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#92 Carter McLean-Drummer for the Lion King, Charlie Hunter and More!

#92 Carter McLean-Drummer for the Lion King, Charlie Hunter and More!

This week’s guest is Carter McLean. Carter was born in San Francisco and shortly thereafter moved to Connecticut. This is where McLean listened to and fell in love with music and especially the drums. At age 10, he started his journey as a musician. Broadway wasn’t even on his radar when he started working at Manny’s Music in Manhattan just prior to 9/11. The self-taught musician had just wrapped up his studies at University of Colorado, Boulder and was hoping to land a gig with someone like Sting, Peter Gabriel or Paul Simon. But then, while working his shift and playing at the store, he got noticed by a vet of Stevie Wonder’s band Dennis Davis and got invited to play with legendary musician Roy Ayers in Harlem. While touring with Melvin Sparks in 2002 McLean was approached to be a sub at The Lion King in NYC. This eventually lead to McLean taking over the chair at the hit show in 2011.

From Charlie Hunter to the Lion King on Broadway, McLean has been busy touring and doing studio work as well as having a busy teaching schedule. In addition McLean has shared the stage or recorded with Jamie McLean, Greg Holden, Charlie Hunter, Victor Wooten, Anthony Hamilton, Bernie Worrell (Parlament Funkadelic), Fred Wesley (James Brown), Shelby Johnson (Prince), Melanie Gabriel (Peter Gabriel) Leni Stern, Matt Duke and many others. Carter also released his own record “GHOST BRIDGE” in 2010 where he sings and plays guitar.

Stefon Harris’ album “Sonic Creed” is officially available everywhere you can consume music. Also, out now is Jeremy Bosch’s new single, “Si Me Dejas” which features, Marcos Torres, Danny Torres, Della, Marcos Lopez and Gabo Lugo.

PASIC is coming up in November from the 14th-17th. There is also going to be a Drumfest featuring THESE FINE INDIVIDUALS.

Maracatu NY has some upcoming performances, including the NYC Halloween Parade. If you would like to participate, you can see the schedule for the classes to learn the material. You have to order the “uniform” (T-Shirt) by October 6th. This is all put together by friend of the show, Scott Kettner. You can listen to his interview and learn all about what Maracatu is and where it comes from.

The Global Citizen Festival happened this past weekend and this is the video Damon mentioned with John Legend performing his new song called “Preach”.

You have the opportunity to go to the next Global Citizen Festival on December 2nd, in Johannesburg, South Africa, celebrating Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday. The tickets are free after doing charitable acts adding up to 21 points.


You can come to the benefit show for Marcos’ cousin in Black Rock (Bridgeport), CT on Oct 7th held at The Acoustic.

R.I.P. to the great Jerry Gonzalez. He passed away of smoke inhalation after a fire in his Madrid residence.


The iconic recording for this week is “Fee Fi Fo Fum” by Wayne Shorter, performed by Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band.

Music News for this week……

SiriusXM agrees to acquire all of Pandora. Miami evicts the Ultra Music Festival after one too many problems. Gibson guitars is out of bankruptcy and hires a new CFO to steer the ship in a better direction financially. Spotify cracks down on their family plan abuse. Ticketmaster discusses ‘Scalpergate’ and Live Nation (the parent company),catches more heat from U.S. Senators for turning a blind eye, specifically Michael Rapino.

The tune leading into the interview is called “Slow Shake Toms” and was recorded on the most recent UK tour with Carter and Charlie Hunter.

Check out the Four Hands Drumming site that Carter is involved with. This is a very useful and helpful website. You can keep an eye out on Hal Leonard for Carter’s upcoming book.

Carter started exploring different sounds first after making a connection with Ronn Dunnett. He later made a connection with Adam Morford and his company Morfbeats. The high hat clutch Carter was referring to was made by the Cherry Hill Drum Company.

Carter quit drumming for a year and started a photography business. One of his go-to cameras is the Fujifilm X100F Mirrorless camera. Damon and Carter also talk about Hasselblad cameras and Carl Zeiss lenses. If you are wondering what Damon was talking about when he said ISO, then CLICK HERE.

Carter came back to drumming because of a call to sub for Tommy Igoe on the Lion King show on Broadway. When Tommy moved to San Fransico, Carter got the offer to do the show full time.

Some of the more inexpensive drumsets mentioned that can be great for students are the Pearl Export, Yamaha Stage Custom and Ludwig Breakbeats kit.

This is the clip from the drum clinic that he mentions from Instagram.

Living Colour opening for the Rolling Stones was the first concert Carter saw and then in 6th grade, Carter started playing gigs with his brother Jamie McLean. The first album Carter played to was Appetite for Destruction by Guns and Roses. AC/DC was another early rock band Carter used to check out.

Later Carter studied Tabla with Ty Burhoe in Colorado.

The Cuban Bata drums that people are familiar with actually started in Nigeria and instead of the traditional three drum ensemble, there can be up to 6 drums in the Nigerian toques (songs).

The song leading out of the interview is called “Groove 1” from the recent duo UK tour with Carter and Charlie Hunter.

#93 Jessie Caraballo- Timbalero and Drummer for Marc Anthony!

#93 Jessie Caraballo- Timbalero and Drummer for Marc Anthony!

#91 Nate Werth- Percussionist for Ghost Note, Snarky Puppy and More!

#91 Nate Werth- Percussionist for Ghost Note, Snarky Puppy and More!