It's been a great week for Venezuelan drummer Anderson Quintero to say the least. He took the stage at Whiskey A Go Go in West Hollywood as the new drummer for PHILM on Tuesday night. The next day, news arrived that his work on Raul Agraz's Between Brothers helped net a Latin Grammy nomination for “Best Latin Jazz” album. It might seem an unlikely choice for PHILM bassist Pancho Tomaselli and singer/guitarist Gerry Nestler to tap Quintero, best known for his salsa and Latin Jazz percussion work, for the job of replacing departed drummer Dave Lombardo of Slayer fame. But that's solely for uninitiated American rock audiences.
The Quintero family name is legendary in Venezuela, regarded as the best percussionists in the nation. Anderson Quintero follows in the tradition having become an internationally renowned and Grammy Award-winning musician. A multifaceted drummer, he's played with metal and prog rock bands in Venezuela as well.
The combination of talents makes Quintero an asset to PHILM, making sure he keeps the beat going with the new lineup. Quintero can hit hard and masterfully execute time signature changes central to their ethereal, experimental sound. The Weekly spoke with Anderson Quintero in hopes of introducing audiences to his new role in PHILM.
OC Weekly (Gabriel San Roman): How was the experience debuting this week as PHILM's new drummer at Whiskey A Go Go Tuesday night?
Anderson Qunitero: I've been really waiting for that moment because we've been recording the new album and we've been rehearsing a lot. I was really anxious for my first time playing live with the guys. Everything hit off really well. The audience liked our music a lot. The energy was incredible. We achieved what we set out to do.
Tell us about your rock music past. Many people may not know that PHILM is not your first rock band.
Exactly! When I was 14 or 15, I had a couple of friends who played in a death metal band. They asked me to join the band because they knew already that I was playing drums and they had no drummer. I joined the band Mantra and played with them for 2 or 3 years before moving to New York. When I moved back to Venezuela, my composer friend was doing a prog rock recording project. He asked me to joined his band Lexestet and we recorded an album. It was amazing music, like a fusion of WAR and prog rock.
Speaking of WAR, it was former WAR bassist Pancho Tomaselli who approached you to be in PHILM with him and Nestler, correct?
I met Pancho two years ago. I played with a Latin Jazz band and he went to the concert. We started talking and he told me stories about his projects. He asked for my phone number and we kept in touch. A few months ago, I received a call where he asked me to join the band. I immediately said yes! We had a couple of rehearsals to get to know each other with Gerry. The chemistry was spot on. They liked what I did and asked me to be a new drummer.
How does it feel to return to playing rock music, especially in a band as experimental as PHILM is?
I'm always looking for challenges. I'm that kind of a drummer. I don't want to be tagged as a jazz or salsa drummer. I like playing every kind of music. I love the challenge to do it the right way. It's very exciting for me because I have to play new styles and be creative, but in keeping with the concept of the band. I experiment with new colors and dynamics. That's what I contribute to the band that's new.
The PHILM show this week was a farewell one for the band. What does it mean for the band to relocate from Los Angeles to New York?
The guys are moving for personal reasons, but it's good because they want the band to move forward to another level. I think moving to the East Coast is the best choice. We're planning to record other songs while we are there. We were already doing another experimental project. What's going to happen, I think, is that we're going to put both projects together and release it as a PHILM album. By now, we're concentrating on getting the record done. As soon as that's finished, we're going to start touring and promoting the new record. I can't wait to be on tour and bring the people the new PHILM sound!
Catch Anderson Quintero in OC with Homenaje before he leaves with PHILM at The Boathouse Collective, 1640 Pomona Ave., Costa Mesa, boathousecollective.com; (949) 646-3176, Fri. 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. Free. All ages.