Ken Micallef Classic Rock Drummers

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Ken Micallef Classic Rock Drummers

Ken Micallef: Man of Malta, King of MacDougal

A New York City native whose seventh floor two-channel stereo masks the evils that blast from his tourist-ridden MacDougal Street block, Ken Micallef has been writing about music and audio for more years than his chin has doubles. Originally an artist, bon vivant, musician, and 6SN7 thief, Micallef has written for such publications as JazzTimes, Rolling Stone, Blender, Downbeat, Musician, Time Out, Interview and the Holy Roller Roundup.

Born in Detroit to a Maltese tailor and a queen of the south, Micallef showed an early aptitude for art, and line drawing became a passion. Multiple Scholastic Art awards led to enrollment at one of North Carolina’s finer institutes of higher learning. Corporate slavery held Micallef in its grasp for a brief period, before he dropped out, tuned in and grew a goatee. After several attempts to build a snare drum from old playing cards and knickers, Micallef discovered the joys of jazz under the tutelage of Berklee School of Music instructor James Baker. The secrets of Tony Williams, Mickey Roker, Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette and Kenny Washington were divulged with much fanfare. That study and experience instigated a life-long love of jazz and jazz drumming in Micallef’s brain. After several years of playing in the NC area -- big bands, trios, fusion ensembles, bar-mitzvahs and pool parties -- Micallef moved to New York and entered the two- year program at Drummer’s Collective. Studying at night and working at the now-defunct Cash Box Magazine during the day caused Micallef to switch careers. Suddenly writing about music became more rewarding than performing it.

Classic Rock Drummers

Micallef penned Billboard’s first world music articles in 1990. In 1996, he wrote Rolling Stone's first “electronica” reviews. Later that same year Micallef reported in Musician magazine that Grant McLennan of Australian band The Go-Betweens had died. He had not. (McLennan did die eventually, proving Micallef’s story to be oddly prescient.) Undeterred, Micallef soon began covering trendy music for Spin, Ray Gun, New York Magazine, Stereophile and Modern Drummer before settling into a comfortable existence as a freelance journalist, which continues to this day. Micallef credits Leacy and the ghosts of MacDougal Street with his success.

Micallef’s first book, The Way They Play -- The Classic Rock Drummers (Hal Leonard) was published in early 2007. He is currently working on his next book, Jim Gordon -- Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, to be released sometime before 2010.

Elvin Jones Ken Micallef Chic Corea

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