|Young Area Drummer Ready For The Future
N. SHUMATE, OUT OF THE BLUE posted: March 1, 2009
|Morgan Agren (Zappsteetoot,
Frank Zappa’s band), age 4
Phil Collins (Genesis), age 5
Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle), age 8
Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree), age 6
Joey Jordison (Slipknot), age 8
Neil Peart (Rush), age 13
IIan Rubin (Lost Prophets, NIN), age 8
Chad Sexton (311), age 3
A 5-year-old boy gathers large plastic storage tubs, positions them in a semi-circle,
grasps a set of toy drum sticks and begins to bang. Each contacting thud is an
attempt to mirror the ambidextrous skills of Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy.
“I remember listening to him all the time with my dad. It just blew my mind someone
could play like that. I thought, one day, I was going to play like him,” said Alex
Mingus, now 19-years-old.
Mingus cleared away the storage tubs when he got his first official drum set for Christmas between the ages of 6 and 7. But, it turned
out to be an electronic toy kit from Toys R Us.
“I was dissatisfied with it immediately,” Mingus said. “So, I asked to return it and get a real drum set.” A couple weeks later Mingus was
the young and proud owner of a groove percussion kit from Sam Ash Music, starting out as an autodidact by imitating the beats of other
early influences Tower of Power and The Beatles.
Taking in the continued encouragement and support from his experienced bass player father, Mike Mingus, and his personal drum
teachers for over 4 years, Jeff Peters and Jay Fant of Columbus Percussion in Ohio, Mingus took advantage of drumming opportunities
in his early teens.
Mingus competed in Guitar Center’s Drum-Off annual competition for the north district at the age of 13. He later joined Delaware,
Ohio’s Hayes High School drum line as a snare player. While in high school Mingus met other musicians that presented local band
“My freshman year I joined Quarters for Quitters, and my junior year was The Undying Will of Man,” said Mingus. The Undying Will of
Man performed at the annual Delaware Battle of the Bands competition, North Broadway Battle of the Bands, and Guerilla Productions
Battle of the Bands, all of which they placed. Mingus was named best drummer in the North Broadway competition.
Following graduation from high school in 2008, Mingus can now be heard practicing in a private dorm room at Murfreesboro, TN’s
Middle Tennessee State University.
“I’m a full time student so things get pretty busy real quick, but drumming is my passion. I live to play, listen, experience, mourn, hate,
love and immerse myself in music,” said Mingus, who majors in music business with a minor in business.
Mingus attributes a range of various genre drummers for inspiring his current thrashing, unique transitive drumming styles and
“Josh Kulick (Through The Eyes Of The Dead) for his feet, and use of odd cymbal combinations; Flo Mounier (Nile) for his intense blast
beats and control; Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) for his composing skills; Jojo Mayer (solo) for his stick tricks; Virgil Donati (Planet X)
for his time signatures, and many, many others for various reasons.”
As for his top three album influences, Mingus cites Dream Theater’s Images and Words, Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory, and one he gets
criticized for: Relient K’s Mmhmm. Mingus also mentioned a few of his favorite songs: “Day After Day,” Bad Finger; “Surrounded,”
Dream Theater; “Fields of Gold,” Sting.
Currently working with a metal band in Tennessee, Mingus spends over 20 hours a week between classes practicing songs, and writing
his own music.
“It’s extremely frustrating when there are boundaries put on the music you are playing, you express it yourself how you do, but it takes a
good musician to be able to play just as well with the boundaries,” Mingus said. “I’m a better interrupter with music if I play it about a
hundred times. I have to examine the piece until I can fully get it. And I overcome it by repetition and practice.”
Mingus is also developing a prominent MySpace site that includes videos featuring his drumming skills, personal drumming trips, the
drum equipment he uses and more at www.myspace.com/metal_4_the_masses.
In his free time Mingus attends multiple concerts, enjoys camping, going on road trips and plays a variety of video games.
“I’ll play anything violent as hell,” said Mingus. “My favorite game at least is "Oblivion," I have like 400 hours on it. I played "Left 4 Dead"
the other night, and it was amazing. Also big on the Grand Theft Auto series.”
Drumming has defined Mingus for over fourteen years, and he realizes the hard work it takes to be noticed as a remarkable drummer.
Mingus said: “Someone who is younger is going to stand out if they have the extensive abilities with control and dynamics. I think the
ability to be creative with stick tricks and show pleasers helps as well. But, I don’t know everything; there will always be someone who
does. My dad taught me to not have a big head about things, and that ‘I stick in the pocket.’ That’s one thing I focus on to this day.”
Mingus continues to keep his past childhood ambitions in the present, and he looks toward his future with confidence, equipped to be
noticed. “I’d love to say I’m on tour playing drums or doing something with music promotion. It’s hard times out there, playing music is a
very hard field to get into. No matter what I do though, it will have music involved. If I couldn’t play drums anymore, I would rather die.”
Mingus sits at his professional drum set, qualified, prime and eagerly ready for the next step.
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