Legendary drummers Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, The Cult) and Rick Allen (Def Leppard) will host a special high-priced event at the GoodNoise Studio in Palm Springs on Saturday, April 1, to raise funds for the Raven Drum Foundation.
The event will start with a healing drum circle, and will end with a live performance by the founder of the Raven Drum Foundation, Lauren Monroe, a vocalist, songwriter and healing-arts educator. She started the foundation with Allen, her husband, in 2001 to support veterans, first responders and trauma survivors.
Allen himself is a survivor of PTSD. In 1984, he was in a near-fatal car accident. Trying to pass another car at a high speed, he lost control of his Corvette and was thrown through the sunroof. His arm was caught in the seatbelt and severed from his body. Though doctors initially reattached the limb, it was later removed due to an infection.
Amazingly, he started playing drums again, using a specially designed electronic drum kit. He met Monroe in 2000 and benefited from her talents as a healer and musician.
Allen was recently involved in another traumatic incident. On March 13, he was attacked outside of a Florida hotel by a 19-year-old, who ran full-speed at the 59-year-old. Allen was knocked to the ground and hit his head on the concrete. However, as of this writing, Allen and Monroe are still planning on participating in the April 1 event.
Other drummers slated to participate include Denny Seiwell (Paul McCartney and Wings), Duane Trucks (Widespread Panic) and John Lum (Allman Betts Band). Actor Fred Armisen is also participating, as is Alvin Taylor, a legendary local who has drummed with Stevie Wonder, Billy Preston, Cher, Jimi Hendrix and Elton John and many others.
“It’s an amazing event to bring the community together for unity and healing,” Taylor said. “It’s time to end exclusion and bring about inclusion through an interactive drum circle with many great drummers, together with Palm Springs Mayor Grace Garner, Police Chief Andrew Mills, the fire department and other officials.”
Research shows that drumming can accelerate physical healing, boost the immune system and help release emotional trauma while inducing deep relaxation.
Monroe said drum circles can be transformative.
“It’s a communal feeling of listening to each other and becoming one in the present moment,” she said. “… At a recent drum circle, I saw a veteran who sat with his arms crossed. His face didn’t move, so I didn’t know how he felt. Then when it ended, he came over to me and started to cry. He said since he was a child, he’d put up a wall around himself; it followed him during his military service. That day was the first time the wall had come down.”
Laurie Baker, the executive director of the Raven Drum Foundation, said society needs to overcome stigmas surrounding mental health.
“It’s easier than you think, and there’s no shame in raising your hand and asking for help,” she said.
Sorum, who is a Coachella Valley resident, said drumming helped him deal with issues including coming from a family of divorce.
“I realized what a great life I’ve had by playing music all around the world, and I could use my name to give back,” Sorum said. “… Drums were a savior to me in dealing with issues. I communicated through the drums.”
An Afternoon of Storytelling, Drumming and Music will take place at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 1, at Matt Sorum’s GoodNoise Studio, in Palm Springs. Admission starts at $750. To register or get more information, visit ravendrumfoundation.org.