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Drumeo Gab Podcast

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Dec 8, 2019

“I had a laser focus in what I wanted to pursue in terms of being a professional musician.”

Jim Riley has been in Nashville, TN for quite some time now and has enjoyed a very balanced and successful career in music. He is the drummer and musical director for the very famous pop country act, Rascal Flatts, a drum teacher for his home studio called “The Drum Dojo”, a clinician and has appeared on Drumeo more than once as well. During the years between 2011 - 2015 and 2017 Jim had been voted “Best Country Drummer” by the readers of Modern Drummer Magazine and he also won the distinction of “Best Drum Clinician” in 2009. Jim has also authored two drum education books, “Survival Guide for the Modern Drummer” and “Song Charting Made Easy”. A third book is expected to be released very soon.

Jim has enjoyed a very full career and seems to have found a firm seat at the table of Nashville drummers. He moved to Nashville in 1997 and for the first couple of years Jim’s experiences were touch and go. Early on, he had worked in a drum shop and in fact slept there during the nights on soft drum cases. After that business closed its doors, Jim found himself sleeping in his truck with his dog for a couple of weeks. (Click this link to read more about this story at Drumeo “The Beat”) However, Jim never doubted that the path he had chosen was indeed the best decision for him in the long-run. Jim’s luck began to turn around when he would eventually become roommates with Rich Redmond.

Jim had secured a good gig with Mark Chesnutt and everything was going well. On the side he was playing $40 gigs with the guys, who would eventually become Rascal Flatts, and also performed regularly with Hank Williams III. One day, Jay Demarcus said to Jim that if their new project, Rascal Flatts, ever got a record deal they would love to have him as their drummer. And well, we all know how that turned out. A big risk turned into a big reward. Jim never gave up on his dream and it turned into a reality.  

 

You Will Hear About….

  • Jim’s talks about a lecture that he gave at his old high school, Natick High School
  • Jim’s assured confidence that his future was in music
  • The story about Larrie Londin
  • What Nashville is actually like as a music city and advice on approaching it if you just moved there hoping to create a career for yourself
  • The Nashville number system
  • Jim’s story about when he first moved to Nashville and how he eventually got the gig with Rascal Flatts
  • Jim’s advice for musicians who haven’t yet hit their target and definition of success
  • Jim’s new book releasing soon “Improvisational Tools for the Modern Drummer”

 

Why Should You Listen?

Jim Riley is living proof that if you want something badly, you can achieve it through hard work and perseverance. Sometimes it is nice to be reminded that the success we desire is obtainable with enough effort put forward. That is a big message behind this episode.

You will also have a great explanation of the Nashville number system if you have ever been confused by other explanations or haven’t yet heard of what that is about. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMIQG9heAXg

 

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Dec 1, 2019

“Well, I don’t wanna sound like that guy but I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life!”

Gregg Bissonette has enjoyed an amazing career in music. The Detroit native has had the pleasure of playing with such artists as David Lee Roth, Ringo Starr, Maynard Ferguson, Carlos Santana, Don Henley, his brother Matt and many others. As you can probably tell based on those names alone, Gregg is incredibly versatile musically. Beyond that though, Gregg is also known for being down to earth, professional, comical, and friendly. All of these attributes have certainly helped him in sustaining his life in music.

Gregg proudly endorses Dixon Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth drumsticks, Remo Drumheads, DW Drum pedals, Samson Audio, LP Percussion, Audix Mics, Gregg Bissonette signature stick bag by Kaces, XL Specialty road cases, Beato drum bags, LT lug locks.

 

You Will Hear About….

  • Gregg’s experience recording lessons at Drumeo
  • Some advice he received from his parents at a young age
  • Why we need to love and accept everybody
  • Gregg’s experiences with being a dad
  • Gregg and Matt’s first band together “Today’s People” and how beneficial and enjoyable it has been for them to perform music together over the years
  • Gregg talks about his state of happiness and the importance of being positive
  • Who is Skippy Skuffleton?
  • How Gregg got into voice over work
  • Gregg shares some priceless advice for working drummers

 

Why Should You Listen?

Gregg’s name has come up before in DrumeoGab interviews and it always seems to come back to the same overall message. Besides the fact that Gregg is a great guy, it boils down to his great experiential advice that he provides the pros with. When he speaks, you listen. So, with that being said we have an hour of that here. It’s great fundamental wisdom that you can’t go wrong with.

From the importance of being positive, grateful, professional, able, down to earth, helpful and versatile. It is all here. There is a particularly strong message in there where he talks about other people who can try to rob you of your happiness and why we should just stay in our lane and keep working on being the best version of ourselves. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfabTGZjCEQ

 

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Nov 24, 2019

“You just keep working and you have short-term goals. For me, it was a very slow up-hill climb.”

Glen Sobel, an L.A. born and raised drummer, is a familiar name within the industry. He has held the gig with Alice Cooper for over eight years and has also been working with Hollywood Vampires, featuring Alice, Joe Perry, and Johnny Depp! That is quite a heavy list of names, isn’t it? Beyond that, he has also toured with Chris Impellitteri, Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson's guitarist), Tony Macalpine, Gary Hoey, Warner Bros recording act Beautiful Creatures (Ozzfest tour), Cypress Hill and many others.

Glen has a reputation as being a quick study. He can learn a whole set of live material in a day or track an entire album worth of material on very short notice. He has a method of creating a cheat sheet that has helped him achieve such remarkable results and maintain his successful career over many years. Two examples of where he was thrown in the fire were when he subbed for Vasco Rossi’s Matt Laug and also Tommy Lee of Motley Crue. Both of these gigs were sudden and forced him to learn and execute material quickly.

I was excited to speak to Glen because of his pistol hot reputation as a hired gun. It is a fiercely competitive career and Glen has proven his worth over and over again. I thought that having Glen speak about his expertise on the podcast would bring a lot of value to anyone who either is already slugging it out in this role or those who are just beginning their journey. There is a lot of useful and promising advice in this episode for our community.

 

You Will Hear About….

  • Glen talks about his first band ever, Bourbon Street.
  • Us talking about how deep interest and passion in something can lead to success over time.
  • CBG’s (Character Building Gigs).
  • When is it time to move on or stay on board to see if what you envision becomes reality.
  • The advice and mentorship that Gregg Bissonette has provided Glen with.
  • How Glen prepared and executed some major sub in gigs. We’re talking about Matt Laug and Tommy Lee.
  • Glen’s neck injury several years ago and what he does now to preserve himself and also future proof his career.
  • If Glen couldn’t play drums anymore, what else would he do?
  • How real is the rock n’ roll image? Is it just an image?
  • Are there too many samples in modern rock music?
  • Are typical bar gigs for 50 people better or worse than playing sold out arenas with Alice Cooper?

 

Why Should You Listen?

To have a lengthy conversation with one of rock music’s finest hired guns in the business is a rare opportunity. I felt it was paramount to have him share his first-hand experiences being a hired gun. It is so that all of you can both have a better vantage point to the real side of this industry. You could get caught up with dreams and visions of a life better than your own and maybe something like what Glen does is the answer; in your mind.  

I wanted to both demystify this fantasy and also provide helpful tips for working drummers told through the vast experiences that Glen has had. I think that we managed to create a fine episode that will serve listeners on a very practical level.

 

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Nov 17, 2019

“When I got there I definitely had to compose myself.”

Pat Petrillo is a world-class drummer and educator from New Jersey who has been featured many times on Drumeo live and pre-recorded lessons, satellite instruction, and development of the P4 practice pad. Besides his vast library of lessons with Drumeo, Pat is one of the pioneers of educational media content. His very first video, “Snare Drum Rudiments” was, in fact, one of the first instructional videos ever produced. He would later create his DVD/Book, “Hands, Grooves, and Fills”.

In addition to his vast contributions to drum education, he is also an incredibly versatile performer who is capable of blending into nearly any situation with authenticity. He has performed with Gloria Gaynor, Patti LaBelle, Dee-Lite, Patti Smythe, and Glen Burtnik. He also has performed many times on Broadway in New York City including such shows as “A Chorus Line”, “Grease”, “Footloose” and “Dreamgirls”.

I was first introduced to Pat at NAMM this year (2019) and we had discussed the idea of having an interview. We decided to wait because Pat had a very special project in the works. He was recording an album with his NYC Big Rhythm Band covering a cherry-picked selection of Beatles tunes. The drums were recorded at the legendary Abbey Road studios exactly where Ringo would have tracked drums many years ago. So Pat and I got together to talk about this experience.

 

You Will Hear About….

  • The album cover of Abbey Road and the coincidence that took place for Pat’s album cover.
  • Pat’s initial reaction to being at Abbey Road studios.
  • Details about the recording process at Abbey Road studios.
  • Pat reflecting on his love for The Beatles music and how this project means so much to him.
  • Pat’s thoughts on how musicians are undervalued by consumers of music.
  • How drum videos online can end up having no value other than to impress others and gain notoriety among other drummers.
  • Whether Pat would trade places with a young drummer in this generation in favor of his generation and upbringing.
  • How do we maintain intensity without the intensity of volume?
  • Being a responsible musician and not an irresponsible drummer on the bandstand.

 

Why Should You Listen?

Given the fact that Pat is an educator, it becomes almost unavoidable that he will educate people during an interview. Not necessarily “how to” stuff but instead a “why you should” approach, or “why you shouldn’t” for that matter. There is a lot of that stuff in here. It is also really inspiring to hear about his travels to Abbey Road and those days spent in a studio that Pat would only have dreamt about recording in as a child.


Music used in this episode:

Pat Petrillo NYC Big Rhythm Band - The Abbey Road Sessions

Magical Mystery Tour

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLRKons5zzo

 

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Nov 10, 2019

"My favourite playing that I’ve ever done is when I’m in this space of no-mind."

Eric Slick is an accomplished musician from Philadelphia who is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He is the drummer for the band Dr. Dog and his past credentials include, The Adrian Belew Power Trio, Ween, and Natalie Prass. Besides playing drums for Dr. Dog, Eric also has his own solo project, aptly named Eric Slick, and his punk band Lithuania.

Eric discovered his sense of creativity at a very young age. He and his sister, Julie, would write songs about low budget movie posters and perform these songs for their parents in the living room. To aid this outlet, Eric’s father taught Eric and Julie how to overdub recordings with two boomboxes daisy-chained together. From what I gather, the Slick household was a creative one.

At the age of eleven, Eric discovered Paul Green at the Griffin Cafe. Paul is the creator of the now-famous School of Rock. Throughout Eric’s pre-teen/teen years, he would play drums at the School of Rock, while Julie joined later to play bass. At the School of Rock, they learned a broad range of music ranging from Pink Floyd to Frank Zappa. Towards the end of Eric and Julie's time spent at the School of Rock, Paul had suggested to Adrian Belew that Eric and Julie were his best students and thus Adrien hired them to play in his trio.

Eric has had many twists and turns throughout his professional career. He is a vastly deep musician with the desire to explore his creativity to the fullest degree. Releasing solo works “Palisades” and “Bullfighter” it is clear that Eric is not limited to simply one musical role and that his artistry beckons for more. In this interview, we explore many of Eric’s philosophies, stories, and personal growth throughout his life.


You Will Hear About….

  • Eric’s introduction to the School of Rock.
  • Why he left the Adrien Belew Power Trio.
  • How Eric wrote Palisades and why he left Philly.
  • Eric’s experiences with his dream therapist.
  • Eric’s interpretation on my dream.
  • Overcoming panic attacks and how they affected him.
  • Why to go with the flow of life.


Why Should You Listen?

If you are a fan of Eric Slick and Dr. Dog then you will find this to be interesting because of the depth that we go into. If you have never heard of Eric before, you will likely still find this to be an enjoyable podcast episode and may hear echoes of previous episodes in it.

There is a common theme lately with the podcast. That is we need to let go of our egos and expectations. We need to go with the flow of life instead of man-handling it into what we think we want it to be. Stop overthinking. Be present with what you are currently doing. Be kinder to yourself.

The big picture of what we are here to do is such an important and valid topic. This episode continues to explore these concepts and shed more light on this vast subject.


Music used in this episode:

Eric Slick - Out Of Habit

Release

Broken Down Volvo

Eric Slick - Palisades

Evergreen


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Nov 3, 2019

"It doesn’t matter where you are. It doesn’t matter who you are playing with. Stand out and be the best you can be."

Brian Tichy is an incredible drummer who stands out in the hard-rock and classic rock genres. Most notably he has performed with Whitesnake, Billy Idol, Ozzy Osbourne, Sass Jordan, Foreigner, Dead Daisies and many others. His projects include the brand new Silverthorne and past project with Sass Jordan, S.U.N. Besides his work as a musician, he also took on the role of organizing Bonzo Bash. This is a party event that he came up with years ago where he and other drummers pay tribute to John Bonham by performing Led Zeppelin tunes. This event has brought quite a buzz along with it over the years where some famous drummers, including one of Tichy’s biggest influences, Peter Criss, came out to partake in the fun.

Brian has also appeared on Drumeo where he breaks down some of the most famous Bonham grooves, tasty triplet licks for rock drumming and more! There is a link below to check out five essential Bonham licks! Brian is a human encyclopedia for classic rock music and specifically Led Zeppelin. Very few can come as close as Brian to sounding like the greatest rock drummer of all time, IMO.


You Will Hear About….

  • Brian breaks down twelve different famous guitar riffs.
  • Is Brian doing Bonzo Bash again in January? Brian also explains all of what goes into creating an event like that.
  • The distinct differences between the side-man role versus bandleader/event organizer.
  • Brian’s new band Silverthorne and what their action plan is to bring this band to the public.
  • Brian’s thoughts on click-tracks in the studio, quantizing drum parts, autotune and why he thinks the industry went in this direction.


Why Should You Listen?

A lot of DrumeoGab episodes go deep and often have a heavy tone within the conversations. This episode with Brian Tichy has a lighter vibe and gets into our mutual love for classic rock and the good old days of what was considered pop music. Along with that conversation comes Brian’s thoughts on the current state of audio recording in popular music and essentially how the human component is being removed little by little.

There is also some great insight into what goes into planning events or running a band. So for anyone out there who is wishing to walk the more entrepreneurial path of the music industry, there may be some very helpful insights within this episode for you.


Music used in this episode:

Silverthorne - Tear the Sky Wide Open

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aEz6B7wRfA&t=109s

 

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Oct 27, 2019

“All the decisions you make have brought you to where you are at this point in your life. You have to live with that.”

Ryan Van Poederooyen is a drummer, public speaker, and drum instructor from Vancouver, Canada. Ryan is best known as the drummer of the former bands Devin Townsend Band and later the Devin Townsend Project. Ryan essentially took over the reins of the drum throne from the legendary drummer Gene Hoglan, who played with Devin in Strapping Young Lad. Since then, Ryan has recruited a supergroup of musicians to create Imonolith. Ryan expects that their debut release will become available in 2020.

Besides drumming, Ryan is a huge advocate of motivating human beings. He has an incredibly strong message that empowers people to rise to their greatness. He has a very unapologetic and realistic take on how our decision making leads us to our current reality. Ryan also promotes goal setting, physical and mental health, doubling down on your dreams and above all, working hard.

I believe that this conversation with Ryan will speak loudly to listeners. This is an incredibly powerful interview that reminds us all that we all have one chance in life to make something happen. We need to set ourselves up for success in activities and career paths that can enrich our lives and help us become better people. Don’t sleep on this one!

You Will Hear About….

  • Our first experiences with Sonor drums
  • Ryan’s dog Frodo and a funny story about Dave Atkinson’s dog Guinness.
  • Ryan’s new band Imonolith.
  • How we can live with our decisions.
  • Can we invest in maybes?
  • Ryan’s goal setting formula called “The Four-Fives”

 

Why Should You Listen?

This episode has so much value in it I can’t even begin to explain. You could spend hundreds of dollars to get this type of information from a person like Ryan. Would you ask the right questions to get the right answers? You can leave that to me. This conversation goes so far beyond drumming. This is about our lives and how to make the most of it.

Music used in this episode:

The Devin Townsend Project - UNIVERSE IN A BALL!

Imonolith - Hollow

 

CLICK HERE TO CLAIM YOUR GIFT FROM RYAN! 

9 Steps to Living a Life of Purpose

 

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Oct 20, 2019

“When somebody good, or something good comes around the world doesn’t trust it and they destroy what they don’t understand.”

Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett is one of the most important drumming figures in pop music. He has had an unbelievable career with even more unbelievable beginnings. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Jonathan began playing drums as a child. He and his two older brothers all played in a band together for a few years until eventually Jonathan was fired because he couldn’t get into the nightclubs to play that his brothers wanted to perform in. This disenchanted Jonathan a great deal but would prove that this was just the beginning of an incredible life of music.

His whole story is something divine or something we might read in a fairy tale. He was in association with Michael Jackson up until the time of Michael’s death in 2009. Jonathan was with Michael on the last night that he was alive on this earth. It was a thirty-year working relationship and brotherly friendship and I am almost certain that we will never hear of something like that happening again.

Jonathan has also performed with Madonna, Sir Elton John, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, and many others. His resume is something of epic proportions and he shares so much wisdom in this episode that helps us understand why that may have been.

You Will Hear About….

  • How Jonathan got his name “Sugarfoot”.
  • How Jonathan got the Jackson gig.
  • Jonathan’s beliefs on what is intended for us.
  • The multiplicity effect drumming has on our brains.
  • Michael Jackson’s compassion for all life.
  • How Jonathan feels since Michael’s passing.
  • Jonathan’s thoughts and feelings towards the allegations and controversy surrounding Michael Jackson.

 

Why Should You Listen?

This episode contains things that are incredibly inspiring and also educational, which makes it a great episode. It also contains a lot of great stories from the legendary career that Jonathan has experienced so far. However, what Jonathan has to say regarding Michael’s passing and the allegations and controversy makes this episode important. I have read and heard numerous interviews with Jonathan and no one goes there with Jonathan. It is some incredibly strong subject matter and difficult to ask as a host. But we went there.

I must say though, given the amount of time Jonathan spent with Michael, he is a very credible person to speak about this stuff. He is both neutral and knowledgeable about what Michael was really like as a person. I believe that anyone who hears this episode will have a sense of confirmation that Michael was a better human being than most of us can fathom.


Music used in this episode:

Michael Jackson - Thriller

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRGTT4Y6LnA

 

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Oct 13, 2019

“The artistic thing needs to happen. Along with being great parents we just can’t live any other way. I can’t live any other way.”

Dan Weiss is a musician from Brooklyn, NYC who is a drummer, tabla player, and composer. He leads his projects Starebaby, his jazz trio, Fourth Floor, and collaborations with Ari Hoenig and Miles Okazaki.

As well as being a sideman in very high demand, he is also a bandleader and composer. He composes through piano, electric bass, and drum set to create these incredibly moody, complex, rich and compelling works that have a distinct presence to them.

Dan also studies tabla with Samir Chatterjee. This study with Samir has been going on for over twenty years. 

In this interview, you will hear Dan’s complete and total honesty. Dan provided an analysis based on his answers in this interview. The results were,

Honesty = 98.9%

Answers on the whole = 87.3%


You Will Hear About….

  • Dan’s creative process with composing and some details on the new Starebaby record.
  • Dan’s discusses the book You Are Not Your Brain and how he has benefited from this book.
  • How Dan's Guru, Samir Chatterjee, teaches him by example.
  • How Dan adapted to being a father and what he has learned from his daughter.
  • If Dan ever thinks about the future state of the world.
  • If we as adults lose the child-like "specialness" of life.
  • Practicing in your mind vs on the drums.


Why Should You Listen?

I am usually very satisfied with these podcast episodes that I create. But sometimes when they are finished, I have an incredible feeling of connectivity to the work. It is remarkable how much Dan and I related to each other in this one. There was a great sense of honesty, openness and human rawness in this conversation.

Dan and I cover a lot of deep topics that apply directly to the artist’s mind and heart. How do we know when our work is done or if it is any good? How do we obsess over detail, without it suffocating us in the process? These are some of the questions raised in this one. I recommend listening deeply and focused with this one to get the full effect.

 

Music used in this episode:

Dan Weiss Trio - Timshel

Prelude

Always Be Closing

Dan Weiss - Starebaby

Veiled

 

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Oct 6, 2019

“We live to learn; to grow.”

Justin Brown is a world-class bi-coastal musician originally from Oakland, California. He has gained a notable reputation as both a bandleader for his project, Nyeusi, as well as a sideman for Thundercat, Ambrose Akinmusire, Christian McBride, Kenny Garrett, Esperanza Spalding among others.

Justin grew up with gospel music, as his mother, Nona is a gospel singer and pianist. Music chose Justin, not the other way around. As he explains in this interview, his mother would feel Justin kicking to the beat as she played her music when she was pregnant with him. He attended Berkeley High School and attended a summer music program for several years. Both he and Ambrose went to the same school and began their friendship there.

Justin eventually would receive a fully paid scholarship to attend the esteemed music school, Juilliard. This lasted for one day. Justin was offered to tour and also felt that for him to grow he had to experience music in the real world instead of being subjected to more traditional methods of education. Essentially, he wanted to form his ideas about music on his terms.

To my knowledge, this is the first-ever podcast episode featuring Justin. He has received a lot of positive press concerning his debut album, Nyeusi, but until now we have not heard him speak on a podcast about his life, career, and artistic process.

You Will Hear About….

  • Justin’s early formative years with music.
  • Does natural talent exist?
  • Justin’s beliefs on giving back.
  • The importance of patience.
  • The costs involved in getting where he is with his craft.
  • Justin’s approach to leading his own band Nyeusi.
  • How to maintain control of yourself when we become overloaded with sensation during a performance.
  • Justin’s thoughts on improvised music.
  • Why we should abandon the security of being a big fish in a small pond.


Why Should You Listen?

This episode is a reminder of why we must remain humble in the pursuit of knowledge and our greatness. It can be easy to become disenchanted with all of what we don’t understand and feeling defeated that we can’t reach our fullest potential.

Justin is a world-class musician who has devoted his life to music. Just listen to how sincerely humble he is. Justin is a fantastic example of a person who understands the importance of learning, giving back, being honest, working hard and exercising patience. We can all use this message to check ourselves from time to time.

 

Music used in this episode:

 

NYEUSI

Lesson 1: Dance

Lots for Nothin’

Lesson 2: Play

Waiting on Aubade

Entering Purgatory

Jupiter’s Giant Red Spot

Burniss

Circa 45

 

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Sep 29, 2019

“I’m in awe of what we all are as human beings and what we all have the capacity to do.”

Gary Husband has had an interesting and varied career it would seem. He began playing with Allan Holdsworth in the late 70’s — 79’ if I am not mistaken — John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham, Todd Sucherman, Randy Brecker and the list goes on and on. The man has experienced so much as a musician and so to have him on this podcast was certainly an honor.

Gary began playing piano at a young age and was classically trained. There was a lot of theory, practice and no shortage of confinement. It wasn’t until he found the drums that he saw freedom. I wonder if freedom to express came more easily on the piano after he had spent time learning the drums? Either way, he is brilliant on both instruments and is recognized for his ability which is apparent given the company he keeps.

Aside from being a sideman for so many unbelievable artists, Gary is also a bandleader and has released many works under his name and other project-based recordings. One such band was Gary Husband’s Drive which released a record called “Hotwired”. With that record, Gary wanted to pay a little nod to some of the drumming greats who were bandleaders as well who influenced him. He also recorded an album where he interpreted Allan Holdsworth's music and one where he interpreted John McLaughlin. I highly recommend checking these out as well as “A Meeting of Spirits”.

 

You Will Hear About….

  • Gary’s new video cast series and some of the philosophies within it and why he decided to make it.
  • Not seeing yourself for who you really are.
  • Using our intuition to be responsible but also free in music.
  • Why having a personality prone to serving others makes for a better musician.
  • Are there aspects about being a musician that can’t be taught?
  • How musicians can find enjoyment in music they don’t enjoy playing.
  • Managing our expectations.

 

Why Should You Listen?

This is a conversation with one of the finest musicians in the world. With that being said, I think that this is more than worth your time to check out. We get deep with topics that are hard to quantify and explain but we try to make sense of what he, and to a lesser extent, I understand. It is nice to have this type of conversation with someone as warm and thoughtful as Gary. This conversation encourages us to think more for ourselves.

That is what I feel this episode brings forward. It’s a couple of perspectives about some things that we as musicians experience but may find difficulty expressing into words. But what is important is that we decide for ourselves what we want out of this and pursue that was honest intentions.

 

Music used in this episode:

Gary Husband’s Drive: Hotwired

Angel’s Over City Square

Heaven In My Hands

 

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Sep 22, 2019

“People talk about what makes money as if it’s the same thing as being good!”

Damani and Somadhi (AKA Stixx) are the people behind the very popular DrumTrax app. With nearly 40,000 users, together they have created an exceptional service for drummers all over the world to jam to tracks created for FREE! They also host their podcast called “Drum Code” where they have had guests such as Eric Moore II and Devin Sumner. In addition to guest interviews, they often have solo shows where they explore deep subject matter that many of us likely consider regularly. They are also involved musically together in their band called Mino Yanci.

They also offer lessons through their DrumTrax YouTube channel where both Stixx and Damani share lessons and concepts to consider and apply within your drumming.

I have seen their tracks being used for online content all over social media for quite some time now. Very recently, Juan Carlito Mendoza performed and taught lessons at Drumeo. One of the tracks Juan performed to was, in fact, a tune composed by Damani titled “Odd Movements”. This tune is one among many drumless tracks featured within the DrumTrax app.

 

You Will Hear About….

  • The origins of the DrumTrax app, which takes us all the way back to Mike Johnston’s DrumLab.
  • Smoke and mirrors. What we see online vs what things really are.
  • Musicians who work hard at their craft in hopes of earning a lot of money vs for the sake of art.
  • Damani’s belief that by proclaiming you are a “pocket drummer” is a limiting belief.
  • The Dunning-Kruger effect.
  • Facing your own insecurities and dealing with them.
  • Managing your expectations with making music/performing.
  • Learning how to become an instrument of creativity.
  • The importance of serving through music.

 

Why Should You Listen?

This episode is FILLED with inspiration. Stixx and Damani share their points of view on intentions with art. They express their discontent for anyone who explores music for the sake of money and fame. We talk about insecurities, managing our expectations and why we shouldn’t stop developing once we feel we have learned enough.

Towards the end of this episode, the conversation is truly impactful. We talk about how music and creativity flow through us and that we must allow that to happen without getting in the way. It gets a bit spiritual but from where I view this, and them too, making art IS about spirituality. It may not seem that way for everyone. For some, it may just be about learning, executing, listening, and essentially being a team player. But for some, it goes deeper than that. In my experiences music has always moved me in a way that I have difficulty explaining. It is powerful and it is a blessing that should be held with high esteem.

By learning and developing skills, it allows us to respond to what comes through us. As Paul Wertico said numerous times in a recent episode, “the music plays me”. I believe that you will powerfully receive this message. This and many other parts of the conversation struck a strong response from these gentlemen and myself.

 

Music used in this episode:

An assortment of DrumTrax app tracks

 

DrumTrax’s Socials

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Drumeo Gab’s Socials

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Sep 15, 2019

“For me, I agree that we don’t want to be a novelty”

Sam is the drummer of melodic death/thrash metal band Dead Asylum and writer for Drumeo. She has toured a lot in her twenty years of playing the drums, including Europe and all over North America. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Sam now lives in Montreal where she works from home and can take her work life on the road as well.

I asked Sam to be on the show for a couple of reasons. One being the fact that we actually work together. She is the person who takes these show notes and posts them to Drumeo Beat each week. We frequently email due to our work but have never had a conversation, so I thought to myself, “why not establish that connection over a podcast!?” The other reason is because I have interviewed only a handful of women on this show and I want to feature more women on this podcast.

Sam exhibits a great deal of professionalism through her drumming and her writing. Her career is a fantastic example of the modern drummer fusing more than one skill into creating a sustainable career within this often difficult industry.

Sam endorses Sabian Cymbals, Mapex Drums and Los Cabos Drumsticks.

 

You Will Hear About….

  • The reality of being a female drummer
  • Why Sam chose drums and about her formative years as a drummer
  • External vs Internal motivation
  • Risk vs reward
  • Being an eternal student with music
  • Metalhead culture
  • Perfectionism
  • Living with your own work for long periods of time

 

Why Should You Listen?

I think that in many people’s minds there is an elephant in the room when it comes to female drummers. Maybe a couple. Both are addressed in this episode. One being the reality of being a female drummer in an industry that is - and has largely been - dominated by men for many years. What do these women have to put up with from the ignorance of both women and men? It must become incredibly frustrating to hear such things as, “oh, you must be the singer!”, or “oh how nice, is this snare drum a gift for your boyfriend?” It hasn’t quite become a thing yet where when people see a woman carrying drum equipment that it might actually belong to them. Imagine that!

The other point mentioned is in regards to objectifying women. Again, it is a male dominated industry. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many people watching women play drums are men. I think you know where I am going with this — don’t you? Yes, the age old saying, “men are pigs”, while it shouldn’t be a generalization, still holds for many men. Sam shares the odd requests that she receives privately from guys. It does enforce the saying mentioned above and, unfortunately, she is treated this way. While the frequency of these requests aren’t disclosed, the fact that it happens at all is disappointing. I hope that the men who listen to this show, which is the majority audience, considers this and if they do happen to see something online publicly that is unacceptable that something is said to prevent this from happening more than it already does.

 

Music used in this episode:

Dead Asylum - Death Always Wins

 

Sam’s Socials

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Drumeo Gab’s Socials

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Sep 8, 2019

“Can you become a better person and simultaneously help your surroundings and improve other people’s lives? Then you got it all figured out! Now just keep doing that day in day out and enjoy it. That’s how you live a good life, I think.”

Siros Vaziri is a Swedish drummer and entrepreneur. He is one of the very few who have managed to exist on social media and turn his online presence into a business within the drumming community. With a highly engaged audience on Instagram and Facebook, Siros has painstakingly ensured that he inspires his audience to find more productivity and personal growth in their lives.

His original concept, “Fill Of The Day”, blew up gaining him a tremendous audience. This method of direct teaching was just the beginning of his journey of creating an online business. He then began creating a la carte products that contained lessons that pushed the level of quality up from his regular social media posts. Since then, he has been gigging, hosting drum camps at his studio, diving headfirst into physical fitness and nutrition, and most recently his newest endeavor “Daily Drum Bites” which is a subscription-based service.

Siros never ceases to amaze me due to his dedication to his path. He is constantly evolving and showing us the power of proper social media management and entrepreneurship. For someone in their early twenties, Siros is a fantastic role model for all people in this community.  He demonstrates that if we stick to something, over time a net positive result is possible.

Siros endorses Tama, Meinl Cymbals, Evans and Promark.

 

You Will Hear About….

  • Siros’ new subscription service “Daily Drum Bites”
  • How people connect with online branding
  • The reality of subscriber/follower counts vs paying customers and super fans
  • Thoughts about why people place such a low value on online media
  • Smartphone addiction and the benefits to disciplined usage and mono tasking
  • Siros’ average screen time on his smartphone
  • The virtues of social media and communicating with our audience
  • Siros’ journey to healthier living through good nutrition and exercise
  • The long-term virtues of investing in yourself even when it doesn’t give you a direct monetary return

 

Why Should You Listen?

This episode contains a lot of conversations that are often avoided in our community. I have been asked personally by aspiring content creators on how to start something like a podcast. Almost every single time the idea of monetization is brought into question. I always suggest to people that this is not the thing we need to aspire towards. Consider the early stages of content creating a free education rather than giving things away. Eventually, you will learn a lot about how this is done and perhaps an opportunity will come as a result. But most importantly you must LOVE what you are doing and treat it as a nice hobby in the beginning.

Another part of this conversation that really bears tremendous value is the topic of mono-tasking within a world of smartphone addiction. It is true that many of us have an issue with ignoring our phones because they are always calling us. I personally feel that our quality of life becomes deeply affected by this addiction. There is nothing wrong with the phones themselves and in many cases, it is a tremendously powerful and helpful technology to make our lives more interesting and engaging. But we MUST maintain a sense of discipline of ourselves when it comes to this. Between these two topics alone, this podcast is something you really need to check out.

 

Siros’ Socials

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Drumeo Gab’s Socials

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Sep 1, 2019

“I feel pretty fearless because of all the crazy stuff I’ve done. But it’s also just trust and life is life and you kinda just go with the flow. And that is what makes life interesting ya know? If it’s predictable then I think you lose the now.”

Paul Wertico is a performer, teacher, bandleader, and clinician. He is a seven time Grammy award winner, Readers Poll winner for Modern Drummer magazine and DRUM! Magazine, 2004 Chicago Tribune “2004 Chicagoan of the Year” among many other lifetime accolades. He is most famously known as Pat Metheny’s drummer for 18 years but should not be pigeon-holed into only that role. He is also a bandleader for his Paul Wertico Trio and improvisational trio Wertico, Cain, and Grey. He is highly experimental with his approach and the instruments he tends to use during his performances including bizarre cymbals, kitchen sinks, and other strange percussion instruments. Claiming that “music plays me”, Paul is a devout musician who lives for the moment of what music can bring.

In this episode, we will hear about many of his deep philosophies on performing on the drums, how the human element of imperfection brings out the real beauty in art, how we can become more confident and rooted in what we as artists connect with, and much more!

Paul endorses DW Drums, ProMark, Remo and Shure.

 

You Will Hear About….

  • Paul’s adventures in Russia, Spain, Italy and China this summer. 
  • Paul’s high energy levels at the age of 66 even after recently needing surgery for two heart stints. He left for Spain three days later.
  • The time Paul flew a Robin aircraft as a reward for getting a fan an extra Pat Metheny ticket.
  • The grey areas in music and art that brings life and character to any given work.
  • Letting the music play you.
  • What a “front beat” is.
  • How we as drummers can tap into what connects us to our playing confidently.
  • Learning how to judge what your playing ACTUALLY sounds like while you play.

 

Why Should You Listen?

People should pay close attention to his philosophies about the relationship between life and the flow of it in particular. If there are musicians out there that have a lot of knowledge and understanding of vocabulary but feel like they aren’t allowing their creativity to flow out of them, you will find this episode particularly helpful. He also shares his perspectives on phrasing ideas with his coined term “front beat” and how that can bring forward a stronger sense of time and pulse within the music.

Beyond that, Paul is simply a nice person to listen to. He is incredibly thoughtful, filled with great stories to enhance his perspectives, and is incredibly experienced with this art form. He has been featured on many podcasts in the past, so if this episode interests you, I would recommend checking out any other podcasts that he has been a guest on.

 

Music featured in this episode:

 

“Another Side” - Paul Wertico Trio

 

A Slow Stroll Round a Black Hole

Ain’t No Thing

The Noisy Neighbour

O Man

 

“Short Cuts: 40 Improvisations” - Wertico, Cain & Grey

 

Exploring

The Creator

Always

In a Sea of Souls

 

Photo cred: George Burrows “Drummer Photographer”

 

Paul’s Socials

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Drumeo Gab’s Socials

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Aug 25, 2019

“For every ten good comments I get one hater. And by hater, I mean like HATER”

Kristina Schiano is easily one of the world’s biggest YouTubers in the drum industry. Currently, as I write this, she has amassed a subscriber count of 856,352!! That is incredible, isn’t it? As she explains in the interview, she feels that her audience has watched her grow up on the internet. Her channel has received over 80 million views and over the last five years, her channel has exploded gaining over one thousand new subscribers daily.

Kristina has been open and true to her audience by expressing her bouts of panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. She has become a beacon of hope for anyone else who may be experiencing the deliberating effects of mental health issues. She is living proof that your dreams can still be obtained and realized regardless of what is happening internally.

With her YouTube channel, she mainly focuses on drum covers of popular music and has managed to hit view counts well into the millions more than once. However, she doesn’t earn income from these cover videos due to copyright protection, so she has become crafty in converting some of her audience into Patreon members, she runs a music school, and has many relationships in the industry including companies like SJC Drums, Vater Drumsticks, Zildjian Cymbals, and Remo Percussion.

 

You Will Hear About….

  • Kristina’s new SJC limited edition signature drum.
  • How producing content in a studio is different than producing content at home.
  • What it is actually like to be a YouTuber.
  • How to deal with haters in YouTube comments.
  • Social media perfection.
  • Whether you should you start a YouTube channel.
  • How creating content has helped Kristina with her anxiety and depression.

 

Why Should You Listen?

There are many reasons why this episode is worth listening to. For example, have you ever thought about what it is like to be a YouTube celebrity? Would you expect it to be a simple matter of making a video, posting it, receiving tons of views, make tons of money, and repeat? What if I told you that she spends most of her time on a computer sending emails, patrolling the comments section of her YouTube channel and editing her videos? The truth is, she has very little time at all to play the drums. Whenever she films a new video is the only time she plays.

A big topic that needs more awareness is cyberbullying. With a big channel like Kristina's, you can only imagine what she has to read so that you don't have to. Given her battles with panic attacks, anxiety and depression, I had to ask how those comments affect her. I think that there is a lot for people to relate to in the latter part of the episode. We both talk about our experiences with depression. If this means something to you, I think there is the inspiration in our conversation that can help convince a person that things can change.

Kristina’s Socials

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Drumeo Gab’s Socials

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Aug 18, 2019

“Being in the hospital for a twelve-year-old kid day in day out. It was kinda like a nightmare.”

Ray Levier’s story behind how he became a drummer is among the most inspirational that you will ever hear. Based out of Nyack, New York, Ray’s career is divided up between being a sideman, teacher, clinician, public speaker and composer for TV and his musical projects. When you listen to Ray play, you wouldn’t know that he was involved in a serious accident that almost claimed his life. When he was twelve years old, he and his friends were hanging out in the chicken coop at night (which was a common activity). But on one particular night, a candle fell over and the chicken coop caught fire with Ray inside sleeping. Ray’s brother went back to rescue him from the blazing inferno and from there Ray would spend six grueling months in a burn unit fighting for his life.

His mother told Ray to “think happy thoughts” and for Ray, those happy thoughts were drums and one day being able to play. Through many years of hard work, ingenuity, and practice Ray realized those dreams and has had a long, successful career in music. In this podcast, you will hear his story and many incredible points of view on how to live a fulfilling life and how to face adversity.

 

Episode Outline

  • Ray talks about how his mother told him to “think healing thoughts” when he was a young boy in the burn unit fighting for his life. Ray thought about a chrome Slingerland kit that he saw someone play once and wanted to do that one day too.
  • We hear Ray’s story about how he began taking up the drums after the accident and the incredible mindset he has.
  • Ray shares his perspective on how other people assume that Ray has limitations because of his physical appearance.
  • Hard work followed by honest intentions produces success over time.
  • We discuss the importance of the emulation stage in a drummers life.
  • What powers do we gain as people from enduring trauma?
  • How being present and grateful enhances your drumming and day to day life.

 

Why Should You Listen?

This episode contains a great deal of simplified and pragmatic knowledge on how to live a good life. Yes, we hear about Ray’s story and it paints a picture of what he went through as a child. It is horribly tragic and I can’t imagine what that must have been like for him. Ray acknowledges that it was “basically torture” in the burn unit. I’m sure that the years that followed rehabilitating would be challenging to everyone involved in his recovery. Ray doesn’t feel like a victim at all though. He has such a strong sense of what matters in life because he almost lost his. He is also living proof that limitations are in the mind. He wanted to prove that regardless of what happened to him, he could become a highly capable musician.

During the conversation, Ray kept saying things that resonated so strongly with my own set of values and beliefs. It was like having someone tell me everything that I already think about. The fact that we established this feeling of unity lead us to some incredibly deep subject matter.  

I can assure you that the stuff that we talk about in this episode really works. Listen closely to Ray’s personal story and then the actions he took to grow and heal. It is so simple and obvious. Nothing groundbreaking at all. But sometimes what is obvious is the actual answer you are looking for. This episode has the chance to give you such a massive set of tools to take your state of happiness to a more stable place that can be counted on. I hope you all find tremendous value in this episode and I want to thank Ray for sharing his story and thoughts with us on this one.

 

Music featured in this episode

Ray Levier - Ray’s Way

Ray’s Socials

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Drumeo Gab’s Socials

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Aug 12, 2019

“I’m trying to exist at the crossroads of making content, consuming content and being content.”

Jules Jenssen is an amazing example of a drummer who broadened his skill sets considerably to become incredibly versatile. He is a show-programmer, a playback engineer, incredibly knowledgeable in Ableton, a fantastic drummer and he even studied business education at Harvard University. His creations all take place in his home studio that he calls Shabby Road. The amount of skill sets that he has acquired is astounding and he is hungry to learn more and more.

Earlier this year, Jules decided to start his project called Mad MIDI after attending a workshop in LA to learn more about Ableton and playback stuff. Essentially, Mad MIDI is an incredibly robust Ableton session that Jules builds and then through many triggers and samplers, he articulates everything through the drum set to perform his music that is also accompanied by visuals that are also controlled through the drums. The most well-known person to do something like this is Zach Danziger. So far, Jules has been doing very well with growing this project and performing it live to an enthusiastic audience. You will hear all about the inner workings of Mad MIDI in this episode and I simply cannot do it justice as it is very technical.

I chose Jules to be on the show because he is such a hard worker, focuses heavily on being a craftsman and because I have seen his growth over the last year or so. Very few people that I follow online have learned as much as him and have taken their craft to these heights. Over time making this show, I have always featured “grassroots” musicians on this show that are doing amazing things. I try to focus on a little bit of everything in this community. Not just the famous players that we know and love but also the lesser-known players who deserve attention too. Jules is a shining example of that and I wanted to make more people aware of what he is doing in this industry.

 

Episode Outline

  • We discuss the redeeming qualities of modern pop music and why it is important to listen to music that is rooted in tradition as well.
  • Jules talks about what inspired his “Mad MIDI” project that he has been building and performing.
  • We discuss why it is so important for drummers to be innovative and diverse to build a larger set of skills that extend past the drum set. To only be a great drummer is simply not enough.
  • Jules talks about how he manages his content consumption and uses it to fuel his creativity rather than let it dwindle his motivation and self-esteem.
  • Jules spends up to 350 hours on his Mad MIDI projects to prepare them for presentation. Jules shares his point of view from being the creator and how the audience takes in this media that he spends so much time developing.
  • With Mad MIDI being a very complicated affair, Jules talks about the challenges he has been faced with so far.
  • Jules concludes with a message about how important it is to invest in knowledge and how affirming your path can be incredibly fruitful.

 

Why Should You Listen?

Jules is a very specialized artist that is taking his career in a very different direction than most. It is refreshing to hear the story of a drummer who went the route of programming shows, using Ableton at a very high level, and building this elaborate setup for his Mad MIDI projects. In the episode, Jules talks about this art exhibit where he is collaborating with a sculptor to place environmental sensors on the sculpture. The sensors detect all-weather and produce sounds based on a variety of parameters that Jules programs. Who would have ever thought that a drummer would branch out into the art world in this way?

I always talk about finding gaps and being innovative on this podcast. Jules is an exceptional example of someone finding their place in the music/art world with their unique skills that have taken years to develop. I hope that this episode opens up some minds to show that there are more options available for drummers to forge a career than you might think.

Jules’s Socials

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Drumeo Gab’s Socials

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Aug 4, 2019

“I’m just tryin’ to see the world and get better at drums.”

 

Joel Turcotte is one of two back to back episodes where I am highlighting some exceptional grassroots players. Joel plays for the bands Writing in the Skies and his new band Peak Fiction. He is also involved in a new jazz fusion type trio, which is nameless so far. If you are familiar with Joel’s playing you will know that he has an affinity for “shedding” sessions and odd subdivisions/time.

 

Joel’s day job is teaching and working with special needs people. This opportunity was all due to a Craigslist ad that Joel’s mom found some time ago online. This job provides Joel an outlet to find unique methods to present teaching material to his students. He and his students also perform at senior homes. He feels that life has a weird way in working out sometimes and he values this job because it allows him the chance to follow his passion for music and teaching. 

 

From time to time I like to shine a light on some players who I feel are deserving of an opportunity to be guests on this show. I don’t book them nearly as often these days but I will from time to time because these players are heavily involved in their process to reach their desired goals. Not only do they have interesting stories of how they got to where they are but you can hear it in their voices how immersed they are in their process.

 

Episode Outline

 

  • Do we play better when we aren’t being recorded?
  • How does pressure affect our ability to perform?
  • We share perspectives on how to value the opportunity to play music for a living.
  • Joel works with young adults with special needs during the week teaching them music and life skills. He talks about the challenges he has faced in his job.
  • Does a good teacher adapt to the student in the lessons or does a good teacher convince the student to rise to the teacher’s level?
  • Joel talks about how he has thought about whether or not he feels lucky that he was born into a musical household.
  • The pros and cons of using social media.

 

Why Should You Listen?

 

This episode isn’t meant to be taken as gospel. The point of this episode was to bring up some topics for a conversation to provide some different perspectives into consideration. A lot of times my questions and thoughts force the guest into really giving serious thought to something they may never have thought about before. In some cases, it is very specific to the guests’ specialties and so we get to hear an expert opinion that bears a great deal of wisdom.

 

With this episode though there is much left up in the air with no absolute conclusion to the thoughts and points mentioned. Instead, we look at them, share some ideas with you, and move on. I would encourage everyone who listens to give these points some thought of your own because there is a lot of openness that remains to interpret things in your way. Many of the points are deep and rather interesting.

 

Joel’s Socials

 

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Drumeo Gab’s Socials

 

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Jul 28, 2019

“Elvin Jones is vitamins. You gotta have Elvin Jones at least once a day.”

 

Johnny Vidacovich has been playing music for more than six decades. He is a jazz drummer from New Orleans, Louisiana and you can still find him at the Maple Leaf on any given Thursday night. He has been involved in many classic recordings throughout the years including James Booker’s “Classified”, Professor Longhair’s “Crawfish Fiesta”, John Scofield’s “Flat Out”, among countless others. Given the fact that Johnny has grown up and lived in New Orleans his entire life, he has the second line, syncopated New Orleans sound coursing through his veins. He is a highly respected instructor as well. A couple of his students over the years are none other than Stanton Moore and Brian Blade. It is safe to say that Johnny Vidacovich is one of the greats.

 

Episode Outline

 

  • Johnny takes us back to his humble beginnings with Dunc’s Honky Tonk band that he played with when he was a young boy.
  • Johnny shares his thoughts on how he feels the music industry is today compared to how it used to be.
  • Johnny reflects on his long term working relationship with the great pianist Mose Allison.
  • Several years ago before Johnny was going to set out on a six-week world tour came down with a condition in his hand called “Trigger Thumb”. Johnny shares how he worked around this and his thoughts when it first happened.
  • The Maple Leaf is a club that Johnny has played at for many years. He shares how much that place means to him.
  • Johnny’s wife, Deborah, looks after the back end stuff for Johnny. He talks about how much she has helped him over the years.

 

Why Should You Listen?

 

Well, because Johnny is a legend. To understand what second line drumming is, you must listen to Johnny’s work. To understand what he values as an artist, this episode will lead you closer to that. He has a lifetime’s worth of experience with music and to get an opportunity to hear what it means to him to be a musician is heartwarming. This is an interview that I felt that I needed to capture for the sake of history. I prepared a great deal for this one so that we can hear Johnny’s life story, which is fascinating, to say the least.

 

The title of this episode is “A Concerned Mother” because you can hear directly from Johnny how concerned he is about the state of the industry. And…well he is a mother (which is a term of endearment towards a high-level player…) I just left the last part of it out. But you catch my drift right?

 

This episode will capture your imagination in what times were like for Johnny and how truly humble it all has been. It has always been about the music for Johnny and to hear that in this episode is such a great reminder for so many of us.


Music Used in This Episode

 

“Deb’s Garden” - Vidacovich

 

Johnny’s Socials

 

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Drumeo Gab’s Socials

 

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Jul 21, 2019

“We can’t get passed this. Ya gotta do the work. No matter what you’re doing, if you want success…do the work.” - Dre Energy

Dre Energy is a drummer for the Cirque Du Soleil Quidam show. He has held that gig for roughly six years and the story of how he got that gig is very inspiring. The moral of that story is about why we sometimes need to follow our hearts and go for broke sometimes. Originally, Dre Energy began playing the drums at the age of two. He has also never taken a lesson but of course has utilized any resources available to become the exceptional player that he is today. 

Dre is from Las Vegas, NV but he is almost always somewhere else. The gig with Cirque historically been one that requires Dre to perform some 300 nights per year. In addition to that he is also in high demand internationally for clinics. China seems to be a country that really enjoys Dre in particular. He is also an entrepreneur for his own practice pads, shoes, cymbal line with Samsun and a new innovation that is yet to be released and up until this point, it is something that has been shrouded in mystery. All in all, Dre Energy is a force on the drums and possesses an extremely high work ethic. 

 

Episode Outline

  • We talk about a common feedback from potential entrants of the Cogs Drum Solo Competition that was held on Instagram recently, where myself and Dre were two of six judges in total.
  • Dre and I talk about how we get tagged in content quite often and advise Instagram users to provide context as to why we should watch your content.
  • We discuss endorsements and when they should matter to an artist. Also, Dre shares some advice on looking closely at contract agreements.
  • Should drummers also be entrepreneurs to build a more stable career?
  • Dre speaks some truth about doing the work and having a road map to guide you to success.
  • Dre shares the most popular questions he receives during his clinics.
  • What is the benefit of drinking pickle juice for drummers? 

 

Why Should You Listen?

This episode is packed full of wise and pragmatic advice from a man who has been there and done that. Dre prides himself on telling it as it is. This episode will be helpful for drummers who feel that they need an endorsement to advance their career. This episode clarifies that hard work with direction and focus really is what gets things going in a forward motion. Overall, this episode is geared to inspire, educate, and motivate drummers into a state of progress and clarity.

I also recorded a special monologue at the very beginning of this episode where I talk about having a purpose and a trajectory for your practice routine. I share my own personal story with this and I hope that it puts the fuel in your tank to hit the shed with proper focus to achieve greater results with your craft. If you combine drive and intent with the amazing resources that are available online, including Drumeo, I believe that anyone can become the drummer that they want to become in this life. 


Dre Energy’s Socials

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Drumeo Gab’s Socials

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Jul 14, 2019

Gunnar Olsen is a New York-based musician who performs both live and in the studio very often. He has performed with The Exit, Big Data, Mother Feather, The Goo Goo Dolls, and even the boss. Mr. Bruce Springsteen. You are going to hear all about how that came to be in this interview. He represents C&C drum company, Zildjian Cymbals, Remo Drumheads, Vater Drumsticks, GoPro, Big Fat Snare Drum, Big Ear N.Y.C., Ableton and Reflexx.

 

Becoming a session player

 

Gunnar talks about how back when he was playing with The Exit originally, he believed that what he wanted out of his career was to be a band guy. A rock star type. That was where his head was at. But as he continued on his path with music he started getting calls to do other stuff for other people. Eventually, The Exit fizzled out and by this point, Gunnar was finding himself doing a lot more session-based work. It wasn’t really the goal when he set out to pursue music but it became his experience either way.

 

As Gunnar explains in the interview, he was being taught many important things about how to do a session gig to best suit the music, artist, and the producer. It is a discipline to simplify your playing in order to get a thumbs up from the producer. Is it really necessary to get attached to your performance on the record or to just do what is satisfying everyone else who is involved? This is a very interesting point of the conversation. On the other side of the coin, sometimes it is a great thing to really push the envelope and create something particularly special on the drums. I suppose that is a matter of good judgment, experience, and intuition.

 

In any case, as you will hear in the episode, Gunnar has become a very active player in the New York scene and recording remotely for other people abroad.

 

The Bruce Springsteen thing

 

To lay down drums for the Boss has to be one of the greatest feelings a session player can experience in his/her lifetime. A major triumph and validation that you are doing something right. The tracking for Bruce’s new album “Western Star” happened a few years ago. Gunnar wasn’t sure if the music was ever going to be released, but sure enough this summer it happened. He finally had the chance to tell the world what he had participated in. And you are getting that story told for the first time publicly on this podcast. What a treat!

 

The story of how Gunnar got this gig and the events that took place at Bruce’s home studio at his ranch is larger than life really. You can tell that Gunnar has rehearsed this story by living with it for so long and telling his close buddies in sworn secrecy. I won’t spoil it in this article, but what I will mention is how Gunnar knew how to read a situation and provide what was truly preferred by Bruce. This must be incremental as well considering the other two cats who laid down tracks previously to Gunnar. But a combination of having a producer’s ear for drumming and intuiting a situation based on a keen observation made by Gunnar definitely had to play a role in why you are hearing him on that record. I actually included the tune “Sundown” at the end of this podcast from Bruce’s new record. And yes, that is Gunnar on drums.

 

A producer’s ear

 

I think that this is an often-overlooked “chop” by drummers. We tend to focus on the technical prowess that we possess on our instrument and less often employing a producer’s ear towards what we perform. Music isn’t just about drumming and I realize this isn’t news to many people.

 

What I am getting at though is that many of us, I think anyway, are looking to constantly improve our abilities on the drums and rightly so! But we cannot simply focus on that. We also need to look at how our natural eq is in the mix when we play, what sounds we select for any given song, the effectiveness of our fills that we use and this applies to the grooves that we use too. It all plays a role in the delivery of the music and drums have a lot to do with setting the pace on this stuff. Of course, all of the instruments involved in a piece of music have to be considered, but drums really do have a profound place in this and it isn’t something I hear much discussion about.

 

Like you, I see so many incredible session players who know what to do with this and can fit in nicely with their playing and even inject their distinct sound into a piece of music but we are observing that. So Gunnar and I have a go with this subject and I think there are some valuable nuggets in there for listeners to check out.

 

What should we focus on?

 

Gunnar talks about how he isn’t interested so much in being an engineer. Like any skill, much time is required to become great at something. With time invested in one thing, means that less time can be afforded for other things. Gunnar COULD dive headfirst into engineering but he is far more interested in producing and drumming. Between those two things, he could easily spend a lifetime growing and he just isn’t keen on including engineering into that mix.

 

I think what is important for people to consider is to really hone in on a couple things at a time. Take your time to truly explore a skill and develop it through your honest interest and passion for it. There is no better way to see what is possible within yourself by being selective and intentional like that with learning. I really like that message. It is really easy to get tempted into other things by the vast quantity of tutorials and so on out there but it is common to be really into something for a short while and discover that you aren’t truly into it once the honeymoon phase wears off. Be observant of your level of interest in what you pursue.

 

Music used in this episode:

 

“When Will Today Be Tomorrow” - Gunnar Olsen

“Sundown” - Bruce Springsteen “Western Stars”

 

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Jul 7, 2019

Benny Greb is one of the most celebrated drummers over the last ten years. With his acclaimed educational content such as “The Art and Science of Groove” and “The Language of Drumming”, Benny has been opening up the minds of drummers in a unique way. He currently has another book that is due to launch in Q1 2020. Along with his educational content, Benny is well known for his original music with his Grebfruit albums and his fusion trio Moving Parts. Benny also holds clinics and camps worldwide to expand the knowledge and abilities of drummers. I would imagine it would be an amazing experience for anyone who attends.

 

A Big Opportunity

 

Since running this podcast I have always hoped that one day I would have an opportunity to interview Benny. Any content that I have viewed, Benny stands out to me as an exceptional communicator, teacher, and performer. He would bring up concepts that went further than simply the mechanics of drumming by also implementing the psychological and scientific aspects of how we play. He breaks these concepts down into very understandable smaller parts so that literally anyone can understand it. Looking at Benny’s performances will also very quickly indicate to you that he is very methodical and intentional about his musical decisions and execution. So with all of these ingredients, you might imagine that an interview with Benny would be very eye-opening and an event that I would be very excited to present to all of you. And you would be right — mostly.

 

If you have been listening to DrumeoGab, or in its earlier days, DrumGab, you will know that I like to promote the idea of pursuing your work with integrity and to push yourself to reach greater heights with your art. Stagnation usually leads to boredom. So, I think it is important to step out of your comfort zone and do things to the best of your abilities. With Benny’s interview, I prepped a lot and tried my best to design something a bit different for listeners that would challenge myself with being able to host it. It was all really deep subject matter that brought curiosities forward but I hadn’t fully established my own thoughts on it yet. Instead, I wanted to see what Benny would bring forward and discover what kind of conversation could be had from the questions I had. I also enjoy challenging my guests with these deeper subjects as well.

 

All was going quite well I thought and then towards the end, I asked a question that would end on one word that would essentially ruin the question. The question was whether a drummer should spend their time mastering one to three styles of music or if it is better to know a lot of styles — but just a little bit. Nothing too in-depth or “masterful” so to speak. We as drummers hear a lot of people suggesting that in order to have a better shot at a stable career that we should learn as many styles of music as possible. But how is that information being handled? This is my curiosity. Are people just dipping their toe in styles or are they spending a great deal of time in a style of music and as a result finding their own voice within that style? So the question seemed pretty interesting to me when it is phrased that way. It seems like something people may want some clarification on but I really flubbed the question. I said, “should you half-ass it all?” which is absolutely horrible wording. It also contradicts how I approach this podcast and I personally don’t think that anything should be half-assed whatsoever. But I said it. And instantly, I regretted it.

 

During the interview with Benny, I felt what was best was to just let it pass and try to continue with the interview without having to defend myself at that moment, even though my ego felt the need to pipe up to try and regain some worth. It was tough making a big mistake on the podcast with Benny. I don’t know why the word came out of my mouth. It just kinda popped out of there and before I thought to stutter a bit and readjust my question, I committed instead.  It was this type of catastrophe that I used to worry about happening when I first got into doing this podcast. It is the kind of event that I never wanted to have happened because I am not good at feeling embarrassed and I have a perfectionistic approach with this show. Whenever embarrassment happens I have a tendency to ruminate on my embarrassment and it cuts away at my confidence quite a lot. So what did I learn from this?

 

Growing Pains

 

The episode is titled “Growing Pains” because that is what I had experienced making this one. It connected me again with the fragile side of my ego that has always been a bit soft.

 

Before I continue though, I need to hit rewind a little bit.

 

When I started the podcast people were saying, “it’s really good considering you have practically no experience! Keep doing it!” What does that really mean? Well, I guess translated it means, “it isn’t very good yet but I think it will be good once you learn more about how to do it. Definitely stick with it.” So even from the beginning when I was incredibly uncertain about myself doing this kind of work, people were very gentle with their feedback. As the show grew and I felt that the content was becoming much better, I felt that the feedback was far more natural sounding. People were telling me often how much they look forward to it, that it was making a big difference in their personal lives and with their approach to drumming. The feedback has been really great, with only a few small comments stating otherwise. But that is the thing, I haven’t had much “bad” stuff to deal with while making this show. It has all been very good and it has been easy to feel positive about the work.

 

To clarify, I have also been very careful not to get too comfortable or confident either. Believe me, I still get nervous butterflies with every interview. I always want to hit a home run. It is very tough for me if I feel that I didn’t. This is why I prep so much and pour so much love into the work because I am actually really afraid to fail. That feeling of embarrassment is one of my biggest fears.

 

For my listeners, you must know the following about me. I grew up being incredibly self-conscious. Even something as insignificant as playing a game of basketball as a kid was stressful because I wouldn’t want to trip over the ball, miss a shot, miss a pass, or anything that put me in a place of inferiority to my peers. I didn’t want my teammates to say I was the reason why they lost the game. Overall, I wanted to be accepted. This mental strain actually caused a lot of these “misses” to happen and I felt like the loser on the team. In school, I was always the last person to be picked to be on a team for gym class because most of the kids didn’t like me much. And that became my truth.

 

Fast forward a few years later — I was always in a band, playing a lot of shows and having a lot of fun with music. I would come off the bandstand and my bandmates would tell me how tight the show was, and some members of the audience would say how they dug my playing. I got told this all the time. Hugs all around and everything is alright! I felt like I was competent at something! I was being accepted for a skill that I had.

 

Once I packed in playing music, due to Harrison arriving soon and needing something different for myself, I decided that I would start up a podcast. And again, I found something that really worked with me. I have felt a bit embarrassed or self-conscious a few times for sure, but I knew it was all part of growing with the show. The difference was that it was always in micro-doses, never a full blast of it. And that all changed with this episode. The thing I was trying to protect myself from by over preparing, over-editing, and playing it a bit safe with questions lead me to what I needed. A big jolt of something that would force me to make a decision that would test my comfort levels like no other time in this podcast. Do I keep the part of the podcast that I cringe at when I hear it? Or do I remove it and continue to be safe from humiliation?

 

Making A Tougher Decision Always Has A Better Outcome

 

Even writing this article took me about a week to visit. The reason being that I have to relive the bad feeling. As you heard in the intro to this episode I confronted it once already, and it felt GREAT when I faced my fear. I felt so uplifted and proud that I decided to keep something in the show that I felt was as embarrassing as running down my neighborhood naked with a cowboy hat on. But coming up to the release of this episode I am once again feeling a bit worried about what people might think when they hear it. Will any credibility I had built be lost? Will people make fun of me when they are listening to it and praise Benny for pointing it out? Is it going to be spread around on the internet as the big highlight to this episode? Will fans of the show email me about it to ask what went wrong this time? So now as I observe it again, I am hoping I can let go a bit.

 

As you build something and the momentum grows as this podcast has experienced, you feel even more need to protect it. It can become this thing that you place on a pedestal. Like a game of Jenga, you are more reckless at the beginning of that game than you are towards the end when you know it could all fall down. With the relationships I have formed, the wide listener base that comes here to get their weekly dose of podcasting goodness, and the growing sense of responsibility to everyone above, I am feeling the imposter syndrome more than ever.

 

I was told once by a good friend, Ned Burwell, that a decision should be looked at as a circle with a line running through the center. The center line represents a neutral state. On the right side of the circle starting in the middle is the hard decision. It is a vertical climb to get to the top and then an easy fall to get back to neutral again. An easy decision is represented on the left side of center on the circle. You can fall down the edge of the circle but it is a hard climb to return to neutral. This concept has become one of the most influential things to me when I need to make a decision. In this case, I felt it was no different. I had to make the hard decision in order to live with myself easier. I also had to do it not just for me but to inspire you too. I want people to make decisions that challenge them for the right reasons. I could have removed that part of the show and avoid my humiliation but instead, I thought it would be best if I just owned it instead. It is what I promote after all.

 

With More Influence Comes More Responsibility

 

As you become someone that people look to for inspiration and advice I feel that it is absolutely crucial that you practice what you preach. That might seem incredibly obvious and it kind of is. But doing it can be tough especially if you think there is a chance to avoid it. It negatively affects your confidence if you know in your conscious that you aren’t living up to what you promote.

 

We live in a world now with social media influencers everywhere. The potential issue with that is simple. Social media doesn’t have to be real to be believed. We can edit and filter out all of the stuff we don’t like about ourselves through it. We can essentially lie to both our audience and ourselves and only we will truly know that. Personally, I don’t want to live with that burden. That also means that I have to grow to become a person that truly doesn’t care what people think about me. If I know myself that if I am being honest with myself and my audience, that is all I can do. I should feel liberated to show my scars and insecurities. I should also feel liberated to show my successes too. Overall, we need to accept what is. We need to practice what we preach.

 

Ned told me another amazing thing once about trajectory and influence. Let’s pretend that we are a ship setting sail. The trajectory is going to be one hundred miles. In order to get to our destination, we must sail perfectly forward on the trajectory to meet our destination. If our moral compass is off by one or two degrees, it has less impact if we have only traveled five miles. You may only be off center by a few feet and it is easy to get back on course. But if we are have traveled one hundred miles and haven’t checked our moral compass we could find ourselves off course by many miles. So what do the one hundred miles vs five miles represent? It represents influence. As we gain influence in the world we must be more aware of our moral compass because we are now affecting more and more people. The intention behind our actions has to come from the right place. Many things can have an effect on our moral compass and so we need to check in with it every so often. As an example, I have heard of some people falling into what is called “the messiah complex” by becoming really influential. It is a real thing, look it up if you don’t believe me.

 

I am always trying my best to stay humble and remember that loser kid that no one liked. I feel grateful that I have an audience that adores this podcast. You come here each and every week to get your weekly dose of quality media that I try so hard to ensure it is good for you. (Hence the catchphrase for this podcast has always been, “It’s good for you”) I don’t ever want to be misguided by my desires, for acceptance. I just want to make my show and learn more about how to be a better version of myself, have great experiences (like this one), grow the show in every way, and develop more relationships. In addition to that, if people are learning, growing, achieving, facing their fears, working hard and being respectful and kind to other people too — then I am very happy with that.

 

Face Your Fears

 

With this decision to leave in something that I am insecure about is the very thing I needed. I needed it to see for myself where I stand with my own growth as a person and to ensure that you, my audience, understand my intent with this media. I hope that after you hear this episode that you feel that it is a great thing to own your failures, observe them for what they are, and move on as soon as possible. It is all part of the process. I can also guarantee each and every one of you that growth lies on the other side of your fears. It is better to face them now and see what they really are instead of allowing them to fester in your mind.

 

You have to prove to yourself time and time again that your fears are not what your mind makes them seem. It is nothing more than something your mind has conjured up in order to prevent you from moving forward. I also think other people are wanting to see other people set the example of walking through their fears before they take their first step. So be the person that shows others the way. Be encouraging to your peers who you know to struggle with moving past their fears. Once fear turns to worry, it only becomes harder to move forward.

 

I hope you all have a tremendous week and thank you for coming along on this leg of the journey to finding more growth within myself and maybe even you too. 

 

I also want to say a huge thank you to Benny for spending his time with me on this episode to provide some incredibly thoughtful insights in this interview. Also, with teaching me more about myself.

 

Music used in this episode:

 

“Barking” - Benny Greb Moving Parts

“Stabila” - Benny Greb Moving Parts

“Bunker” - Benny Greb Moving Parts

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OP3o84bMduE

 

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Jun 30, 2019

Man, am I ever a lucky guy. Keith Carlock has been one of my drumming heroes for many years. Ever since I saw the 1999 Marciac Jazz Festival video on YouTube, featuring Keith, Wayne Krantz, and Tim Levebre, I have been a big fan of these musicians. That video had a very profound effect on me as a young musician who was trying to find something new that I would connect with for the rest of my musical life. Since then, I have wandered cyberspace to find other examples of Keith’s playing in that context that I could also connect with but unfortunately, high fidelity content featuring Keith online is not in abundance. This is one of the big reasons I was excited to see Keith perform and teach his concepts at Drumeo. To witness that in person was a pleasure of the highest order. Moreover, to interview such a modern legend in the Drumeo studio was something I never EVER thought would ever be in my future. So first and foremost, I owe an enormous thank you to the wonderful team at Drumeo for this opportunity and to Keith for giving me his undivided attention and time after a full day of filming lessons at Drumeo.

 

Keith Carlock is a favorite of mine because he has such a firm grasp of having a distinct sound. In addition to that, he has managed to forge an incredibly nice career for himself too. Working with such acts as Steely Dan, Toto, James Taylor, Oz Noy, Wayne Krantz, Sting, and John Mayer to name a few. He also released his own instructional DVD through Hudson Music titled The Big Picture: Phrasing, Improvisation, Style, and Technique. Over the years he has also received many accolades through the Modern Drummer’s readers poll, managing to win a few and make it to the top three in several categories many times over. Too many drummers, Keith is held in high regard for his smooth delivery, musical style, and untouchable groove.



Can You Unlearn?

 

Keith studied at North Texas State University in their acclaimed jazz program in the early ’90s. Taught by Ed Soph, Keith went to the University of North Texas to learn jazz. It would prove to be nearly impossible to consume and digest all of the materials covered in school. Keith sat upon that material for a few years to process what he had taken in.

 

There also came a point where Mr. Soph approached Keith’s mother to inform her that he felt that Keith no longer had to continue his studies. Ed felt that Keith would be just fine if he stopped going.  I suppose it is fair to say that Mr. Soph possessed some exceptional foresight.

 

At one point in the interview, I asked Keith if he ever wished that he could unlearn some of the stuff he learned in school. This curiosity spawned because of a very interesting point made by Mark Guiliana on episode 108 of DrumeoGab. Mark had declared that while school was great, sometimes he kind of missed how he used to play before he learned all of this stuff in school. This point of view struck me as a very interesting point made in that interview with Mark.  

 

Keith had said that he went to school to learn and be a sponge. How he characterized his sound has much to do with the time spent with guitarist, Wayne Krantz. It is how I found Keith originally, after all. Keith regards those early years in NYC, specifically with Krantz, as the years that he really found his sound. That must have been amazing times for Keith. If you watch any of their stuff, you will notice the wonderful mix of searching for the high and getting there. Wayne  with Tim and Keith at the 55 bar playing their asses off is something I wish I could have seen when they were playing there all the time.



Time Away From Home

 

Keith is a father and a husband — and a musician. Being a musician seems to be both isolating and social, which seems like a dichotomy. When your life also encompasses your family and friends, I have to think about how the pleasure of the road changes. I would personally find that very challenging. For any small length of time that I have been away from my family, I end up missing them quickly and I find that it takes a day or two to adjust when I return home. I can imagine how difficult long periods of time for touring drummers would be when their family is at home. Like anything, people adapt and find their ways to make it work though. 

 

Todd Sucherman had said in episode 101, he just slides into the groove that is happening and adjusts to them. Time away from loved ones will always be hard though. It is the life a musician chooses to live. It is one of those sacrifices, if you do in fact see it that way. 

 

I want to share a quick story. This is abrupt, but hang in there. This is a great perspective I was given by a stranger that applies to this.

 

While I was staying in Abbotsford at the Sandman hotel, I popped outside for a bit of fresh air and found myself having a nearly forty-minute conversation with someone who was also staying at the hotel. He was a European man, middle-aged, who was in town because he and his team set up the scoring system screens for horse racing tracks. I can’t remember all of the details of his job, but what I do recall was the fact that he and his team spend upwards of 300 days per year on the road. His name was Tom.

 

Tom told me an amazing story about how he was a musician in Europe during his teens and into his twenties. He became quite popular in Germany and other parts of Europe with his music. He got into electronica towards the end of his music career and had the best management in Europe handling his act at the time. This same management was working for Sigfried Fischbacher. Yes, the world-renowned magician. Well, as it turns out, Tom and Sigfried became very good friends. Sigfried eventually told Tom that he should incorporate magic into his musical show to bedazzle his audience and add something that no one was doing at the time.

 

Eventually, Tom’s act became solely a magic show. He bought a caravan and toured all over Europe performing his magic. He eventually gave that up and began this gig with the scoreboard systems. This is, of course, the cliffs notes version of the story he told me but there was something very interesting that he talked to me about. 

 

A perspective that helped me understand a lot more about what some musicians who tour for most of their lives might go through. Tom had said that after a week at home, as much as he loved his home (which he showed me a picture of on his phone and it is absolutely lovely looking) he gets very antsy after a week. Willie Nelson comes to mind. 

 

What I was getting from Tom was that even though he did miss home when he was away, he was just so used to the life of being in different, far away places all the time. Tom began touring very young. So, really -- it is all he knows. He probably feels more at home on the road than at home. Starting late with a career that involves travel might be a totally different story for some people. I just find this idea of detachment from a physical home base really fascinating about musicians, or any entertainment based careers.

 

I wonder how many musicians began playing an instrument because of the appeal of potentially touring? Could that be why some musicians began playing? This is why I think some people are built for the road. There must be so many costs and perks to touring. The adventure! I mean, c’mon, when you are young it would be amazing! This must be a dream for a person who is, other than to him/herself and music, not committed to anything too significant. Pack up and go whenever you want. Eventually though, I think it is hard to not notice the pressure to conform to adult society. House, married, stable job, financial freedom, kid(s) and on it goes.

 

I am bringing this up because I know some musicians that never really settled down. When you are young it must be fun, but it seems lonely when you’re older. Props to any musician that has a family at home and with the support of their spouse, manages to find a routine or norm within their family unit. Just something to create some stability. That mustn’t come easy. The thing we love isn’t easily compatible with the idea of settling down. IF, you want to make it your life.  



Finding Your Voice

 

I see a lot of chatter online, and I am certain it has been discussed within this podcast before, that we as musicians need to learn as many styles as possible in order to establish a more reliable career. Before I continue, I do not disagree with this at all because it has been stated many times by many industry professionals. But the quality of that message is determined by how it is interpreted. It could be possible that the wrong approach to this idea leads to a generic sound. Even with a generic sound, as long as the drumming is tight, and you have yourself put together professionally, that could be just fine. However, I still feel like there is something to be said for recognizable musicians.

 

So I asked Keith what he thought about this, after basically answering my own question, and he made a very good point in particular. He used an example of some African music that he was asked to perform once where the artists sang the parts for him to play, which was very helpful he had mentioned. Keith wasn’t born in Africa, nor did he grow up there with their music, so there is a limit to the authenticity. He managed to play the music and they actually called him back even though he may not have been the most ideal musician to play the music. 

 

But the most important thing he had said in regards to all of this, in my opinion, was that with any musical style it is important to find your voice in it. What is it that you can connect with and project your true self through the music? This is such a cool point I think. Not just the notes, but the attitude, the spirit, creativity, and flow. I think this is a strong point made by Keith that should be considered by everyone when they get called to perform. How can you inject your voice into something pre-existing and let your sound be heard without taking anything away from the music?

 

To Conclude

 

This opportunity to speak with one of my heroes is one that I will never forget and certainly a highlight with this podcast. Keith is an incredibly nice guy. What is nice is when you meet one of your heroes and they turn out to be a person that you really like. It was a very important and special time that I will be telling my kid about one day. So, I hope that you enjoy some good vibes and the thoughts of a truly great player in this episode. It was an absolute treat. Thank you again for all of your comments in the Drumeo Edge section, DM’s and emails sent to me to show your love and support to this podcast. I appreciate every single one of you.

 

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Jun 23, 2019

Sarah Thawer has been on the show once before, as you might recall. It’s coming up two years ago in October and Sarah’s career has grown immensely since then. She has been involved in many things since then including international drum festivals and drum clinics, major video shoots for the companies she endorses, Drumeo, VF Jams, international touring with Watsky. She even started her own jazz outfit called “Sarah Thawer and Friends”. It is absolutely crazy what she has been accomplishing. She is totally in it.

 

After our interview, Sarah performed at the Victoria Drum Festival and she absolutely killed it. I swear that she has improved greatly since the last time I saw her perform. It appears that there are no limits to what she wants to achieve as a musician and this episode really brings out the “how’s and why’s” to her success. She is incredibly diligent, hard-working, intelligent, musically educated, creative, passionate, unique and kind. I can’t see how anyone couldn’t love Sarah. She has captured an amazing audience to cheer her on and so I wanted to name this one after the many times during her tour with Watsky where the audience would chant “Go, Sarah, Go, Sarah, GO!!” during her drum solos every night.

 

What needs control and what doesn’t

 

When Sarah and I first chatted on the podcast she had talked about her level of exhaustion and how her schedule was filling up fast. She was learning how to keep it all organized and together. The level of dedication and work she puts towards the instrument must have been tiring, and then for that to produce the big opportunities while trying to continue evolving with her drumming must have been tough for her. So with all of that in the back of my head going into this interview, I wondered how Sarah was feeling these days ‘cause it hasn’t slowed down much!

 

Interestingly, Sarah not only appeared to be more relaxed than before, but she also seemed more confident and in control. Everything that she spoke as a response happened so quickly and firmly. She had figured out a way to slow things down when she needed to. Mediation became a big part of her routine to calm herself and also be more present mentally during her performances. Even when stressful situations arise, such as the story where her parents’ car got towed just one hour prior to a gig, she still managed to focus on the gig and set the drama to one side for the sake of the gig.

 

The other thing is her scheduling habits and the spreadsheets she creates for music that she needs to listen to, or practice related stuff for an example. She is able to control what is in her control and let go of what is not to be controlled. This is by far one of the most incredible revelations anyone can have about their lifestyle. It is scalable and realistic. Being well organized is so important of course, but also allowing spontaneous moments to arise is important as well. A mixture of the two is what I am gathering from Sarah.



Be real

 

A big topic that we cover in the interview is directed toward attention seeking, social media addicted, phony people who chase something for the wrong reasons. This may be a part of the episode that triggers a part of you that doesn’t sit very comfortably.

 

I think it is human nature to want to be seen. We want acknowledgment. We want praise. But for what?

 

That is the question that each and every person should be answering.

 

What if we don’t feel “cool” enough or that our lives aren't constantly being packed with adventure? Can we compete with what we see online? How can we decorate our lives through social media to appear relevant and worth checking out? Personally, I think it is all about finding something that we can obsess over that brings us knowledge, experiences, skills, income, confidence and through those things we can advance. But what if what we do isn’t something we think is exceptional and makes us feel insecure? What else can there be for us to feel confident to share with the world what we are doing?

 

I would suspect that there are a lot of people who do feel a bit underwhelming compared to what they admire on social media and so compensation enters the picture. Fortunately, social media has been designed to make our lives seem more exciting than ever! And we can put any filter we want on our reality too!! Insecurity combined with a desire to feel worthy is maybe one of the main reasons why this exists for so many of us and why we decide to live in our phones instead of our waking lives.

 

So, if we never have to face the world that we have represented ourselves through social media filtering, we are safe. All is well and we can continue to live out our “ideal” image that we create. But what if a social media account turns influencer? What if we get to a point where social media “you” and the real you collide together in the flesh? Do you feel able to stack up to what you have portrayed?

 

When I created DrumGab, I hid behind it a lot. Due to a myriad of situations that cut away at my self-worth, I really felt convinced that I didn’t stack up to how my podcast was being accepted. Like sure, DrumGab might be cool but I am not. I won’t lie about the fact that I heavily edited my show because I hated the way I sounded. I would feel embarrassed if anyone heard the audio while I was editing it. I was terribly insecure about myself and yet I continued to make the show. When I think about it, I actually cannot believe how willing and obsessed I was making the podcast. It was an exercise of taking the raw audio (that I almost always thought was awful) and turn it into something I could really love. That was the experience for me over and over again. It wasn’t until I was sixty or so episodes deep that I was starting to enjoy the raw audio and I got excited about how much I could add production to make them even better!

 

Then one day I found myself on an airplane heading to Drumeo to meet Todd Sucherman and to interview him. I was originally very excited about it. I couldn’t believe where the podcast had taken me! As time went on I began to realize that what I had become comfortable with, was no longer present. I had to step into the now famous and iconic, “Studio A” at Drumeo and proceed to interview drumming royalty. Me!! Well, I can tell you that the occasions have been few where I felt pressure like that in my life. All of my podcasts were crafted quietly, privately, and in the safety of my home. And all of that work was now amounting to this. I now had to host an interview in front of people who were fully convinced that I was the right person for this job.

 

So, how was it? Well, it was scary. Very scary. But I have only been that focused a few times in my life. I remember most of that interview by memory because of how involved I was in that moment with Todd. I also felt a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders when it was over. I actually managed to do what was expected of me. And this may sound like I am being incredibly hard on myself and you aren’t wrong. I rip my own work to shreds in my mind. I am always looking for how I can get better at this. I am incredibly picky with how I conduct interviews and what I am trying to achieve with them. But I also know about the edits I used to make. I know about how I feel before an interview. It is all a little bit shaky at times.

 

I feel that if I wasn’t editing the show and I always did face to face interviews, Todd’s wouldn’t have been as scary. But Skype interviews allow you some protection. Something to feel safer behind. And that is almost all I ever did.

 

I feel that with social media we can feel that safety as well. We edit stuff and then put it out. We give a lot of thought to our message or how we format captions to gain more engagement with our content. But if that is all you ever do, what are you like in person? Without naming names, there have been people I thought I knew over social media and then met in person and it was so different. It’s like, um where is the person I was following on IG? Where is he at? ‘Cause this person in front of me right now seems uncomfortable and well….different.

 

So use social media for the right reasons. Be real on it. Face the fear of being ignored, mocked, or posting less than perfection. If you are being real on socials, then you have nothing else to live up to but yourself. It makes everything much more comfortable and you will be happy you did it.

 

Inject your passions into your life

 

The last thing I want to cover regarding the episode is why you NEED to inject your passions into your life. These are the activities that you cannot wait to learn more about, practice, perform and so on. It doesn’t even have to be drums. But let’s be honest, it probably is if you are reading this. But anyways, I think every person should assess what they want out of their passions. Once that is done, decide how long you are willing to wait to become what you want to be within your given passion. Based on that, work accordingly while maintaining the obsession. Even the most incredibly interesting new thing that pops up in your life may fade into oblivion and fall into the “I used to be into that” category.

 

I feel that when we have our own “thing” that we are chipping away at, it has the potential to fulfill us in a deep and meaningful way. I have always been the kind of guy who likes to have a couple of hobbies going at all times. One of which is Disc Golf. It gives me a chance to watch the flight of a disc, walk through a wooded course, have some level of competition with myself, and learn the technique involved. Plus, I have a few buddies that are into it, so it gives us a chance to catch up and hang out for an afternoon. Do I want to become a pro? Nope. I just want to have it in my life as something fun to do, and keep it being fun.

 

I think this is what drumming has been for me for most of my life as well. Although I did believe when I was young that I wanted to be a pro. It was something that I felt was not going to be approved by my parents and so I settled on just playing. Due to the fact that I had not believed that being a pro drummer was something that could be, I left drumming as a passion. It actually did bother me a lot for many years that I didn’t pursue a life in music. Usually, this would be the commentary I would vocalize when I was having a terrible day in my construction job. Fortunately, that dream became revealed to me in the form of a drumming podcast which I must admit filled that void I had all those years.

 

I guess my point to this is that you should have some passions in your life to keep you from rotting your brain in front of a TV set. Keep sharpening the skills that make you feel unique and confident. I think that if you have your own thing to work on, all aspects of your life can benefit from it.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KKZ-SaVZhA



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