has Nick Mason’s drumming stood out to you in the last few months?

Drummond: Oh yeah. He is extremely unique in his approach, especially in big ballads. It’s almost like he’s playing and he’s not playing at the same time. What he does is very subtle. I couldn’t compare him to any other drummer. Nick Mason’s work is incredibly unique and I’ve grown to appreciate it.

SFL Music: Do you have a personal highlight from Saturday’s concert?

Drummond: Yes, “Comfortably Numb.” Camilo Velandia just killed it on the guitar solo. I love those slow grooves with wailing guitar, so that hit me pretty hard.

SFL Music: You know what, I could say the same. I felt it too. Looking back over your impressive career, you’ve experienced success with Ambrosia, five Top Ten records and five Grammy nominations. You also play with your wife Mary Harris in Tin Drum. How does drumming in a tribute act differ from those acts? Is it more fun, but less rewarding?

Drummond: It’s just different. I really enjoy getting into another band and finding my own ways to interpret it all. I want to stay true to the music, but bring my own personality to it. I can’t wait to do it again. Ambrosia still plays and I love it. But after 52 years, I know that music inside and out. This is a new challenge and I am really enjoying it. For Ambrosia’s first two records, we worked with Alan Parsons because one of the engineers who we were working with played Dark Side of the Moon for us. (Parsons famously was a staff engineer on the 1973 classic.) That sold us. Alan came over to the United States to receive a Grammy for it. While he was over here, he heard our music. We asked him to mix it, and he said yes once he heard it. Then he was nominated for two more Grammys with our music. So Alan is a good friend. James Guthrie is a friend too. In a weird way, we’ve been influenced by Pink Floyd just by using their engineers.

SFL Music: Before we say goodbye, tell me a cool story from your life in music?

Drummond: In 1969, I was a freshman at UCLA studying music. I was wandering around campus and I stumbled upon a band setting up. They were just playing a little outside concert in the middle of the day. I asked them who they were, and it was Pink Floyd. I hadn’t heard of them, so I didn’t recognize anyone. That must’ve been one of their earliest tours because it certainly wasn’t a high-profile gig. I will never forget that day.

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