“I’ve been playing the drums since I was nine,” Lucky Lehrer recalls, starting on a Roger’s Holiday snare drum in the elementary school orchestra. In middle school, I was palling around with my best friend Marty Fera (drummer with Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh). “Marty’s dad taught clarinet at CSUN and would take us to see the big bands.” Birthdays were spent at legendary Los Angeles jazz clubs like Shelly’s Manne-Hole and The Brass Ring where 12 year old Lucky sat as close as possible to watch his idle Buddy Rich perform till Buddy quipped “get outta here kid, you bother me.”
“Lucky is a drumming legend from Southern California….” Don Lombardi, Founder and CEO of DW Drums
Expelled from the high-school jazz band for putting his hand too deep in a woman’s French Horn, Lucky decided in 1981 he’d eaten enough matzo and played enough weddings and bar mitzvahs to “graduate” to punk rock. Band mates and high school friends with seminal L.A. punk bands such as The Screamers and Pat Smear (Germs, Foo Fighters). The Circle Jerks were formed when lead singer, Keith Morris, quit Black Flag.
Influenced by his experience in the U.C. Santa Cruz college jazz band, Lucky introduced elements of swing to the breakneck thrash of hardcore punk. He wrote such immortal hits as the MTV theme song “Operation.” Albums such as GROUP SEX rate among the Top Ten records of punk music of all time. “Lucky” was chosen as “best punk drummer” in a reader’s poll published by influential Flipside Magazine.
“You just gotta hear this guy play….” Dave Grohl, drummer of Foo Fighters and Nirvana
One of the few hardcore drummer’s to have his own signature drum stick, the Speed Stick® Lucky designed with Ahead brand is designed to designed from a special composite material to last LONGER, is lighter so you can play FASTER, and is strong enough so that you can pound HARDER. The stick is “rage tested,” Lucky reports yet is friendly to cymbals.
Considered one of the early pioneers of hardcore drumming, Lucky’s style is a combination of Latin and hard “speed rock,” borrowing heavily from early exposure to legends his childhood legends. Besides Buddy Rich, Lucky influences include Elvin Jones, John Bonham, and Bill Bruford. Playing drums brings me closest to the feeling of a higher power. In the tight knit community of top drummers I’m inspired by eternal friendships with Glen Sobel, Matt Starr, Brian Tichy, Mark Schulman, Lewy Stix, Curt Bisquea, Jason Sutter, and the list goes on.
Marilyn Monroe said you can’t be too rich or too skinny, Lucky recalls, “I would add you can’t have too many snare drums.” At his studio, Lucky keeps a large collection, including DW concrete, 6 ply maple, steel and brass snare drums. “Like the cymbals I love where no two sound the same, each snare drum has its own personality. It’s like having a bunch of racing bikes in your garage. You love to look at them…each one stares back at you, beckoning to be used.
“Playing extremely fast was considered desirable back in the day,” Lucky reminisces. “I owe a debt of gratitude to teachers like Murray Spivak plus spending a lot of time with a practice pad and metronome.” Lucky is the only punk drummer to have his picture on the Wall of Fame at the Professional Drum Shop in Hollywood, CA. “My black belt Sensei is first call L.A. studio maestro Joey Heredia,” Lucky confides. “There is no more versatile drummer, and that’s what I aspire to.” While he continues to be drawn to the music for which he’s recognized, Lucky is equally comfortable away from the stadium lights, in dimly lit airport lounges playing jazz standards on a 3-piece Mapa Burl DW Collector’s Series kit. “John and Garrison designed an amazing 16 inch diameter (14 inch deep) bass drum with the warmest tone and a surprisingly big sound that may be one of my favorite drums,” Lucky mentions.
Host of the “Hardcore Drum Hour” on DrumChannel.com Lucky hopes to convey enthusiasm for “our amazing instrument” and his passion for drum education. “I have travelled a lot and have all kinds of experiences. I don’t have any kids, maybe that’s why I feel somewhat paternal toward the little drum heads who watch the show. Stitched in the message to start slow in order to play fast, there’s some surprise suggestions like finish college and don’t party 24/7. It’s not what’s expected coming from a hard-hitting punk drummer, so I’m in a surprise position to give this advice.” Guiding the beginning drummer continues with Lucky’s “Hardcore Drum Sessions,” a series of instructional videos that take a different, more lighthearted approach to learning:
Lucky’s commitment to drumming was recognized in 2013 when his custom-built DW kit went behind glass on permanent display at the Hard Rock Hotel and Museum in Las Vegas, NV. alongside drum sets of The Doors, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Avenged Sevenfold and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Lucky often appears at the Wednesday night jam in Hollywood, California at Lucky Strike. Check it out: