Drummer, educator, author, and motivational speaker Dom Famularo, known as “Drumming’s Global Ambassador,” died on Sept. 27, 2023.
Born August 26, 1953, Dom studied from such legendary drummers as Joe Morello, Jim Chapin, Al Miller, Charlie Perry, Colin Bailey, Shelly Manne, Papa Jo Jones, and Ronnie Benedict. He was known for blending the techniques of the past with modern concepts, developing a creative and personal style of drumming that combined elements of jazz, funk, fusion, and Latin rhythms. He posted on his website that, “I have studied with the Masters, and what they passed on to me was an enthusiasm for self-expression. The fun in my life has been in challenging myself to be the best I can be. But rather than limit myself to just playing in a band, I want to share my talent to pass on the musical and philosophical values I’ve developed, so others can find and enjoy themselves the way I have.”
The first Western drummer to perform clinics in China, Dom was a special guest performer at the first-ever Buddy Rich Tribute Concert, an event which he helped organize. He was a host and performer at the Pacific Rim Drum Invitational (the first drum event to be simulcast live on the Internet), and he participated in such drumming events as the LaRioja Drumming Festival, Koblenz International Drummer Meeting in Germany, the Florida Drum Expo, the Paris Music Show, the Ultimate Drummers Day in Australia, the Heartbeat World Rhythm spectacle for Canadian TV, and the Montreal Drumfest.
Dom had performed with the Buddy Rich Big Band, B.B. King, Lionel Hampton, Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones), T Lavitz (Dixie Dregs), and the Louie Bellson Big Band, and shared the stage with Dave Weckl, Steve Gadd, Vinnie Colaiuta, Simon Phillips, Billy Cobham, Bernard Purdie, Rod Morgenstein, Chester Thompon, Terry Bozzio, Will Calhoun, Deen Castronovo, Russ McKinnon, Chad Smith, Mark Schulman, Denny Carmassi, Liberty DeVitto, Jeff Porcaro, Larrie Londin, and Jim Chapin in worldwide drumming events.
Dom was an active educator at colleges, drum schools and camps. He performed at the Percussive Arts Society Convention (PASIC), Percussion Institute of Technology (PIT) in Hollywood California, Drummers Collective in N.Y., KOSA Camp in Vermont, North Texas State University, the Graham Cole Percussion Camp in England, Drummers Camp in the Black Forest of Germany, and many others. He served as education consultant for Sabian Cymbals, Vater Drum Sticks, Mapex Drums, Remo Drumheads, SE Microphones, and Wizdom Media, for whom he oversaw programs worldwide.
Upon news of Dom’s death, Peter Erskine posted, “The drumming world turned out in force in April to welcome Dom Famularo back to the scene and in promising health. The drumming world now mourns the loss of this incredible human being. Dom was the most positive person I've ever known. He inspired everyone to find the better part of themselves. Rest easy and in eternal peace, brother. My condolences to all who knew and loved him.”
Billy Cobham posted, “This is very difficult to take, but in life there is Yin and Yang. I can't imagine that the social world of music in which we live will really understand what Dom Famularo meant to life. His passing has not diminished his worth, as time will show. His spirit will grow and he will be reflected in every student who rubbed elbows with him.”