Jim Linsner

Jim Linsner

Jim Linsner

BMHOF Class of 2017

With Jim Linsner, the drumming and the teaching are all part of the same thing – a Hall of Fame music career. 

Linsner has been known in the Buffalo community for his percussion talents for the past 30 years. 

Some of the highlights have included the Need (“because it was just a really special band … great chemistry and great pop songs,” he said in recent interview) and the Vincent James Explosion (“It was more progressive instrumental music and I was able to do a lot of the more advanced things”). 

He’s also performed and/or recorded with Anthracite, David Kayne Project, Dream Electrik, Greg Meckes, JJ Swing, the Maelstrom Percussion Ensemble, Michael Lee Jackson, the Pyramid Band and Tony Scozzaro. 

Linsner has also been involved in the Buffalo music theatre scene for over a decade as a percussionist. Musicals he has played in include “Avenue Q,” “Big Band Theory,” “Buddy Holly,” “Crossroad Blues,” “Hair,” “In the Heights,” “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” “The Producers,” “She Loves Me,” “Swing,” “S’Wonderful,” “Talk To Me Now,” “Tommy,” “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling” and “Zooma Zooma.” 

Asked to define his style, Linsner said it’s constantly evolving. 

“There’s always something new that I’m excited about learning and playing and there’s always a better way to do it,” he said. “So I’m constantly searching and practicing and learning.

“But as far as my style goes, I play a lot of rock gigs but I’m definitely informed by an eclectic bunch of music, from Latin music to straight ahead jazz to jazz fusion to progressive rock. And that all comes out in my style.”

Then there’s his teaching. Many of his students and former students are active in the Buffalo music scene; others have gone on to play or record with national artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Santana, Sting, Antibalas and Earth Crisis. 

Linsner teaches about 30 students a week at his home studio. He said he actually takes as much joy from seeing some of his current and former students playing when he goes out as from the ones that have gone onto the bigger stages.

 “I never feel their success is totally due to my teaching. People get better on their instrument because they play it a lot! But if I’ve pointed somebody in the right direction and they get really good, that’s a tremendous feeling.”

Linsner has also written and published three drum method books in an attempt to advance his teaching curriculum. These books include: “Groovezilla,” “Rhythm (Read, Count, & Play)” and “Getting Real with Double Bass.” These materials are used by both drummers and teachers all over the world. 

He has also made over 40 educational YouTube drumming videos.

Going way back, Linsner started on drums with the Allendale Elementary School band, followed by getting a drumset and joining a teen band with future Goo Goo Doll Robby Takac. 

Along the way, Linsner learned from teachers such as Lynn Harbold, Ray Bennett, Tony Miranda and Hall of Famer Lou Marino. 
He said he owes a tremendous amount of thanks to his parents and family for living with a lot of noise and a constant parade of students coming in and out of the house. 

Attending the University of Michigan, he was able to study classical percussion with the likes of Michael Udow, Charles Owen and Larry Kaptain. In 1985, he returned to the University at Buffalo and completed his bachelor of fine arts in percussion performance under the tutelage of Jan Williams. 

Another highlight of his performing career was being a part of the WNED International Rock Guitar Competition, serving as drummer for the house band from 2001 to 2006. He had the opportunity to perform with great guitarists such as Rick Emmett fom Triumph, Sid McGuiness from “Late Night with David Letterman,” Vernon Reid from Living Colour, John 5 from Rob Zombie and Jim Wieder from The Band.

Linsner’s instruction videos can be found on his YouTube channel at: click here

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