Rich Lackowski

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Photo by Laurel Geare

Rich has been playing the drums with Nikki O’Neill since they had The Nikki O’Neill Band together back in 2007-2012. He plays drums on Nikki’s 2017 solo EP, “Love Will Lead You Home.”

Rich is also the author of the award-winning series of On the Beaten Path music instruction books. The first book in the series, On the Beaten Path: The Drummer’s Guide to Musical Styles and the Legends Who Defined Them (Alfred Music Publishing, 2007) was highly acclaimed by teachers, students, and drumming enthusiasts alike, and has earned Lackowski accolades from around the world. The book was voted “No. 1 Educational Book” in Modern Drummer’s 2008 Reader’s Poll, and voted “No. 1 Book” in DRUM! Magazine’s 2008 Reader’s Poll. Drumscene magazine (Australia) called it the “future groove and reference bible for a huge part of the modern drum set.” (Switzerland) called it “the best book I’ve seen – a masterpiece.” (UK) called it “a must for any serious drummer.” Drumheads!! Schlagzeugmagazin (Germany) called it “an extraordinary book.” Percussioni magazine (Italy) called it “a great method for students who want to teach themselves, and for teachers looking for materials to help them expose students to a variety of drumming styles.” Bob Gatzen (USA), a highly respected teacher, author and inventor, called it “a major breakthrough for drum set method books” and went on to say “no doubt, you’re re-inventing the standard.”

The success of the book prompted Lackowski to author his next two books, On the Beaten Path: Progressive Rock (Alfred Music Publishing, 2008) and On the Beaten Path: Metal (Alfred Music Publishing, 2009), expanding his best-selling book into a series that further addressed drummers’ interests. Both books have been well received by the drumming community and have received praise similar to that of the pioneer book. In fact, On the Beaten Path: Progressive Rock was voted among the winners of the “Educational Books” category in both Modern Drummer and DRUM! magazines’ 2009 Reader’s Polls, and On the Beaten Path: Metal was voted among the winners in DRUM! magazine’s 2010 Reader’s Poll.

The global success of the series spawned a translation of Lackowski’s original book On the Beaten Path into German and was released in Europe under the title Drum Masterclass (Alfred Publishing Verlags GmbH, 2009). Italian translations for On the Beaten Path and On the Beaten Path: Metal were also released in 2009 and 2010 respectively (Volontè & Co).

Lackowski’s passion for helping more people learn how to play the drums led him to write and release his next three-volume installment in the series, On the Beaten Path: Beginning Drumset Course, levels 1, 2, and 3 (Alfred Music Publishing, 2010). The course is the culmination of years of teaching and refining his method for learning to play using carefully selected legendary beats from songs that shaped modern music. A DVD was added to each level of the course in 2011 in which Lackowski demonstrates all concepts and lessons in the books.

In addition to authoring the On the Beaten Path series of successful music instruction books, Lackowski is an international clinician, and endorsed artist and member of the Vic Firth Education Team, and an endorsed artist with Evans Drumheads and member of their Education Team. Lackowski has also written articles and features for DRUM!, Drumscene, TRAPS, and How to Play Drums magazines, and he’s performed in various locations around the world since 1985, including Australia’s prestigious Ultimate Drummer’s Weekend in Melbourne, Australia in 2010.

Lackowski was born and raised in Chicago, IL, lived in West Lafayette, IN and Detroit, MI until he moved to Los Angeles, CA, where he has resided since 2001. He’s played the drums since age 10.


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