Todd Sucherman should have been performing with Styx at Fallsview Casino this past March but like many professional musicians, the drummer extraordinaire found himself at home. Last week, Sucherman released “Last Flight Home,” his first solo album. It’s a fantastic collection of pop-oriented rock songs, but it might not be what you expect stylistically from one of the best rock drummers in the business.
“I assumed that if I ever did my own record it would be a jazz-centric drum heavy fusion recording. People who know my work outside of Styx would likely expect that as well,” Sucherman noted during a recent phone interview.
The drums are probably the least prominent feature of the album but Sucherman has many outlets to show off his drumming prowess. “Last Flight Home” showcases Sucherman as a singer-songwriter and collaborator.
“I have always been drawn to songs, melodies and lyrics on a more emotional level than doing Olympic drumming. I had some friends that cajoled me into doing a record.”
One of those friends is guitarist J.K. Harrison, who has a prominent role on the album. Throughout the interview Sucherman heaped tons of praise on his friend and co-writer of the songs on the album. It is safe to say that Harrison is the main reason the project got off the ground.
“We wrote the song ‘Last Flight Home’ in 30 minutes and its one of those nights I will never forget. Songwriting isn’t always that easy, but that song became the centerpiece of the project,” Sucherman said.
It seems strange that the centerpiece of the album is a song about trying to get home from the road, especially since Styx has rescheduled all of their shows and even had to put a hold on recording a new Styx album while they all are off the road due to the Caronavirus. But when Styx is actively touring, they are performing over 100 dates a year, which takes Sucherman away from his wife and daughter a lot.
“Nobody want to hear musicians complain, but at the end of the day we are human beings with families and friends. Getting home has always been a challenge, flight delays, plane issues, and if you are only going to be home for a few days you don’t want to lose half a day.”
Sucherman is quick to point out he is living out his dream as a touring musician and is thankful he get to do what he loves for a living.
When discussing his inspiration for coming out from behind the drum kit to sing a few songs, Sucherman is quick to point to one of the most famous drummers to become a singer.
“While I was working on the project, I had the chance to meet Phil Collins, and that sprinkled some magic fairy dust on it and I knew I had to see it through.”
“I am very inspired by that Genesis story. Genesis was written off for dead by most people. Then Phil steps out front and they record ‘A Trick of the Tail’ and it becomes their most successful album up to that point.”
There is definitely some Genesis influences on the album, but the album is a unique combination of sounds and styles.
“If I was pressed to describe the record it’s really sophisticated pop, not modern pop it’s rock oriented. If you like bands like Elbow, Crowded House, XTC or Jellyfish, you might like this album. Even though I listen to a lot of different styles of music, those are the bands I gravitate towards.”
When we spoke, Sucherman had just sent out the album to his Styx bandmates, so he still has not heard any feedback from them but he made it clear he doesn’t have any plans to leave Styx to pursue a solo career.
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