Stars For Iowa
Central Iowa Band Listings & Music Scene
Central Iowa's Longest running Free Rock Music Information Website

Band Button


Paul Thompson Pastie CymbalsProm Pic
Now Playin with Alister Hag & Shannon Curfman

1. Paul , Alister Hag how did it come about ?
Story with the Name ?
Who’s in the Band ?

Alister Hag came about a little over a year ago when I was working
with a guitarist out of Michigan
on a theme song for the TV show Exterminators. Long story short,
we needed a vocalist to lay down the track, preferably someone with a powerful Metal voice and that is when we contacted Aaron Peltz who was the vocalist for On a Pale Horse.

My brother Wade and I had talked of putting something together for years with Aaron since we worked so well together and had a ball on the Thunderbolt Gasoline project we did back in 2004.

The name is just a overall
statement of the bands general
vibe we wanted something edgy sounding and Alister Hag fit the bill.

The lineup of the band is Ryan Braaksma lead guitar/vocals, Aaron Peltz lead vocals/guitar, Wade Thompson bass/vocals and myself.


Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson Drums
of Alister Hag
& Shannon Curfman
2. What can we look for in
2011 from Alister Hag ?

2011 expect an ass kicking Hard Rock/Metal album from the band and a great deal of touring. The band is targeting European markets, so we expect to do most of our shows over the pond however we do have some local things on the horizon starting with our first official show at
The Bombay Bicycle Club on Friday January 21st.

3. You have been in several notable bands - can you name them all ? Who have you recorded with ?

Let me see if I can name them all.

My first band that I started was with my best friend Kevin Miles we called ourselves the Solar Carrots and we had our first song, Yellow Telephones. This would have been about October of 1983.
After that I had a band called Skumm and that band actually built a stage in my bedroom in Ankeny with a backdrop and we used my bunk bed as a top tier to the stage and the aluminum ladders as walkways, God my parents were tolerant of my condition!

Let's see.....I will try to stay on course with the question: Rigormortis, Evil B and the Pancake Revival, Nuremburg, Lifeforce,
Filthy Wilma, Bad Blood, Hot Saki, Todd Duane, Taz Band, Stone Fish, Tyler Thompson Band, Junk Poet, The Coup de Grace, Coma, Thunderbolt Gasoline, To My Surprise, Kentucky Fried Mullet,
The Farmer Tan Funk Band, Blues on Grand House Band, Jeff Banks Band, Dorothy Hecht and the Rubber Tramps, The Kannibals, Shannon Curfman and Alister Hag

I think that should about do it!!

I have recorded with hundreds of bands over the years in LA, Kansas City and Minneapolis. I will not even try to recall and bore you with all of these sessions ....mostly demos or just on a track or two

4.When did you start play drums ?

I started playing drums on my mother's Tupperware when I was about 10 years old.

5.What’s your background with formal training and education ?

  My formal education with drum kit and percussion goes back to the 5th grade. I was told by the band teacher that I would probably not be a drummer and to drop band. If my memory serves me correctly it was only because I did not know how to read music. Seems to me that was his job to teach me how?  I mean, I was 9 or 10 years old!

   Anyway, years later after Modern Drummer did a splendid write up on me for a record I did with a Schrapnel recording artist named Todd Duane, I ran in to this guy and told him what I'd been up to lately....Touche!!

  In 1990 I went to PIT in Hollywood California and spent a year there finally learning to read music. That for me was the most important year of my life in terms of musical growth and life experience, I still recommend my students go spend a year there immersing themselves in their drumming and learning to be a well rounded musician!

6. It seems that your always working on many things, what else have you been doing ?

   My life is pretty busy with teaching drums and guitar.
About 35 students a week right now, a  few years back I had 53 students a week....Ouch!! I also stay busy working out, I'm addicted to the gym, I love to run, bicycle and lift weights. I also spend a great deal of time with my lovely Fiance Shoshana and our 4 cats....Meow!!

Alister Hag

Alister Hag - (Left -to Right) Ryan Braaksma , Paul Thompson, Aaron Peltz
& Wade Thompson

Paul Explains the "Inverted Paradiddle"  .. then kicks it's butt

 7. How did the work with the Drummer Connection come about ? What else can aspiring percussionist look to see form you there. (Video to Left )

   I got hooked up with Drummer Connection while I was attending a Paiste cymbals artist party at the 2008 NAMM.
I ran in to an old acquaintance of mine named Billy Ashbaugh, whom was the drummer for Nsync. I told him I had been working on a instructional dvd and he said he had just launched an online drumming community website and he would like to include my video.

8. Any favorite drum kits, cymbals and accessories ?

8. My favorite drums are GMS drums, which I endorse. I have a Pearl maple kit that I bought from Yngwie's drummer Anders Johansson that I really like. I also love to collect old Gretsch drums. My cymbal of choice has always been Paiste, with whom I also have an endorsement deal with. That company is stellar and they are like family to me.

9 . Recording for young drummers ( and bands) is always a big concern, what advice would you have for drummers working in a studio environment ?

  My advice to drummers in the studio is that they know their craft, keep good time, have decent gear that is in good condition, new drumheads and a reasonable knowledge of tuning. The last two are very important because they can make or break the whole experience for the engineer or producer and if you are a freelance artist, those are the people who usually hire you. so make it as easy as possible and don't waste time!

10.Playing live - is there anything you can’t live
without ?

The only thing I can't live without when I play live is earplugs. I don't play without them, your ears are your livelihood why would you damage them ?

Paul Thompson Live

Paul Playing with Shannon Curfman

Tyler Thompson
Tyler Thompson Band

 11.What are some of your favorite gigs to date ?

 I don't have a favorite gig that comes to mind. Tyler Thompson did a tour of Germany in 2004 that was just amazing. One night we played this amazing dungeon in Bavaria, the place was built in the 1600's.

   I did a show with the Coup de Grace called Edgefest where we played with Green Day, The Deftones and a whole slew of big artists, there was around 35-40,000 people there when we went on, needless to say it was a rush!.

12.What gigs stand out as horror stories ..missing band members agreements, owners ? ..Worst gigs?

  Tyler Thompson did a gig at Sturgis and some of the members of the band drank too much ....imagine that at the biggest motorcycle rally in the world? anyway, the club owner basically pulled the plug on us. It was horrible, I promised I would never let that happen again.

13. Who were your favorites bands and musical influences over the years?

  My favorite bands growing up were Kiss, The Police, Van Halen,
The Cars. I got into Zeppelin and AC/DC a little later after high school because I was one of those cool kids who had Metallica and Megadeth's early stuff right when it came out. I also went through a phase when I would collect the rarest stuff on picture disc.

As I got older, I realized that bands like the Beatles, The Allman Brothers, Steely Dan and jazz artists were where it was at. I love so much music it's hard to define any parameter with it.

 14. 14. Who were influences on a more personal scale - musicians , friends , teachers ?

  My biggest influences have been my parents who taught me to follow my heart and never give up on my dreams. Life is short what are you gonna do with your time?.
 15. What  new bands have gotten your attention ?

. Some newer acts that impress are bands like Lamb of God, 311, Mastodon and Grand Magus. Bands that can play and write their own songs. After all isn't that what it is all about?.


16.What was it like doing live TV with Hot Saki ?

-- Have you done many TV appearances ??

I have done a hand full of live TV appearances and I must say, I really enjoy them.

The biggest one for me was on tour last summer when we did Bob and Tom with Shannon Curfman, It was a blast!   When you know it is going out nationally to every TV in the country and you only get one shot at it.... you know you got to rock it baby!! 

Shannon Curfman
Shannon Curfman  (above)
Paul with Pro Max Sticks (below)
at the Bob and Tom Show 2010

Pro Max Bob and Tom Show

Van Halen
Van Halen - Diver Down Tour

Paisly Park

Paul had the pleasure of working with Prince in the studio

17.What is are a few of the best concerts you
have seen ?

   The best concert I have ever seen was Van Halen on Diver Down. August 4th 1982 at Veteran's Memorial Auditorium.

It changed my life forever!

18. Any great “wow this is dude is a Rock Star” moments or stories that impressed you on your musical journey .. or where just fun and funny.

The times most memorable to me. When I knew that I was doing something really special, or that you might define as a rock star moment. were when, I worked with Prince in the studio those couple of years from 94-96.

In 2001 I worked with Stevie Nicks and Stevie Wonder that was surreal as well.

19. What is the best part about being a musician in Iowa ?

  The best part about being a musician in Iowa is that you can make a pretty comfortable living doing it. If you can hustle a bit, you can gig with some really talented people. Des Moines has some really good players and I feel fortunate to have played with most of them.

20. Skateboarding , Bicycling you seem to have a passion for many activities - how have these helped you throughout the years ?

I love to bicycle it is like church to me. It helps me quiet my mind and slow down mentally. I grew up Skateboarding, mostly old school style street skating. I used to ride ramps and an occasional pool.

Hy Vee Triatholon
Paul - Hy Vee Triathlon Finnish 2007
Paul Clinic


19. What did we forget to ask ?
What would you like to bump/plug or promote ?

The Benefit for James Beihn on Sunday
Jan 23rd @ Peoples

The only other thing I want to plug is Alister Hag.

The band I have been waiting my whole life to be a part of! We are doing our first show Friday January 21st. Bombay Bicycle Club Bicycle Club.

Oh yeah, check out our video Admiral of the Sea
on You Tube!.
( On the front page )


Thank You Paul  ...You totally Rock ! 

We Will throw in a few links :

Alister Hag Facebook Page

Shannon Curfman

Read Paul's Bio on Paiste