My Skype call with Steve Gadd

8Mile

Platinum Member
As some of you may know, Steve Gadd started a project on the PledgeMusic site to make his new album, Gadditude. I pledged at a level that included a 10-minute Skype call with Steve as one of the perks.

For those who haven't checked out Gadditude, I can tell you it's awesome. Steve really went for something different and extremely cool. I am enjoying the heck out of it.

Well, yesterday was my Skype call with Steve and it was really special. Unfortunately, a technical glitch meant I couldn't see Steve, although he could see me. But we could both hear each other just fine so we continued on with the phone call.

I debated whether to carefully write down the things I wanted to ask and say to him, but I ultimately decided to just see where the conversation went. I made sure to tell him how much of an inspiration he has been to me and how much the music he's made has meant to me.

Then, I kind of jumped into the drumming stuff. The cool thing about a scenario like this is you know it's okay to ask those kinds of things, because that's what it's all about. If I had bumped into Steve walking down the sidewalk, I wouldn't feel comfortable talking drum technique; but here, it was perfectly okay. So I did!

Most of my questions were focused on things I find personally challenging that he is a master of, sort of picking his brain to find out if there were any special things he did to achieve the kind of excellence he demonstrates.

Steve patiently listened to and answered every one of my questions. All the things you read and hear about what a nice, down-to-earth guy he is are true. He was also very generous with his time with me, as we ran quite a bit past our alotted ten minutes!

This was a very special privilege for me. Kind of a thrill-of-a-lifetime moment, I guess you could say. Steve was my most significant influence and there's no living drummer whose work has meant more to me. The fact that he's also such a gracious guy is a really nice bonus.

I encourage everyone to support their favorite artists who do PledgeMusic or any other kind of crowdfunding projects. It's a great way to earn an opportunity to connect in a way that was simply not possible even just a few years ago.

Anyway, I thought I would share a really cool experience.
 

iamjohn

Senior Member
Thanks for sharing that. Steve has been a huge influence on me as well. And I agree about the Pledge thing. I pledged for Weckl's new project.
 

CreeplyTuna

Silver Member
Great story 8Mile. Few people ever get to meet their hero, let alone have a conversation with them. Sounds like you had a fantastic experience.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Very cool indeed, & I get the deeper connection angle/gratification too. Somehow, getting involved brings you close to the project, & is accordingly more satisfying :)
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
That's a great story, Larry. Glad you got to experience one of those wonderful once-in-a-lifetime moments!
 

FoolInTheRain

Senior Member
Anything in particular you picked his brain about?

Steve's such a living legend, I wouldn't even know where to begin.
 

rdb

Senior Member
Sounds fantastic. I pledged at a lower level but got a signed cymbal. I do like the album.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Good one, 8! What did you pick up from him?
Anything in particular you picked his brain about?

Steve's such a living legend, I wouldn't even know where to begin.
I talked to him about an array of things but I had a couple specific questions about grip. Steve is the only "name" drummer I've ever seen who used to use the Bobby Thompson/Les Parks grip. He demonstrates it on his first instructional video, Up Close. I wondered whether he found it necessary to abandon that and take a different approach when playing drumset (which I did), and he said yes.

I also asked him about trad/matched since he seems to have transitioned so well to playing both. I was wondering how much time he spends practicing both. He said he's definitely better at trad but likes matched for hitting hard. He surprised me when he said he practices trad exclusively on the pad. Kind of a shock, because his left hand matched is way beyond mine and I figured he would have had to work hard at it but apparently not!

We packed a lot of discussion into our call!
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
Wow, that's great! Thanks for sharing this!!
I have heard from others that have met Steve that he is a really nice, good guy.

So glad it was a good experience for you!!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Very happy for ya Lar, I know how big of an influence Gadd has been for you. Is that the first time you ever spoke to him? Were you nervous?
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
That's great man. In my experience, 10 minutes with the right person can have enormous, long-lasting value. Please keep us up to date on what this does for your playing.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Thanks, guys. It was very special.

Very happy for ya Lar, I know how big of an influence Gadd has been for you. Is that the first time you ever spoke to him? Were you nervous?
Yeah, Lar, first time having any kind of communication with him. I was extremely nervous! I have had a few chances to meet musical heroes of mine in the flesh and let's just say it was obvious I was nervous. But Steve put me at ease right away.
 

Mighty_Joker

Silver Member
That's fantastic, congratulations. I'll be sure to check out the project. My dream call would be 10 minutes (going on a day!) with Vinnie. The things I'd ask him, it would be life changing!
 

JohnW

Silver Member
That's awesome, 8Mile! I would have so many questions for him that I wouldn't know where to begin. But it sounds like you did great just improvising, rather than a rote interview.

And PledgeMusic- I just looked this up and Steve's band project. What an excellent idea- something you'll never forget and I'll bet he was touched to talk with someone so informed, sincere and passionate about his playing.
 
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