SUFFERN, N.Y. "Drumming is not what I do, it’s who I am,” a recent Facebook status of part-time drummer and Suffern resident Christian Cea read.
Cea, a state university employee by day, drummer by night has been consumed with a passion for drumming since he was 10 years old.
“My father was a jazz drummer when I was a little kid,” said Cea. “Then he was struck down by a disability that caused him to be in a wheelchair for the last 27 years of his life. I was 10 years old when he was struck down and 10 years old when I took up the drums. It was and is my tribute to him. My way of honoring who my dad was and who he could no longer be.” He still has his father’s business card from 1975 from his days as a jazz drummer in Manhattan with The Blue Note.
Drumming has been Cea’s sanctity through some rocky times throughout his life with additional responsibilities and burdens thrown at him at a very young age. “Drumming has always been my safe place, my happy place, my sanity. My parents passed away in 2013. I keep a picture of them by my drums and I feel their presence when I play.”
Cea is a self-taught drummer, although he has taken some lessons as an adult. He strayed from his father’s style of music with influences ranging from Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich to Rush’s Neil Peart as well as Liberty DeVitto, best known for his work with Billy Joel.
Cea’s philosophy is that he can learn from everyone he encounters. “Anyone who picks up a pair of sticks and hits the drums is an influence, no matter what the level,” Cea said. “No one is better than anyone else. We are all just at different levels.”
And now Cea is keeping up the family tradition by inspiring his 10-year-old daughter with his passion for drums. Both father and daughter have YouTube channels dedicated to their drum cover videos.
Cea’s channel has drum covers of classic and alternative rock tunes including songs from Rush, Led Zeppelin, The Who and Stone Temple Pilots. Cea’s increasing popularity on social media has his new-found fans requesting additional covers. Cea posts a video a week.
Cea has played with several local bands over the last few years, recording CDs and playing local venues, even getting air time on local radio such as WHUD in “artist spotlight” segments.
But his latest project, recording and posting videos to YouTube has been a challenging but fun endeavor. “Social media allows me to connect with fellow musicians and those who just love music, all over the world,” said Cea. “While I love making music in my home studio and jamming with other musicians, sharing my love of music on a wider scale has been a very fulfilling project for me over the past few months.”
Cea is drummer, videographer, sound tech, editor and promoter for his videos. “I taught myself how to mic the drums, use a mixing board, and use music and video editing software.” He promotes his YouTube videos on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram .
“I am blessed to have the ability to continue drumming,” said Cea. “I never wanted to be that guy that used to play the drums.”