May. 08 2006
Shauney "Baby" Recke

Shauney "Baby" Recke

Independent

TAMA :What drew you to the drums initially?

Shauney "Baby" : I don’t know… well, at my church, there was this drummer, and I was just fascinated by what he did. When you’re a kid, you don’t really understand… you see someone hitting the drums, and it’s amazing the sound that comes from that. So I was just fascinated by that.

TAMA : At what age did you actually start playing?

Shauney "Baby" : Well, I kinda started playing around 7 years old. I was singing in the kids’ choir at my church. I would go get on the drums if no one else was playing, and the older women would come and say, “honey, you can’t get on the drums.” So I think around 7 or 8 is when I started “messing around” with the drums, but I wasn’t taking lessons or anything.

TAMA : Later, you attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. Can you describe that experience, and what you gained from it?

Shauney "Baby" : Actually, although I messed around with the drums as a kid, I was a voice student, and I auditioned for the School of the Arts as a voice major. So I was a voice student until my 11th grade year, and then I changed my major to percussion. So as for my experience as a percussion major… I guess I had that same feeling I had when I was 7. I was just really fascinated and amazed at the different sounds that drums could make, depending on the type of music and how they were played. You could play melodically or you could do a solo; there were so many different ways that you could make drums sound. So as a student there, it was a little overwhelming, because I was learning all these different things about drums. I got involved in the jazz band. It was really a growing process for me. But more than being overwhelmed, I was just fascinated and excited about discovering all these things about drums. I would follow Wynton Marsalis and Miles Davis, and listen to all this jazz music, because at that time, I was really into jazz.

TAMA : You then went on to study percussion at the University of the District of Columbia. What was that like, and how was it different from the Duke Ellington School?

Shauney "Baby" : Yes, I got a music scholarship there. That experience was definitely different, because at the college level, there’s more responsibility, and you don’t have someone telling you what to do. You have to take responsibility and do the things you know you have to do, because when you go into these classes, you have to be prepared. That was really a growing experience for me, because of two main things.


I was in the marching band and one thing that I had to learn, because I got put out of the band, is that I was always laughing. And I guess when you’re young you’re just laughing about every little thing. So in the marching band, it was really strenuous, because I was playing snare and I had to wear this heavy drum and we had to run around the field with the drum. And, especially in the summertime, it was really hot. And then also, there was a lot of rehearsing, so my hands would hurt and I had all these blisters. And then, we would march and practice our routines, and I would always laugh because everything was funny to me, so that’s why I got put out of the marching band… because you had to have a serious face, and I didn’t realize that. So that was one thing I learned.


And then, I was in the big band. And the professor was really well-known for what he had accomplished with the students, and the records that the school had put out with big band. Prior to attending to that school, I had been playing drums and was used to having to use power when hitting the kick drum, so in the big band – this is another thing I learned – he removed the pedal from my kick drum. Because when you play big band music, the kick should be felt and not necessarily heard. And my foot was very strong at that time, so he removed the mallet from the pedal… so that was funny. That was definitely a growing experience.


It was really cool, though. I learned a lot, but at that age, I was like, “man, I just want to play music,” but there are all these rules. Well, at that time they seemed like rules, but when you learn more about the different styles of music, it makes sense, and it’s not like a rule that you have to take personally. It’s just a rule to each form of music, and you just have to learn that.


And that’s why college is definitely different than high school, cause in high school you’re learning things from a technical aspect and you’re not learning all those little rules that go in the music until college, and then things are more specific and you have to be responsible for everything that you do.

TAMA : Which drummers influenced you the most during your development?

Shauney "Baby" : Well, I would have to say during that time, especially high school to college, it was definitely Tony Williams, Art Blakey, Cindy Blackman, Rasheed Ali… all the jazz drummers, you know. The drummer from the Wynton Marsalis band, because at the time he had the trio. I was definitely listening to a lot of jazz at that time. And then at some point in college, especially after getting put out of the marching band and the big band thing, I started getting into a lot of funk. I really got into Dennis Chambers. That’s when I started transitioning and growing, because I was in a go-go band, so I kinda wanted to start listening to some other drummers.

TAMA : As you mentioned, during school you began playing with an all-girl go-go band called Pleasure, which led to backing up Salt N’ Pepa. How did that come about?

Shauney "Baby" : That came about because Pleasure was Washington D.C.’s first and only all-female go-go band. And it was a project that I did with the manager and the producer. I was involved in this summer youth program in D.C., and I met the producer and he said they had this idea for an all-girl go-go band. So I met the manager, and they had some girls, and I knew some girls, and we kinda put the pieces together and started rehearsing. And this was good, too, especially transitioning from jazz to funk and stuff, because not a lot of people can play go-go, and that’s definitely a Washington D.C. thing. But also, although when you hear it, it’s just a 2 & 4 beat, it has a certain feel to it.


So we put the band together, and the band just became so big and so popular, and we toured from D.C. all the way down to the Carolinas and everything in-between. And we were touring with all the rappers… so we toured with Salt N’ Pepa, LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, just all the rappers who were out during that time. So I guess Salt N’ Pepa’s producer Herbie Luv Bug, who had seen us many times, thought it would be hot to have a female band behind Salt N’ Pepa. It took some time to make it happen, but eventually it did. Initially, I didn’t go out with them, but then I decided to go to experience that. And when I did first go out with them, it was as a percussionist. So that was really fun. That was like my first touring experience… I was a teen, and it was really interesting, cause I was a big fan of Salt N’ Pepa.

TAMA : After performing with such a high-profile act, did you ever consider leaving school to play professionally?

Shauney "Baby" : Definitely. I did leave school… I would leave school, and go do music, and then I would come back to school. But I never just went out without having something. Eventually, I did leave school to go to Atlanta, GA, for a music project that didn’t happen. So that’s when I moved to Los Angeles.

TAMA : How did you end up drumming for Hilary Duff?

Shauney "Baby" : Well, I met her manager when I was in-between jobs. At that time, I was the music director and drummer for 112. I met the manager at a shoe store, and we talked about him managing me. So that was the first project, him managing me. And then the first thing he called me for was Hilary, because she was also one of his clients. He called me to do her music video. So I did her first music video, for “So Yesterday,” and he had seen me play with another artist at the Roxy or something in L.A. So he kind of thought it would be cool, and talked to Hilary and her mom about having me on drums, to have like this girl-power thing. And they loved it. And actually, when I did the video, they thought it was so cool to have a female drummer, so they were interested in me playing drums for her.

TAMA : And how long have you been working with her now?

Shauney "Baby" : Almost 3 years.

TAMA : What is next for the group?

Shauney "Baby" : Right now, we’re home. We just got back from a promo tour in Europe. And then we leave on April 19th for 3 weeks to go to Europe and do a tour over there, and then I think we’re doing some dates in Latin America. So I’ll be gone for 3 weeks to do Europe, and I think, 2 weeks to do Latin America, and then that’s it.

TAMA : You’ve spent a lot of time studying and honing your skills on the drumset, in a variety of styles, from jazz and funk to go-go and R&B. Does the Hilary Duff gig provide you with the opportunity to express this range of your abilities and keep you fulfilled artistically?

Shauney "Baby" : Not necessarily. With that gig, some songs are rock, and then the other songs are pop. I think that when you’re hired to play for an artist, you just have to play what the job requires. And I think sometimes it’s good to also have other opportunities, because I think if you want to expand and just do a variety of things, just to keep your chops up or just to satisfy what it is that you need to, that takes doing a couple of different things. But for this gig, it’s pretty much a pop gig… so that’s what I do. I’m not able to go off and do different things.

TAMA : But you’re still happy doing it, right?

Shauney "Baby" : Oh yeah, it’s fun. I mean, what makes it fulfilling is the audience, you know. The kids, and the comments I get from them, and how me just being a female drummer inspires them to do anything, not just drumming. Like, so many little girls are inspired to fulfill their dreams, whatever they may be, and even so as a drummer. And then boys are inspired and they’re totally blown away, because they’re like, “wow, chicks can play drums.” And although there are other female drummers out there, maybe these boys haven’t seen them, because maybe they’re playing with an older artist or a different type of music. So in this situation, what keeps me inspired are the kids. And even the parents… the comments that I get from the parents. I mean, people are just inspired and I think whatever you do, if you can just inspire people, that’s amazing in itself.

TAMA : Can you outline the kit you are currently using?

Shauney "Baby" : I’m using a Starclassic Maple 6-piece kit. I use a 14” maple snare, a 22” kick drum, a 12” rack tom, 14” and 16” floor toms to the right, and a 16” floor tom on the left.

TAMA : And that’s working out for you?

Shauney "Baby" : Yeah. It’s a great kit.

TAMA : I understand that you have been working on a drum instructional video. What is that status of that, and what will be the focus/concepts covered?

Shauney "Baby" : The focus of the video is definitely to teach, from a simplistic standpoint, anyone... you know, not necessarily an experienced drummer. But to teach someone who’s just interested in drums, not to necessarily have a career in it, but just to mess around and play drums for whatever reason. It’s specifically for kids, or youths, and you don’t have to already play the drums to pick up this video. Most instruction videos that I’m aware of, you have to be able to play drums, you have to understand the coordination and everything. So this is going to be an approach that will be so simple. That will be out sometime this year, I don’t know the exact date.

TAMA : What other projects are you currently involved with, or do you have coming up?

Shauney "Baby" : Well, I’m doing some charity events coming up for Kids with a Cause. I have some other stuff in the works, but I don’t want to jinx anything (laughs). So I guess that will have to be in the next interview.