“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 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 idol Buddy Rich perform till Buddy quipped “get outta here kid, you bother me.”
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.
One of the few drummers to have his own signature drum stick, the Speed Stick® Lucky designed with Ahead, the stick is made 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 his childhood legends. Besides Buddy Rich, Lucky influences include Elvin Jones, John Bonham, Bill Bruford, John Dolmayan, Chick Webb and Curt Bisquera.
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, promising excitement.”
“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.”
Host of the “Hardcore Drum Hour” on www.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.”
Lucky’s commitment to drums is being recognised toward the end of 2013 when his custom-built DW kit goes behind glass on permanent display at the Hard Rock Hotel and Museum in Las Vegas, NV.