Pro Drummer, DCI Alum Visits Cadets Camp

Russ McKinnon, Drummer with Barry Manilow & former 27th Lancer Spends Time with 2013 Corps

It's no secret that George Hopkins is a 'fanilow' (a huge fan of Barry Manilow). What may be a secret is that the drummer for Barry Manilow's band is a former member of the 27th Lancers of Revere, Mass. and credits his success to the lessons he learned while marching in one of The Cadets' east-coast rivals.

RussDrums.jpgThese days, those rivalries between Russ and George have been replaced with friendship and mutual respect. This friendship led to the exclusive opportunity for Russ to spend Sunday, January 20 with the corps in a clinic concentrated on performance psychology.

Russ is available for this one-time visit due to his professional schedule which has him playing three weeks on Broadway beginning January 18.

"You guys inspire me," Russ told the drumline in a closing talk on Sunday afternoon. "You make me want to go home and practice."

On behalf of all of The Cadets' members, design and instructional team, volunteers, alumni and fans, we thank Russ for spending his valuable time with the corps.


Los Angeles-based drummer Russ McKinnon is probably best known for his years of recording and touring with the legendary funky horn band, Tower of Power. His work with T.O.P led him to be honored 5 consecutive years as one of the winners of Modern Drummer Magazine’s prestigious Reader’s Poll Award. 

Since 2001 Russ has been the recording and touring drummer for pop superstar Barry Manilow. Not one to slow down after selling over 75 million recordings, Mr. Manilow continues to perform to sold-out audiences at prestigious venues worldwide, such as Madison Square Garden, Staples Center, Radio City Music Hall, the Wembly and O2 arenas in London, and the Las Vegas Hilton.

In addition to his tenure with Tower of Power and Barry, Russ has assembled a diverse resume of artists and producers with whom he has toured, performed and/or recorded with over the last 20+ years. Some of those include: Joe Cocker, Bette Midler, Louis Miguel, Marie Osmond, Kenny G, David Foster, Phil Ramone, The Gap Band and Melissa Manchester. 

Russ’ many television appearances include: American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC’s Today Show, Good Morning America, A & E’s Music “By Request”, The View, The Martha Stewart Show, The Rachael Ray Show, Late Night with Craig Ferguson, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place and Fame.

Russ is also an active drum clinician and author. Since 1984 he has taught marching percussion at Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu, Hawaii. He credits his own DCI participation marching with the 27th Lancers Drum and Bugle Corps as an important motivating experience for his music career.

He proudly plays and endorses Drum Workshop drums, SABIAN cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Remo drum heads, Gibraltar rack systems, May drum mic systems, RhythmTech percussion, XL Specialty cases and HQ practice 


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