She’s (Not) Just A Woman: Q&A With Clementine, Drummer Extraordinaire

Published on July 30th, 2009 in: Feminism, Issues, Music, Q&A |

By Jennifer L. Sharpe

Ms. Clementine could be considered one of the music world’s most ardent admirers of Led Zeppelin. While she never experienced the band’s live performances, she recreates drummer John “Bonzo” Bonham’s daunting drum parts every night as a founding member of Zepparella.

Popshifter recently caught up with Clem as she crossed the country on Zepparella’s first US tour.

Photo of Clementine from her website

First of all, let’s talk about your equipment. What kind of kit do you use?
I play a 1973 Ludwig kit, 24-20-18-14. Paiste Bonham reissue [with] Paiste 2002 cymbals. Ludwig SupraPhonic snare.

How did Zepparella get started? What happened between the time the band formed and your first gig?

It was eight months from the time we formed the band to our first show. I was in the studio five days a week, six hours a day practicing it. Bonham is my hero. . . I couldn’t suck.

What did you think of Led Zeppelin before you started the band? How intimidating did you find stepping into John Bonham’s proverbial shoes, and what did you do to prepare?
Zeppelin has been my favorite rock band since I was 13 and stayed up for three days recording “Zeppelin A to Z” off the radio. It was a huge consideration to play Bonham’s parts. The band started as a practice project with the guitarist Gretchen and I. We wanted to learn the Zeppelin catalogue in the interest of improving as guitarist and drummer. Once we decided to perform it, I spent a good deal of time stressing out about whether I could possibly pull it off. I still have nights when I worry about whether I’m doing him justice. I just try to put everything I have into it, and that quiets the doubts. It’s like swimming in the Pacific. . . you respect the power and always give a little thanks that you’re allowed to tread the water.

This is the second tribute band you’ve been in after AC/DShe. What appeals to you about playing in a tribute band?
The only reason I have for playing in these bands is the education. I love both AC/DC and Zeppelin so much, and both drummers have been such an inspiration to me, that I figure getting inside their parts only helps me get better. Playing the songs live with the other members is a step further into really understanding the drummers’ choices. It’s truly been a profound education that I wouldn’t change.

What’s an “only in Zepparella” (or “only in AC/DShe”) story you can tell me?

Wow, there are too many to count. One thing that’s pretty phenomenal is the posse of loyal fans each band has, who come to nearly every show and become one of the family. It’s just splendid to have these people become a part of our lives. One of our most loyal fans has become “crew chief.” His 100th show is coming up!

What’s a day in the life of a tribute band like?
Same as any musician. Spending a bunch of time on the Internet promoting the band, arguing with managers and promoters, trying to get in time to woodshed, stressing about money and broken gear, and basically living for the next time on stage.

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One Response to “She’s (Not) Just A Woman: Q&A With Clementine, Drummer Extraordinaire”

  1. John:
    March 31st, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    Yer Awesome Chris, keep on rockin’!

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