A founding member of the band Tourniquet – drummer, songwriter and lyricist Ted Kirkpatrick’s aggressive, musical, and often unorthodox approach to drumming has been recognized by thousands – critics and fans alike. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Ted began playing drums at age 12. By age 14, Ted was playing drums along with the records of many of his early influences – bands like Rush, King Crimson, and ELP. He holds a business degree from the University of Texas, Austin, where he graduated with honors, and often finds himself using the skills learned in college in the many facets of successfully operating the band.
Entirely self taught, Ted began to develop his own unique drumming style through a variety of influences. He is a great admirer of the classical masters and has attended countless classical concerts. His drumming and songwriting are influenced by the power of Beethoven and Mahler symphonies, the staccato bursts of Scarlatti’s harpsichord sonatas, and the counterpoint of Bach’s fugues, to name a few. His solo release IN THE SHADOW OF THE MASTERS features Ted drumming to classics by Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini, Chopin, Paganini and others. “To me, the fantastic music of the classical masters is in a totally different realm – there simply is no other music to compare it to. I believe it was a time in history that will never be repeated – kind of like when dinosaurs roamed the earth. In drumming to these timeless works as with any music, I always strive to treat the drums as a musical instrument – not just a noisy time keeper.”
Ted is well known for his ability to create and execute poly-rhythms within the framework of songs, for his advanced double bass technique, and most of all for bringing a musicality to his drumming which is always apparent in Tourniquet songs. His approach to the drums as a musical instrument makes even more sense in light of his role as Tourniquet’s primary songwriter. He has written both music and lyrics for fifteen of Tourniquet’s #1 singles, in addition to many other songs that showcase the technical, melodic, and eccentric side of the band evident on every Tourniquet album and his self recorded and produced solo albums. The readers of HM Magazine voted Ted “Favorite Drummer” 10 years in a row. He has been featured twice in Modern Drummer Magazine, and countless drummers list him as one of their drumming influences. Ted officially endorses DW drums, Paiste cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Evans drumheads, Orange amps, and Wampler effects pedals.
Since the very first Tourniquet release in 1990, Stop the Bleeding, Ted has been a strong voice for animal welfare. “I have a life-long passion for helping God’s creation – the animals – and it matters greatly to me how they are treated.” You can hear and feel that passion in songs like “Ark of Suffering”, “Stereotaxic Atrocities”, “Going, Going, Gone” – and in his “opus to animals” ONWARD TO FREEDOM. His first solo album, released in 2010 – ODE TO A ROADKILL– features “vocals” courtesy of authentic haunting animal sounds, reflecting Ted’s deep respect for the animal realm. ODE is a 42 minute hypnotic heavy wall of sound made possible by vintage Orange and Sunn amps. The title track refers to the sad reality of the millions of animals who die each year on our roadways.
Ted has a special fascination with butterflies and other insects. He has traveled to many places including the jungles of Papua New Guinea, the Amazon, Malaysia, Taiwan, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, and the Solomon Islands. The fantastic, repetitive sounds of the jungle have influenced his drumming as well.
As principle lyricist for the band, his talent for allegory and symbolism, and using unusual and sometimes bizarre examples to convey God’s Word can be found throughout the Tourniquet catalog. For the acoustic sets that Tourniquet occasionally performs, he plays 6 or 12 string guitar.