Re: Matt Smith Update.
Some have asked what has been going on with me lately so I thought I would take a moment to update.
When I returned from Europe last July, I went directly to Nashville, where Eric Okamoto and I hosted the WFD Championships at Summer NAMM, the first time I had been involved in WFD for three years. In fact when I set the trad grip world record, I put my Drumometer in a box and never looked at it again.
The first person I saw at NAMM was my old buddy WFD founder Boo McAfee, who I had also not seen in all that time. We had a great time catching up and I even did a run for old times sake that was filmed for a TV thing. Then I was asked to do some promos and really enjoyed it. I also realized that I had a lot to learn about proper oral communication. I have long believed that few drummers work on this part, with notable exceptions like Buddy Rich, Phil Collins and some others.
That's when Boo brought up the idea of me going to his place for a while as a way of maybe staking a claim in Nashville. Well, I looked around and decided that I liked what I saw. So, I put all my belongings in some drum cases and trekked out to Boo's farm in the country. After being in strange places for so long, the farm was one of the most relaxing things I had ever experienced. Boo's place is loaded with top line gear, and a great studio/practice area where I was able to practice for hours on end. I can honestly say that I got tighter there musically than at any time in my life. While there, I did several drum tech videos that Boo produced for Power Wrist Builders, Pearl and his video game operation. We also got the concept for my personal technique method video off the ground, but that's still a work in progress. I also watched the activities of the farm and decided to do some work. All in all, it was an enjoyable time, and I was happy to use those videos to improve my oral presentation, although I still have a long way to go on that score.
When November rolled around I decided it was time to get busy in the city. So, I found myself an apartment 5 minutes walking distance from Broadway St. and a nice jazz club. With my old TV show money running dry, I looked for a roommate to split expenses, and the guy moved out the day after moving day without paying his share. Luckily I was able to beat the pavement and find another guy the day I would have been tossed. So far that's worked out.
Checking my finances, I saw that I could go without work and survive for about a month. So I used that time to hit every single available jam session I could find, most notably a blues club where a lot of strong always working guys regularly showed up. For some reason the jazz jam never worked out time wise, so I was mostly with these guys. Of course, people asked about my background and I would tell the usual story about how I had been in Europe playing jazz festivals and a blues TV show. Then as I handed them my business cards, these same guys would smile, then kind of roll their eyes at each other. After all, you can imagine that in Nashville, New York or LA, you hear just about every story, true or not. I never said anything. I just closed my mouth and bided my time.
Around Christmas, I got a call from a guy who is now starting to chart on C&W radio stations. I had already heard about him as one of the new bigger guys in town, and he's the type of person Nashville is tailoring as a next big thing guy, who now closes shows after the two warmup bands pull the curtain. He needed a drummer for his several month North American tour and had been referred to me by one of those same studio players I had been jamming with at the blues club. I heard some of his music and found everyone to be an excellent musician, while his songs were catchy and with nice hooks. So, I joined up.
Since the tour doesn't start until March I grabbed a day gig and have been working day and night replenishing the bank account. Today the new tour bus rolled by and I got a first look at my new temporary home. When that happened I said Ok I can go ahead and tell people I will be doing this for a while. Of course, I'm also scurrying to get the endorsement deals lined up, mostly because I'm going to need sometime support if a gear malfunction occurs way out in the middle of nowhere. Already the tour manager has been asking about my drum needs so obviously I have work to do, but it's cool to have people looking after you and not always the other way around.
Of course, I've gotten some good natured kidding from my jazz snob family about going with a traditional Nashville operation, but to me it's good music and I want to learn as much as possible anyway. I've also been getting the tutorials from my Dad and others about how to handle certain parts of the business with an operation like this, so I've tried to take it all in while working the other job 10-11 hours a day until it's time to give notice, which is something I have no plans of doing until I'm positive my suitcase is in the bus.
As always... when one old door closes, if you don't give in another one always opens. More updates as this all unfolds.
I endorse Zildjian sticks because I like them.