The Coast News Group
Scene and Heard

Local drummer on the road to discovery

Being an amateur, relatively unknown musician can be extremely frustrating — especially for drummers. Think about it, most of us picked up sticks for the first time with the sole intention of wanting to beat the hell out of something or play something really loud.
And how many drummers do you know who have to be the center of attention?
They’re at the helm of what is probably the loudest instrument in a regular three-piece band; it takes a certain kind of confidence in yourself to want to even take on what’s considered the very backbone of almost every kind of music played.
So naturally, with all things considered, hanging in the shadows just isn’t in a drummer’s DNA. Meet Troy Molsberry, 35, a local drummer and resident of Carlsbad who recently decided that the shadows weren’t for him either.
Molsberry recently entered Guitar Center’s Drum-Off Competition, the world’s largest amateur drumming contest held each year to crown a winner as “Top Undiscovered Drummer in the Nation,” and quickly started advancing through the ranks.
The way the contest works is the local competitions kicked off on Sept. 24 in all 214 Guitar Center locations nationwide. One winner from each store is chosen to move up to district competitions (24 locations), followed by a regionally hosted semi-finals (six locations) and culminating in the final championship Drum Off in Los Angeles on Jan. 8.
Although Molsberry has entered the contest three times before (and lost), the experience was humbling and made him a better competitor this time around.
“I entered the contest to sort of gauge myself against my peers; you know to see how I stacked up next to the competition and it was mind-blowing how many amazing, talented drummers there are out there,” he said. “I went into the first couple of contests thinking I was the best thing out there and to not even make it through the first store competitions was a humbling experience for me, but it made me prepare harder for this time around.”
And prepare is exactly what he did. Molsberry, who works as a software engineer by day, orchestrated a drum solo that not only showcased the very best of his drumming prowess, but also completely annihilated the competition.
He swept the district competition advancing on to the Regional Semi-Finals in Hollywood on Dec. 3, which basically represented all the finalists for Southern California.
In Hollywood, the competition was stiff to say the least; Molsberry was one of only four finalists that made it to that point and the four of them represented the very best Southern California had to offer in drummers.
Molsberry, with a slightly more evolved drum solo, once again blew away the competition and will now be advancing on to the Drum-Off Finals in Los Angeles on Jan. 8.
Now in the running for a chance at not only gaining some well-deserved recognition from his peers, but also a grand prize which includes $25,000 cash; a Roland TD-25 electronic kit; a custom designed drum kit by DW, Pearl, Gretsch, Tama, or Orange Country Drums; drum, stick, cymbal, and drum head endorsement deals as well as a feature in Modern Drummer magazine; a VIP appearance at NAMM 2010; and a Monster Energy Drink endorsement deal, overall making the total prize package worth more than $40,000.
So what’s in store for Molsberry? “Lots of practice!” he said. “Lots and lots of practice between now and Jan 8.” On Dec. 18, you can catch Molsberry in action at the Belly Up when his band Have A Cigar (a Pink Floyd Tribute band), will play a show with Dazed and Confused (a Led Zeppelin cover band) — laser show included. So come down to The Belly Up on Dec. 18 and cheer on our local celebrity as he represents North County on his road to becoming the greatest undiscovered drummer in the nation.