Rod Morgenstein- Drummer
Dixie Dregs and Grammy Nominee
Rod is a New York native, founding member, and drummer of the Dixie Dregs, a six-time Grammy nominee. Rod is a professor, teaching percussion at Berklee College of Music, in Boston, Massachusetts. Recently offering, Drum Set Warm-Ups, touted as the definitive text for developing and improving all aspects of drum-set playing. He is also a columnist for Modern Drummer magazine.
The beginning of the Dregs started in 1973, when he attended the University of Miami in Florida. There he met Steve Morse, Andy West, and Allen Sloan, playing under the official Studio Music and curriculum title of, Rock Ensemble II. At the university, The Dregs recorded their first album in 1975, The Great Spectacular, as a class project.
The Dregs had a rough time getting signed and were turned down and told their music was difficult to market because they were a jazz fusion band had no vocals, odd timing, and that their music combines rock, jazz, bluegrass, folk, and classical influences. The group was finally signed to Capricorn in 1977, and recorded several albums before they temporarily disbanded in 1983. Rod then joined Steve Morse’s new band and stayed for two albums before wanting a musical change to try something both new and challenging. The Dregs last reunion was a tour in 2018.
Winger and Other Projects
Rod moved back to New York City and began auditioning for jobs, one of them turned out to be a band that Kip Winger was forming. Two months later, Rod received a call from the band, and they were off to record their self-titled, debut album, Winger, in 1988. It went double platinum. Winger followed up in 1990 with In the Heart of the Young. In 1993, they released the album, Pull, as grunge came in and changed the music scene. The band decided to take a break, but got back together in 2002, and have had sporadic reunions since, and continue to do so as time permits. Winger will be releasing a new album in 2021.
Rod’s other projects include the Rudess/Morgenstein Project, an instrumental progressive power-duo, featuring Rod and Dream Theater keyboardist extraordinaire, Jordan Rudess, with two albums to their credit. Rod is is involved with jam band, Jazz Is Dead, which features creative improvisations of the music by the Grateful Dead. Another project is, Platypus, whose two recordings feature: John Myung (Dream Theater), Ty Tabor (King’s X), and Derek Sherinian (Planet X). The music is a mix of instrumental and vocal tunes that blend many different styles together. An offshoot of Platypus is The Jelly Jam, a power trio featuring Rod, Ty Tabor, and John Myung. Their debut release came out in 2001, and The Jelly Jam, ‘2’ was released in 2004.