SA Drums and Percusion Cover Story

"... Anton Fig is without doubt, South Africa's biggest drumming export. If a successful career in music is one in which fame, fortune and musical notoriety figures, then Anton has cornered all of these aspects, and then some... Now living in New York though originally from Cape Town, Anton left our shores to further his musical career and became one of the biggest names in the drumming world. His work with rock royalty like Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, George Harrison and The Rolling Stones is envious. His list of musical credits is bigger than most CD collections. Since 1986, he has been the house drummer for one of America's biggest TV shows - 'The David Letterman Show'. Despite all this, he still maintains that Cape Town is his hometown and would love to play more in South Africa."

Download the full review at

International Musician Cover Story

"... Anton Fig's recipe for success for budding professional musicians contains four ingredients. First comes passion. "You've got to really love to play," says Fig, a member of Local 802 (New York City) and the regular drummer for Local 802 member Paul Shaffer's CBS Orchestra, heard nightly on the "Late Show with David Letterman." "That love will get you ahead, because there will be some hard times." Next comes professionalism: "Be on time; stuff like that," he says. Then there's humility. "Don't have a heady attitude about yourself." Add a dash of people skills, "Unless you're someone like Miles Davis or Prince, unbelievably talented, most of us have to network," and you're ready to play some cookin' drums for a living. Fig sums up his advice this way: "Success is a combination of luck and skill, but the harder you work, the luckier you get.""

Read the full review at International Musician

The Greenman Review

"...Anton Fig has created an album that has more than enough styles; he has managed to combine rock, world, alternative rock, smooth jazz, and folk into one persuasive whole through sensitive compositions, the art of creative collaboration, and artistic vision. FIGMENTS is more than equal to the sum of its parts; perhaps not for everyone but if you have an adventurous spirit and would like a challenging, melodic listen you would do well to start here."

Read the full review at The Greenman Review

Electronic Musician

Writer Matt Gallagher takes an in-depth look at the making of Figments in Anton's home studio. A must-read for anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of high-end home recording. Also includes quite a few terrific photos and side features, "Engineering Figments" and "Planning Planula Studios" - how Anton put all the electronics together and made it work given the unique space they were using.

Read the article at Electronic Musician's Website

Mix Magazine
November 2002

In Paul Verna's "New York Metro" column, Anton reveals some of the secrets behind the recording of Figments:

"Question: How many artists record and mix “professional”-sounding albums at home in rooms so small that the studios can be vacuumed with a Dust-Buster? Answer: Too many to count.

Question: Who among these recording-savvy artists can pull off a home-spun project that features Paul Shaffer, Sebastian Bach, Richie Havens, Ace Frehley and Brian Wilson, among others? Answer: Anton Fig.

Best-known as the house drummer for The Late Show With David Letterman, Fig is also a multifaceted songwriter, producer and engineer who has been chipping away at a solo album in between his TV and session commitments. (He recently played drums on Warren Zevon's Artemis Records release My Ride's Here). Along the way, the well-connected Fig asked some of his most famous friends if they would contribute their talents to his album."

Read the rest of the article on MIX Magazine's website

One of the best albums of 2002, Figments is the long awaited album from celebrity drummer Anton Fig. Best known as the house drummer in the David Letterman Show band, Fig has sagaciously assembled a number prominent music heroes for his solo debut. Also the drummer in the house band at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Fig has over the years worked with the best in the biz. First off, the voices Fig spotlights on the CD are brilliant and among the fine vocalists taking center spotlight here are legendary folk-rocker Richie Havens, Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson, Wilson’s former band mate in the ‘Boys, singer/guitarist Blondie Chaplin and legendary songwriter, Chip Taylor (“Wild Thing”), singing the Fig/Taylor tune “When The Good Die Young”. Brian Wilson’s ever-amazing harmonies supporting Chaplin’s striking vocals on “Hand On My Shoulder” is clearly a Figments highlight. According to Anton, “This record reminds me of the days when we used to put on headphones and listen to the details in the music. The combinations of singers and musicians, different from song to song, are exciting.” From a guitarists perspective, the album features ace fretboard work from Chaplin, Ace Frehley, Chris Spedding and Vincent Nguini (to name a few) as well as keyboards legends like Al Kooper, Paul Shaffer and the dozens of other notable Fig cohorts partaking in the upbeat musical moods here. Whatever your favorite flavor of music—rock, pop, jazz and more—Figments has it covered on what has to be among the coolest surprises of 2002.
- Robert Silverstein, 20th Century Guitar Magazine     []

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September 2002

Figments [Planula]

With his first solo effort, Figments, ANTON FIG has mad a record everyone - not just drummers - can listen to and appreciate. But that doesn't mean he forgets to show off his drum chops (and multi-insturmental chops, and songwriting chops, and producing chops...). Whether traveling back to his hometown in South Africa with smooth odd-time signatures, or rocking heavy and slow with Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach and KISS guitarist Ace Frehley, Anton delivers the goods. Other special guests help make this record diverse and accessible. Along with diggin' the drums, you may even find yourself singing along. []

- Billy Amendola


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Sunday, September 22, 2002
Diving in for Annual Beach Cleanup
by Sumathi Reddy. STAFF WRITER

On September 21, Anton joined several hundred volunteers in cleaning up Jones Beach in New York, as part of The Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup. Newsday writer Sumathi Reddy covered the event. Read more >>>

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September 2002

by Manuel Pila

An Anton Fig reality check goes something like this:
“I remember a long time ago I played on Mick Jagger’s solo record, and we were all in the room at the same time recording,” Fig recalls. “Jagger was singing, Nile Rogers was playing guitar, Bernard Edwards was playing bass, and I was playing with them, and I’m looking around the room going like, I can’t believe that I’m playing with these guys. The same thing happened when I played with Miles Davis on the Letterman show. You know, I can’t believe that I’m playing with Miles Davis!” Read more >>>

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August 2002


Figments [Planula;]

It's a too-familiar scenario: Session star makes a solo album full of tepid material that's all over the map stylistically, leading to the same old conclusion - don't quit your sideman day gig! At last, Anton Fig, best known for his drum seat on The Late Show with David Letterman, shatters that stereotype with 13 tracks of songwriting gems and world-wise instrumentals. Along the way, Anton enlists over 40 musicians - including eight bassists - to help inagine his Figments. Bakithi Kumalo's fretless 5 carries the Gabriel-esque openers, "Home" and "Hand on My Shoulder," the latter featuring background vocals by no less than Brian Wilson. "Inside Out," "Heart of Darkness," and "More Than Friends" (with Richie Havens) all ride Will Lee's savvy support. Neil Jason, Tony Garnier, and Duck Dunn also pitch in on prime pop cuts.

Revealing his South African roots, Fig enlists the vocal and playing skills of Richard Bona and ex-Zawinul guitarist Amit Chaterjee for the soaring "3:4 Folk," while Bakithi returns for the horn-laden Capetown traditional "Jan/Feb/March." Almost lost in the melodic mayhem is "Tears," a haunting trumpet/tenor instrumental driven by Chris Minh Doky's funky upright. All in all, Anton, with both pen and drumstick, sets a new standard for the sessioner-cum-artist genre.

- Chris Jisi


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Anton Fig: Letterman drummer shuffles his way to Waterfront Blues Fest



The name might not be familiar, but his pedigree is a mile long.

Anton Fig is David Letterman's drummer. More specifically, he works for the world's Most Dangerous Bandleader, Paul Shaffer, in the CBS Orchestra five nights a week in New York, doing commercial-break music and backing some of music's biggest names.

That gig, Fig says in a recent phone call from his digs in New York, "is only a few hours out of my day, and it's blocks from my place." That allows him plenty of time to pursue other musical ventures, notably his own recent solo album, "Figments"; various gigs around the Big Apple; and sideman duties for recording artists Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Joan Armatrading, Ace Frehley of Kiss, Garland Jeffries and others.

It also allows him time for the occasional foray into the blues. Fig will appear with the legendary Al Kooper and the Rekooperators at the Waterfront Blues Festival.

The South African-born Fig is no stranger to the shuffle and slow blues. He's recorded with B.B. King , and Booker T and the MGs, and done plenty of backing slots for the likes of Eric Clapton, Johnny Winter, Charlie Musselwhite and John Lee Hooker, to name but a few.

While the music on Letterman can be complicated exercises in chart reading, Fig says, the blues allows him to lay back, stretch out and find a groove. "It requires a more simple approach, less technical, more basic. Obviously, the groove is the most important thing. You do as little as you have to do in order to get a really good groove. I try and keep it really spare and feeling really good."

Fig has recorded extensively with Kooper, as well as with Kooper's guitarist of choice, Jimmy Vivino, who plays guitar in Conan O'Brien's house band, the Max Weinberg Seven.

"These are a bunch of blues fanatics," Fig says. "They know so much about the music, 'inside' things that I've learned." It also gives him an opportunity to take a break from the Letterman grind. "It's good to do other stuff, otherwise you get used to doing one thing."

Among those other things was his recent appearance at the Concert for New York, a benefit for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Fig backed up, among other artists, Clapton and Buddy Guy. "We rehearsed with them briefly the night before. I'm not even sure Clapton was at the rehearsal. Then we played. It's always great when you're playing with the real guys.

"It's funny how different the music sounds when you play with the guys who can really do it, as opposed to someone who's trying to do it."

Fig lauds Chicago bluesman Paul Butterfield, with whom he recorded on the harpist's final record. Despite Butterfield's ailing health, "He was a great bandleader. He always used to say, 'If you make a mistake on a recording, you start listening to it like it was meant to be.' "

The legend of the Waterfront Blues Festival has spread to New York. Fig reports that he's heard nothing but positive reports, "and that it has a food drive attached to it. Which is really great. I've never been there, but it seems like a great roster of people, and it sounds like it's going to be a wonderful five days."

His new album, "Figments," was largely recorded in his home studio. It includes Kooper, Richie Havens, Ivan Neville, Beach Boy Brian Wilson singing backup, and others. "It's all different kind of stuff," the drummer says. "I'm very proud of how it came out."

In a long, busy and varied career, Fig has enjoyed "a lot of highs. The 9-11 event was definitely a highlight. It was such an emotional concert. The firemen and policemen kind of let their hair down. It was great to be a part of it."


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June 2002

"If you think you know what Anton is about from seeing him play on TV, well, this record is going to totally blow your mind."
- Robyn Flans, Modern Drummer

[excerpted from the interview; read more on]

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