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Take Five With Ricky Exton

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Ricky Exton:

Ricky Exton was born in Cleveland, Ohio on November 8, 1977. At the age of five, he took notice of his brothers' interest in music and had a chance to see his first concert. This concert was the first step in the direction of music.

Ricky Exton

By the age of eight, he became interested in the drums along with his brother. So they both started to take drum lessons within the jazz style. The lessons seemed to be quite confusing and Ricky eventually gave up on those lessons. However, he was beginning to broaden his horizons with new music, which was played on the radio. Now, even though Ricky stopped the drum lessons, he continued to practice on his father's drum set. At the same time starting drum lessons, he discovered his natural singing ability. By the age of twelve, after having been playing drums and singing in the school band and choir for a few years, Ricky went to see a band that was friends with his brother and parents. The guys in the band heard that he could sing, so they asked him up on stage to sing a tune with the band. Afterward, they were quite amazed. A few weeks later, Ricky got his first phone call for a recording session.

Although Exton realized his vocal ability, he decided to direct his effort to his true passion, the drums. After about six years of studying with drum instructor, Bob McKee, by the end of high school he received a scholarship for a two-year jazz studies program as a drum principal at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio. During his first year of college he started to perform with a classic-rock/blues band outside of school which eventually broke up after a few months. During the two years Ricky was given some great opportunities to perform with some big names like Cyrus Chestnut, Rufus Reid, and Lou Rawls. He was also introduced to Jazz drummer Louie Bellson.

In a photo of the two, Louie Bellson dedicated the picture saying "To Ricky, a wonderful artist!"

After graduating from the Berklee College of Music, Ricky joined the Cleveland based hard rock band Hydra which lasted about a year. Hydra opened for national and international bands like Soil, Living Colour, Collective Soul, and Nightwish.

At this stage in the game, Ricky is recording and performing with several artists and is currently working on a solo jazz project which will be released in the near future. Outside of his solo project, Exton is very active in his freelance performances, recording sessions, and private lessons in the many different genres of music including rock, pop, funk, country, jazz (big band/ combo), and Latin.

In the future Mr. Exton will be traveling the world, recording, and performing for large audiences in hopes of reaching the respected status of a world class musician.

Instrument(s):

Drums, percussion.

Teachers and/or influences?

Teachers include Bob McKee, Val Kent, Skip Hadden, Jamie Haddad, Casey Scheurell, Kenwood Dennard, Steve Wilke, Ed Kaspik, Ernie Krivda, Ivory Joe Hunter, Lin Biviano, Jon Hazilla.

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