At one point or another, I had decided that my goal for DrumGAB was to have conversations with drummers about their lives and get to know them as people rather than talking about drumming. Don’t get me wrong, drumming is the hinge to the door of DrumGAB, but that is all. I want to explore the life experiences, wisdom and general knowledge of each guest to gain a multitude of unique perspectives from each and every person who appears on the show.
I have to admit that this episode with Tom Knight in many ways is the interview I have been waiting for. I don’t want to sound like I don’t enjoy my other episodes, because they all have their place with valuable insights, information and in general I feel that most of them are entertaining to listen to but I am a person who is drawn to history and legacy and I have yet been fortunate enough to speak with someone with at least 30 years of professional experience in this industry, with the exception of Ramy Antoun. It is these style of interviews where stories are found and if the person is well spoken and descriptive, it can make podcast gold. This episode is exactly that, and it is exceptional listening.
Tom Knight has a colorful career filled with larger than life stories and he captures these tales with incredibly vivid detail. Tom is a great story teller. It also doesn’t hurt that he is a seasoned professional in the VO (Voice Over) industry, so along with having a high-quality microphone for recording, what he says into it is simply great to listen to. We riff some VO bits for fun and discuss how he found himself in this industry, which was basically by mistake. He tells us the story of how Don LaFontaine produced a wedding gift on Valentine’s Day for Tom’s wife and how he got to know him very well in the last couple of years of his life. In this segment of the interview, there are a lot of laughs, stories and we learn a side of Tom's career that is possibly even better to him than his drumming career.
While I was preparing for this interview, I stumbled across a name that immediately caught my attention and I knew we had to talk about….none other than Dave Weckl. Yes, Tom studied under Dave and developed a friendship with him over the years and he tells us stories about Dave that are so personal and would seem to border on fiction if it weren’t told from a person who experienced it firsthand. The stories and how Tom vicariously describes Weckl is a true pleasure to listen to and a definite highlight in this episode.
Next, we discuss how Tom almost blew it with Zildjian. Let this be a cautionary tale to any cocky, overly confident players out there that thinks their shit don’t stink. Tom explains that the head of AR at Zildjian would field between 75 to 150 endorsement applications PER DAY! This is the reality of the matter. This is one of the most realistic and valuable pieces of advice, told through his own near fatal move with Zildjian. The main thing that held the Zildjian deal together was the fact that he was about to hit the road with TLC and obviously TLC being an international sensation, it was in their interest all along to sign Tom, but first, he had to be knocked down a peg.
So what is road life like with a major act? Well as Tom describes it, “utterly boring for 22 hours of the day and earth shatteringly amazing for 2 hours.” The truths that arise about Tom’s true feelings towards touring is so refreshing and only because I feel that many people would imagine him to respond with unwavering positivity. Instead, his perspective is one where the novelty has worn off and he has to factor in living away from family, the local business relationships he forged and all of the physical and mental struggles of touring. He makes it clear that this was how he viewed it but that others may LOVE the nomadic nature of touring but that he wasn’t really wired for it and now that he has three children and a marriage to nurture, the money would have to be of epic proportions for him to leave his family these days. He has no plans for touring in other words. However, it seems to me that he has no regrets about touring and that perhaps it needed to happen in order for him to gain the perspective he needed for down the road.
Tom shared this concept of neurobics on his Instagram recently and it really caught my interest, which led me down a rabbit hole of research to learn more about this incredible learning tool. It is essentially aerobics for your brain. Keep that muscle sharp with certain exercises so that your brain doesn’t turn to mush is the general message here. We review different methods to train yo’ brain and the importance of neurobics. Are you noticing yet that drums like never came up in the chat we had?
Before we get into concluding statements, the conversation takes a turn into left field and Tom shares with us how he conquered fear and how people should just do the shit they don’t want to do. Break old habits, forge new pathways in their lifestyle and live out their true potential. Both of us agree that we are not saying this stuff to appear like we are “perfect”, hell I can speak personally that I have a lot of growing to do and that I make mistakes all the time and Tom expresses himself in a similar fashion, but that we have a better understanding of what we CAN do and that we are working on it while encouraging other people in the process.
Overall, this is an episode that acts as a true snapshot of a person that I now admire more than ever after speaking to him. An episode filled with tales of an illustrious past and how to adapt to your situations in life to remain busy and employable in what is a very competitive industry, especially these days. This is an episode that will rank high in the DrumGAB podcast library and I am so eternally grateful for Tom’s time in creating this fantastic episode.
Music by: Adam Nitti
Social Media for Tom
What is a prodigy? A prodigy is a young person who is endowed with exceptional qualities or abilities. The word prodigy bears a lot of meaning. People that are described this way generally go on to do great things and reach high levels of achievement early in their lives but also have big expectations placed on them. I think in a lot of cases the expectations can be seen as motivation for a young person. Without the distractions of adult life, it is the perfect time to really focus and hit the woodshed to develop your skills.
A question that I often wonder about is whether it's natural talent that makes a prodigy or is it a natural interest that is well nurtured early on? Take, for example, Tony Royster Jr. for who I am certain the day people first saw that famous video of him crushing a drum solo at the age of twelve, everyone thought that he would go on to be one of the worlds’ greatest drummers. And as it turns out, he is.
Tosh has played drums since he was two years old and has a drumming father as well. He was always encouraged to follow his curiosities with the drum set and because Tosh is homeschooled, he has been able to spend more time drumming while still completing his school work. I think that it is this level of encouragement and freedom that sets Tosh up for success in music. To make matters even better he has had received private lessons from Thomas Pridgen over the years to enhance his skills. Those are great building blocks in establishing a life long career in music, wouldn't you agree?
Lately, all of this hard work has paid off as he was recently employed by Nik West as her touring drummer which has brought Tosh all over the world. Up until this point, Tosh has been playing local gigs and getting his feet wet in the industry, so this gig with Nik West is by far his biggest success as a drummer. It is hard to imagine what a rush that must be for a teenager to be performing with an artist like Nik West. With most teenagers searching for their purpose and finding confidence within themselves, it is rare to see younger people that are so sure footed in their path and actually doing something about it.
So what will Tosh’s future look like in the music industry? It is impossible to even know where he will find himself in the next five years, but it is almost certain that he will be drumming and kicking major ass doing it. In this podcast, we explore his mental attitude towards his career and his own progress, where his musical roots stem from and we try to project what his future holds. Keep your eye out for Tosh, he’s the guy without the shirt.
Daily content is a sure fire way to gain the attention and admiration of social media users. Part of the reason why I feel these types of projects gain so much notoriety is the level of dedication and discipline that is required to actually stick with daily content. I am certain that many of Tristan's followers are looking to him as a source of inspiration for their own aspirations and admire BeatADay. Tristan Kelley is an individual that pursued this (at the time this was written - 07/19/17) 1173 days ago. That to me is really impressive and really difficult to fathom. Heading into this interview I had so much curiosity surrounding the idea of daily content and the process that he uses to constantly keep up with this daily obligation. Can he do it forever? Does he ever find it difficult to continue this pursuit? Is there pressure from sponsors or from the followers to continue? I will admit that my mind runs to the defeatist mentality with daily content, but only because I could never do it.
Tristan and I begin by discussing his personality type and how BeatADay serves him to move past the perfectionist mentality that plagued him, prior to BeatADay, to complete projects. To Tristan, larger projects are mentally crippling and so BeatADay is perfect for him for just putting out content. It has in many ways relieved the need to perfect everything he produces and that’s not to say the quality of his content is poor. In fact, it is some of the most polished and consistent material you will find on Instagram, but if the notation to his videos are off slightly or there is an additional note played from one slide to the next, he doesn’t let it get to him anymore, unlike in the past. He actually states that an error in his content in the past may have led him to delete his account and start from scratch, regardless of the time invested.
So what will succeed BeatADay? Tristan explains this next avenue as a “sophomore syndrome” as he feels that BeatADay has been very successful but that he isn’t sure what can top that and so that places pressure on someone like Tristan who is in high visibility online. I can understand this completely. As one project becomes successful, the audience places expectations on your next effort. Also, Tristan is considering his personality when it comes to his next project. He is considering a subscription based venture but this will mean a lot more work for him and again with his “perfectionist” mentality, he will have to negotiate this trait and use it to leverage the quality of his work, instead of allowing it to prevent him from moving forward.
In short, Tristan has gained a great deal of support from his fans and his sponsors who include, Meinl, Ronn Dunnett, Vic Firth, SJC, Lowboy Beaters and KBrakes. Through a simple yet effective concept that he has managed to uphold for over three years, he has put himself on the map and I truly believe that if Tristan utilizes strategy moving into the next transition of his brand that he has firmly established, the world could be his oyster in the music industry.
You can find Tristan on Instagram and at his website www.tristankelley.com
Music by: Instant Empire
Songs in order:
1) Young Adult Fiction
2) Mirrored Mouths
Podcasting is a very interesting prospect. In the beginning, it is terrifying and exciting. I was so unsure of my first publications but you have to almost pretend no one heard it until I began receiving good feedback from people. Over time I began to adjust to the idea of making a forever time capsule that anyone, at any time, can access and I am being held responsible for this content. That is a lot to process at first and every host has their story on how this experience went for them. In this episode we reach back to the beginnings of Drummers I Like podcast and Behind the Kit podcasts and we learn how Rich, of Drummers I Like and Matt from Behind the Kit, adapted to the pressure of hosting and how their first experiences as podcast hosts treated them.
We begin by really dig deep into Drummers I Like’s history. Rich has really turned it up with his podcasting obligations and as a result, he is a very sharp host/guest. With lots of practice, yields great results. He realizes that the Daily Fill is a training ground for the big picture. It is the hamster on the wheel. I was really impressed how he performed as a guest and it is a true result to his 50+ Daily Fill episodes in less than 3 months.
Rich Ducat, is a fucking beast ladies and gentlemen. It is hard to deny the work he puts in and his growth personally and as a brand. I have been a steady follower of Drummers I Like for several months now (roughly since Episode 29) and the show, the brand, the community, and the brand image has really focused and is attacking with everything Rich can throw at it. It is very inspiring and respectable, so the dude has my vote right there.
Echoing that question to Matt, his story is just as amazing. He just kept acting on his impulses and stuck with it to produce something to leave behind. We learn that Matt’s motivation was to be comfortable in his own skin and do what comes naturally to him. Give back to the community and keep the focus off of him. I always admire a person who is genuine about being this way. Matt is as transparent as they come.
He evolved into a podcast host, which is echoing how I began as well. I can really understand Matt’s approach to creating content. The objective is to explore your interests and create a time capsule for yourself. It’s a method of creative expression and the process of podcasting suits our personality. Learning about the forging process to a podcast is good story material it turns out.
There is always something I think about with Drummers I Like and it is how Rich manages the workload and maintains the scheduled behavior to their product. The quality seems to only improve in ALL areas. Rich opens up big time on this topic of time management and how he manages to keep this all running as smooth as possible. He goes into incredible detail about how imagines the future of Drummers I Like and what he plans to achieve with it. He also talks about his concept behind Drummers I Like PRO and what this platform is designed to accomplish. It is all very well thought out and it is quite obvious that Rich has got something here.
But sometimes good things must come to an end. Matt hosted a well-received podcast called “Behind the Kit” and it ran for over 50 episodes. So why he shut it down and if he plans to get it running again was a major question I had. His response to this reminded me of someone who gets injured at the gym and has to take time off to heal. Between scheduling conflicts, technical obstacles and fewer download figures than desired, Matt called his 54 episodes, Season One. Whether the show will return is not a priority but certainly not an impossibility. As a result of this section of the interview, we all speculate the idea of when our shows will end and if that our shows are even something we can give up.
To finish out the episode we all run through a questionnaire to get some opinions on common podcasting practice.
Music By: Matt Dudley
Album: Trial, Transition, Advance
Songs: Interlude, Trial
Order the ALBUM Trial, Transition, Advance at mattdudleymusic.bandcamp.com
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(Episode 30 is a tribute to the late John Blackwell Jr. - 1975 - 2017)
In this GearGAB series we have the host of Drummer's Guide to Gear, Chris Gura, and he selects three pieces of gear that he has reviewed and/or owns personally himself. For a few years now, Chris has run his own gear review site www.dg2g.com and features a wide variety of products, ranging from accesories, drum heads, drum sets and much more. He is an everyday drummer that loves gear and so we have him on the show every three months. This is the second volume to our special series. In tis episode we cover....
(PS...Cymbolt has a 50% off deal storewide until 06/07/16)
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