Message from Nick
Hey, I’m Nick Ruffini – Professional Drummer, Executive Producer and Founder of Drummer’s Resource.
This is less of an about page and more of a mission statement…a manifesto if you will.
Meet the Team
Nick Ruffini – Executive Producer and Founder
NYC Drummer Nick Ruffini (Philadelphia, PA native), began playing drums at age 15 and never stopped. Nick attended Villanova and Kutztown University, graduating in 2005 with a B.S. in Business Management and Music Performance. He served as treasurer of the Kutztown University Percussion Department 2002-2003 as well as President from 2003-2005.
Even while earning his degree Nick pushed his drumming career to new heights, playing with anyone, anytime, anywhere. During college Nick played in a Salsa Band, a 17-piece Big-Band, a Jazz Band, a Percussion Ensemble, and an African Percussion Group along with local and regional bands up and down the East Coast.
Nick is the founding drummer for the regional touring group Monacy and The Nick Ruffini Band and can often be seen performing with Jeff Washington (Melba Moore, Mica Paris, Freddie Jackson, Chaka Khan, Dee Dee Bridgewater and others) and The Sermon – totaling over 100 shows per year. In addition, Nick teaches private lessons, works on various studio projects and runs Drummer’s Resource, a site that offers information, education and motivation for drumming and beyond.
In 2011, Nick launched his solo career, recording a record under his own name. The album includes Johnny Defrancesco (Defranceso Brothers) on guitar, Paul Klinefelter (Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra) on bass, Rich Budesa (Budesa Brothers) on organ and was engineered/mixed/mastered by 2011 Grammy Nominee, Glenn Ferracone. Following a nation wide radio campaign, Nick’s first solo release “Pressin’ On” peaked at #54 on the US Jazz Charts.. A healthy touring schedule keeps Nick busy, as he shows no signs of slowing down!
2013 brought yet another change for Nick as he teamed up with Boso Drumsticks to become their artist relations director. Following joining Boso, Nick launched Drummer’s Resource, an online community where he provides interviews and expert advice from the world’s best drummers and music industry professionals. With thousands of downloads and website views per month, Drummer’s Resource has become a staple in the online drumming world.
Nick has performed/shared the stage with: Phish’s Page McConnell, Everlast, The Greyboy Allstars, Dave Grippo (Trey Anastasio Band), Johnny Defrancesco, DJ Q-Ball (DJ for the Multi-platinum artists The Bloodhound Gang), Jazz Legend Melvin Sparks and Badfish, just to name a few.
With his diverse background and performance experience in Funk, Rock, Jazz, Latin, or any other style of music, Nick’s unique sound and energy are undeniable, making him one of the most sought-after drummers on the scene.
Nick is endorsed by: Aquarian Drumheads, Boso Drumsticks, Bosphorus Cymbals, Cympad USA , Drumtacs, Kickport International and Prologix Percussion and has studied with: Daniel Glass, Glenn Ferracone, Dr. Will Rapp, Dr. Frank Kumor and Joe Mullen.
Justin Thomas – Producer
Justin Thomas is a Drummer and Audio Producer from Gaithersburg, MD. He started drumming at age 9 and played in various local bands including The Fisherman. In high school he was also in a band with Tosin Abasi (Animals as Leaders) called 7Lox. He’s the original drummer for The Muddy Crows helping them win The Washington City Paper’s “Best Original Band of 2015” award. His teachers include drummer and vibraphonist Chuck Redd as well as Mike Johnston. Respected not only for his exceptional talent but also his professionalism, Justin has entertained audiences up and down the East Coast including venues such as DC’s Gypsy Sally’s, Jammin’ Java and Baltimore’s Artscape Music Festival.
Justin also developed a love for music and audio production at age 14. In 2004 he put his production skills to the test and started his career working for iHeartRadio as a personality and DJ. This eventually lead to a gig working for some of the biggest radio stations in the country including HOT 99.5 and DC101. A long time fan of the Drummer’s Resource Podcast, Justin is taking his love for drumming and audio production to new heights as the new producer of the show.
Zack Albetta – Contributing Writer
Zack Albetta’s musical path has taken him from his hometown of Santa Fe, NM to the historic and vibrant music scene in Kansas City, to the top of the musical food chain, Los Angeles. He is enjoying a dynamic career, performing in a variety of musical roles. From LA’s premier clubs and theatres to Disneyland to studio session work for film, TV and online media, Zack would rather be behind the drums in almost any capacity than anywhere else.
Zack earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance, starting at the University of New Mexico and finishing at Ball State University. In 2003, he entered graduate school at The University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he was awarded the graduate assistanceship for the percussion department, as well as a jazz scholarship. Zack’s primary mentor during this time was the director of jazz studies at UMKC, sax legend and Grammy nominee Bobby Watson.
Zack spent four years at UMKC, earning a Master of Music in classical percussion and a Master of Arts in jazz and studio music. By the time he graduated, he was already in high demand around Kansas City and spent the next three years performing with Bobby Watson, The 18th & Vine Big Band (with whom he backed up legendary vocalists Karrin Allyson, Mary Stallings and Ernie Andrews), Shay Estes, Mark Lowrey, Clint Ashlock, New Jazz Order Big Band, Barclay Martin, The Kansas City Symphony, The Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and many others.
In 2010, Zack set his sights on Los Angeles. He hit the ground running, performing in the prestigious Center Theatre Group’s west coast premier of the hip-hop musical Venice at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Following that, he quickly began amassing performance credits with the area’s finest including Johnny Mandel, Pete Christlieb, Kim Richmond, Jacques Lesure, Gina Saputo, Doug Webb, Jennifer Keith and Josh Nelson. He has also performed in dozens of shows with Southern California’s premiere musical theatre production companies including Musical Theatre West and 3-D Theatricals, recorded for television, film and online media, and is a regular performer in several groups at Disneyland.
Joey Smith – Marketing and Technology Advisor
Joey Smith began playing the drums as far back as he can remember. His earliest recall is playing washtub bass for his father in a country band at the age of 7. He found himself playing more washtub than bass so his father decided to get him into the drums. Since then, he played with Dizzy Gillespie at age 17 at the National Association of Jazz Educators in 1987 and cut his chops on jazz with high school band director Melvin Hodges who was the Sax Player with Gladys Night. This lead to him being accepted into the McDonald’s All-Star Jazz band and being awarded a full scholarship at Georgia State University where he studied with Jack Bell, Principal Percussionist of the Atlanta Symphony. As a college student, Joey played everything from Reggae, Jazz, Marimba, Symphonic, Rock, and Heavy Metal and eventually toured with Class Rock Led Zeppelin Cover Band Sticky Lemons.