John Sinderman was part of the team at Pivotal IT before there was Pivotal IT. In 2004, John joined MTH Information Solutions as an engineer, bringing with him certifications from Cisco and Microsoft as well as, at the time, 17 years of experience.
John’s background, knowledge and vision were instrumental in helping the company transition from the “break-fix” model of providing support to a full-fledged managed technology services company. His hard work and dedication paid off. In 2008, John was offered partnership. In 2011, Max Gregory, the CEO of MTHIS retired and John became CEO on January 1, 2012. He then worked to re-brand the company as Pivotal IT and since that time he’s been busy expanding Pivotal IT’s services to include VoIP Phone Systems, Business Continuity Solutions and Breach Protection Services in order to provide clients with a one-stop-shop for all their technology needs.
Leading the talented team at Pivotal IT is just one of the hats John wears. With November being International Drum Month, it seemed the perfect time to sit down with John to talk about his other passion – Drumming.
When did you become interested in drumming and who were your earliest influences?
First drummer I was aware of was Ringo Starr, drummer for The Beatles. First “rock” song I remember hearing when I was 4 was “I Saw Her Standing There”, which was the B-side of “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. For me, that was 1965, a year or so after it came out. As I got a little older began to take note of other music and drummers. My oldest brother was and still is somewhat of an audiophile and bought a lot of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zepplin, The Doors, Jimmy Hendrix, Cream, Janis Joplin, Frank Zappa, Elton john, Rod Steward and Faces. Also, some lesser known groups like Slade. My parents listened to a lot of Glen Gray, which was 60’s remakes of big band standards. By the time I was 11, I was focused on Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones), John Bonham - but was really intimidated by his playing - , John Densmore of the Doors, had heard Buddy Rich and Louis Belson on PBS -my parents watched that all the time-. They both were and still are beyond anything I could ever hope to do. If nothing else, all these people inspire you to practice.
When did you start playing and building your drum collection?
I started in the school band program in the 7th grade. The only real instruction was the first 3 weeks of band “boot camp” where the first chair drummer from the high school band showed us the basics for about 6 hours a day for 3 weeks. It turns out that the associate band director at the time would also be my future father in law. By the time I got to the high school band, I was also playing in the high school orchestra.
I got my first snare drum in late 1973 and my first drum kit for Christmas in 1974. I still have both
What other venues did you play as you were learning and what drums did you add?
Of course, I played in the marching band, concert band, and orchestra in high school. Orchestra was cool because we were the first orchestra from SC to be invited to the Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. I played in the band at USC Upstate for 7 years, as a student and as an alumnus before joining a small quartet that played mostly wedding receptions Also played in a local big band for a few years. The daughter of my band director from 7th grade was at one of the wedding receptions we played at and a year later, we started dating. During this time, I was also playing with the Converse Wind Ensemble and two local churches, where my future father in law was in charge of music.
I still have all the drums I have ever owned. In 1991 bought my Ludwig walnut lacquer kit. In 2013 I bought a Ludwig “Ringo” kit. Beatles aficionados - or Google – can tell you what that is. One of his 1963 original kits (“The Ed Sullivan Show” kit ) sold for $2.2 million a couple years ago. I paid a little less for mine brand new.
How did your band begin?
In 2003 I met up with an old high school friend who played bass guitar and we started what would become Cadillac Black. We played blues and rock. We played at many different types of venues – clubs, bars, festivals, and 3 times at Music On Main in Spartanburg. We played together until 2014, when our lead singer passed away. We’ve tried to find a replacement but have not been successful. My bassist friend had also been playing bassoon in the Symphony of Rutherford County for several years and mentioned I should come play. His logic was music is music and it’s a chance to play since Cadillac Black was not playing. I went in February of 2014 and have been playing there ever since. I also currently serve on the board of directors for the Symphony of Rutherford County.
Who are your favorite drummers?
Depends on what kind of inspiration I am looking for. Generally speaking I like Steve Gadd, Dave Weckel, Tommy Igoe, Emanuelle Capplette, Sheila E. There are so many great drummers and percussionists. Youtube is full of them. Safe to say, that with drumming, and music in general, there is always something to learn and someone to learn from.
What’s been going on since then? Are you playing now?
Still playing in the Symphony. In 2016, the Spartanburg Community band was having its 20th anniversary concert. Since my father in law helped start the band by providing a lot of music, they called me and asked if I would play for a song he would be asked to conduct. Wound up playing the whole concert. Started playing with them full time as well in May of 2017 after playing a few one-off performances with them.
Do you have any advice for busy people, who are musically inclined?
Don’t give up playing your instrument. Find something. Organizations like The Symphony and Band are great outlets for people who used to play in the band or orchestra and just want a place to play. You still must know how to play, and you have to be able to read music. But it is all volunteer, no auditions, and generally fun with very little “band drama.” So far, there have been no “band meetings” on stage in the middle of a performance. If you’re really good, watch for openings and auditions for one of the professional symphonies in the area. If you are a jazz type, attend something like a concert by the Greenville Jazz Collective and get to know the musicians there. A lot of it is just knowing someone and being "plugged in" to the "music scene."