Meet Logan Ellis Sheppard: Drummer On The Rise
Logan Ellis Sheppard is a 17-year-old drummer who has played with the likes of Love Past Blue, Sofya Wang, and his very own project Logan’s Heroes. A participant at the annual Autism Rocks LA, Logan has shared the stage at the event with Bruce Kulick of KISS infamy and James Durbin of Quiet Riot and American Idol. Highwire Daze recently interviewed Logan to find out more about this amazingly talented musician on the rise.
Introduce yourself, how old you are, and how long you have been drumming.
Hey! I’m Logan Sheppard, and I just turned 17 this summer. I’ve been playing the drums for 10 years, and playing in bands for about 6 years.
What made you decide to take up the drums as opposed to any other instrument? And how supportive have your parents been?
I guess I chose drums because it’s just what I’m naturally best at. I played piano for about a year and it was clear that I needed to find a different instrument! I think drums are great instrument for kids to try first, because even when you don’t know what you’re doing, you can have fun and still sound pretty good. I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the greatest instructors, and my parents have been super supportive of me every step of the way.
How did you become involved with the Autism Rocks show?
I heard about the First Annual Autism Rocks LA in early 2016 through a great family friend, Shannon Penrod. She and my dad were talking about the event, and she mentioned that her friend James Durbin (American Idol) would be performing. Now James is the singer for Quiet Riot and killing it! Shannon introduced me to James, and to the event founder Alex Lin, who invited me to be a part of the first Autism Rocks LA. It was my first time on a really big stage, and my first autism advocacy event. I loved it!
What was it like performing with the one and only Bruce Kulick at the Autism Rocks show last year?
It was amazing to work with Bruce Kulick the second year of the event. He’s a great guy who was happy to lend his talent for the cause, and he’s a serious guitar legend. I don’t get nervous on stage, but I definitely prepared for that gig more than any other I’d ever played. It was one of the best times I’ve ever had playing live. There was a huge crowd there for Bruce!
How did your collaboration with GabrieLa and Sam Bam Koltun of Budderside come about for your Logan’s Heroes project?
I had been playing in a classic rock band for about four years, and we played the first Autism Rocks LA. The second year of the event, the band members weren’t available. But my parents and I had seen videos of Gabbie and Sam on YouTube, and we were HUGE fans, so we called to see if they would be a part of the show and they said yes! They’re incredible musicians and incredible people. So are Patrick Stone (Budderside), Jazz Limbo (Fare Game) and Melissa Sommers (Engelbert Humperdinck). They all performed that second year, too. The night of the show, Gabbie came up with the name Logan‘s Heroes right on the spot and it stuck. I was stoked when she and Sam were able to come back again for a third year in September. It was the best ARLA show yet.
You also drum for solo artist Sofya Wang. Tell me about your work with this very unique artist and how you became a member of her band.
So I met Sofya on Instagram. It was just by chance. I heard her music and I knew right away that she was special. She writes great songs and she’s probably the dopest person ever. There seriously isn’t anyone else like her. For months I was just a fan but one day she sent a DM and was like, hey wanna play a gig?, and I was like YEAH! So I’ve been playing drums and running tracks for her live shows ever since. We opened for Phantogram at SXSW earlier this year, and we played a sold out show at The Roxy with Olivia O’Brian in August. I love hanging and playing with Sofya.
One of your bands Love Past Blue recently broke up. When looking back on your work with Love Past Blue, what do you think of it all now?
Love Past Blue was a cool band and we’re all close friends. We always will be. Different opportunities came up for each individual band member, and it just made sense for all of us to pursue those opportunities. We had a blast recording, touring and learning about the music business together. It was a positive experience and I’m definitely grateful for my time in the band.
What was the experience like playing one of the final dates of the Vans Warped Tour with Love Past Blue?
Warped was epic! Knowing that it was the last tour was sad, but that fact made it even more special to be there. The Dallas crowd was awesome, I had great friends come out from LA to see me play, and Kevin Lyman even came over and caught our full set. No pressure or anything! Wish there was a Warped next year.
How exciting and challenging has it been to participate in Soundcheck Live and who have you collaborated with on the show?
I guess the biggest challenge with Soundcheck Live is the fact that there’s no rehearsal. You learn your part and you show up and you need to be ready, because you’re playing with some heavy people and you need to be able to hang with them. And that’s also what makes it exciting. You’re sharing the stage with some of the greatest musicians in the world, so it’s a real privilege and you treat it that way. You definitely bring your A-game.
What is your equipment of choice for drums and why?
This year, I officially joined Paiste and Regal Tip as a sponsored artist. I fell in love with the Paiste sound when I first started playing the drums. I’m playing mostly Signatures and 2002s right now. Paiste has such a beautiful, consistent sound. The best. And Regal Tip makes the longest lasting, most comfortable sticks in my opinion. I play Glen Sobel’s signature Sobelizers like 99% of the time. I know they’re rock sticks, but for me, they work for pretty much every genre. As far as my set I’ve been playing DW Drums and REMO heads exclusively for about five years and I can’t see myself playing anything else. Nothing else sounds like them. Plus all of these companies treat me like family which is the best feeling in the world.
What’s up next for you?
I’m doing a few live showcases in November for some great artists, and I’m also going into the studio to record a single with a really talented writer / guitar player. I’ll be sharing the details soon on my website and social media. As far as my own projects, I just produced and recorded a note-for-note cover of the jazz standard Caravan that’s up on my YouTube now, so I hope everyone will check that out. I’m wrapping another really cool Latin jazz project before Thanksgiving with players from Kool and the Gang and Stevie Wonder’s band. I’m so pumped for that!
Any final words of wisdom?
I always say don’t limit yourself. Anything is possible when you have the right mindset and the right people supporting you.
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
Logan Ellis Sheppard on Facebook