performing live drummer

The Early Years

Rob the Drummer’s Original Promotional Photo Rob the Drummer with Big Bird Rob the Drummer: Promo with Big Drumsticks

Here’s the first promotional photo I distributed as ROB THE DRUMMER. Thankfully, the maniacal grin didn’t keep too many people from giving me a call.

A big moment in my early years was appearing on PBS’s Sesame Street. The two shows I taped have been aired hundreds of times internationally. Here I am hanging with Big Bird before the taping.

Here’s my next generation of promotional photograph. Pro-Mark has been kind enough to continue to produce Rob the Drummer oversized drumsticks.

Bang a gong! This gong is still displayed prominently at Rob the Drummer shows. It’s fun and has a beautiful tone that fills the room.

Here’s a 1947 photo of my Dad, Murry Gottfried. He was a world-class saxophonist who inspired me both musically and spiritually.

Tragically, his addiction to cigarettes led to lung cancer that caused his death at age 47. His premature death is a key reason that I’ve devoted myself to battling addictions.

With The Great Drummers

Rob the Drummer with Louis Bellson Rob the Drummer with Tony Williams Rob the Drummer with Dennis Chambers
Rob reviewing a score with legendary drummer Louis Bellson and master technician Bob Ahern prior to a performance.

The acclaimed Hall High jazz band from West Hartford, CT opened. Rob has been on world tours a number of times with these perennial downbeat award winners.

Rob with Tony Williams, drummer in Miles Davis’s classic quartet and leader of his own bands over the past 30 years. Rob and the rest of the music world mourned Tony’s untimely death in February ’97.

When Rob played Carnegie Hall with Larry Young for the Newport Jazz Festival, Tony sat in at the rehearsals on Rob’s drums. Quite a blessing!

Rob with Dennis Chambers, one of jazz-rock’s most powerful drummers. Dennis has played with all the modern greats and is currently supporting one of Rob’s favorite musicians, guitarist John McLaughlin.

Steve Gadd -The Legendary Master…..RTD has known him for some 20 years….and it was great to see him here backstage at the Drummer’s Collective 25th Anniversary Show in NYC.

He is the ROCK behind performers like Eric Clapton, Chick Corea, etc….and he started the right way….Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y…..through all the ups and downs of the business, he still had that gleam in his eyes!

Rob the Drummer with Buddy Rich Rob the Drummer with Buddy Rich (B&W) Rob the Drummer with Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith Rob the Drummer with Billy Cobham

Rob spending a private moment with ‘Mr. Drums,’ Buddy Rich. Buddy helped Rob’s career by allowing him to publish a photo of them together in an early edition of Modern Drummer.

Another special moment that Rob shared with Buddy Rich. “Very private, very intense,” describes Rob. “I felt like the RCA dog Nipper with ‘his master’s voice.'”

Here’s Rob’s favorite photo of Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith, Tonight Show drummer.

Rob helping Billy Cobham reach an elevated consciousness. Billy helped elevate a generation’s consciousness as drummer for the Mahavishnu Orchestra, a seminal ’70s fusion band led by John McLaughlin.

Star Search

Rob the Drummer with Robin Williams Rob the Drummer with Tiny Joe and BB Rob with the Lone Ranger Rob with the Wynton Marsalis

RTD and Robin Williams….The Master of Improvisation….. and one of the most gifted Comedians EVER to make people laugh….from the inside…out!! He re-invents himself moment to moment…..out meeting was warm and most Special.

B.B.King, Tiny Joe Eleazer, and RTD….at the opening of B.B.’s Club at the Foxwood Resort. His presence is down-home…yet Magical…we three talked a lot about food!!!

The Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore) Rob’s idol and vision of what a Role Model for kids should be.

Rob in New York City with Wynton Maraslis, longtime friend and Lincoln Center Artistic Director of Jazz.

Rob the Drummer with Aaron Neville Rob the Drummer with David Crosby Rob the Drummer with Members of Jethro Tull

Rob the Drummer with John McLaughlin, Sandy Torano
Rob greets Aaron Neville backstage after an incredible concert by the Neville Brothers.

Rob the Drummer with David Crosby. Rob had the pleasure of recently backing David’s new band, CPR (Crosby, Pevar and Raymond). Rob plays regularly with CPR’s guitarist Jeff Pevar.

A thrilling moment with percussionist Doane Anderson and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. Jethro Tull was a major influence on Rob’s musical development.

Rob posing with guitarists Sandy Torano and John McLaughlin. Sandy and Rob appear on organist Larry Young’s album, Fuel, on Arista. They also played Carnegie Hall together with Larry in the mid-80’s. Sandy is the lead vocalist on many of today’s McDonald’s commercials.

Rob the Drummer with Tommy Lee Rob the Drummer with Carlos Santana Rob with Sheila and Pete Escovedo Rob with Harry Belafonte

Rob with Tommy Lee, before Tommy’s video with Pamela Lee became one of the web’s most popular sights!

Rob and Carlos Santana reuniting many years after they grew to be friends while spending time with Sri Chinmoy, an Indian mystic and spiritual leader. Rob became friends with John McLaughlin and Narada Michael Walden during this time as well.

Rob visits with Pete Escovedo and daughter Sheila E. Aside from impressive solo careers, these talented percussionists have backed everyone from Santana to Prince.

Backstage with Harry Belafonte at the GARDE Arts Center, Regional Center for Arts & Education in Connecticut.

The Dignified Dignitary

Rob the Drummer with Nancy Reagan Rob the Drummer at the White House Rob the Drummer at 2002 Easter Egg Roll, White House Rob the Drummer on Yamaha Tour of Japan Rob the Drummer at Beatlemania in Russia

Rob is greeted by First Lady Nancy Reagan in 1986. Rob performed as a premiere artist for “Pros for Kids” in San Francisco which was hosted by Mrs. Reagan.

Rob has been a guest of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary at the White House. Here, he strikes a debonair pose beneath the Presidential Seal.

Rob has spent Easter weekend performing on the White House lawn three times as part of the annual Easter egg roll festival. Here he poses with First Lady Laura Bush.

Rob thrilled Japanese audiences in 16 cities as a Yamaha touring artist. His warm personality and contagious rhythm connected with the Japanese audience as easily as he does state-side.

Rob served as the Grand Marshall at the first Beatlemania festival ever held in the Soviet Union. Here, he’s interviewed by the Soviet press. Rob’s Russian experience led him to renew his respect and gratitude for the freedom he enjoys as an American.

At the Big Events

Rob the Drummer at the World Cup Soccer Finals Rob the Drummer at the Rose Bowl Rob the Drummer at Special Olympics World Games Rob the Drummer at Special Olympics World Games

Rob plays catch outside the Rose Bowl before performing at a pre-game show at the 1994 World Cup Soccer finals.
Rob prepares to perform at the Rose Bowl during the 1994 World Cup Soccer Finals. Rob joined Peter Erskine and other notable drummers to entertain the full stadium of 93,000 people live before the game.

Rob volunteered his talents to entertain athletes and families at the Special Olympics World Games held in New Haven, CT in 1996.

Rob delights Special Olympians by demonstrating the Dynacord Rhythm Stick at the 1996 Special Olympics World Games.

At Local Events

Rob the Drummer Demonstrating Dynacord Rhythm Stick Rob the Drummer Addresses Audience Rob the Drummer Audience Participation Students at Rob the Drummer’s Kit

Rob teaches a student to tap a rhythm on the Dynacord Rhythm Stick, an electronic percussion instrument that looks like a guitar.

Rob’s show combines amazing musicianship with straight talk. Here, he tells students that he’s committed to becoming the best drummer he can be, and that he let no drug stand in his way from accomplishing that.

Rob makes sure that everyone gets involved in his performance. Here, the entire gymnasium participates in a ‘wave.’

Rob invites many students on stage to play his drum kit. It’s surprising how good the simple rhythms sound that Rob teaches them and how good free expression can feel!

Teachers at Rob the Drummer’s Kit Rob the Drummers Talks to Students Rob the Drummer Poses for Group Photo
Rob also invites many teachers on stage to play his drum kit. It’s difficult to tell who’s having more fun: the teachers playing or the students watching them.

After the show, students are drawn to Rob, asking for autographs and eager to talk. Rob has made an instant connection with them and a meaningful impact.

After packing his equipment, Rob takes time to pose with his new friends from Essex, CT.

Join Forces

Rtd&maddtn.jpg (4257 bytes) Rtd&daretn.jpg (3236 bytes)
Rob joined forces with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) at their national conference in Fairfield, CT in July ’98. Rob’s drumming and powerful message drove them mad!

Rob joined forces with D.A.R.E. at their Connecticut state convention in May ’98. There, he met Officer Anthony Cuozzo from Orange who is one of Connecticut D.A.R.E.’s leaders. Check out Officer Cuozzo’s D.A.R.E. site, as well as the national D.A.R.E. site for some cool stuff.

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