LocationAlhambra , CA United States
She’s “Dragonfly” to her bandmates and friends. She’s “Kimberly Strange” onstage. Her given name is Kimberly Salazar and she is Alhambra’s young drummer on the rise.
Yes, you may have seen her rolling down Main Street on her “eco-friendly skateboard,” as she calls it. Yes, you may have seen her laying the groove to classic rock at Rick’s on a Saturday night. Yes, you may have seen her through the big front window at Pedrini’s School of Music teaching a student. And yes, you may have even seen her with the band Tom Ricci and NerveBloc on the Indie Music Channel winning the “Best Indie Video Award – 2017.”
Kimberly Salazar first learned to drum at El Sereno Recreation Center, when she was a 9-year old in elementary school. When her family moved to Alhambra, she played in the Alhambra High School (AHS) jazz and rock bands. During those high school years, she continued her drumming career with more advanced lessons at Pedrini’s. After two years of local lessons and her graduation from AHS in 2014, drum instructor Dylan Halacy offered Kimberly a job teaching beginning drums to kids.
We sat down with Kimberly at Pedrini’s and asked about her music career.
Q. Kimberly, what do you teach here at Pedrini’s?
A. I teach drums, although I play guitar, keys, sing and write lyrics too.
Q. You are the youngest teacher at Pedrini’s. How old are your students?
A. My students are mainly kids ages 3-8, but I have some adults too. My youngest student started when he was three. He couldn’t sit on the adult size drum stool, so he brought his own toy chair to sit on during lessons. I lower the drums and cymbals so that he can play. He’s four now and still drumming.
Q. Your oldest student?
A. My oldest student was in her 60s. Sadly, she passed away recently from illness. She was a regular dancer at Rick’s Saturday band nights. She came up to me at Rick’s one day and asked if I taught drum lessons. She told me it was always her dream to play drums to Beatles tunes and rock and roll songs. So she came in and we got right to it. By her 3rd lesson, she had already played “Hard Day’s Night” and “Eight Days a Week.” She also learned “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan Jett. She was a beautiful person and a pretty fantastic drummer.
Q. Any other memorable students?
A. I taught my friend and her brother, who were both in wheelchairs due to cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. I would help each hold the drumsticks while playing. We did songs by One Direction, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes and One Republic.
Q. Wow! Who won’t you teach?
A. I’ll teach anyone. Rhythm is in everything. Life is rhythm. There are no barriers to drumming.
Q. Kimberly, tell us about the bands you play in.
A. I’m currently in three bands. ELLA is an all-girl Xicana Indie/Post-Punk band. Our songs are all originals, some in Spanish and others in English. I love making music with them because we are all activists and that comes out in our music. We want our music to promote positive change in the world. Another band I’m in is WildEyes, a pop-rock alternative band which also plays original songs. I was recently asked to fill-in for the regular drummer with the LIPS band on a Saturday night at Rick’s Burgers. I played with them and had fun seeing people dance to the music. LIPS asked me to fill in again, if needed.
Q. You also play with a band that recently won two prestigious awards. Please tell us about that.
A. Yes! So that’s the third band I am in. Tom Ricci and NerveBloc is an alternative rock band. At the recent Indie Music Channel Awards held at the Troubadour, one of the band’s videos won the category of “Best Alt Rock Video under $5000.” At the end of the show, that same video won the “Best Indie Video Award – 2017” out of all the various categories. We rocked out with two songs live onstage during the show.
Q. So what did they give you?
A. The band got two really nice glass trophies.
Q. What’s in the future for you?
A. I’m going for my second trip to play with NerveBloc in Hannover, Germany this Fall!
Q. Thank you for this interview and have a blast in Germany. One final question: If someone walked into the studio right now and said “Kimberly, I want to be the greatest rock drummer ever!” what would you say?
A. Awesome! – Let’s get started.