Thread: The valleys ?
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Old 10-03-2011, 07:06 PM
aydee aydee is offline
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Default Re: The valleys ?

Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
K, Abe, you're kind of asking for it here- if this is self-indulgent, it's not my fault:

I think for me it was the biggest struggle early on- I wasn't a real precocious talent, and there were a lot of times when I was obviously not the best drummer I knew. I don't think there was ever a time when I didn't think I was going to be able to survive professionally- there was never a question about giving up- I just wanted to be great.

My limitations were really of my own making- I accepted at a certain point that I was just a certain type of player, and I had natural strengths and weakness, and I was going to be OK with it. I hadn't given up on wanting to be a great artist, I was just modeling myself more after non-virtuosos like Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, and Paul Motian, or older-school jazz musicians who basically did one thing really well. I was going to develop and play to my strengths and not waste time beating my brains out on my weaknesses. My problem during that period was that there were not that many players who knew what to do with me. I did get some respect for having a vision and a voice- and I guess some minor regional cachet as an artist guy- it just didn't translate into as much paying work as I would've liked.

So that was unnecessary. In recent years I decided what the hell, I got nothing better to do- I'm going to actually work on some of these settled areas of my playing. As it turns out, when you practice things you're not good at, you become good at them. It's not fun work, and it's hard to do when it conflicts with your supposed strengths, and when you have a lot of ideas about what you think is good, and about how you think the drums "should" be played.

Yes, in that I always wanted to be a real drummer, and have finally gotten past my last hangups about feeling like an impostor. I still learn something every time I play, and am excited about where my playing is going to be ten years from now, or next month, even. Career-wise; eh, what the hell, like nearly every single other jazz musician, I live by Joey Baron's line "paying your rent is high art". I could always use MORE FAME AND MONEY, but I'm doing OK.
Great post Todd, and indulge away please- thats the whole idea; to bare some of what it took.I think so many musicians get down on themselves thinking they are the only ones facing demons.

A lot of what you say resonates with me. Years ago there was always a battle within about what I could play versus what I wanted to be able to play and often I would allow what i could play to win, because it worked and was easy.I'd get the gigs and the appreciation etc but it didnt silence the demons. Maybe the transition from being a rock n roll drummer to discovering the blues and then eventually jazz in my drumming lifetime is what made it so daunting.

But then I did what you did. Took it on till I got it. Yes, hard working, frustrating, boring, nose -to-the grindstone practice is what i put myself through, and often not believing that I'd pull it off, but then I did .. well, somewhat.

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