Pro Drummer advice

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I would also add, be of decent appearance, and don't pierce your face until after you join the Punk band.

and sign that first well-paying contract...or even better, take the first 2 payments of said contract and then invest them
 

nicholasBR

Well-known member
We eneded up having our demo even get to the desk of Brian Slagel of Metal Blade records, and had the honor of him personally telling us that he just couldn't sign us at the time (93) b/c they had too many bands like us on the label.
What was your band called? Did you end up releasing your material on a different label?
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
What was your band called? Did you end up releasing your material on a different label?

we were called Prophecy...and we did not release anything after that because of inner band shenanigans and stupidity surrounding alcohol that led to us breaking up; that was all actually happening before the lead up to the Metal Blade thing...booze and girls are the 2 killers of great muisic projects...esp when you are young

and I was the beby sitter of that whole circus the whole time since I never drank, or did drugs etc...
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
where do you live ?

DO NOT join the musicians union... all he will do is pay dues and get locked into scale wages and all kinds of other way outdated rules... completely pointless today

DO NOT send him to music school ... all that gives you is a piece of paper and enormous debt.
It doesn't cost $45,000 a year to learn to read charts.

There is no magic formula.

If the skill , instinct and desire is there then all he needs to be is present and available

Be where the work is ... LA, Nashville, NY, Austin etc....

Be out all the time and get to know everyone and take every gig available.

I've found that the most important aspects of working in the industry have less to do with your overall ability on the instrument and more to do with your disposition, punctuality and reputation.

Of course a portion is based on your ability ... but once you have the confidence of one well respected individual you can make a living for a very long time based on their word without people ever hearing you play.

It's not about who you know. It's about who knows YOU

he needs to get out ... be likable ... and play his ass off... be persistent

that's literally it

If he has what it takes the rest takes care of itself

One last thought ... be sure he knows the difference between being successful and being "Famous"

some of the busiest guys in the industry most people have never heard of

food for thought

All of this will be very difficult in todays closed world ... a social media presence helps to supplement sometimes in todays environment.

Best of luck to him

It's a jungle out here ... or at least it used to be. ;)
The only thing I could add to this is:

-- School may be a needed reality check on just how good he actually is, and to expose him to some levels of things that he doesn't yet know he should know. It can also be good for professional contacts. A lot of people get their first real (i.e. paying, long-running) gigs through people they met in school. You don't necessarily need to go someplace for four years to get that.

-- There should be opportunities in any metro area with more than ~ a million people. You do have to commit to being there long term, and it's best to do that early.

-- Be aware that there are a lot of scarily excellent, extremely dedicated musicians in the world, and virtually everyone in this business has to piece together a living using multiple talents, exploiting whatever earning opportunities are available, spousal income, whatever. Even while he's dedicating himself fully to becoming a professional musician, he should have one eye on developing whatever other talents he has, and taking whatever opportunities he gets to develop them and earn with them.
 
Regarding the degree: it *might* be helpful to get a job as a music teacher at public schools but I don't know how the regulations are where you live. Scratch that if it's not a prerequiste in your region.
There's no harm though in applying for a college even if he doesn't intend on going there: preparing for the audition and getting a feedback from the professors could be a valuable experience. There might be an open house day, where he could play for the professors, too to get an evaluation.

I guess it's not a bad idea to be able to at least fake playing different types of music, so he could land jobs playing Jazz, Soul, Country or whatever gigs are available where he lives. Playing different types of music can lead to new contacts and also attract more students with different interests, so keeping an open mind and listening to all types of music is my main advice.
 

nicholasBR

Well-known member
since I never drank, or did drugs etc
Hence the Out Of Step pic. :)

The reason I asked is I thought I might of heard of you. I was lapping up anything and everything even vaguely metal at that time. Well, more in the years up to '93 I suppose. I'm guessing right then would've been slightly too late for you with the labels. Things were definitely shaky at that point for bands in the style you mentioned. Motley Crue and Anthrax were writing their alt. rock albums at that point and Dokken's Shadowlife and the rest were coming down the line.
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
I was positive I replied to this, but maybe I forgot to hit "Post Reply?" lol
I say this a lot, It's not who you know, it's who knows you!"
My best advice is to get out, network in person, NOT online. Let people know you're available for work. Word needs to start to circulate that if they want you in their band, or to record that they have to hire you. All of the best gig come from someone who already knows you, or recommends you for a gig. And I can say that with complete honesty, because they best jobs I've ever had have come from someone recommending me for a gig.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
I was positive I replied to this, but maybe I forgot to hit "Post Reply?" lol
I say this a lot, It's not who you know, it's who knows you!"
My best advice is to get out, network in person, NOT online. Let people know you're available for work. Word needs to start to circulate that if they want you in their band, or to record that they have to hire you. All of the best gig come from someone who already knows you, or recommends you for a gig. And I can say that with complete honesty, because they best jobs I've ever had have come from someone recommending me for a gig.
Absolutely! I couldn't agree more. It's personal relationships that work best in the long run.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Hence the Out Of Step pic. :)

The reason I asked is I thought I might of heard of you. I was lapping up anything and everything even vaguely metal at that time. Well, more in the years up to '93 I suppose. I'm guessing right then would've been slightly too late for you with the labels. Things were definitely shaky at that point for bands in the style you mentioned. Motley Crue and Anthrax were writing their alt. rock albums at that point and Dokken's Shadowlife and the rest were coming down the line.

yeah...we were about 10 years too late to really get in on the second prog wave...like, we were doing that, but still in high school...not at the point of getting out on our own yet...all of the other guys went into alt rock kinds of bands; I went into a lo-fi, surf punk, bubble gum pop band (think of if Fugazi, Dick Dale, April Wine, Sloan and The Tubes all got together...) that also ended up getting some regional level notoriety (Go Robot, Go!)

I still play in a crossover/thrash group as well, but our intent has never been to "get famous"...we just enjoy playing on the local scene...(I wish we would at least try some level of regional stuff, just cause it is fun to play out)
 

jansara

Junior Member
My son is a kickass drummer. Plays for a local band that did a nationwide tour right before covid hit. Can anyone give any advice on how he can start on a freelance track? Like a good agent/talent management company you can suggest. Just looking for a little guidance. Thanks in advance!
The world is full of "kick-ass drummers." He has to get out and play with everyone he can, wherever and whenever.

Freelancing demands the right combination of personality, attitude, and perseverance.

Caveat - for every "kick-ass" drummer who ever hit the road, a hundred came home deflated... and/or disillusioned. On the upside, as Duke Ellington said, "If you can play, don't stop. Someone will eventually hear you."

Tough isn't the word. Best of luck.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Just being good on the drums...isn't good enough anymore. That's just one aspect. There are so many more.

IMO there's only maybe 5% of the performing work available that was around 30 years ago

It could be THE very worst way to make money these days...except for the 5%. Not saying he won't work. It's just that he could make more at McDonalds and I'm being dead serious. For instance I had a year where I did 50 gigs. I'm just talking bar bands, which is a route a lot of drummers take. I made maybe 5500 that year. Before gas, toll, sticks, heads, some people get insurance plus all the other little expenses. So I may have profited 3500. Then there's taxes, and sometimes ASCAP or BMI wants royalties because the band just played a cover of "Billie Jean". A gig is about 8 hours of my time. That's about 400 hours for 3000 dollars. That's 7.50 an hour.


I tell young people who want to be a musician to make money ANOTHER WAY and do music for side money and personal satisfaction.

(so there's more work for me lol)

If it were anytime before 1989 or so, I would not say that at all. Lots and lots of drummers made a great living, because performing work was plentiful.

It's just not like that now, and musicians will play for free for Pete's sake. The business side of music is in real peril for performing drummers

Plus it's not a healthy lifestyle, there's drugs and alcohol and damaged women, gear predators, and the people you are exposed to can be questionable at best lol
 

Caz

Senior Member
Hi, my advice is to keep studying. Making a living from gigging is sometimes feast, sometimes famine.. no matter what situation you're in it will benefit to keep studying for tomorrow in case today's work dries up. Not necessarily at music college, just in general getting out and playing with people as much as possible and being open to advice that could help you to improve, getting lessons, learning about different styles etc. I went to music college but did it later after a while of playing professionally and got a full scholarship which probably wouldn't have happened straight out of school. If he has a big gig, is making money and learning on the job then there's no need for college right now - and those things will help if he does decide to do college later. I think it does help with the studying and networking side of things, but needs weighed up against the cost. Being reliable and a friendly person goes a long way too.
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
If it were anytime before 1989 or so, I would not say that at all. Lots and lots of drummers made a great living, because performing work was plentiful.

It's just not like that now, and musicians will play for free for Pete's sake. The business side of music is in real peril for performing drummers

Plus it's not a healthy lifestyle, there's drugs and alcohol and damaged women, gear predators, and the people you are exposed to can be questionable at best lol

Performing is actually where the money is right now, except for the pandemic. There is usually quite a lot of work playing live and quite a bit of income in that scene. What there isn't is any money in recording and record sales.
And can we move past these terribly stereotypical descriptions of the music biz.
I've been a professional since 1980 and quite honestly most pro musicians are sensible hard workers. It is too hard to keep a job while being an addictive personality. The stock market traders I've met have been far more prone to excessive drug taking and self abuse, but no one ever talks about them.
People take responsibility for their own actions don't they? Just because you know a heroin addict or a 'damaged woman' (terribly mysoginistic by the way) doesn't mean you automatically fall under their spell.
As I say, I've been a musician for 40 years and never taken drugs and enjoy a couple of beers or a couple of glasses of wine, no problem. Many more non-musicians have issues with drugs and alcohol. It's just a cliche that get's trotted out, smearing everyone who plays music for a living.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
Just being good on the drums...isn't good enough anymore. That's just one aspect. There are so many more.

IMO there's only maybe 5% of the performing work available that was around 30 years ago

It could be THE very worst way to make money these days...except for the 5%. Not saying he won't work. It's just that he could make more at McDonalds and I'm being dead serious. For instance I had a year where I did 50 gigs. I'm just talking bar bands, which is a route a lot of drummers take. I made maybe 5500 that year. Before gas, toll, sticks, heads, some people get insurance plus all the other little expenses. So I may have profited 3500. Then there's taxes, and sometimes ASCAP or BMI wants royalties because the band just played a cover of "Billie Jean". A gig is about 8 hours of my time. That's about 400 hours for 3000 dollars. That's 7.50 an hour.


I tell young people who want to be a musician to make money ANOTHER WAY and do music for side money and personal satisfaction.

(so there's more work for me lol)

If it were anytime before 1989 or so, I would not say that at all. Lots and lots of drummers made a great living, because performing work was plentiful.

It's just not like that now, and musicians will play for free for Pete's sake. The business side of music is in real peril for performing drummers

Plus it's not a healthy lifestyle, there's drugs and alcohol and damaged women, gear predators, and the people you are exposed to can be questionable at best lol
I met this kid in one of the military schools I went to 3 years ago, before joining the military he was in a band as their lead guitar player, they had several professinally produced videos in YouTube, and were touring nationally opening for Avenged Sevenfold and the likes.
He told me that bands at that level (save for Avenged Sevenfold and very few others) don't make enough money from gigs and usually have to peddle their T-shirts, CD's , drumsticks, guitar picks, anything they can sell to even get to eat that day. He told me that he was tired of always being hungry, he is now in Japan, hanving a blast met a girl got married, got promoted 4 times, and told me he can't be happier. Yes he does miss performing but that is about it.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Are you talking about cover bands playing in bars?
In the wider music scene there has been a 100% explosion in playing live over the last 15 years.
Yea, cover bands playing in bars.

That's the only level of the business that I'm semi qualified to comment on
 

notvinnie

Senior Member
Can anyone give any advice on how he can start on a freelance track? Like a good agent/talent management company you can suggest. Just looking for a little guidance. Thanks in advance!
First, invent a time machine. Then once it's working, transport him back to 1968.
 
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