Billy Angelo Stella's
The Drummer's Workshop
It's All About The Drumming!
- Billy Angelo Stella -
As I See It – Telling It Like It Is
The Interview by Leann Pearle
For the past year, I’ve been trying to get an
interview with Billy Angelo Stella.  I have
phoned him, e-mailed him, sent letters, and
even showed up where he was performing
and he would not grant me an interview.
Finally, in August of 2007, I made up my
mind and left my Manhattan office and
drove to Wilkes-Barre because ”I” wanted
an interview with Billy who, in my eyes, is
one heck of a drummer, teacher,
AUTHOR, and to find out what makes him
He lives in a tiny town called Hudson which
is in Plains Township.  I walked into his
shop which he calls a shoebox.  He was in
the middle of his Drumming Instructions.  
He told me I had to wait until he was finished
teaching and then we could talk.  I thought,
“GREAT!  I get my interview!”
After he got finished with his drumming
instruction, he excused himself and told me
to make myself comfortable and he would
be right back.
A few minutes later he came back in with a
cigarette and a coffee, propped his feet up
on his desk, and the first thing out of his
mouth was, "NO INTERVIEW."  I was
horrified.  He then put this big grin on his
face and said, "only kidding."
When you talk to him he is a very loving,
caring, passionate individual who dislikes
liars, phonies, wannabes, and fakes.  He
loves people who give their best from their
heart and soul!  Nothing more, nothing less!
LP:        You have been performing and
playing drums since you were two years
old.  Is that correct?
BAS:        Yes.
LP:        Do you remember your first
BAS:        Vaguely.  I think I played with a
man by the name of Jimmy Bone.  I’m
really not quite sure, although this is what I
was told by my dad, I think.
LP:        So you have been actually
performing since your were two years old
and did TV performances and even
BAS:         Yes, that is correct.
LP:        Your dad must have been one
heck of teacher?
BAS:        My dad developed me and I
also took the knowledge I had, and have,
and turned it into what you see and hear
LP:        How long have you been teaching?
BAS:        It will be 11 years in October of
this year (2007), in this little shoebox.
LP:        You also wrote two successful
drum books?
BAS:        Yes, I have.
LP:        What are the names of the books
in which you wrote?
BAS:        BILL’S FILLS and the second
one, which is a lot more successful, is a
coordinated independence study for your
hands and feet with “ALTERNATIVE
LP:         What are Alternative Rock Beats?
BAS:        It’s a play on words. The
alternative is you either play the rock beats
or you don’t.
LP:         What is the name of that one?
LP:        With all the playing you have done,
and do, did you ever think you would end
up teaching and even writing two books?
BAS:        No, not at all.  Never even
thought about writing books and I never had
an ambition to teach.  I watched what my
dad went through and I’m telling you, it
wasn’t easy.
LP:        What do you mean?
BAS:        My dad was passionate about
the drums; it was his life and his world.  He
was a perfectionist.  You couldn't outdo his
playing or his teaching.  And he could get
quite upset when a student did not practice.  I
don’t mean just have a problem learning a
lesson; I mean not “PRACTICING” the
LP:        Did he have a lot of that type of
BAS:        Let’s just say he had enough of
them.  But the ones who did practice he
cherished them in his heart right up to the
day he passed away.  I don’t want you to get
the wrong impression here.  My dad had so
many “GREAT” students that went on to
achieve a high musical standard.  Some of
them are still playing and teaching today
which, to me, is absolutely fantastic.
LP:        They are still doing it today?
BAS:        Oh yeah, and how can you not
be proud of something like that?  My dad
turned out so many great drummers.  And I
still see them to this day, playing or
teaching.  It’s great.
LP:        How many years was your dad
BAS:        He taught for 47 years.
LP:        He wrote Drum Books didn’t he?
BAS:        Yes, he wrote about four books.
LP:        And you teach out of these books?
BAS:        Yes, I do.
LP:        Your dad was the first to introduce a
double bass drum into this area, wasn't he?
BAS:        Oh, yeah.  It was his signature
trade mark.  Hands and feet flying all over
the drum set.  It was spellbinding.
LP:        What was so special about your
dad’s drumming?
BAS:        He had a speed and sense of
timing that was totally remarkable.  You
couldn’t cut his timing with a knife.  It was
just there and he would not lose that timing.  
You really had to see it to believe it.  It was
rhythmically perfect in all senses of the
word.  Hands and feet moving on and off
the beat.  Again, it was just spellbinding.  He
could actually knock you off your chair.  
Tricks with the sticks.  Rhythmic patterns.  
Speed.  You name it, he had it.  A real
LP:        Your dad use to have a Drum-O-
BAS:        Yes, they started out in his
parent’s home in Hilldale in Plains
LP:        What was that like?
BAS:        He would bring in Drummers
from New York like Tony Monforte and
Herbie Reese from Pennsylvania and Roy
Burns and Joe Morello and Joe Casautis
and showcase these drummers and to
show family and friends and other
drummers from all over the place what you
can accomplish and what my dad’s
teaching was all about.  It was always a
huge success.  Like I said, he had a lot of
great students who knew how to really play
drums.  He molded them and formed them
and they just worked hard and seriously a
lot of them are still out there doing it.
LP:        Was it always at his parent’s
BAS:        No, he moved it to Sans Souci
Park in Hanover, Pa.
LP:        What was Sans Souci Park?
BAS:        It was an amusement park with
rides, food, and games and a swimming
pool.  Now it’s a High School.
LP:        That sounded like an exciting time?
BAS:        It was.  It had a big Dance Hall.  
Joe Nardone and the All Stars use to play
there for dances.  Along with The All Stars
was Mel Wynn and the Rhythm Aces and
Eddie Day and the Nighttimers.  At that time
is was a great place to be.
LP:     Was there any place else to be at
that time that you can remember?
BAS:    Well, there was Rocky Glenn Park
in Moosic, and there was Harvey's Lake in
At that time, back in the 60’s and 70’s  there
were a lot of amazing groups in the area,
and bands always had a place to play and
there were some amazing bands that
played that just took your breath away.
LP:        Was your Dad in any of these
BAS:        As a matter of fact, he was with a
band who I just loved and it was “MEL
WYNN and the RHYTHM ACES”.  That
band was just fantastic.  A lot of soul was in
that band and a lot of power.  That band
really kicked ass.
LP:        Do you keep in touch with any of
the members from that band?
BAS:        From time to time I hear from
Mel Wynn, Frankie Loch, Bob O’Connell.  
It’s great because it brings back so many
memories.  And, if you don’t mind, I’d like to
say if anyone out there reading this is
interested about the old days and interested
you can visit them on www.melwynnworld.
com.  I know you will enjoy the memories, I
know I do.
LP:       Was your dad basically a "ROCK"
BAS:       Are you kidding?  He played with
Jazz Bands, Polka Bands, Country
Bands.  As long as he was playing he was
very happy.
LP:        So he played in all types of musical
BAS:        Yes.
LP:        Did he play any other instruments
besides Drums?
BAS:        Yes, there was Piano, Clarinet,
Trumpet, and I even remember him playing
a Ukulele.
LP:        So your dad did know how to play
other instruments.  Where did he learn
those instruments?
BAS:        From my grandfather.
LP:        Your grandfather was a Musician?
BAS:        My grandfather was a
PROFESSOR of Music and he had his
own bands also.  He played every
instrument except Drums.
LP:        Really!
BAS:        Yes.  He taught all the musical
instruments except the drums.  I remember
him playing his Violin and the Mandolin and
even playing Accordian and Guitar.
LP:        So where then did your father learn
how to play the drums?
BAS:        From a gentleman by the name
of TED REED.  He use to teach in New
York City and my dad learned from him.
LP:        And where did your grandfather
BAS:        My grandfather had a huge
music store called the Pittston Music Store
at 62 South Main Street in Pittston, Pa.  I
remember that address exactly (smiles).
LP:        That’s remarkable.  So, the Stella
Family has a Musical Heritage?
BAS:        Yes, we do.
LP:        How long has the Stella family
been performing and teaching?
BAS:        We have been performing and
teaching for nearly 100 years.
LP:        That is so amazing.  Can you tell
me more?
BAS:        Actually, you can just go to my
The whole site is about my dad and my
grandfather and me.
LP:        So how many years are you really
BAS:        Right now, I believe it is 97
years, give or take a year or two.
LP:        It’s just incredible.
BAS:        I guess you can say it’s what we
all believed in.
LP:        Oh, definitely.  Billy, tell me some
more about you and your dad.  What was
the father and son relationship like?
BAS:        It was just like you stated a father
and son relationship.
LP:        Was your dad hard on you,
making you practice all the time?
BAS:        Are you kidding, he would yell at
me to get “OFF” the drums.
LP:        Really?
BAS:        Oh, yes.  I used to practice for
hours at a time.  And he would come in and
say, “Hey, I think you need a break”.
LP:        Most parents yell at their kids to
practice and your parents would yell at you
to stop practicing?
BAS:        It’s the truth (laughing).  It really is
the truth.
LP:        Getting back to your Dad.  Tell me
more about his playing.
BAS:        It’s really hard to explain.  Like I
stated earlier, his timing and speed were
just incredible.  He would do solos that
would just knock you off your chair.  I even
remember him when he was teaching.  He
would teach the student and show the
student how to do something and the student
would do it and then my dad would say,
“Okay, try it this way now”.  And the student
would just be in shock and say I just
learned it this way.  And they would bust
their butt to get it the other way.  My dad was
amazing at changing patterns to fit the beat.
LP:        I noticed you have an uncanny
knack of changing rhythms in the middle of
a song.
BAS:        I can play, let’s say, a Rock beat
and turn it into a Rhumba beat and go back
into the Rock beat or Jazz beat or a Polka
beat.  I do this all the time.
LP:        I did notice it sounded great and
you didn’t lose the beat.
BAS:        As long as you keep time you
can do anything.
LP:        So you learned a lot from your dad?
BAS:        Definitely.  My dad use to say to
me all the time, “Listen to Me” and he may
have thought I wasn’t listening but, believe
me, I did listen.
LP:        Your dad, as I was informed, was
a master of stick tricks?
BAS:        Man, he could twirl them, flick
them, bounce them, click them.  He
controlled those two pieces of wood like no
other drummer I’ve ever seen.
LP:        Did your father travel on the road a
BAS:        Yes and no, but he hated the
road.  He just liked being in the area.  I
mean it really wasn’t his thing to hit the road,
but he did it.
LP:        But you like the road?
BAS:        Yes, I do.
LP:        If your dad was alive today, what do
you think he would say about your teaching?
BAS:        He probably would say the same
thing to me as he did to his students.
LP:        Which was?
LP:        How did your father pass away?
BAS:        He was a Diabetic and suffered a
stroke which paralyzed him.
LP:        Was it hard on you?
BAS:        It was hard on the whole family.  
My mom and my sister.  It was hard.
LP:        Did you think his drumming was
over with when the stroke hit?
BAS:        My father was still teaching and
playing when he had the stroke.  Uncanny
as it may sound, he still had the heart, a big
heart, and did it until the stroke took full
control over him.
LP:        Was there therapy?
BAS:        Let me say this to you, the
doctors and the therapists (and this is
nothing against the doctors or the therapists)
did not know my dad.  I gave my dad the
therapy he craved, which was to work him
on the practice pad.  That’s all the therapy
he wanted.  He still played on the practice
pad and I would work him, gently, and he
was happy.
LP:        You knew that?
BAS:        With all my heart.
LP:        So basically you must practice a
lot and get it down correctly.
BAS:        Yes!  You see you don’t send
your child to school to learn that 1 plus 1
equals 3, and expect your child to come
home with an “A+” now do you?
LP:        No, no I don’t.
BAS:        Exactly.
LP:        But there are Music Teachers out
there who just take the student for the
money, and make a joke out of that student.
BAS:        Not here!!  If I see the student is
not progressing, I give them three warnings
and if it doesn’t improve I stop the lessons,
LP:        That’s an effective method.
BAS:        Yes, it is.  Why should I continue
when a student does not want to practice
and get better and achieve a higher goal?  
Anyone can play a “ROCK BEAT”, but to
play that Rock Beat and excel it to a higher
level of performance is a goal that has to be
LP:        In other words, why just play a
BAS:        Exactly, take it further and push it
to the limit and beyond.  It’s just common
LP:        What about the Drummers who do
not know how to play and they are out there
BAS:        A lot of them just “TALK” about
how busy they are, and you know they are
sitting home doing nothing.  Then there are
the ones who are playing and they are
stuck in a rut and can’t improve their
playing and they bring the “HEART” of the
band down, because they know two or
three BEATS and one or two “FILLS”.   
What is so special about that?
LP:        I suppose nothing.
BAS:        You’re catching on.
LP:        I would like to know if you and your
fiancée, Tisha, have close friendships with
your students?
BAS:        Of course we do. Some closer
than others and some of them are like our
own “KIDS”.
LP:        That’s great to hear. Do you have
any who have disappointed you and Tisha?
BAS:        Yeah, there is one in particular
who just turned out to be a real “FAKE”, just
took all they could and just “LIED” about
things to satisfy their own gain.
LP:        I don’t know why, but it sounds like
a “Female”?
BAS:        Yes, a Female and she really
hurt our feelings and we will leave it at that.
LP:        Fair Enough.  I want to talk to you
about your life outside the drums.  Do you
mind a few questions?  I am sure people
want to know a little more about you than
just “DRUMMING”.
BAS:        Okay, let’s see where you go
with this and if I don’t like the question or
questions, I am not answering.
LP:        That’s fine.  Okay.   Here goes.  
Tell me about you and Tisha.
BAS:        She is everything to me.  My
whole world.  My left hand and right hand
(smiling).  And I love her very much.
LP:        There is an age gap between you
BAS:        Yes, there is.
LP:        Care to tell me how much of an age
BAS:        No, let’s just say I am older than
her.  How is that for an answer?
LP:        Not good, but I guess that will do.  
Any wedding bells in the future?
BAS:        Oh yeah, my “NIECE” is getting
married in November of this year (2007).
LP:        This isn’t turning out too good.  I
mean wedding bells for you and Tisha?
BAS:        I just cannot tell you when
because I don’t even know.  I keep telling
her she has to buy me the diamond ring first.
LP:        That’s a good one.  I know she
travels with you a lot, what does she do?
BAS:        She makes all the arrangements
with Bands I am playing with and the Drum
Shows I do.  She books all the Hotel rooms
and maps everything out.  I mean she does
it all but play the drums.
LP:        So she is a Roadie – Manager –
Navigator and etc.?
BAS:        Oh, yeah.  I don’t make a move
without her.
LP:        I spent some time with you both a
year ago, and I have to say, there is a lot of
love there.
BAS:        There is (smiles).
LP:        But, I also noticed there were a lot
of women around you.  Does Tisha ever
get jealous?
BAS:        No, not all.  She knows me better
than anyone.  And she is used to women
being around me.
LP:        I heard a story about an unusual
autograph you gave, you were asked to
sign a women’s breast?
BAS:        Yeah, that’s correct.
LP:        And Tisha wasn’t mad or upset?
BAS:        Are you kidding, she got me the
marker to do it and I did it.  She was
cracking up the whole time.
LP:        That is unbelievable.
BAS:        Hey, I did not mind doing it
(smiles) and like I said, she was laughing
the whole time.
LP:        So there are the so called
BAS:        Yeah, there is, and sometimes it’
s so funny and hysterical.  And other times
it’s a real pain in the rear end.
LP        So I take it you’re a ladies man?
BAS        Take it anyway you want.  I am
not elaborating on anything else but what I
just stated.  End of story.
LP:        Care to elaborate on some other
Groupie activity?
BAS:        Again, no.  I will just keep that
quiet.  Just between Tisha and myself.
LP:        Are you sure?  It would make
some good reading.
BAS:        Trust me.  I am sure.  Let’s
change the subject and move on.  I am not
about to spill the beans about anything of
this nature.
LP:        I know the road life is hard work.  
What do you and Tisha do on a hard time
on the road?
BAS:        When it starts getting rough and
she sees  that I am having a rough time
from either traveling or not enough sleep or
my Drums aren’t quite sounding the way I
want she usually eases the tension with a
funny comment or statement.
LP:        What is one those comments or
DATE A DRUMMER!” in a silly, ditsy
voice.  That usually cracks me up and
relieves some of the tension. (laughing)
LP:        You do get time off, don’t you?
BAS:        Of course I do.  Who doesn’t?
LP:        Well, some people always say
they are “So Busy”.  Are you one of them?
BAS:        Listen, there is no such thing as
being “BUSY”.  I may be occupied or tied
up or I can’t answer the phone sometimes,
but there is always time.  The word “BUSY”
is so over-used.   A friend of mine once
LP:        And you believe that?
BAS:        Of course I do.  If I was sooooo
busy, I would not have time to talk to you
now would I?
LP:        You got me on that one.
BAS:        You’re really catching on.
LP:        You also play the Piano?
BAS:        No, I bang on the piano.  I have
no clue as to what I play.
LP:        But I heard you play two songs that
YOU wrote.
BAS:        Oh yeah, you did didn’t you?
LP:        What were the names of those
BAS:        One was called
“MARSHMALLOW” and the other was
LP:        They are very pretty.
BAS:        Yeah.  I guess.   What do I
know, I am mostly a drummer?
LP:        Wait a minute, there was another
very beautiful song you were playing and I
heard violin strings in it.  I mean that is a
very moving slow song.  What was that?
BAS:        That is my newest that I have
been playing for about four months now.   It’
s called, “FOR THE LOVE OF YOU”.  I
really worked on that and it’s one my
favorite pieces.
LP:        I love the violins in that song.
BAS:        Thank you.  I really appreciate
that.  I just write what I feel and what I think.
LP:        Do you write a lot of your own
BAS:        Yes, I do.  I get ideas all the time.
LP:        Where did the songs
BAS:        It's about someone I thought I
knew very well.
LP:        How about "FOR THE LOVE OF
BAS:        That's about Tisha.
LP:        That song is so beautiful.  Would
you play it for me again?
BAS:        Sure will.
LP:        After listening to the song, I just find
it so amazing that not only is he a drummer
but a fine artist also.
LP:        That is just so beautiful and it just
has a sense of flowing in and out of a
picturesque setting.  Just amazing.
BAS:        Thank you, it’s about Tisha and it’
s, to me, just the best I have done.
LP:        Only one thing, why no words to
the song?
BAS:        Well, for one, I only have the
music done.  And two you don’t want to
hear me sing because all the dogs in the
neighborhood will start barking.
LP:        Have you ever done any of your
songs in public?
BAS:        No.  I record them for my own
benefit.  I do not intend to get into that,
performing them live.  I did once, I wrote a
song back in the 70’s and I performed it.  I
did it a few times.  It’s just not me.  I feel
weird because I am a drummer first and
LP:        So singing your own songs in front
of people just doesn't do it for you?
BAS:        No, not at all.  I'd rather play the
LP:        Well, again, the songs are really
BAS:        “Thank You”.
LP:        Let’s go back a few decades.
BAS:        Wow, you make me sound so
LP:        Sorry, but I am interested in your
playing with “BUDDY RICH” and his band.  
When did you first meet Buddy?
BAS:        I first met Buddy in New York
City at BASIN ST. EAST.  My dad took
me there to see him.
LP:        Do you remember the year?
BAS:        1967.
LP:        Was there anyone else performing
there that night?
BAS:        Dusty Springfield.
LP:        I guess you met the both of them?
BAS:        Yeah, she was absolutely
beautiful.  I just think she was gorgeous and
had a fantastic voice.
LP:        What was it like to meet Buddy?
BAS:        Well, as I remember it, my dad
and I were seated at the front table.  The
waiters sat me on “Phone Books” so I
could see the stage.  And I remember
Buddy walking on stage and looking at me
and started to laugh because a kid was
sitting on phone books.
LP:        Did he say anything to you?
BAS:        Not at first, he kind of walked
around the stage and I yelled out, “Hi, Mr.
Rich” and he looked at me again and just
started laughing.  “Your either an old midget
or you’re a young kid” he said, and the
place just broke out in laughter.
LP:        Did you ever get to talk to him that
BAS:        Sure did (smiles).  It was right
after the first set and my dad and I went over
to speak to him.
LP:        What was that like?
BAS:        Very amazing, my dad
introduced himself and he introduced me
and Buddy said, “I know who you are
Angie, and I know all about the KID”.
LP:        What happened then?
BAS:        I remember my dad being
stunned because Buddy knew who we
LP:        And you and your father never met
him before?
BAS:        No.  Never.
LP:        Must have been a total shock.
BAS:        It was, because I remember
standing there going, “Daddy, Buddy Rich
knows who we are.”
LP:        I know you performed with his
band quite a few times.  What was that like?
BAS:        Nerve-wracking and fantastic all
at the same time.
LP:        Why was that?
BAS:        Because here I am, going up to
play the drums of the “WORLD’S” greatest
drummer and also playing with his band
and seriously thinking I am going to screw
this up.
LP:        You were thinking you were going
to mess up?
BAS:        Yes, to put it mildly.
LP:        Was Buddy nice to you about
playing his drums?
BAS:        Buddy was nice to me at all
times and the same to my father.  He did not
mind talking to us at all.  He was kind and
very funny.  I remember one time he was
playing in White Haven, Pa. and we went to
see him and we stopped in the restaurant to
eat and he bought my sister Terri a soda
and wanted to buy us supper.  I mean
WOW, I never forgot that.  He was really
fantastic to us.
LP:        Did you see him a lot?
BAS:        It wasn’t like he was coming over
the house for dinner or anything like that.  
We basically saw him play and he always
let me sit in with the band.
LP:        He must have liked you and your
BAS:        I would say so.   Otherwise, he
would not allow me to play his drums or
play with his band or even bother to sit and
talk to me and my dad.
LP:        How many times did you perform
with his band?
BAS:        I have to say a lot, because I
remember Binghamton N.Y. and Wilkes-
Barre, Scranton, Tunkhannock, and
Eynon, Pa.  I think also New Jersey I don’t
know why that is coming to mind.
LP:        So you were with his band a lot.
BAS:        It was from 1969 to 1972.  On
and off.
LP:        You said he called your dad
“ANGIE”.  Did he have a name for you?
BAS:        Yes, he called me the “KID”
LP:        The “KID?”
BAS:        Yeah, as in “Billy the Kid”.
LP:        I see.  Billy, did he ever give you
any advice?
BAS:        He once asked me who my
favorite drummers were.
LP:        What did you say?
BAS:        I told him it was him and Gene
Krupa and Louie Bellson and Joe Morello.
LP:        What was his reaction?
BAS:        He said, “Kid, you don’t like any
of these drummers, the only drummer you
should like is YOU.  Don’t have any favorite
drummers.  Dig what you do.
LP:        That's interesting.
BAS:        I did not get what he meant until I
got a lot older.
LP:        Which is?
BAS:        I don’t want to copy any body’s
style.  Just do my own thing and enjoy it.  
Why be a copy-cat?  Do your own thing
and be realistic about it.
LP:        That’s a great standard.
BAS:        I try and teach my students this.  
Stop trying to be something you’re not and
stop trying to be someone else.  You are
only fooling yourself.
LP:        Billy, what kind of advice did your
dad give you?
BAS:        My dad gave me this advice.  
“JUST KEEP GOING”.  People are going
to knock you down and try and step all over
you and try and slam you.  Just get up and
“KEEP ON GOING” because in the long
run, the fakes, the wannabe’s, the liars are
going nowhere in this world and all they are
is nothing.  They won’t excel or achieve
their goals because they are too full of
LP:        That’s some powerful advice.
BAS:        It’s the truth, I have met so many
“Name Droppers” so many “FAKES” and
so on it’s not funny.  They all “TALK” but
can’t do anything but "TALK".  They know
everything about "NOTHING".
LP"        But doesn't the BS make the world
go round?
BAS:        It goes nowhere with me.  I have
a sign here in my store that states
LP:        That’s great.  I see it on your music
LP:        Does it matter to you what kind of
Drum Set or Cymbals or Drumsticks
someone uses?
BAS:        No, not at all.  Who cares?  Play
what you want to play on, it’s no big deal.  
Just make sure you know what the hell you
are doing.
LP:        What kind of set do you use?
BAS:        Premier Drums.
LP:        Why Premier?
BAS:        I just like the sound and tones
and depth I get out of this set.
LP:        How about cymbals?
BAS:        I use Avedis Zildjian and a
“WUHAN” China cymbal.
LP:        Any reason to why you use them?
BAS:        Zildjian cymbals give me the feel
I want out of a cymbal.  For “Riding –
Crashing – Choking” all types of executing I
do on the drum set.
LP:        I notice on your desk here
"ROCK" drumsticks.  What are these?
BAS:        These are Regal Tip “ROCK”
model Drum Sticks.  I have been using the
same style of stick since they came out in
1967 or 68, something of that sort.  They
are comfortable for my hands and give me
the flexibility to coordinate the movement I
need to go around the set.
LP:        So, the drumstick is a very
important factor in drumming?
BAS:        Definitely, you need something
that is comfortable to play with.  You would
not buy a pair of shoes two sizes to small to
wear would you?
LP:        No, I wouldn’t.
BAS:        Of course you wouldn’t.  I have
not changed the style of my sticks since I
was a kid.  I like what I get out of the stick.  
Why change what works?
LP:        This is so true.  How many drum
sets do you have of your own?
BAS:        I have six drum sets.
LP:        Do you use them all?
BAS:        I basically use my Premier a lot.  
I have an old Rogers Drum set from 1966
which I occasionally pull out and use.  But I
do use the Premier a lot, and I mean a lot.
LP:        So the Premier set has got to be
your favorite?
BAS:        Yeah, right now it is great.
LP:        Sounds like you could change
your mind?
BAS:        Until something that catches my
ear comes along I will just keep using my
Premier Set.
LP:        Should a Drummer have just one
Drum set?
BAS:        No, they should have two Drum
sets.  One to practice on and another to go
out and play on.
LP:        Seriously?
BAS:        Sure, get a cheap starter set to
practice on and when you go out and play
go and use your good set.  I always
believed in that.
LP:        You really are a no nonsense type
of guy.  Guess you don’t try and keep up
with the neighbors?
BAS:        (laughs)  No, no I don’t.  I can
care less about keeping up with the so-
called neighbors.  I do my own thing.  I don’t
care what kind of money you have or what
kind of car you drive, or even what kind of
fancy house you live in.  Or what kind of
Dogs you have.  Whoopee!  (swirling his
finger in the air).  I don’t care who you think
you are.  I care about the love that comes
from the heart.  In other words, how nice of
a person you are inside and out.   I am no
better than you and you are no better than
me.  So I am not interested in, let’s say it
this way, from the title of Toby Keith’s album
LP:        I like the attitude.
BAS:        It’s not an attitude.  It’s just
reality.  I am going to tell you a little story.  It’
s about a person Tisha and I know who is
studying in the Medical Field.  All this
person wants is the “TITLE”.  That’s all.  
Just sees the so-called title and the dollar
signs that are attached to the title.  Has a
very bad attitude towards people and is
studying to get into the Medical Field.  Now,
how can you appreciate someone like that?
LP:        You can’t.  But there are people out
there like that.
BAS:        You are not kidding there are.
LP:        What would be your advice toward
this person?
BAS:        Stop being such a liar.  Re-
evaluate your priorities.  Because if you
think you are going somewhere with your
life fooling people, you are only going to end
up fooling yourself and no one else.  So
start being true to yourself, your friends, and
family.  In other words, wise up and grow
LP:        That is some pretty strong advice.  
I hope it works out.
BAS:        Seriously, me too.
LP:        Let me ask you this.  What are
your plans for the future?
BAS:        God knows.  I have no idea.  I
just keep going and every day there is a
new adventure.  It’s a Ying-Yang type of
life.  Good Days, Bad Days, it’s just life so I
guess I can say I am just going to keep on
going like everyone else and live life the
best that I can, nothing more, nothing less.
LP:        How about the drumming career
and teaching?
BAS:        There are a few things that are in
the making playing-wise.  But I do not want
to say anything until I am 100% sure it will
happen.  I hate to say something to you and
find out later on it never transpired.  As for
the teaching, all I can say is I will just keep
going and do the best I can.  Nothing more,
nothing less.
LP:        I came back to his shop the
following day to experience more of his
teaching.  There is a love this man has for
what he does.  There is also a love he has
for people.  He has an uncanny knack of
laying out the truth (as he sees it) to you.  
He doesn't hurt your feelings any but he
does make a strong point and the truth can
be a little brutal.  He is just a person who
does not like, as I stated earlier, liars, fakes,
and nonsense.  As I watched him teach his
students, it amazed me how he can instruct
his students on how they can take their
drumming farther, gives them praise,
encourages them, and he never wants to
hear the words “I CAN’T”.  That is one thing
he does not want to hear from any of his
students.  He believes you “CAN” by
focusing and putting your attention on the
project.  You can’t help but admire
someone who “BELIEVES” in what he
does and believes in what he teaches.  Billy
Angelo Stella follows the BEAT of his own
DRUM.  It is evident.  And no matter what
you may think, you can’t blame him for how
he feels or what he may think.  Watching
him play with a band and performing his
drum solos the man knows every sense of
the word commitment to the musical arts
without a doubt.  The playing of the drums is
an art just like any musical instrument that
someone plays.  He expresses himself
with power and exuberance.  
Believe me he knows with a blink of an eye
what to do and what has to be done.  There
is a lot of love that I see that comes from his
heart, whether it is his teaching or
performing or his fiancée or talking about
his father, Angelo.   Billy told me he would
“Tell it Like it Is”, and he has done just that.  
We did go into more detail than what is
written in this article but, due to space
constraints, I did a lot of editing.  Spending
three hours with him was magnificent.   I got
to know someone not only as a fine teacher
of the drums or as a performer, but also as
a Human Being.  He is now currently
getting ready to finish the last leg of the
summer tour with the Freddie Moran Band
which will finish in Washington, D.C. in a
couple of days.  When you ask him how he
handles all the traveling and performing and
teaching, he comes off with . . . “It’s my
job”.  Everyone does something or
another.  I just happened to do this.  And as
Billy stated . . . Nothing More, Nothing Less!

Leann  Pearle
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BAS:        I new and know what made my
dad tick.   And I am not fooling you or sitting
here lying to you.  I worked with my dad on
the practice pad.  Single stroke rolls, double
stroke rolls, paradiddles, 5-stroke rolls.  
You name it, we worked on it.
LP:        Was he ok with it?
BAS:        He was sluggish but he knew
what I was doing and it was better than what
the doctors or the therapists could have
LP:        So, when he passed away, you
stepped into his shoes?
BAS:        Yes, I did.
LP:        How did that get started?
BAS:        When my dad passed away,
people were calling me left and right.  There
are drum teachers in the LUZERNE
COUNTY area who have NO CLUE TO
TEACHING DRUMS.  So many people
called me and asked me to please teach
their son or daughter because the teachers
they were going to just don’t have what it
takes to teach.  So, slowly, I started coming
up with my own style of teaching, kind of the
style my dad did.  But mostly my own style.
LP:        So you have a different style of
BAS:        Yes, by teaching the value of
notes, time signatures, rudiments (scales of
the drums), on and off beats, syncopation,
coordinated independence, drum fills, all
styles of dance beats from Waltzes,
Polkas, Jazz, Rock, Country, Latin
Rhythms, the right and correct way of
teaching.  Just like my dad did.  So it is
basically his and mine combined.
LP:        So you are like your father?
BAS:        No.  I try to tell everyone, I am
my father’s son, I am not my father.  I have
my own ideas and I have a lot of “OLD
SCHOOL VALUES” in me but, I try to
teach my way; which is the correct way.
LP:         So you have your own
BAS:        Yes, I teach a BASIC and
PROGRESSIVE style of drumming.  I tear
a musical note apart and show how to
perform it all over a drum set with
coordination and accuracy.
LP:        So, you’re saying?
BAS:        I teach you how to “KICK ASS”
behind a drum set.
LP:        Well put!
BAS:        Well, you asked me and I am
not holding back.   I am going to tell you like
it is and not make up any so called “oh-
shucks, oh- gee wiz”.  I always lay it right
on the line.
LP:        In other words?
BAS:        I’ll give you the whole TEN yards.
LP:        Fair enough, I think I am going to
like this.
BAS:        I sure hope you do.
LP:        What do you expect from your
BAS:        A lot of practice.
LP:        Really?
BAS:        YES!  I can’t go from point “A” to
point “B” unless point “A” is accomplished.  
I need to set Timing, Coordination,
Accuracy, and Technique.   They need to
establish that first.
LP:        Do you have those who don’t
BAS:        Sure I do.  What Music Teacher
doesn’t?   They all want to play “ROCK”,
which is great; but I need to set a
foundation.  In the words of LOUIE
LP:        Do you know when a student has
not practiced at all or not practiced enough?
BAS:        Yes, I do?
LP:        How do you know?
BAS:        Let me put it to you this way, it
takes me thirty seconds to find out a student
did not practice.
LP:        Then what happens?
BAS:        I tell them about it or I make them
re-do the lesson.
LP:        So you really care about your
students and how they perform behind a
drum set?
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The Drummer's Workshop is the ONLY workshop in NEPA where you learn the RIGHT way!

39 School Street
Hudson (Plains Twp.), PA  18705-3430
(Between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre
Behind Mohegan Sun Casino)

Call (570) 822-4883

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Monday to Thursday        12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Friday                             12:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saturday                           9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
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