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Adams Center drummer finds success in California from TV show to School of Rock instructor

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An Adams Center native who is a drum instructor at School of Rock in Fairfax, Calif., will be seen — and heard — Sunday on the premiere episode of “The Tim Ferriss Experiment” on HLN cable network.

Adam J. Timmerman, a 2005 graduate of South Jefferson Central School District, met members of the band Foreigner as part of the “Experiment.”

The show is just one example of the success Mr. Timmerman has ran into since he moved to California in 2009 after graduating that year from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.

“I’ve been very fortunate,” Mr. Timmerman said in a phone interview from his home just outside of Sherman Oaks, Calif. “Things have sort of aligned at certain times and worked out. I thank my lucky stars every day.”

Mr. Timmerman is a member of the Los Angeles-based band Cosmic Sucker Punch, which in October performed at the Life is Beautiful music and arts festival in Las Vegas. Bands such as Vampire Weekend, Kings of Leon and the Killers also performed at the festival.

Producers of “The Tim Ferriss Experiment” contacted School of Rock looking for a drum instructor to work with Mr. Ferriss, an entrepreneur best known for his rapid-learning techniques. Ferriss is the author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” “The 4-Hour Chef” and “The 4-Hour Body.” His new TV show reflects his fast-learning concept.

“He picks a task for a week and throws himself into it to prove that if you put yourself into something with different ways of thinking about it, you can accomplish it and be good at it,” Mr. Timmerman said. “For his first episode, his challenge was to learn to play drums.”

Mr. Ferriss’s specific drumming task was to learn the song “Hot Blooded” and play it at a concert with the band Foreigner. The song was a hit for the band in 1978.

“I spent like five or six hours a day with him, mostly on camera, but I don’t know how much of it will make it on TV,” Mr. Timmerman said. “It’s a half-hour show.”

Mr. Timmerman said that Mr. Ferriss also had a mentor, Stewart Copeland, drummer for The Police. Mr. Timmerman didn’t get a chance to meet Mr. Copeland, but he said he was star-struck in another way.

“Chris Frazier, the drummer from Foreigner, was in one day,” Mr. Timmerman said. “We got talking and he actually compared me to Taylor Hawkins from the Foo Fighters. I love the Foo Fighters. That was a huge compliment.”

Then, Mr. Frazier sat down at Mr. Timmerman’s drum set.

“It was kind of a surreal experience,” Mr. Timmerman said. “If you see it on TV, they kind of push me into the frame because I looked kind of doe-eyed. I was in shock that Chris Frazier was playing my drum set.”

a passion for the drums

Mr. Timmerman, son of Martin J. Timmerman of Adams Center and Tina Schell of Lowville, began playing drums at 8 and eventually played in school bands and orchestras at South Jefferson Central School. He and classmates created the three-piece punk band Honorable Mention, which performed in the Watertown area. Aaron Lalone was the bassist and at different times, Joshua Weise and Kiel Castle were the band’s guitar players.

Mr. Timmerman said they got the idea to start the band in Thomas LeClair’s music class.

“We played places like Club 342 and Shooties (bar),” Mr. Timmerman said. “There was one venue we played at — we were like 16 and there were beer pools on the floor. It was the weirdest experience for us. My drum set was sitting in a puddle of beer.”

Mr. Timmerman packed up his belongings in late 2009 and drove across the country to California, following the advice of a music instructor at Berklee who told him there were three main places in the U.S. to succeed as a professional musician: New York City, Nashville and California.

“I’ve wanted to be out here since I was 8 years old,” Mr. Timmerman said. “I love the state and the weather. It’s one of the last places where you can pursue music and make something of it.”

He’s had some lucky breaks along the way.

His first job in the Los Angeles area was working in retail management. His sister, Amanda Werchinski, moved to California with him, but after a few months she decided to move back east. Mr. Timmerman was tasked with selling her car.

In a conversation with the person to whom he was selling the car, the buyer noted he had some friends who were looking for a drummer for their band.

“I gave him my phone number and a few hours later, I got a call saying, ‘Can you come in two days and audition?’” Mr. Timmerman said. “They called me back within an hour of the audition and said they wanted me as their drummer.”

Mr. Timmerman said he and the other three members in the band Cosmic Sucker Punch “were a fit from the get-go.” The band describes its music as “classic psych rock” with a Rolling Stones-like swagger.

“We had similar music interests,” Mr. Timmerman said. “The stars aligned in a weird way of finding an audition.”

school of rock break

Mr. Timmerman’s persistent nature paid off when he got a break at School of Rock. He often contacted the school for openings.

“I went to the School of Rock in Burbank again, about a year ago, and I talked to the person who was sitting in the front lobby,” Mr. Timmerman said. “He happened to be their drum teacher.”

That teacher was about to go on tour and he told Mr. Timmerman that he needed a substitute.

“I took over for him substituting,” Mr. Timmerman said.

When the Fairfax School of Rock opened in February, Mr. Timmerman was hired as a full-time drum instructor. And because he also manages a house band at the school, he has the title of senior instructor.

“I love my teaching job,” Mr. Timmerman said. “The kids are very talented. They are super musicians and great kids to work with.”

Mr. Timmerman said his own skills also have improved through his teaching.

“I have to think on my feet a lot as a musician and use my theory from Berklee,” he said. “It’s fun. It’s the best job I could have asked for.”

liftout

“Things have sort of aligned at certain times and worked out. I thank my lucky stars every day.”

Adam J. Timmerman

School of Rock instructor, Cosmic Sucker Punch drummer




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