#humpdaygiveaway | Week 8 Q: What are the two major opportunities that were offered to Stan earlier this year? (Prizes provided by @canadiandrumgear
There are podcasts in the DrumGAB library that are resourceful, others are purely conversational entertainment and somehow Episode 29 with Stan Bicknell lies somewhere in the middle. I don’t really think that it was intended to become an episode where people could learn anything, besides the life of Stan Bicknell of course, but it unfolded in such a way that reveals a strong underlying message. You see, I draw a strong parallel between myself and Stan. We are both family men that are self-employed and drumming is a big part of us but it is no longer the forefront of our existence. While life presents new responsibilities and obligations, it begins to determine what is most important to us as people and how some things in life may take on a significant value that we couldn’t possibly understand in our younger years.
It is widely understood on the Instagram medium that Stan is easily one of the most popular drumming figures on social media currently. What he holds is something that many of us would, for lack of better words, give a testicle or two as a trade for the kind of success Stan’s Instagram profile bears. However, even given the tremendous growth and rise of popularity, Stan does not ignore the life he lives in the flesh for this digital circus of likes, comments, and shares that he so regularly receives. Instead, he sets time aside when his family is sleeping to produce his content and share his thoughts with his followers through blogging in his captions. He very responsibly restricts his use of Instagram to be present in the moment with his family, friends and business partners. In short, he consumes the Instagram drug with a great deal of caution and regulates his intake.
So what was the reason for Stan creating an Instagram account you may ask? Well, he had stopped touring with a band named Kimbra due to this little thing called, your self-consciousness, and felt that it was only going to get deeper and deeper and so he passed off the sticks to another player and quit the band. He continued playing drum set in his coffee warehouse, Rumble Coffee Roasters, but it just wasn’t satisfying enough playing to no audience. So he began using Instagram and all he was trying to do was keep a low profile but it obviously hasn’t worked out to plan as his acquisition rate for followers has been well over 1,000 per week over a course of over 52 weeks.
So, what do 112 thousand followers in 15 months do to a person? Well, that all depends on the person. I would imagine for most people it would improve a persons’ self-esteem, and depending on your ego, it could turn someone into a complete arsehole. For Stan, it seems that what he enjoys most about having so much rapid growth is that it opens up a very wide audience to make a positive impact upon. For example, Stan receives many messages from fans all over the world who thank him for being the reason they are getting back into drumming. These kinds of comments are a highlight for Stan and is definitely a contributing factor to his continuation on social media.
However, he is clear about his love/hate relationship with social media. It would be tiresome to keep up appearances and respond to every single message, in fact, you wouldn’t even have a life to speak of when you have that many followers. So Stan had made a reference to “Good Will Hunting” where he exclaims, “What if I deleted my account one day and didn’t tell anyone about it?” And it’s not that Stan is unappreciative, I think he’s just accessing, hypothetically, how much he really needs social media.
In the interview, we discuss the fact that Stan will never leave his family and business partners to become a star and seek fame and fortune. He takes great pleasure in his day to day life and at the end of it all….he still gets to play his drums. And simply, that is what's important. Not the where or the who or for how much. He just wants to hear the crack of his snare.
This puts a great deal of perspective in this conversation. A person who is at the forefront of popularity on Instagram and the drumming community at large is a simple man who knows what he needs and why he is needed. It is truly amazing someone who holds this in his hands has complete control over what his destiny is and that it hasn’t corrupted him with temptation. That is exemplary and it is the reason why this is such an interesting listen. A conversation captured at the apex of where a healthy perspective is absolutely paramount. I believe Stan could become an A-list drummer for a very major act and it could all have been seeded in Instafame. I wouldn’t put it past Stan, that if this all becomes too much and he has to decide what to do, he may do as Matt Damon did, and just not be there one day.
Photography courtesy of @jessbicknellphotography
Music Credits | Band: The New Caledonia
a.) Breathing Space (coffee montage)
b.) Solar Parade
c.) Celestial Satellites
Stan's Social Media
Rumble Coffee Roasters Media
#humpdaygiveaway | Week 7 Q: What is the name of the studio in Cambridge, MA that Jon frequents?
Since I have been diving into the drum industry, I have thought that session work was extremely hard to come by and I often hear is dead and a thing of the past. I have also heard that “the hang” is almost as important as your level of skill when talking about getting hired. But I never thought so much about an effective way to approach the session game and how one may put it all together. This episode, with Jonathon Ulman, turned out to be so valuable in terms of information. He goes into splendid detail about basically how he makes a living and openly shares, what would seem like common sense after his explanation, his approach to it ALL!
For starters, Jonathan has an incredible attention to detail. He is strictly organized and professional and makes sure he has a solid plan when approaching his gigs, content, schedule, and performance. He is very THOROUGH. Secondly, Jonathan is very self-aware and incredibly conscientious, in regards to how he reads a situation and the people it involves. He basically takes the form of a chameleon and blends himself into whatever situation he falls into. He is quite ADAPTIVE we’ll say.
During this process of booking the interview, exchanging content and material to make this show possible and general keeping tabs on approaching the release of this episode….Jonathan has been so nice to work with. He is incredibly PROFESSIONAL with his work and when this spreads around, it won’t be long and even more people will want to work with him.
You always hear wise people saying the phrase, “I just treat people the way I want to be treated”, and it seems SO SIMPLE! Yet, not everyone does this. I really do appreciate it when people go the extra mile to make sure someone’s needs are met and exceeded upon, and Jonathan makes sure to assume this task with his clients. He is ATTENTIVE.
Lastly, and seemingly, least importantly, you need to be able to do the job. Can you play? Can you do the song justice by playing some solid time and getting in and out of the studio quick so that people’s time and money aren’t being wasted on your ego to chop out? This is important stuff when you plan to work in a studio. It may be at the bottom of the list for a good reason. The other stuff at the end of the day is what gets you called back, you are not just being called for your SKILL.
So what does that spell when you put THOROUGH, ADAPTIVE, PROFESSIONAL, ATTENTIVE and SKILL?
Normally Tapas is a gathering of small Spanish savory dishes but Jonathan uses this as a metaphor to explain the framework of what makes him successful as a session musician. All of these components are important and the way Jonathon explains this is brilliant. Overall, this philosophy he has adopted is a brilliant recipe for success and every drummer who hears this will totally get it.
www.jonathanulman.com | Instagram | Facebook
The musical sounds featured in GAG REEL are taken from Frank Zappa’s Uncle Meat - Track titled ProjectX
Song Credits: Holly Miranda - Midnight Oil
#humpdaygiveaway | Week 6 Q: What does the acronym PAP stand for?
Our health is something that many young people take for granted and older people wish to have back. Most of my listeners range from the ages of 18-40 and obviously play drums. Even though symptoms of joint pain and other issues with our body may not appear obvious at the present moment, it may rear it’s ugly head later in life and by that point it will be much more difficult to remedy.
Brandon Green is a health and fitness expert that has been studying biomechanics for about 11 years and owns his own facility called Strata Internal Performance. Brandon and his team commit themselves to improving the lives of people who live with daily pain in their body and with tremendous success, manage to help educate and in the process relieve major discomfort that prevents his clients from living an active and pain free lifestyle.
Brandon’s goal is to help educate drummers across the world about how our bodies operate while playing the drums and how we can prevent injuries and keep on doing what we all love to do. Brandon’s suggestions to improving posture, warm up routines and many other facets of our physical relationship to the drum set are all reinforced with a firm scientific arm and his concepts are all explained with tremendous clarity and undeniable proof.
In this podcast we explore the fundamentals to ensure that our listeners can easily apply these important facts to their setup and help with creating a more comfortable and suiting environment for drummers to play within. We discuss the importance of proper throne height, a warm up routine to trigger PAP and increase our endurance and performance, the basic physics of the human body and how they apply to technique on the drum set and how to manage injuries. They are simple, yet effective and universal concepts that will help you in your daily grind on the kit.
Instagram | @drummechanics
Instagram | @stratainternalperformance
#humpdaygiveaway | Week 5 Q: What are the names of the two students that I spontaneously interview towards the end of the show?
Episode 26 has been in the works for a bit of time now. A couple of months ago I saw a video of Omari’s father, Cyril, playing drums, on his IG account. I understood from Episode 37 on DrummersILike’s podcast that Omari had watched his father, Cyril, play drums a lot during his childhood. It was clear in the tone of Omari’s voice on the podcast that he was truly inspired by his father and strongly looked up to him. I was inspired by that episode and I really enjoyed Omari’s personality on the show and I kinda decided that I needed him on DrumGAB after that.
But after seeing Cyril playing, the thought hit me like a wall, I HAD to have them both on the show together. So, literally within minutes of having this idea, I messaged Omari to ask whether or not we could have Cyril on the show as well.
Omari’s response to my request was unanimous. My wish had come true. A father and son podcast was going to happen on my show!! I had not ever seen something like this before on a drumming podcast before and that made it even more reason to do it.
The main goal with this podcast for me was to capture an honest reaction from both of them once we became more involved in the conversation. There was such a great opportunity to create some magic on this one.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT OMARI
Omari is a coveted drum instructor from Trinidad and Tobago. He has multiple endorsements including Promark Drumsticks, Evans Drum Heads, D’Addario, Serenity Drums, Tru Tuner, LowBoy Custom Beaters, Drumlite and Drumtacs. He is also a certified Drumeo Teacher, a drum tutor at Angelic Sounds Music Centre, a drum coach at CJ’s Coaching Institute, and he performs with many musicians including Curtis Jordan, GIEL, Helen Baylor, Koen Duncan, Shiselon, Tiko Angelos, and Wave. That is quite a pedigree!
Oh right, I almost forgot…..Omari is an absolute beast!! Best not forget to mention that.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT CYRIL
Cyril is a self taught player and it was his Uncle, who also played, that introduced Cyril to the drums at age 11. Cyril’s Uncle showed him enough theory and different rhythms to begin a lifelong passion for drums. Cyril had played with many bands in the area and there was a time when Cyril was unable to attend a performance and so he recommended Omari to fill his spot for the night. The bands response the following week….? “Well Cyril, we didn’t miss you that much”, said Cyril’s bandmates.
For years, Omari and Cyril had never jammed together. Each of them worked at their craft without crossing paths musically. Until one day they performed a duet….at Omari’s wedding. Both gentlemen sporting their finest tux and both of them are shredding it up! To think their maiden jam would be at Omari’s wedding is very special indeed.
Overall, this is a heartwarming episode with lots of character and it highlights the beauty of family and people coming together to reach a common goal through music. It is a very inspiring episode to say the least.
Music featured on this episode
a) Learie Joseph standup / End credits, Eraserhead
b) Cyril and Omari Augustine duet at Omari’s wedding
#humpdaygiveaway | Week 4
Q: Who are Adam’s two favorite Zappa drummers?
The Marvin. It is an instrument that provokes curiosity and produces sounds that literally scare the shit out of me. It’s voice is haunting, eerie and yet somehow beautiful. There is no other instrument on the planet that does what the Marvin does.
Back in January of 2017, I wrote an article on Morfbeats. It didn’t take me long, after seeing the Marvin, to send an email to Adam and inquire about writing a piece on his creation. That article only scratched the mere surface of what I wanted to talk to him about and thus spawned a discussion about a podcast episode. Which brings us to now….
Let me begin by saying that this podcast is my personal favourite. I have never spent this much time and put this much thought into an episode and I believe it is my best work to date and in many ways this podcast is a tribute to Frank. It was an after thought but as I pondered over this episode more and more, it became clear that the common theme in our discussion was Frank. He just kept on coming up in the podcast and I couldn’t be happier about that. I have wanted to make some kind of project about Zappa for over a decade and this was a perfect opportunity.
MOVING RIGHT ALONG....
In this episode we begin by discussing his flagship instrument, The Marvin in detail. We learn about the night when the first drawings took place and the process in designing this incredible instrument. Before I knew how it received it's name, I was so curious about its name "The Marvin." It kind of looks like a Marvin somehow, although I can't express in words why, it just does. Without spoiling anything, all I will say is that it is very sentimental and has a lot to do with why Morfbeats exist in the first place.
From there we talk about the revered player, and Adam’s favourite drummer, Billy Martin. Adam had the chance to perform and form a friendship with Billy recently and you can easily tell that Adam is still in disbelief about how far Morfbeats has taken him. It is amazing to see that a unique instrument has given him the opportunity to meet with the artists he admires.
Then I decided to ask Adam an adverse question, based on what I know of Adam up until this point. That question was this, “What is your opinion on the current state of pop music?” Adam provides a very reasonable response to my question and it isn’t too far from simply saying, “It sucks, more or less, but some people need that quick fix.” Anyways, it is definitely a highlight to the episode.
So where can you find Morfbeats instruments, you may be asking yourself. Well, you can visit Morfbeats online at www.morfbeats.com or you can check out Revival Drum Shop or Philadelphia Drum Shop. Be sure to look up Morfbeats on Instagram and Facebook also.
In closing, Adam is an artist that is doing what he wants. He is not restricted by much and he can make whatever the hell he wants and that is super rad. There is nothing conventional about this stuff and it is totally open ended in regards to design and ideas. He has created himself a playground of steel, welding equipment and springs.
ONE MORE THING…..
The conclusion of this episode is set to Adam’s original music, the track is titled “Catatonic”. There is an interview on YouTube where Zappa is interviewed during his illness and ultimately not too long before his death. In most Zappa interviews, he is sarcastic, witty and very forward in the direction of his message, but in this interview he is calm, relaxed and pacified. The questions that are asked are most definitely highly reflective and the tone of Adam’s music to the interview is heart wrenching at times. I felt it was a nice way to send off this podcast.
Music featured on this episode (in order)