Brian Frasier-Moore was Philly raised and has been waving a flag of positivity for many, many years now. Next week’s guest, Rashid Williams, (also from Philly) was at our dinner table at the Victoria Drum Festival and it is clear that Rashid has clear admiration and respect for Brian. BFMWorld.com is Brian’s business where he offers consultation services and will also soon be accepting students to teach via Skype or privately, in the new studio he will have when he and his family move to their new home soon.
My brief time spent with him over the two days in Victoria was a true blessing for the podcast. So huge thanks to Brian for accepting the invitation to be interviewed and graciously giving me his time, even considering how tired he must have been. Also, keep an eye out for Brian’s new documentary that is due to release in Q1 next year. I am sure it’ll be real, uplifting, motivating, and inspiring for people.
So here is a quick rundown on what to expect with this one and then I am gonna unpack it a bit.
This episode is based on Brian’s Instagram where he shares these #BFMThoughts. Just small quotes that he has written that all have this flavor of a “cautionary prescription”. I have been seeing these for some time now and I have noticed that some of them contained subtext, or, different angles to observe the message. Also, with Brian’s appearances at Drumeo, you get this strong sense of a thankful and humble man behind the kit and I always love how this comes across with my interviews. I connect strongly with those personalities and spirits. It goes without saying that given the subject matter and Brian’s personality, the BFMThoughts route really brought out some great stuff. So here is a breakdown….
There is a difference between true modesty and fake modesty. You can feel it. I know plenty of people who are just really quiet when it comes to their ego and are always focused on the craft. And while compliments are nice and all, sometimes we don’t feel like we deserve to hear it the compliment as we heard it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, however, I will say that if anyone does ever feel slightly embarrassed or not deserving of a compliment, just accept the compliment and respect the work you have put in to earn that compliment.
The following is guaranteed.
To someone, you are mind-blowing. To someone else, you may be on par with them. And to some others still, you may be the one getting the top of your skull blown off. You have to respect it all and figure out how to just accept it for what it is. And make it that simple. No emotions attached to that, if possible. Hope that helps.
Now, if you think you are all that and a ham sandwich and you blow off the compliment with fake modesty, you now just disrespected the intent of another. That’s a totally different animal! So, Brian claims this to be worse than being arrogant about it. That’s some good wisdom.
When I originally read this, I just thought of Clint Eastwood. When you have a duty to perform. You just do it. Think Nike. Think Clint.
This whole idea of needing praise is a sensitive topic though. I wonder sometimes why people need validation. When we are kids we wanted our parents to see us make a big splash when we dove into the pool, or hear about our good grades in school, or when we got a promotion at work. You see how it follows you into adulthood? I think when we do a particularly good job at something, we really wanna hear about it. I won’t lie. If NO ONE ever wrote me or downloaded my podcast EVER I don’t know if I could actually make it for this long. It is about it growing in confidence, knowledge, and being heard. It is scary in the beginning but over time as you get some validation, you become a bit stronger and want to forge ahead some more.
So, is being told that your show is something people enjoy a reward? It kinda feels like one.
Even in the sense of performing music, and this is hugely dependent on loads of factors, it could be a totally isolating thing or the most intimate musical experiences possible. I can’t speak at all, and won’t, to Brian’s 26 years on the road with all major pop acts like Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, Babyface, Genuine, Madonna…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But I can only imagine that what he knows about the “business” is as close as it gets. And personally, I don’t think I could ever do what Brian does. That man must have some serious armor built up around him. And ya know what? It isn’t aggressive armor. I sense that he has never lost his sense of gratitude for what his life has provided him with.
When gratitude becomes the reward, we can all sit down for a minute and calm down. When you have had the opportunities as Brian has, you gotta do your job and be thankful that the responsibility is yours. You can feel very purposeful when you give yourself that lens to look through. Sometimes life will lay a little beat down here and there on you, but you know the lumps will pass over time.
In the beginning, when things are scary and new to you, it is definitely helpful to have some encouraging words from your peers towards your efforts. However, if you have worked yourself into a professional role, you shouldn't need to be complimented for the work that you are hired to do.
Human beings are notorious for not knowing when to pull the plug on stuff. When things aren’t growing, being talked about, being purchased, and basically just earning a return; It’s time to re-evaluate.
I know that when you are the one invested emotionally, it can cloud your vision. You think it is a great idea or a great thing, or greatly needed. But it doesn’t mean the market thinks so. Someone who knows what is gonna work just focuses on what numbers are saying about it. Either it is working or it isn’t.
So, this might be the best checklist to cover when you decide to make a drum related video. Do I stand alone when I say that I am kinda bored of drum videos? Or whether I am or not, is it eventually going to be boring for the majority? I just feel that a lot of what I see isn’t greatly needed. Sure it can be entertaining, great fidelity, and maybe even a good message. But have I heard it before? Have I seen it before? To me, it is looking like Groundhog Day.
Now before I get tossed overboard, allow me to explain something. People want to be seen right? People want to advance professionally? People want opportunities? Many people have a greater chance of advancing further into the industry through social media these days? Perfect, that means a lot of people will use social media to work to their advantage. Many will copy the earliest examples of innovation because it worked for the pioneers. Then that gets copied until someone else finds a way to evolve it, and then everyone starts copying that instead. And on and on it goes. See, what you wanna be is the person finding the things that will generate a lot of interest in your content. Maybe CPR isn’t the trick to resuscitate it. Maybe you better get them defibrillator paddles over there instead!
Know when something is a dead idea. And know when it may not be the thing you are doing that is wrong, but rather how it is being approached.
Them trolls, man. This is a relevant subject in the drumming community. When I first heard about trolls, I thought about forums and YouTube comments. The absolute cesspool of bigotry, bullying, nonsensical BS, and a complete lack of human respect. And I still stand by this being my personal understanding of what a “troll” is.
As Brian states in the interview, there was a time when he used to say to his wife, "why are people trashing me!?" He was really hurt by those cruel remarks made towards him. Or the time when I interviewed Joe Mintz on episode 100. He appeared on Drumeo and during the live lesson, people were trashing him too. Dave had advised Joe not to read the comments, but against Dave's advice, Joe read them. Some comments were kind, while others were very mean spirited. Joe had said to me that it saddened him for the rest of the day.
With whoever becomes the target, a series of events in that person's life will unfold that you have NO clue about. Maybe that person you hurt is now speeding carelessly down the road because of their level of anger due to your comment. Maybe they have been struggling with depression and feeling worthless and your comment just resurrected those bad feelings that they have been trying to solve and prevent from happening. Maybe they just yelled at their kid or spouse about something completely unrelated because of how deeply they were affected by these types of comments. You never know how much that stuff can harm people and just because it came from your keyboard to their screen doesn't make it any less offensive.
The truth is that anyone who is projecting that negativity online is likely an unhappy person and wants other people to feel the same way. Maybe it is because they wish they were Brian touring the world with Justin Timberlake, or that they were Joe Mintz performing a lesson on Drumeo and because they aren't, they feel spiteful. Or maybe it is the only way they know how to assert themselves because they don't know of any other way to do so. I really have no idea where it comes from though because I have never felt the desire to troll anyone. I understand that even though I am not facing them in person, what I do and say will have an impact on someone's day and I would much rather build you up than tear you down.
All in all, this trolling behavior is BAD for our community! All of it is! Not just the trolling comments but the comments coming from people who defend the victims too. It creates sides. It creates drama. It’s getting out of hand! What is drumming about!? Playing the drums and making music!
To summarize, this is my opinion on the matter and where I stand.
If you don’t like me, that is fine. Just don't bother me. If we do get along and we can be peaceful neighbors, come on over. Beers are on me! That’s how I live, man. I support whatever anyone wants to do with their drumming. Just don’t cause conflicts in the community. It is poison. It hurts the art. It hurts the amazing community we have.
There are people in the world who would rather inconvenience themselves to convenience someone else. Even if it is just a little. And not just once. EVERY SINGLE TIME! I am one of those people. So even if no one else is like this, I know I am so I will speak on my own behalf here. Maybe you will connect with it, or maybe you already have it together in this area.
So, I have to admit that I don’t like to rustle feathers. Over time I have become someone who would rather help than ask for something. I am really unsure of my own self-worth at times. With anything where I feel I have a unique skill that I can use to be helpful, I will always try my best. It is all about confronting your doubts and proving yourself wrong. Over time, I began to own my position in certain areas of my life. Everything from being able to maintain a more positive attitude, to having enough confidence to host a podcast like this.
So before, it was common for me to take on stuff that I just couldn’t say NO to. I always wanted to be easy to jive with for other people. But it was at a cost. The cost was that I would get pissed off about what I had gotten myself into for the lack of return. Literally, if anything went wrong it was a bad scenario. Late on the payment, you say? Big piss off! Do you think I made a big stink about it to the person I was having a conflict with? Nope and the funny thing is that they wouldn’t know about any conflict. I just seemed like an easy going guy. In this situation, I believe some people know they can get away with more and so they try to as well. This whole scenario will eventually lead you to be taken advantage of by someone, someday.
So that is how it all looked on the outside.
On the inside, though I was seething with anger. Anyone whom I’m comfortable with would get the bad stuff from me. It is a vicious cycle too because you end up giving more of yourself away to people to feel like a “good guy”. It would also lead to nasty episodes with anyone who offended me in certain moments. It’s like when you stub your toe real good. You’ll probably yell some obscenities and jump around like the floor is made of lava. It is a human response to pain. Well, my human response to certain situations was a reflex too. And it would usually involve me yelling a lot or just being mean.
There is good news though. Slowly, I am purging that side out of me. A lot of it relates to this quote actually. I am beginning to understand why it is important to respect and love yourself. I assess the level of joy versus how much can this really help me? That involves pay, the commitment of time, future growth, networking opportunities, exposure, etc. If it isn’t bringing me much joy, the other side of the coin has to be stacked, man. But, I am in a position to take on a little bit of stuff that doesn’t pay much or anything these days because it would bring a lot of joy. It is making a big difference with how I feel day to day. It is still a work in progress though, of course.
You shouldn’t forget or ignore your past. It is information. It contains answers to the things you connect with strongly. For example, many of us started playing drums at a young age and by adulthood, it would have likely become a big part of who you are. I would also say that it is nice to reflect fondly on your youth and your “remember when” stories about you and your buddies at the sandlot. There is a darker side to your past too where your demons live that try to keep you in one position. Not moving.
But as the quote suggests, you shouldn’t ever live in your past, no matter how sweet it may feel. Create new memories instead and just see what can happen when you let go a bit to what you are holding onto.
There is almost nothing more effective to indicate someone’s insecurities than achieving something right before their very eyes and then get a cold shoulder from them. This has to be one of my biggest pet peeves. If you are someone who can’t muster up enough courage to say congratulations to someone who defeated you in a round of golf or congratulate your friend who got into school when you didn’t, I would suggest looking at why that is. Maybe a drummer that you know got the gig you wanted. There are tons of things that can challenge your ego at the moment. But regardless of that, you should congratulate them. Who knows, maybe next time it is your turn and you are hoping for some praise.
I believe that what goes around comes around. It is something I can’t prove but what I do understand is that it is a better way to conduct yourself in moments where it matters to someone else. They won’t forget a heartfelt and genuine exchange of positive words. I also believe that within a community like ours, each achievement is for the betterment of the community and drumming. I like to think of it this way.
I thought it would be great to end things with this BFMThought. This is a nice send off of motivation for people, I think. Anyone who is trying to cut someone down is not on your level if you are in your own lane trying your best. By engaging negatively as well, they are winning the battle. Don’t let them win.
I hope that you enjoyed this episode with Brian Frasier-Moore and that you got some great takeaways from this. Catch you on the next one with Rashid Williams :)
Music featured in this episode is:
Khirye Tyler - Electric Phantasy
Drum solos taken from Drumeo lessons
Drumeo Gab’s Socials
Murray Creed is one hell of a guy. The Victoria Drum Festival celebrated its 10th year anniversary this year and what an amazing job he and his team did! There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, and I am not going to pretend like I even remotely understand what goes into this, however, it is safe to say that the list of duties is indeed plentiful. So why would someone decide that they would like to run a drumming festival? As Murray explains in this short interview, it was a way for him to celebrate the tenth anniversary of upon business “Groove Studios” in Victoria, British Columbia and inspire the local drumming community simultaneously. The reality of hosting and organizing an event like this must be a labor of love first and foremost. With all of the conversations I have had with Murray, he and his family are very much committed to making this festival happen for years to come.
So how did it all start?
He and his family take this trip out to Qualicum every so often and this is the time that Murray takes to reflect on the “big picture”. On one such trip, Murray suggested to Tanya, his wife, that they should look into running a festival that essentially would be a mega-clinic. How cool would it be to host an event where the world’s greatest players come and mingle with the drummers in attendance, share their thoughts, and perform? It, of course, would be amazing for everyone but what goes into making this possible and what are the realities of hosting such an event? That is what this episode focuses on primarily. Murray also talks about the changes the festival has experienced, what plans are in the future, and the response from the people who have attended over the years.
For me personally, this event holds a special place in my heart as well. If it wasn’t for this festival, I don’t think DrumGab would have ever been a thing. It was due to an ad that I saw, sponsored by Drumeo, explaining the requirements to submit a drum solo video that spawned enough interest to commit myself to a refreshed approach to studying the drums in hopes that I could create a solo that would contend and even perhaps win the opportunity to be flown out to Victoria to perform in front of the people in attendance. Long story short, I didn’t win, but I did create this podcast due to the shift in how I spent my time and the new found use of social media within the community. I owe a lot to Murray for making this festival for us and so I wanted to have a special episode just for him.
The next series of interviews, including this one, were all filmed and recorded on location at the Songhees Wellness Centre where the festival was held this year. I hope that you all enjoy this episode and the next three that follow.
Drumeo Gab’s Socials
No, Tom Knight’s episode is not about the show Seinfeld. Instead, this is an episode about nothing….well that isn’t entirely true. I mean, it is about stuff but it doesn’t have a trajectory. You see most interview style podcasts, should at least, stay away from sounding too much like a conversation and more like an event that features conversation. It shouldn’t sound like a couple of buddies hanging out with microphones. But what happens when you have a VO artist on the other end? Well that changes EVERYTHING.
For me, I thought it would be fun to have Tom on again for a couple of reasons. For one, this is a real treat for folks who have been listening to the show for some time now and have heard Tom Knight’s voice on the intro over 70 times now. So part of it is a nostalgia factor for listeners, Tom, and myself. I feel very lucky to have Tom as my friend. His expertise and willingness to help me by contributing his unique skills has been a major high point in the production of the show. I know that he enjoys the things he has contributed to the show too. Thanks Tom :)
The other side of it is whether a episode can feel like a couple of buddies hanging out and still have some kind of delivery that can make it a bit more than just that.
So, what did we go over? Well, for starters...my BIG fuck up. (clears throat) I had interviewed Dave Langguth the night before I recorded this session with Tom and I came home with NO content. Yup! That’s right. I didn’t record the audio, by accident. I thought that I had hit record on my Zoom H6 and did not double check and to my dismay, at the end of the interview my Zoom showed 0:00:00 on the time code. In the moment I had wondered for a moment what to do. Avoid immediate embarrassment and wait until I got home to send him a message that I didn’t record it. Or bite the bullet right there and man up to what had gone wrong. I chose the latter after not much deliberation. Just like how your parents used to tell you just to “rip off the Band-Aid”. I was greeted with a brief moment of personal misery from within and a “oh well man, shit happens”, from Dave. He was totally cool about it and the truth is, we had a lot of fun hanging out in his studio.
But there is something to be learned from this failure. For one, I won’t EVER not double check my shit before I get on with the interview. And secondly, I have grown up some over the last couple years. Your initial reaction tells a big part of the story about where you are at with yourself. It is as truthful as you can be with yourself, to recognize your feelings that seem to be out of your control, and your reaction when situations that are sudden and severe. In the past, I would have been unbelievably upset with myself and terribly embarrassed. The embarrassment would become the fuel for my anger and bad thoughts. This type of situation was one of the “nightmare scenarios” when I first decided to begin a podcast and could have very well prevented me from starting one in the first place.
By the time I arrived home that night I had a clear head about it all and I knew how to deal with it. Sure, I was pissed off about the amount of time that I had wasted but I understood that those feelings would pass. I would have to say that this is a great sign of progress for me. I think that because of so many good things that I recognize in my life can help outweigh stressful, negative, problematic, challenging events in my life. It has been a nice place to begin arriving to.
I wanted to take a moment to recognize the importance of that because from this point forward, until the end, it is just for fun. Oh, also I should add that Tom shared a story about a similar (but far worse) scenario that is absolutely heartbreaking.
So Tom and I talk about Motley Crue and the biopic “The Dirt” and how Tommy Lee was a big inspiration for Tom back when he was coming up. And then it becomes a winding maze of peculiar topics including Shaq’s shoe size, Tom’s lack of body hair and average nipples, our ancestral backgrounds, Tom’s embarrassing moments with Dave Weckl, and why Tom doesn’t play sports. It is all kinds of rediculousness.
Tom ends things on his new interest in gymnastics; starting as a middle aged man. That is what has always interested me about Tom. He is one of the most humble and modest people that I have met through this podcast. I still remember the AIM “anonymous” video the first time I saw it (credit to Joey “Bones” Parasole for sharing that content so I could find it). Tom is an unbelievable player and in some sense reminds me most of Dave Weckl, besides of course Dave Weckl. Considering his prowess as a drummer, he doesn’t make much fuss about himself. I think it is because his indenity as a drummer isn’t all encompassing. He is a VO artist (as many of you know), a father of three children, and a husband. He also loves tackling the impossible, which for him is gymnastics.
Tom discusses how this “impossibility” is what drives his determination to continue chipping away. I guess it must have been this personality trait that drove him as hard as it did to become such a skillful drummer. A quick check in with himself to see what is lacking the most and what is the next thing to learn. Tom then scurries off to the drums/pad and works on it until it is sorted out and then moves onto the next thing he would need to learn. I can only imagine that this is how that went down.
Suffice to say, this episode is really just for fun. My intent with a lot of my stuff is to trigger contemplation and your own curiosities. Ya know what the beauty of podcasting is? It is that it’s both original and curated content at the same time. With the information coming from so many sources, you can begin to see certain concepts, thoughts, and opinions that are in agreeance among many guests and perhaps even yourself. I feel that maybe it can be more trusted because of that. It is like if you go to a doctor and they discover something wrong with you that needs treating, you may ask for a second opinion. It all becomes more convincing as you get into the 4th, 5th and 6th time that you hear a similar message. Maybe that is a morbid reference, but it’s what comes to mind at the moment.
But anyways, sometimes we all need a break from the heavy stuff. I hope that you enjoy the episode and that it makes you laugh, think, and smile.
Music featured in this episode is:
Adam Nitti - Skitzo
Drumeo Gab’s Socials
Rob Wallis is a co-founder, along with Paul Seigel, of DCI Music Video, later to be Hudson Music. Rob being a longtime provider of content to the drumming community; Rob is the OG of video content. DCI Music Video was responsible for many legendary drum education videos that were great in their day and today holds a wonderful nostalgia. Titles such as “Bernard Purdie on studio drumming”, Steve Gadd’s “Up Close”, Dennis Chambers & John Scofield’s “Serious Moves”, Carter Beauford’s “Under the Table and Drumming” and mentioned in the podcast, “Modern Drummer Festival 2000”. These videos have been embedded for many years in my drumming life and I think back on them like you would your childhood. So huge thanks to Rob, Paul and the team with Hudson Music for making that content possible and delivering value to the drumming community for all these years.
A New Way
Whenever you are learning some style of music, a lot of drummers will suggest learning the history of players within that genre. It is always recommended to learn the roots and the history behind it. With so many drummers creating video content these days, is it important I wonder to study the history of video content? If it is, well...DCI is where you’d have to start. Rob talks about the truckloads of tape from recording festivals and the storage areas where they would keep it. We are talkin’ thousands of pounds of the shit. Tapes everywhere! Imagine where in order to create your live content, you have to hire catering services! The level of expense that went into this stuff was intense, man. Massive risk, and yet...a range of rewards. On one hand, no one else was doing it. On the other, you could lose your shirt if it flopped. But no matter how you sliced it, there was a huge gap in the industry and these guys forged the way. What they came up with would become the beginning of a new era for music education.
I want to focus on something for a minute…..
This “gap” is what everyone should be looking at. What makes that difficult is the fact that everyone has everything already. The delivery of information has improved immensely by looking better, sounding better, being more user friendly, and well you get the point, right? That all requires budget, experience, a facility, a network - and probably a bunch more stuff that I have no clue about to make it work really well….potentially. But back when Rob and Paul were getting into this, no one had ever seen anything like it before! It made a big impression and the ceiling was high to scale it. But again, the costs were MASSIVE back in those days, as Rob says in the interview. Renting 100k camera equipment for $1500 a day (in the early 80’s remember) is what’s on the menu. The cost of a mistake is on a whole other scale. “ It’s a different ballgame,” was the term we used in the conversation and it is all true.
A Slippery Slope
So, Hudson Music has produced a lot of the VHS tapes, DVD’s, and education books over the years. And by VHS and DVD was how you were going to receive that content for some twenty years…..until YouTube came along. It was a time for some people to strike while the iron was hot. Once again, there would have been huge costs involved, massive technical hurdles, less accessibility, and huge costs (yes I realize I repeated that).
So this was, yet again, a potential for a new era of education. And so the internet naturally became the focus for distribution. Since very early on, trusted providers such as Drumeo, Mike Johnston, Stephen Taylor, and Adam Tuminaro have all been chipping away and evolving in order to perfect online drum education. And to me it doesn’t look like there is a whole lot of room left to make this stuff exclusively. You could do it part-time, but likely you will be doing a lot of other stuff too to make ends meet. Music related or not.
It goes without saying that because it is easy to create a quick and easy lesson for Instagram or Facebook, anyone can do it. The internet is an amazing space to build a voice and brand. Hell, that’s what I am trying to do. It is all in how you handle that though. Is what you make any good? Is there really any value in it? Has it been said 10,000 times before and there any need to hear it some more? Are you doing it just to build a “brand”? Are you thoughtful with how you approach projects or content? Do you really love to do it, or do you feel pressure to do it? These are the things I would ask myself.
In any case, with lesser cost, lesser risks, better fidelity, and more access comes saturation. Inevitably.
Right, so tons of drummers are doing this. Some content looks great, some don’t. Some stuff sounds great, some don’t. Some lessons simply contain better information than others. But you know what it all has in common? I’ve seen it all thousands of times and I am bored now. I’m not suggesting that it needs to go away either. The great content, is great content! Keep that going for as long as possible. It needs to exist for drummers, of course, but when you combine all of what is out there….like I mean ALL of it! I am sorry folks but is it really needed?
The information coming into our phones and other devices are cruising along at overdose levels. I am not sure it is a good thing. Another angle to approach this is due to the fact that most of this content exists through social media and its design. So the question is whether or not we are attracted to our addictions or sharing great information? It is a blurry line if we really get real with ourselves. Likes, comments, more followers. All of it feeds the part of us that we associate with progress and esteem. And humans are drawn to progress and esteem...just look at the huge leaps forward as a species. That is a whole other kettle of fish that I may tackle another day but for now, let us all agree that we have come along way since we were banging rocks together and pounding our chests.
Point is, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and whatever else is out there, is meant to draw us in and keep us living there. It is up to our own discretion and discipline to monitor ourselves and maintain a healthy level of usage. This awareness ties in with my own abuse of social media, all with the notion that because I was growing a podcast, more metrics meant more growth. I felt that investing in the platform is a wise decision in order to scale my show. But ya know what? This show doesn’t actually grow much from social media. “But how is that Seamus!?”, you might be asking. Well, it is because people are on social media to be on social media. Not to find podcasts. That’s what Google’s for.
Side note: shares from super powerful and influential people/organizations on social media does help...a lot. But I am talking about, in my own experience, how the level of input vs output is disproportionate. However, with continued, regular investment, you will be on the minds of drummers/potential listeners and perhaps one day they may feel inclined to listen to a drumming podcast, and yours may be the one they choose. Also, you can easily create good relationships with people. This may have to be another blog at some point because there is something big to that. A subject that I find fascinating where people become currency to you….
SO! I know I am digressing here but there is a point to this, trust me.
I want this podcast to be what connects me to you.
E-mails FTW! (hit me up at Seamus@drumeo.com if you want to share your drum story or anything you want to be heard by someone). That is what I would like with listeners over any like, any share, or any comment on socials. I like one on one interaction and preferably off social media. So I encourage everyone to reach me by email, please.
The Glue That Holds It All Together
Rob possesses what I admire in people. Honest to goodness passion and love for something. Anyone who has that superpower is my friend, even if we haven’t met yet. But it is the love for what he does that keeps him fired up about working on Hudson Music all these years after having started it. This kind of testimony is what makes me excited because what I feel is a total obsession and interest in what I do. I just want to make the next thing, after the next thing. And that is exactly what Rob has done over the years.
He expresses his connection to the instrument, and how the connection occurs off the kit as well. Drumming is a community. It is music and art as well, obviously, but on the grander scale, it is and should always be about community. One person’s success is a victory for the community and so we should encourage each other, not compete. We should share ideas and philosophies to help each other grow and become stronger. That has become a larger purpose for this podcast as time has gone on and the show’s level of reach and impact have evolved. So as a sidebar, thank you, everyone, who comes here for their dose of a realistic, honest, well-intentioned, open forum.
Something that I want to drive home….
I believe that when you have integrity, like Rob, you produce the results required for something to survive and hopefully thrive. Ups and downs will always come and go, but long term success is really about devotion.
Because Rob treated his career more like an adventure, he managed to gain many fantastic personal life experiences that he can call his own. He made something out of nothing and nearly 40 years later he is still evolving by means of autobiographical book publishing; And he is super proud of it, as he describes “the spine facing out and everything”. He crossed paths with the amazing ****SPOILER ALERT****...(clears throat) Mr. Marlon Brando by happenstance at a red light in Harlem! The story goes that Rob had randomly stumbled across Paul Siegel driving some 20 minutes after they had separated at a red light. Paul’s passenger yells to Rob, “Hey, the phone is for you!”....and it was the Godfather!! Yeah, just unreal shit.
It was a big topic in the episode towards the end and I have some more thoughts about it. Listen to the episode before you continue reading.
Do you think it is better to be an entrepreneur than not? If so, why? What is an entrepreneur today? Is a loose term these days? I mean….you can’t actually be one without risking money, right? And #sorrynotsorry, social media accounts with nice content isn’t a business.
But here is the thing, I feel like too many people are telling us to be an entrepreneur. Are people becoming guilty because they work for someone? Is life nothing more than a series of daydreams about becoming something you aren’t yet? Do we focus too much on trying to become something greater than we feel we really are online? Are we becoming numb to motivation and inspiration because we hear it all the fucking time? Rehashed messages with similar lingo, that I attempt to avoid but sometimes step on those landmines, that mean almost nothing anymore? What do you really want? Yeah, you!
There are countless messages of motivation, inspiration, dedication...it is basically the fucking “ation” nation hahaha. Like c’ mon man, do I really need to be motivated on social media? Chances are I am not going to do what the content was intended to “inspire” me to do in the first place. I get it though, that type of shit pings off of you and you get a little jolt of something. But then you probably swipe to the next thing. At the end of the day, it is just you staring at your phone. Imagine a third person version of you looking at you, looking at your phone while you read a motivating thing on Instagram. Is that scenario all that motivating? Personally, I love the idea that you are reading this on your laptop or iPad with a whiskey, alone, at night, uninterrupted, in a peaceful environment listening to Brian Eno “Music for Airports” 1/1. But you might just be on the shitter at work on your lunch break and you were done pooping five minutes ago. I dunno, a man can dream, right?
What I am getting at is that if you watch a particular video on YouTube every morning at 4 AM before you “rise and grind” and it actually helps you “crush” the day; then I guess that’s fuckin “lit” bruh. But if you are just reading that shit and not doing anything about it, then be WOKE!
Man, I keep getting off topic. I apologize for that...
Anyways, the reason I asked Rob what he thinks about the projection of what is out there is because he is of a generation that largely lived without this technology and was a proper entrepreneur. And so what does he think is good for people? It is simple. It is the non-digital, human stuff that makes life interesting and fun. He figures if you make money at something, you should appreciate that. If you don’t dig it, quit and move onto something else. Inject your passions into your life. Find out what they are. It is important to have things in your life for you, and you only. That is the essence of honoring yourself. And even though Rob claimed that parts of the interview were challenging, I think our conversation brought out a moment for him that he won’t soon forget, and that is what it is all about folks.
Make An Impact!
That is my advice to you. Make impactful things. Do what really matters to you. It becomes honest that way, and when it is honest work that you produce, it succeeds over time. But you have to have passion and vision to see the long term destination. It is having a vision that keeps your momentum on a high note.
And the beauty of it all is that wherever you stop along the way is either, not up to you, or you managed to put yourself in the right place at the right time with intent. But your effort will, at some point, lead you to those places that your heart wants. You also don’t need to go searching for it every time. Sometimes things intersect your path instead. This notion that you can “take what you want” is too forceful and fiercely focused on what you think you desire, in my opinion. Why not let go some? Let your focus be on your passion and work ethic. Your devotion to your craft. Maybe there is fortune along that path as well. I am willing to bet that there is.
I hope that you enjoyed the podcast episode and took a moment to read this blog. Give this article a share on any of the social media channels (buttons to share are on this page) to spread this message if you believe in it.
I have included a variety of DCI Music Video clips for this podcast.
Drumeo Gab’s Socials
Hudson Music Socials
Carter McLean has been rising steadily in popularity since I have been familiar with Instagram. He has a great eye for gear, be it audiophile equipment, watches, drums, or pajamas and he also has a great ear for sound and musical tastes. He is really a guy who is after my own heart when it comes to this stuff. So it is no wonder why Internetland has rising interests in what Carter is doing musically. Between his long-standing gig with the Broadway musical Lion King and then his more improvised and loose approach with the unreal guitar freak Charlie Hunter, it would appear that Carter has found his footing quite firmly in his career. He also has an educational website business called Four Hands Drumming.
Again, considering Carter’s immense appeal, that also means that other podcasters have also sought interest in interviewing him. I have had the desire to interview Carter for a long time now, but every time I would consider reaching out to him he would appear on a podcast...and this happened, what seemed like, a handful of times until I finally decided to hit him up and make something COMPLETELY different. There is no sense in diluting the airwaves with rehashed Carter interviews, taking away the value of both this show and the others who have also had really fantastic sessions with Carter.
So what did we talk about you may be asking….well let’s see? We talk about watches, audiophile equipment, a gruesome skiing incident involving Carter and his friend, that one fateful morning working at Manny’s Music when the Twin Towers came crashing down, a memorable lesson with Peter Erskine, his new book, the switch the Ludwig. A lot in other words and it is all dealt in a rapid-fire type fashion. This is a rather short episode considering the sheer vastness of subject matter.
I highly recommend that you follow Carter online and check out his Drumeo YouTube lesson featured below to get a taste of what Carter is about. He does an amazing job waving the groove/song drumming flag that has seemed to become somewhat elusive since chops have become so fascinating to many drummers. He is without question one of the most controlled, smooth players in the game and equally a thoughtful and intelligent guy with some great perspectives.
I feature some tunes performed by Charlie Hunter and Carter McLean, which was performed live in Manchester. If you enjoyed what you heard and want to hear more of that music, please click the link below and enjoy it.
Drumeo Gab’s Socials
Bruce Becker has dedicated most of his life to drum education and has gained a significant level of respect from drummers as a leader in approaching drum technique. Bruce has a very unique background with drumming, as he was a long-time friend and student of the late Freddie Gruber. Bruce was not only Freddie’s student but was often called upon by Freddie to demonstrate techniques applied to the kit for the likes of Dave Weckl. Over the years, a lot of Freddie’s concepts have been adopted by Bruce and elevated to a level which many consider being more comprehensible than Freddie’s often cryptic nature in explaining his lessons. Besides education, Bruce has recorded over twenty albums in his career and has been playing alongside his brother David Becker in the David Becker Tribune for the better part of 30 years.
So, it is more than fair to say that Bruce is one of the most specialized instructors on the planet concerning drum technique. I figured that it would be a great use of air time to explore many of my own curiosities when it comes to development with drumming. However, instead of explicitly asking Bruce questions about technique, I thought it might be more valuable for listeners to hear Bruce’s thoughts concerning long term development. I feel that sometimes it can be difficult to know how to spend your time practicing, how long it may take to notice improvements, how much play time vs practice time we should invest in, whether old habits can be broken, and what the real reason is that we might want to exercise the use of practice pads. Bruce walks us through these topics with so much clarity, providing listeners with a sense of reassurance and guiding us towards a solid path to take with your drumming development.
That is only part of what makes this episode valuable though. Late in the episode, Bruce and I stumble across an amazing topic that isn’t often discussed in public forum. I want to open this up with a scenario. Let’s say you are determined to become a GREAT drummer. You are finding this to be of importance later in your life (let’s assume you are 30 - 40 years old) and you just HAVE to get the practice in and maybe feeling a bit pressured to make up for the lost time. So there you are, working away on your drums/pad and all of a sudden you hear your wife hollering at you to stop what you are doing and help with something in the house and it just can’t wait twenty more minutes. In a huff and a puff, you reluctantly stop what you are doing and head downstairs to discover that you are going to be spending the next two hours clearing out your basement of items to be donated to the local goodwill. You then begin to ruminate on the thought that you DO NOT want to be clearing out old items from your basement because you were just hitting the zone with your practice and you were really in tune with the relationship between your hands and the sticks (just as an example. I am certain you all know that feeling when practice really starts to click and that is when you feel your effort is being completely soaked up by your body). It is a drag, isn’t it? It could literally put a damper on your day if you allow it to. This, of course, is just one of many potential examples where other aspects of your life require your time and attention and it may interfere with your plans that you have been anticipating.
If you are anything like me, I am quite obsessive over the things that I love to do and sometimes I have a difficult time stopping what I am doing to do something else that I am less interested in doing. The truth is though, we need to be flexible within our own designs of how we wish to spend our time to develop and self-invest. This is just one part of what Bruce and I discuss in this section and it continues to expand as we go along into some very interesting ideas about how we live out our lives. I stand by the fact that this episode is a must listen for drummers but I insist that you really listen closely to the fifteen to twenty-minute section towards the end of this episode and give that some consideration if it applies to you.
I want to conclude by suggesting that we all take a moment and reflect on our self-investing. Investing in yourself is incredibly healthy and aspiring to greatness within our skill sets. I attempt to do just that with this podcast. I have committed myself to become a great journalist and a highly skilled interviewer. That is something I need to accomplish in my lifetime and it is my passion. Cool...so I have recognized that and that is fantastic because it gives me a sense of purpose within what I have created for myself, which makes me more confident which in turn makes me a better husband, father, and human. However, I also need to recognize that other aspects of my life absolutely cannot become second fiddle to my desires. They are just as important as what I want for myself. I really wanted to address this because I can clearly witness the level of productivity that several social media channels display with certain individuals. I also know how much time is required to achieve those results, and based on the time you should invest in your marriage, parenting, home ownership, business upkeep, day job, your friendships, and other activities I have to wonder if the self-investing side of what people invest in is in amazing health while other parts of their life is on life support. Marriages fail at an incredible rate these days. More and more people are living hand to mouth. Unemployment rates are sky high. We are all being told to work for ourselves and as far as social media goes, we are all living it up, and life is grand! I see some big holes in all that and Bruce and I just nail point after point concerning this stuff. It is important stuff to consider and I hope that this episode provides some interesting points to consider with your own life and how you manage it.
Music featured in this episode is:
David Becker Tribune - Hey Mister
David Becker Tribune - Drivin’ Home
Bruce Becker - House of Cards
Drumeo Gab’s Socials
Marco Minnemann. Where do I start? He’s an UNBELIEVABLE technician, groove meistro, and total balls out player. But that only tells part of the story. He has also created 25 albums as a solo artist where he composed music, played the instruments, recorded everything, produced everything...ya picking up what I’m putting down? So yes, Marco is an incredible drummer. But for Marco, it is all for the love of music.
Beyond his solo work, Marco is also the drummer for the virtuoso trio, The Aristocrats. He has also performed with numerous artists such as Joe Satriani, Alex Lifeson, Paul Gilbert, Eddie Jobson, Steven Wilson, Necrophagist, and Adrian Belew. Marco has also been a massive force in educational content. With his book Extreme Interdependence and DVD Extreme Drumming, Marco has taken independence to another level with the concept of Interdependence earning him a reputation as being one of the most advanced drummers in the world today. Recently, Marco had filmed lesson content at the Drumeo studio.
In this episode we talk about the Aristocrats, what Marco’s practice routine looked like when he was developing early on, his creative process with composing music, his thoughts on hand/foot speed (this is something everyone needs to hear), Joe Satriani and my musical banana shirt. There is other stuff in there too. Enjoy ;)
Music featured in this episode is:
Marco Minnemann - Are You Having A Good Time?
Marco Minnemann - Butterflies
The Aristocrats - Sweaty Knockers
The Aristocrats - Blues Fuckers
Drumeo Gab’s Socials
Jose Medeles is the owner of the well known vintage drum shop in Portland, OR called Revival Drum Shop and he is also the author of The Stoic Drummer. Oh, and that’s not all ... Jose is also one of the members of 1939 Ensemble. So of those three topics that I could explore with Jose, I chose the middle one. In fact, it was because of The Stoic Drummer that I caught a glimpse of what Jose might be like to have on the show as a guest. We use this book as our reference point to this wandering conversation that dips heavily into some topics concerning who we are. Why do we play drums? What are our thoughts? What is fear? How do we nourish ourselves with self love? These are all questions that I wanted to thoroughly examine with Jose … and we did. May this episode refresh your perspective, open your mind and heart, and make you smile and feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for having the gift of drumming.
Music featured in this episode is:
Jose Medeles - Reception
Jose Medeles - The Art of Silence
Drumeo Gab’s Socials
Jonathan Collin Greene is a professional drummer from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is the creator of the YouTube channel Drumosophy, a private instructor and gigging musician. Jonathan has built a lesson within this episode where he shows us his perspective on internalizing fives through the use of ostinato patterns. I will stop there, because I really don’t have authority to continue explaining it. Jonathan shares how 9/11 was the day that drums entered his life for good, his battles with depression and imposter syndrome, and most importantly how he views the craft vs. the art of drumming.
Music featured in this episode is:
Jonathan Greene - The Greatest Something
Brave World Trio - Black Hole Sun
Drumeo Gab’s Socials
In the second and concluding part of this interview, Mark reminisces on his past with Heernt and Avishai Cohen. With Avishai, he learned a lot about how to discipline himself in order to bring his all to the band-stand by asking the question, "Why am I here?" We discuss how Mark was affected by working with David Bowie for Bowie’s final record, Black Star, and whether resuming his normal life again was challenging in any way, considering how unbelievable that opportunity to work with Bowie must have been. We also discuss the process of writing "Thank You." and finish off the episode with some listener questions.
Music featured in this episode is:
Mark Guiliana - "That DeeJay Chick Works At The Bank Now" (Beat Music: The Los Angeles Improvisations)
Mark Guiliana - "I Create Your Own Future" (Beat Music: The Los Angeles Improvisations)
Mark Guiliana - "BUD" (BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC!)
Mark Guiliana - "Thank You." (Single)
Drumeo Gab’s Socials
In this two-part episode, Mark and I discuss the process of creating Mark’s new record BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC!, his relationship with the drums, his fellow musicians, and music in general. Mark shares so many incredible insights to how he negotiates any commentary whilst playing, how he sets his expectations, and how he maintains the level of joy required to make drumming worth while. Mark discusses his earlier years being a student of Joe Bergamini and how this relationship would continue forward into the process of creating Exploring Your Creativity On The Drumset. And who is Cole Whittle?
Music featured in this episode is:
Mark Guiliana Quarter - "Big Rig Jones" (Jersey)
Heernt - "Locked In A Basement" (Locked In A Basement)
Mark Guiliana - "Ode to Bobby Moons" (Beat Music: The Los Angeles Improvisations)
Mark Guiliana - "GIRL" (BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC!)
Drumeo Gab’s Socials
In this episode, we are speaking with the awesome Richard Spaven about a lot of juicy subjects, some of which are my favorite. We go over “The List” (creativity, time keeping, endurance, independence, coordination, groove, chops, technique), we talk about "The Zone", which Richard speaks passionately about, and we go deep into his creative process.
We also reflect on Richard’s work, and in particular on "Spaven's 5ive", his first, original recording and my favorite of his. We close with a conversation about how he feels once an album has been created.
Drumeo Gab’s Socials
Welcome to the second episode of our roundtable series! In this episode we are speaking with Tim Baltes, David Cola, TJ Hartmann, Adam Tuminaro, Austin Burcham, and Dan Silver. The topics covered deal with risk taking, changes in life and how it affects our personal goals, social media perfection vs process, artist vs entrepreneur, and the isolation that comes with being a content creator. For all of the drummers out there taking risks, subjecting themselves to significant change, or using the internet to create a presence and potentially a career within the music industry will find this episode valuable.
Drumeo Gab’s Socials
In the 1st round, we talk about learning how to embrace yourself as a player, the appropriate time to be disappointed in yourself, and the current state of perfectionism with social media content.
In the 2nd round, Brody talks about his experiences as a recording engineer and session artist. Siros shares how playing saxophone helped him develop as a drummer and why he chose to pursue the drums as a profession. And we discuss how both physical and mental health, plays a huge role in how we perform.
Drumeo Gab's Socials
Ryan Brown is the drummer for Dweezil Zappa, Keram, The Fuxedos, The Young Royals, and Black Belt Karate. Ryan is also an instructor at MI in Hollywood, CA.
Originally from Colorado, Ryan had a choice to pursue his music career either in New York or Los Angeles. Who knew that a 50/50 decision would bring him the fortune of playing his dream gig. In this episode, Ryan shares important knowledge that will help working drummers in their pursuit to a fruitful career as well as the epic story of his audition to play with Dweezil Zappa, and how he channels the mega lineup of past Frank Zappa drummers in his own performances.
Key moments in this episode (in order)
Ryan Brown talks about playing the Black Page with a Morfbeats Marvin
Since 1999, Ryan hasn’t seen much snow since living and gigging in the LA scene. Ryan gives his thoughts on networking and how social media isn’t enough to seal that deal.
So how did Ryan Brown land the Zappa gig? It’s kind of a long story and it involves Pete Jones.
The story about the audition process for Dweezil Zappa is unreal. Ryan shares the story about the stress that he endured capturing an opportunity of a lifetime.
Replacing Joe Travers as Dweezil’s drummer was no small feat. Ryan reflects on his first year as Dweezil’s drummer and how the audience received him.
Ryan talks about his approach to channel the many great drummers who held the Zappa throne into his own performances with Dweezil and how he manages to inject his own personality into the music as well.
I asked Ryan who his favorite Zappa drummer is/was and this turns into a story about how he found Zappa’s music as a young man.
Ryan is an only child, which happens to be something we have in common. We discuss and relate to each other over the virtues of being only children and how it affects us as artists.
Ever wonder what improvisation might be like in Dweezil’s band? Ryan breaks down the hand signals and some of the musical escapades that occur on stage.
Ryan shares his advice on making a good decision when you approach an intersection where more than one choice can be made.
Drumeo Gab's Socials
Music Credits by Dweezil Zappa
Inverted Commas, I'm Sorry You Had to Hear That, Greasy Owl Bacon
Music Production/Mastering - Kingmobb
Voice Over - Tom Knight
Drums - Me
Recording Engineer - Michael Marucci
new and unusual or experimental ideas, especially in the arts, or the people introducing them
Dan Mayo is an incredibly expressive drummer hailing from Tel Aviv, Israel who specializes in an avant-garde approach to the drum set. He endorses A&F drums, Meinl cymbals, and Vic Firth drum sticks. Along with playing drums, Dan also composes and produces music for his band TATRAN.
This interview was recorded in Anaheim, CA on January, 24th 2019.
What we talked about (in order)
- We begin the interview by contemplating the following list of components to drumming.
Creativity, Timekeeping, Endurance, Independence, Coordination, Groove, Chops, Technique
Dan sorts out the importance of this list by ranking them in order of most important to least important. We deeply discuss each of the components and fall into many rabbit holes along the way.
- As we wrap up the list of components, we discover that technique is not very important to Dan. Dan’s belief is that the technique develops over time through playing the instrument. Or we develop particular techniques to properly express through the variety of instruments on a drum set. This leads Dan to explain how he feels that practice pads are of no use to a drummer. He doesn’t understand why drummers are the only musicians that play on something other than the actual instrument, which is the drum set. I have a feeling that many drummers will debate this section of the interview, but it does, in fact, make a lot of sense to me what he says about practice pads.
- Dan’s style of playing is incredibly expressive and he uses a lot of dynamics. So I ask him about how dynamics play a role in his expression and why they are important. This leads to how colors, shapes, and even smells play a part in how Dan’s approach will be influenced by these senses and metaphors.
- Dan decides to add something to the list and that is commitment. We talk about risk-taking, how to commit to the audience, and how to be vulnerable to allow the moment to come through when he plays.
- An incredibly interesting metaphor that Dan brings up more than once is how he feels that he is “a tube with two holes” and what this represents are input and output. If good energy and vibes are coming in, the output will be amazing. He talks quite deeply about how this is essential to him finding the highs of making music that he needs as an artist.
- How many shows that Dan performs are great, good, and crappy and how does he deal with the undesirable outcomes? Or are the shows he thought were bad, actually good? We explore how the moment, adrenaline, our own perceptions can alter reality.
- Dan shares what his fans can expect and look forward to in 2019. This includes his Masterclass that will be recorded and filmed for internet consumption that is titled “Inner Voice” which ironically this interview captured most of the content that is planned for this Masterclass. So if you enjoyed this interview and Dan’s philosophies, I am certain that you will enjoy Dan’s “Inner Voice” Masterclass.
- Dan talks about the importance of loving yourself and how if you do embrace yourself, you will play better. This is one of my personal favorite sections of this conversation. It is absolutely true and also is grossly overlooked and under-discussed.
- Lastly, we wrap things up by talking about the truth to one’s playing. How do we know if something is bullshit or the real thing?
Drumeo Gab’s Socials
Music Production/Mastering - Kingmobb
Voice Over - Tom Knight
Drums - Me
Recording Engineer - Michael Marucci
Claus Hessler is a well-known drummer and educator located in Germany. He has authored several educational books such as Camp Duty Update, Drum Set Workout, and Open-handed playing Vol 1&2. He also performs with his funk/fusion band Flux. Claus does fly under the radar somewhat in the drum community but has carved out a long and prosperous career with education and performance.
What we talked about (in order)
- Claus talks about his rope tuned solid Ash wood drum in significant detail and gives me a small tour of his home studio.
- This interview was recorded January 3rd, 2019, so naturally, I wanted to know how Claus’ new year has been treating him so far.
- Claus and Dom Famularo go way back. Claus talks about how Dom played a big role in Claus’ development both in his playing but also with an opportunity within the industry.
- Claus is hugely interested in drum history. Swiss rudiments, medieval drums, techniques to name a few. I bring up the Tabor and the open-handed roll. Claus clears up some misinterpretation within this subject.
- We fall into a rabbit hole which, if I sum it up, is about intentions and purpose to drumming in music. We begin with the Tabor. A medieval drum that accompanied a fife and was played with one blunt stick. Then we end up talking about if and how different time periods affect a musician. This is highly speculative, but interesting subject matter.
- Camp Duty Update has been receiving some notoriety lately. With the 2018 Best Educational Material nomination from Modern Drummer, I had to ask what his mission was in writing that material.
- Claus has authored a great deal of educational material to the drumming world. He discusses with me how his students are his beta testers and allow Claus to see directly what needs to be included or not to develop a great piece of educational material.
- The mileage that you can get out of one rudiment opposed to memorizing fifty rudiments and barely scratching the surface, is a concept that Claus is very interested in. How to “hide” rudiments effectively in musical settings is what he believes more drummers ought to do. This part is like having a lesson with Claus.
- With educators, I sometimes sense that there is a lot of calculation in their approach to what they play and so it comes out sounding very “beige” and exercise-y sounding. That doesn’t apply to all educators obviously, and therein lies the question. How does a player, who teaches, maintain a sense of character and a distinct sound?
- Claus talks about his early career doubts and fears. He’s good now though. In all seriousness though, Claus gets into some great commentary about human nature and by sharing this stuff with other people is a sign of maturity and strength.
- “If you don’t sound like shit, you’re not practicing” This is a quote we all know and love, isn’t it? Of course, this statement is true, but does it lead a focus of persuading a student to focus on their weaknesses? Claus explains his point of view towards this.
- This conversation sparked a question that I didn’t anticipate asking, but I ask Claus what his thoughts are on pacing yourself on new material. I use an analogy where my fist represents my size of abilities. Then my other hand and fingers represent the new things that you want to add, that you will inevitably suck at. How much of the new stuff should you add, and how long does it take to fuse to the total sum of your abilities. This leads to perhaps the most interesting part of this episode.
Drumeo Gab's Socials
Music Production/Mastering - Kingmobb
Voice Over - Tom Knight
Drums - Me
Recording Engineer - Michael Marucci
As a drummer, Todd Sucherman is in a band with an ironic name. Styx. Harhar had to do it. On a more serious note, the Styx throne has only been held by two individuals in the forty-six years that Styx has been around. The original drummer, John Panozzo, and of course, Todd Sucherman. That is serious rock drumming royalty to behold right there.
This interview was captured the day after the cold and rainy BC Helicopter Mountain shoot that many of you have seen on YouTube. The video shoot was in an effort to promote Todd Sucherman’s Rock Drumming Masterclass and do something that has never been done before.
Imagine….you already play with Styx, you're publicly known as a total badass player, you have been recognized numerous times for your many contributions of excellence in the art of drumming, and then some crazy Canuck suggests that you fly in a helicopter with a massive drum kit to play on top of a mountain…..while being recorded and filmed. “A charmed life”, I believe is how Todd put it.
In addition to Styx, Todd is also a clinician, session player, and responsible for multiple award-winning video pack series Methods and Mechanics. In 2018 Todd was awarded the title of “#1 Progressive Rock Drummer” and “#1 Recorded Performance” for “The Mission” (Styx).
Beyond Todd’s outstanding playing, he is also an incredible hang. I can see why people want him around. He’s clear, direct, intentional, smart, funny, and there is a certain intensity to him that is nice to be around. I had an amazing time visiting with Todd, Dave, Jared, Victor, Taylor and the rest of the team at Drumeo while I was there. Getting to have that time with such a revered musician is something very special. It was THE BEST way to reintroduce this podcast that I and many of you have grown to love.
So I want to give all of my past listeners a big "high five!" It's great to have you back! I also want to welcome new listeners to this show! Thanks for checking this out! I love hearing from listeners, and I will always try to get back to everyone, but please write into the show to share your thoughts, experiences, and in general any feedback or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alright, let’s get into this!
What we talked about (IN ORDER)
- Fresh in his mind, Todd talks about the BC mountain video shoot.
- Todd talks about his philosophy on the good and bad cards that we are dealt when we are born and the cards that show up later in life.
- The daisy chain of small opportunities that can lead to big ones. Todd shares a personal story relating to this.
- Todd talks about the night when he asked other students at Berklee when the penny dropped for them that they would actually become a musician. Todd goes on to explain that he never had to give it thought. He always knew.
- We discuss Todd’s upbringing in a musical family and how that nurtured him into a life of music.
- Did you know that Steve Smith wrote Todd back a six and a half page letter after Todd reached out when he was a kid? Todd reflects on the impact that the letter had on him, some of the memorable contents, and why he feels it is important to pass that same feeling onto other young students who are fans of Todd’s like Steve did for him.
- After we reflected on Steve’s letter we got into a story about Elvis and a costume that illustrates how the universe reveals unbelievably coincidental circumstances when we follow our path in life. Maybe it isn’t a coincidence at all, but it is the kind of thing that makes us wonder “how in the hell…?”
- It is widely known that Todd has been playing with Styx for twenty odd years now, but he is not the original drummer. Todd explains what it was like stepping into Styx after tragedy struck the band when they lost the bandmate, friend, and brother, John Ponazzo.
- There were two concerts/tours that really stuck out to me in my research. One was the concert where Styx played with over 100 school children from the Cleveland Contemporary Youth Orchestra, which was directed by Liza Grossman. The other was when Styx did a tour (around 26 shows) in 2010, where they played Styx albums “Pieces of Eight” and “The Grand Illusion” back to back. I had to know more about how each of those musical experiences was like for him. Todd’s answers may surprise you….
- Todd is a father. I had to know more about how he balances his work life with his family life.
- Todd shares some thoughts on the balance between having good business sense and a creative passion. They both need to exist with today’s modern musician. I bring up a thing I found about a sour deal that Todd had to deal with when he released Methods and Mechanics.
Drumeo Gab Socials
Music Production/Mastering - Kingmobb
Voice Over - Tom Knight
Drums - Me
Recording Engineer - Michael Marucci
100. I have thought about what I would do with my 100th since the time I started DrumGAB. It's the episode that I have looked forward to the most. I always knew it was going to be long, quirky, wandering, nostalgic, and challenging and not just for me to make, but for you to listen to as well.
I see it as a symbol of devotion and commitment to something. Not to say that this thing is important in any way at all, but it was tough to make and it meant something to me to assemble something purely from my own personal warm fuzzy places. And I don't consider myself a content creator, but rather a content assembler. In fact, I am really trying to get out of the way more and more often as time goes on. I am less concerned with creating a character; I am the character. I am also less interested in forcing the conversation to suit my prep. I dunno, this is all just shit that you learn when you do something that you know nothing about and decide that you will give it a try. Nearly two years later and I have assumed the role and position and that is a weird realization to me still. Little transformations and adjustments have been happening on a subconscious level. It is all slow and consistent, so you never notice the spikes of progress and change. You just realize one day that you do it now, and you are comfortable doing it.
So what is DrumGAB to me? Is it anything similar to what it means to you? I do receive a lot of detailed feedback from listeners and it is usually a few months after someone discovers the show. The things that are said to me is just fucking awesome. It really is. I don't take this shit lightly because I have now developed a show that I felt didn't exist in the drum industry and threw myself directly into it without noticing, and for reasons beyond my control people feel it's their show too.
And that is what I want!
I have ALWAYS been the odd duck who would show other people and friends things I have made or something that I really like and most of the time it isn't accepted. I used to be really self-conscious about shit that I liked or how I wanted to go about making something. Acceptance is a big issue with me that I struggle with, but at the same time I have always been an anti-pop weirdo who can't seem to fit into an easy place, so I really work against myself in that way. But here we are with DrumGAB, and I have always just made what seemed like the right thing to make at the time and it seems like there are a group of individuals who are kinda like me too. I found a lot of my people through this show. So connectivity is maybe the biggest components to the success of this show.
But back to the 100th. This episode features fifteen interviews (technically speaking) from both good friends of mine or fans of the show. In a couple of cases, I think it was just something seen as an opportunity to be on the podcast, which is fine too. We also have six original compositions from my friend Matt Davis who accepted the challenge to create the music to some drum tracks that I sent him. We have numerous studio recordings featuring my beautiful Sugar Percussion drum set played by yours truly and tracked by the talented recording engineer and drummer Michael Marucchi. We have VIKING!!! Fucking Viking man. He made this so special both with his VO impersonations and the interview that we had that was based on some fan-generated points on what annoys a drummer. It was absolutely wonderful to have him involved with the project, as he is a dear friend of mine. There are four different flashback chunks of some of the funniest moments in the show's history. I recorded three separate narrations to guide you along this incredibly long episode and also to offer some perspectives on my experience with creating DrumGAB. Fuck what else is there.....? Oh right, there are tons of audio snippets that I yanked off the internet. All of it is stuff that I have loved for years, whether it be Monty Python, Beavis and Butthead, Norman McLaren, The Big Snit, or the Twilight Zone, it's all in there. I use these clips to bookend the interviews and sporadically throughout the actual interviews.
There is a lot of stuff....thirty mp3 sessions were created and then all assembled into one session to create 100. A LOT of time and effort went into making this thing. I am not sure if I have ever put something together of this scale ever before and I am so happy with the results. It is a winding road of many different perspectives, stories, messages, music, culture, and it all stems from the keen interests that I have and how I used DrumGAB to explore and share them with you. Thank you all again for taking time from your life to get inside of mine a bit.
Here are the running order and times for 100
Viking Intro (0:00 - 2:13)
Old Jingle (2:13 - 3:23)
Narration One (3:23 - 22:02)
New Jingle (22:02 - 23:02)
Flashback One (23:02 - 35:02)
Hunter Krasa (35:02 - 50:00)
Adam MacEachran (50:00 - 1hr32:40)
Viking 1 (1hr32:40 - 1hr40:17)
Steve Nadler (1hr40:17 - 2hr21:50)
Flashback 2 (2hr21:50 - 2hr30:48)
Viking 2 (2hr30:48 - 2hr46:01)
Kevin Nordeste (2hr46:01 - 3hr21:09)
Brandon Green (3hr21:09 - 4hr20:57)
Charlelie Fusillier (4hr20:57 - 4hr52:53)
Viking 3 (4hr52:53 - 5hr04:06)
Narration 2 (5hr04:06 - 5hr12:25)
The Big Snit (5hr12:25 - 5hr22:16)
Anthony Lafrate (5hr22:16 - 5hr42:32)
Ryan Claxton (5hr42:32 - 6hr06:17)
Alex Kaufman (6hr06:17 - 7hr03:24)
Flashback 3 (7hr03:24 - 7hr12:59)
Viking 4 (7hr12:59 - 7hr26:07)
Joe Mintz (7hr26:07 - 7hr49:24)
Boyd Little (7hr49:24 - 8hr05:16)
TJ Hartmann (8hr05:16 - 8hr59:09)
Flashback 4 (8hr59:09 - 9hr12:23)
Travis McGowan (9hr12:23 - 9hr49:58)
Rob Maybee & the flower shop family (9hr49:58 - 9hr53:47)
Vinny Werneck (9hr49:58 - 10hr42:55)
Viking 5 (10hr42:55 - 10hr57:16)
Narration 3 (10hr57:16 - 11hr10:07)
Vikings’ Outro (11hr10:07 - 11hr11:42)
I hope you enjoy this piece and thank you again for listening to DrumGAB, it was my pleasure creating it.
Stan Bicknell. A lot of you know Stan, he came up in conversation a shit load of times in the different interviews for the 100th episode. His original show has been downloaded nearly 5000 times since it aired and continues to get about 50 new listens each month. It is just insane to me how much influence Stan gained on Instagram. It is one of those rare little gem cases where influence actually happened within a social platform.
This explosion online caught the attention of Jared Falk and that resulted in an invite to Drumeo. Holy fuck, right!? One minute Stan is buying fish and chips with his family and the next he's being invited to fucking Drumeo!! Well, the last time we spoke over Skype, he was going and then at some point he wasn't gonna go. He started to really feel the effects of some blowback regarding his foot technique, which was a major factor to Stan attending Drumeo, so you might imagine he felt a tad deflated. Well, one day Stan came to his senses during a run and said to himself, "Why in the fuck did I sleep on the Drumeo gig?" and the next thing you know Stan is getting in touch with Jared to accept the offer provided if it was still available.
It has been an exciting time for Stan since our last chat and it was great to catch up and see what he had to say for the 99th episode!
POI in this episode
- After our catchup small chat, Stan begins explaining Drumeo in vivid detail. For any drummer appearing on Drumeo to film lessons is a considerable honor. To think that the Internet largely had nearly everything to do with Stan being noticed and being asked to film content for Drumeo is kind of mind boggling isn't it? Stan thinks so too. He understands parts of why he thinks he got so much attention online, but he doesn't understand why it went to the degree of popularity that it did. But in any case, once the commitment was made Stan didn't waste any time when it came to practice. He went above and beyond to ensure that no stone was left unturned.
- There was a point in the sixteen months since our last proper chat that Stan had to deal with some serious imposter syndrome issues. He was challenged about his foot technique and essentially being told that he will be injuring people, this person's students all wanted to learn Stan's technique which also pissed this person off. They even talked about it over Skype but it remained a difference of opinion. But how can Stan teach something if he himself is being affected by another person's strong opinion on his technique and claiming that it isn't good? It messed Stan up a bit and he shares that with us.
- So your ego can be crushed pretty quickly sometimes if we are vulnerable to particular feedback. But I had to ask Stan that even though this wasn't a positive experience, does the positive stuff affect him too but in a different way? It was kind of a neat perspective to see if false confidence is in anyway involved with Stan and how he takes in the compliments. Also, does he ever numb out to the positive messages that he receives?
- So we talked about how he felt before and during the Drumeo experience, but he did he feel after? What comes next?
Local Canadian drummer, Rob 'Beatdown' Brown, known widely for his YouTube channel where he has grown to nearly 70K subs makes him one of the bigger drum related channels hands down. He also works a lot, staying busy as a full-time musician, Rob shares a lot of fundamentally useful knowledge that has been said before but Rob and I somehow put it all together in one place with a nice punch to the delivery. It is all stuff that will shift your mindset, or chances if you are busy, you can just nod your head and say "fuck yeah, he's right about that" about 400 times from start to finish. It's that episode.
POI in the episode
- Rob and I kind of just shoot the shit for the first little while until I ask him to wind back the clock a bit and explain how he got started with all this. It luckily doesn't fall into the pots and pans thing, it is actually a lot cooler than that.
- A big topic that we explore is teaching and one of the best things Rob says here is how we don't need to be college profs to teach a person something on drums. Rob specifically mentions that if you have played for six months and another has played for two months, you can likely teach at least one thing to the younger player. He also goes through some benefits of teaching, and we both contemplate whether people dig into teaching for a better chance to get endorsements and make music their livelihood, even if they hate teaching for example.
- So how much has YouTube helped Rob? Well, a lot actually. More than I was expecting to be honest. He does a very good job of promoting products and his content has a down to earth, trustworthy, and overall not douchey vibe. So I am not too surprised that he does well with it. We chat a bit about the advantages of the internet in today's music industry.....And then we talk about how fucking weird social media is.
- Next up...endorsements. This is such a funny thing to me. I for one am relationship rich, and endorsement poor. But maybe what I have is even better than an "endorsement". Peers, friends, family, and the ignorant all congratulate the endorsement deal. I am not sure if any achievement endures my social media groveling than an endorsement. Well, I suppose winning stuff gets a lot of praise too. Anyways, what Rob says here is just winning.
- Rob takes it up a notch when I ask him to share any wisdom that he feels needed some airtime to clear up and/or inform fellow drummers/musicians. He goes into encouraging people that if they want to get into music....JUST DO IT! Think Nike and that's it. Don't wait around, and don't be an entitled shit about not getting paid what you think you are worth in the beginning. If you wanna play so bad, you should want to and look forward to the experience. Especially when you are young. This part is chalked full of good stuff.
- Lastly, we talk about the Law of Attraction. Now, for the record, I completely believe that what you put out into the universe is heard if it is sent with intent. This is in conjunction with JUST DO IT. It boils down to exactly what the phrase suggests and also to have intent while doing it. The right people will enter your world and will align with your cause if you seem like someone worth investing in.
Make sure to check out Rob's (YouTube channel) to watch and subscribe to his content.
Lou Santiago Jr. is a name that some will know and others will not. What’s in a name though? Is a name that important? Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t. Lou Santiago Jr. was a name with a lot of buzz around it back in 2003 and beyond after he won the Modern Drummer Undiscovered Drummer Contest. The stories that we are told in this episode are a product of his success with that contest and also a Guitar Centre contest that went pretty far until he was beat out by none other than Chris Coleman. So with everything that is said and done in Lou’s career, it is kind of insane why we haven’t heard of him lately.
But here’s the thing. Lou left the music scene and the drum industry almost seven years ago when he enrolled in medical school to pursue a career as a professional healthcare provider. A massive departure at the peak of his career as a pro drummer and some may wonder why he made that move. According to Lou, it was for his children and family. He wanted to provide his family with a stable and bountiful income and he felt tired of the hustle that he experienced in the music industry. He also wanted to be a present father and not on tour for weeks on end away from his family. These are very good reasons in my opinion, depending on what you value of course. I side with Lou on this one though.
So Lou is only three months from graduating and he also has some big plans to launch a new online business on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Lou leaked that it is an educational website and apparently you get a lot for very little money. Lou claims that his website will be an instant success, which is a lofty claim in my opinion. In my eyes, it would be difficult to break out on the internet with an education platform/business plan without some serious marketing horsepower and a very well developed plan to launch it. I mean look at who exists in that space. Drumeo, Orlando Drummer, Mikeslessons.com and ummmm that is kind of the big three, isn’t it? It’s kind of like Ford, Dodge, and Chev if we are comparing online drum education brands to domestic vehicle brands. All of these brands have been building their businesses for years, they have enormous exposure on all social networks, and they all have been chipping away and working hard to create products and services that drummers want. So in other words, even if the idea is amazing, there is still some stiff competition to deal with to make it an instant success. I will say this though, good quality content that you get to keep at a low price is a winning formula in theory.
So this is a very long episode with quite a lot of details about the life and drumming career of Lou Santiago Jr. Everything from his roots growing up in New York, his scholarship to prep school, his time spent in the Navy, his divorce, the product he developed with Meinl, his DVD called “Three Days” that didn’t come together, some great advice given by the great Billy Ward….the storied career of Lou Santiago Jr. is almost larger than life with twists and turns of success and defeat. Considering the rather short length of time that Lou has played drums it is absolutely incredible what he managed to achieve and what skills he managed to develop. There is almost too much stuff to list in this write up that is worthwhile mentioning because most of it is. It is difficult not to agree with some of the statements that Lou presents in this episode and it is also not difficult to avoid taking a close listen to the advice of what not to do as well. I believe that Lou has a lot of great principles on life and how he chooses to live. He is a person who strongly believes in his values and does not fall, victim, at least based on what knowledge I have come to understand, to temptation from offers and opportunities that many people would snap up in a heartbeat and assume their net worth based on the profile of the artist they are associated with.
So the first half of this episode is mostly biographical and the second half of this interview features the juicy stuff. Lou really comes through with strong and powerful statements that will rattle your cage. It makes you think. It’s not to say that I agree with everything he says, but the fact that he believes it so strongly is all that matters in my opinion. There are some points mentioned regarding success, visibility, taking the high road, sticking with your faith, and being used, that I can’t help but agree with and quite strongly in fact. Other things said are simply Lou’s life experience and it is his truth. That is what makes us all unique and what makes for great interviews. At the end of the day, Lou is #sorrynotsorry.
Paulo Stagnaro is the percussionist for Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin and has also performed with many tremendous artists such as Sting, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Paquito D'Rivera, and Angelique Kidjo. Paulo is certainly one of the leading voices in Latin percussion today. Paulo was kind enough to spend a considerable amount of his time speaking with me about all kinds of great topics that I personally felt would serve the drumming community in a valuable way. If you are either a percussionist, drummer, aspiring to be either, or you perform in a band that features both drum set player and percussionist you will want to listen closely to this episode.
What you will learn in this episode:
- a brief overview on Paulo's website and membership service Conga Chops and everything that went into making that website and what you can expect from it if you are looking for a solid percussion based curriculum.
- Paulo's story about how he found his passion for percussion while attending Berklee's 5-week summer camp. He also shares his point of view on being the worst musician on the bandstand at all times in order to grow as a musician and why we must walk through our fears.
- Paulo attended Berklee for a total of four years and then he visited Cuba for about four months. In this portion of the interview, Paulo tells us the story of how he managed to stay in Cuba, or even enter for that matter as a USA citizen and the incredible life experience he gained by staying in Cuba and how that affected him musically.
- Following some terrific storytelling and providing a solid foundation as to why Paulo is a voice of authority on the subject of percussion, we now dive into the role of a percussionist. Paulo explains this in so much fantastic detail and I can't imagine anyone not learning a great deal whether you play drum set or percussion. This is some really great stuff in this section.
- Finally, we conclude our conversation with some motivationally driven dialogue. The anchor for this portion of the podcast is how Paulo, and his bandmates, bring the heat to each and every Ricky Martin performance even if he/they are exhausted both mentally and physically. The question that kicked off this part of the interview happened some 45 minutes before our chat ended. It gets deep and a bit heavy as it evolved into Paulo and I discussing pursuing anything with intent. We both feel that intent is what makes our goals become reality. Nothing can truly manifest into reality without intent. It is a terrific way to end this amazing conversation.
If you want to learn more about Paulo and his membership website please visit www.congachops.com.
Thank you for tuning in and I will catch you next week!
Today's guest is Paul Hermann, who is a drummer and also a sales rep for Roland Canada in British Columbia. We began talking a little while ago about the Electronic vs Acoustic drums debate that seems to be very popularly responded to on social media. It just seems to me that drummers have a lot of interest in this subject, so I thought that Paul would be a good person to share some of his opinions on the matter.
By the end of the interview we both agreed that electronic drum sets are different instruments than acoustic drums. In the same sense of any electric instrument compared to it's acoustic counterpart, we use our knowledge and facility to play the instrument but the applications are a bit different. If we go into an electronic kit wanting to recreate the sound and feel of acoustic, and that's all that matters to you, it may be a somewhat diminished experience. Rather, what applications really cater to electronic drums? Or how can we incorporate electronics into our acoustic setups and how does that alter the experience of playing?
The big takeaway is really about removing the context of "vs" when talking about how electronic and acoustic kits are different from one another. Kind of taking a line of equality and suggesting that they both have a place, whether it suits your goals, preferences, or just the ethos of them in general is all that really matters. For me, I'll always need/prefer acoustic shells but sprinkling in electronics is even better than straight acoustic. It's just more options to utilize musically and I am totally cool with that.
Today's show is with not one but TWO builders. Yes, that's right, we have a two-part episode this week with two incredibly skilled builders in the industry. First up is John from Cherry Hill Custom Drums and the second interview is with David from CaseBass Drum Co. Both of these gentlemen are building incredibly high-end custom products that have been taking the industry by storm with their unique style, attention to detail, innovations, and overall quality. No corners are cut with the work that they do and everything is handmade.
Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Well, it turns out that the people behind the companies are interesting as well and we get right into it with both John and David. They share the humble beginnings, the trial, and errors in developing their ideas into reality, and how they are growing so fast to the point where they need to problem solve to evolve their companies into the next stages. Both John and David are becoming in demand for the quality products they produce and have found a market for clientele who want the best product possible. It is great to see that there is still room for new companies and that there is, in fact, a market for boutique equipment.
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