Contact us to advertise on the podcast!

Contact us to advertise on the podcast!

#66 Dr. Andy Bliss- Artistic Director of Nief-Norf & Faculty at The University of Tennessee

#66 Dr. Andy Bliss- Artistic Director of Nief-Norf & Faculty at The University of Tennessee

Today's guest is Dr. Andy Bliss. He is a percussionist, conductor, head of the percussion department at the University of Tennessee, a husband and father.

This is the scene referred to from the movie the Great Outdoors.

The "Great Night in Harlem" gala concert will be held on April 20th 2018, and there are more details HERE.


Our product review for this week are the Hyper Owl Finger Training Bands. They come in different resistance strengths and can help prevent tennis elbow, carpal tunnel and other wrist and forearm injuries. 

Our iconic recording this week is "Congo Beat" off of the 'Puente in Percussion' album. 

Our music news this week.......

Apple denies that they are shutting down the iTunes downloads. Science shows that going to see live music improves your well being and can even help you live longer. Also mentioned is the house concert series around the world called: Sofar Sounds.  Trump signs Federal spending bill that funds the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment of Humanities, contradicting earlier threats that he would defund it and shut them down. 

Lastly, shout out to Dominique Thomas who came back from a tour in the South Pacific with John Legend and jet-lagged and all came to the show Damon was playing in Philly. You can listen to Dom in Episode #15. Also, you can see the new rig for percussionist Aaron Draper below who is currently in rehearsals with Eminem, getting ready for Coachella. You can also listen to Aaron's interview with the show in Episode #10.


Nief Norf is a mixed instrument non-profit music ensemble that Andy is the artistic director of. If you are interested in the summer festival in June, you can click HERE for more details.

The books Andy talks about are: "Grit" by Angela Duckworth & "Peak" by Anders Ericsson. He also refers to the 10,000 hour rule made popular by Malcolm Gladwell in the book "Outliers." Also, mentioned are the books, "Tribe of Mentors" by Tim Ferriss (who also has a podcast), and "The War of Art" by Stephen Pressfield. 

One of Andy's mentors is Jim Campell who teaches at the University of Kentucky. 

Andy talks about getting a doctorate level degree if you want to teach at an institute of higher education (colleges and universities). The specifics might be slightly different from institution to institution. 

Andy took piano lessons as a kid and learned through the Suzuki method of teaching. This is the opening scene of the movie "Mo Better Blues". (It's not in english, but you can understand what's going on)

Andy marched the Madison Scouts Drum Corps. He also talks about checking out Stanley Randolph's performance clinic at Pasic 2017.

Some of the music that inspired Andy when he was a kid was music by Billy Joel (with Liberty DeVitto on drums), Elton John, Aerosmith, & Beach Boys. Later in high school, Dave Matthews (with Carter Beauford on drums), & Phish. When he got to Graduate school, his mind was opened to Steven Schick ("Drumming in the Dark" is the album Andy talks about). He doesn't discriminate against pop music though. He mentions Justin Timberlake, and his new "Man of the Woods" album a few times. 

You can still get a minidisc player or a palm pilot. Speaking of tech, Andy has a list of tech he uses on a regular basis, which you can find HERE. This all stems from David Allen and his "Getting Things Done" approach. Andy also uses OmniFocus as his digital task manager. You can LEARN OMNIFOCUS, with the help of Tim Stringer. There's also David Sparks' MacSparky website. The two communication tools used primarily by Andy are Asana and Slack. There's the Due app that Andy feels is a lightweight app on his phone that's a step up from OmniFocus for time sensitive things. Overcast (podcast player), 1Password, & Text Expander are the last three recommendations. If you are unsure of how to "batch process" your email, you can click this link HERE for more info on how to do that. This (Evernote) is where Damon makes his lists.

You can follow Andy on his Website, Facebook, TwitterInstagram, & YouTube.

Andy uses: Yamaha Percussion Instruments, Zildjian Cymbals, Innovative Percussion Sticks and Mallets, Evans Drum Heads, Black Swamp Percussion and Meinl Percussion exclusively. 

If you're interested in studying with Andy, you can check him out at the University of Tennessee or with his Nief Norf ensemble.

#67 Anthony Almonte- Percussionist for Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul, Grupo Arcano & More!

#67 Anthony Almonte- Percussionist for Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul, Grupo Arcano & More!

#65 Nate Morton- Drummer for NBC's "The Voice" and More!

#65 Nate Morton- Drummer for NBC's "The Voice" and More!