Robert “Sput” Searight has a huge name in the music industry. Not only is he a top-tier drummer, but he’s also a highly successful producer and pianist.
Most drummers know him for his work with Snarky Puppy, but he’s been part of dozens of huge projects throughout his career, and he’s won a Grammy Award.
We’re going to dive into a few of his most notable performances, look at what gear he uses, and we’ll explain what makes him such a great drummer and musician.
- 1 Notable For
- 2 History
- 3 Notable Artists That Robert Sput Searight Has Played With
- 4 Drumming Style
- 5 Gear
- 6 Notable Performances
- 7 Final Thoughts on Robert Sput Searight
- Being the original drummer of Snarky Puppy
- Winning a Grammy with Kirk Franklin for the Best Gospel Choir or Chorus Album
- Being the bandleader of Ghost-Note
- Working as a producer with big artists like Snoop Dogg and Justin Timberlake
- Touring with Toto
- Playing open-handed on the drum set
Robert “Sput” Searight grew up in Dallas, Texas, and he had his roots in church and gospel music. He was playing drums with huge gospel artists at a very young age, and he grew to become a very proficient pianist and song arranger as well.
Over the past decade, Sput has worked with major figures in the music industry, but he also regularly does drum clinics and performs at music festivals.
While his drumming is incredible, it’s his overall status as a musician that has built him so many connections.
Notable Artists That Robert Sput Searight Has Played With
Snarky Puppy has a list of drummers that play with the band whenever they’re available for certain gigs, but Robert Searight was the original drummer.
He wrote the drum parts for all of Snarky Puppy’s early albums, and he still regularly performs with the group when he’s available.
Most of the original members of the band are from Texas, so that’s where he met them.
Ghost-Note is a group that Sput formed with Nate Werth, who is the main percussionist from Snarky Puppy. The idea behind Ghost-Note is that it’s a percussion-focused band, with most of the members playing drums or percussion.
They have other instrumentalists to fill in the gaps to create music, but all the songs are very rhythmic in nature.
Robert Searight leads the band, as he’s always the one talking on the mic whenever they play gigs.
Toto is one of the most famous classic rock bands to come out of the 20th century, and Robert “Sput” Searight is one of the drummers who tours with the group.
Jeff Porcaro was the original drummer, and he was highly influential, creating grooves that drummers have gone on to imitate decades later.
Those are big shoes to fill, and Sput fills them with ease. His work with Toto just shows the extent of his musicality and capabilities behind the kit.
Kirk Franklin is a big name in the gospel music industry. Robert “Sput” Searight was playing in his band when he was just a teenager, and he even won a Grammy with the group in 1998.
Gospel music is where Sput’s roots are, so Kirk Franklin is just one of the many gospel artists that Sput has been involved with.
Robert “Sput” Searight is also a highly successful producer, and he’s done plenty of producing and arranging for high-level artists. One of those big names is Justin Timberlake.
Snoop Dogg is another A-list celebrity that Sput has produced for. Rappers often use musicians with gospel roots to create music for their albums, and this is a prime example of that.
Robert Searight has a very unique drumming style compared to many drummers. The most notable thing about his playing is that he mostly plays open-handed. This means that he plays his hi-hats with his left hand instead of crossing over his right.
He also plays with aggressive movements a lot of the time, but those come out sounding incredibly musical.
Since his roots are in gospel music, he often pulls out mind-blowingly quick patterns around the drums that are often referred to as “Gospel chops.”
Sput endorses Vic Firth drumsticks, Tama drums, and Meinl cymbals. His setup typically includes a Star drum setfrom Tama that is surrounded by an eclectic selection of Meinl’s Byzance cymbals.
With Snarky Puppy and Ghost-Note, he uses cymbals that are dry and complex. He also uses a wide variety of stacked cymbals.
With Toto, he uses brighter cymbals that better suit the rock style.
Meinl Drum Festival 2015
This video is one of the best examples to see of Sput’s musicality. He wrote the music himself, and his drumming for the tracks perfectly suits everything that you hear. It just fits so well with all the musical ups and downs.
It’s also an excellent clip to see one of his more extravagant drum kit setups. He has a smaller kit positioned next to his main one that he switches to for getting punchier drum sounds.
Snarky Puppy – What About Me?
While the studio version with Larnell Lewis drumming is the most well-known version of this track, Sput wrote the original drum part, and this clip of him playing it live with the band shows off his finesse behind the kit.
His grooves are incredibly tight, and his drum solo near the end is epic!
VFJams and Zildjian Live
Both Zildjian and Vic Firth hosted a series of events where they got artists from their rosters to perform songs with a band. These videos were then posted to each brand’s YouTube pages and advertised as artist spotlights.
The reason I’m mentioning both is that Robert “Sput” Searight was the creative genius behind all the music that you hear in all the videos. He arranged all the songs, and you can see him playing keys in all the videos besides the one that he plays drums in.
Check them out:
Final Thoughts on Robert Sput Searight
Sput is a drummer that every musician should have on their radar. He’s a fantastic example of a successful musician that has made it to the top of the industry. It helps that he’s an incredible drummer, but he’s also a top-tier arranger and producer.
If you want to check out his early work, look for old Kirk Franklin albums from the late 90s. To check out his more modern work, watch all the live videos of Snarky Puppy in their formative years. You’ll be blown away!