So what’s your drumming story (your career and experiences to date)?

cdrums21

Gold Member
My story is a little funky.

I played sax in school...then one day we played "wipeout" in like 7th grade and I remember thinking to myself "I could do that. easy" - and as it turns out - I could. So I had this natural inclination on drums... and then I got obsessed and played like 3-4 hours a day all through high school.


I was also lucky to have a band director that was a drummer - so he gave me all these Weckl CDs and the Burning for Buddy tapes, etc.

Well anyways - cut to Senior Year in HS - I Worked at a local public radio station and had my own little jazz show, so they sent me to the Telluride Jazz Festival where I got to interview Kevin Eubanks (and Smitty, etc.). So the structure of that gig is that after you play the main festival - all the artists gig around town so you can get like a longer set right...so since I went to his gig and said Hi and all that and told him I was a drummer too, etc. Well it was like 1am and they let me sit in - which I think they did as a joke really to burn me basically - but I happened to know the tune (Spidermonkey) and it was fast and had odd time breaks....totally nailed it. So turns out that he extended his southwest summer tour but Smitty had a tour planned with some fusion band he was part of when he was younger (M Base maybe from memory?)

Anyways - I got the gig and toured with Kevin Eubanks. So from there it just sort of bossomed - I played with Bud Shank, Greg Abate, Doug Lawrence, James and eventually got a touring spot with Al Dimeola on the World Sinfonia III. During all this heavy jazz stuff - I also played with a lot of more contemporary music - like The Ionics and even played the Warp Tour with a band called Cold Fusion.

So I was in it - this was like 2001-2006 ish.

But then I met my wife and we started a familiy...and it became clear to me that having a family and being a touring musician is one of the hardest things to do - and I came from a broken home and didn't want to NOT to be present for my daugthers.

So I kind of packed it all up and started a business. There was transition period and the emotional pain of turning down gigs...but for a long time I started this business and support my family and was able to do things like take them to Europe and go sailing on the pacific, etc... really provide them a quality life.


So now my oldest is a Junior in college and already becoming this in demand architect and my youngest is almost out of school - I've been slowly getting back into it more full time. I started a jazz trio with this freak of nature good horn player - and we added an MC at this festival we played and that turned into a whole jazz/hip hop band that got featured on NPR a few years ago and just got WINGS and this year we had TONS of shows planned in all these major venues, and signed with a great label for some licensing deals to have our music on some Netflix shows, etc.

All that then COVID haha. (Luckily though we've been lots of live streams and working on the licensing and still have venues doing neat things like paying us half and re-scheduling for later dates, etc. etc.)

So anyways - my business allows me to work from home or on tour, etc. so that's totally fine and the past couple of years I've been transitioning back into being a full time musician (Which everyone else in the band is....so yea - I pay for a lot of meals when we gig haha).

Also just got a contract with Columbia records to be the drummer and a producer for this show and tour that features indigenous musicians (I'm half spanish half peruvian).

Also I'm on the board for "The San Juan Jazz Society" which is a non-profit that helps artists in the Four Corners area - we built a nice outdoor venue down here and host weekly jazz jams (Or DID) and concerts / workshops on one saturday a month - and since COVID we've started filming a live concert series with musicians from the South West called "The Heart Space Live" - the heart space being the name of our venue.

And finally I'm a co-founder of another non-profit called "The Indigenous Youth Arts Education Foundation" that does two things: Promotes arts to indigenous populations that might not otherwise be exposed to it...so taking musicians to cool area and populations and that promotes Indigenous artists to more mainstream venues. We've done workshops and concerts now for like 30k or more students.
Holy crap dude! Great stuff. Love these stories!!
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I started drumming at 15 or 16, dont remember. A year in I studied with the now current author of Buddy Richs Modern Intrepretation of Snare Drum Rudiments, Ted MacKenzie. After about 8 months of lessons I moved out of state.

I graduated HS in 94 and promptly went out and started a death metal band. Did that until 2002. Been in the studio a handful of times. Recorded 3 different original albums, been on a couple compilation/tribute albums. Also did some freelance stuff for a local hip-hop producer I know.

I've shared the stage with numerous national acts, played a few festivals, met a 💩 ton of crazy people, and for the most part had a good time.

The band still exists, my music soldiers on. Last I heard they were signed to AFM.

I've done a few things since then, my desire to be in a band died a long time ago. My desire to improve still burns hot, so I'm the bedroom drummer everyone complains about. Except I already did the playing with others thing, so I've gone about it all wrong lol.

I'm close to 30 years in. My love affair with the instrument hasn't changed. My life and what I want has though. I went back to school, got married, have a family, paid off a house and cars, and now I'm basically retired at 44.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I've done a few things since then, my desire to be in a band died a long time ago. My desire to improve still burns hot, so I'm the bedroom drummer everyone complains about. Except I already did the playing with others thing, so I've gone about it all wrong lol.

Nothing wrong with that order of operations. Lots of guys play the scene but conclude it's not for them any longer. I know a great guitarist, for instance, who's happy to record on a limited basis but who has no interest in performing ever again, even though he's relatively young. Regardless, he continues to practice daily and might be at the highest skill level of his life right now. You don't have to be in a band to be a serious drummer. You just need to approach drumming with discipline and respect.

As for drumming on a full-time basis, it's something I've never aimed for. My reasons are twofold: First, regardless of how good you are, you need a lot of luck to make big money playing drums. Short of recording an album that sells twenty-million copies or something magical of that nature, your income will always fluctuate in the music industry, and if there's one thing I never want, it's financial instability. Second, the extrinsic need to drum for a living would, for me at least, deplete the intrinsic pleasure I extract from drumming. Every cent I've earned from drumming over the years has been a secondary consequence of my love for the instrument. I've never required the money for survival, so playing has always been a stress-free enterprise and the extra cash a pure bonus. I'd rather not associate drumming with the tedium of paying bills. Why pull a deity from the sky and force it to be mortal?

Of course, if someone wants me to lay down drum tracks for an album that will sell twenty-million copies, I'm all ears. :)
 

BruceW

Senior Member
My story isn't as grandiose as others here...as a very young boy, I was fascinated with the drum kit my adult cousin had at their house when I visited. he ended up giving me an old kit of his when he upgraded. I banged around on it occasionally, never much, and stored it. In grade school I started on drums in the music program, but they quickly moved me to brass instruments as they had plenty of drummers, and I had an aptitude for being able to play multiple other horns. As I neared the end of school, my best buddy announced that he was going to start taking bass lessons, so I replied "great, I'll learn drums so we can have a band". And we did, had a local garage band in our late teens/early 20's. Minor gigging in the area. I got an offer to get a full-time radio gig locally, so i dropped out of the band. Soon after, I got married, moved on to a retail management career, had kids...

Flash forward to about 11-12 years ago. My wife was volunteering in the kindergarden room my kids had gone to. We were friends with that teacher and her family. Turns out their high school son was planning a big local concert with other highschool folks, as a fund raiser for Katrina hurricane relief. His father had started a band, having discovered that his circle of friends, who were at that time in their 50's, had all played in garage bands in their youth. They were all community movers and shakers (a judge, a bank VP, a surgeon, etc) and they put together their little band to do fund raisers and such, for fun. My friends son wanted his dads band to play at the big relief effort, but their drummer was to be out of town. This was relayed to my wife, who replied "Bruce plays drums".... an hour later I get a call, asking if I really played drums. I replied that I did, 20 years ago...he said "perfect! you'll fit right in!" :p We were only gonna do 4 songs, old classic rock standards that I had played way back when, so it went off fairly well. After that, I would get a couple calls a year to fill in with them, which got my juices flowing...

6 years ago, an old friend reconnected with me, and told me about a project they had going on. It was fun hearing about it. After a month or two, their drummer was getting done, so they asked me if i was interested. I relayed that whole story of my history (and lack of playing) but allowed that I'd like to try. Here we are, 6 years later, playing out most weekends in local bars and clubs and such. (Or we were, sigh). I've had a blast, actually getting to gig regularly, something i never got to do as a kid. We have two different bands, one with some country mixed in to the classic rock, and a female lead singer... and the other a trio, where we mix in some original material. We also have an acoustic duo, the guitar player, and me on cajon. So between the three acts, we can usually be as busy as we'd like. Not making a bunch of money, but some extra play money never hurt.

I was joked as a kid that i had a nightmare, waking up middle aged, playing country in a bottle club....well, I'm 57, and one of our acts does have 30-40% country in it, only one bottle club in the area, but we play it! And Eagles/Elks clubs kinda count in that vein, too, right? :)
 

ottog1979

Senior Member
I always had the "beat". Played "drummer" early in grade school with screwdrivers on the bottom of the trash can in my room (see profile pic). I'm the musical product of the school music system and have really enjoyed the breadth and variety it offered. Started in 5th grade band (1971) and went on to play all through school & college in every type of school band available: concert band, jazz band, marching band, pit orchestra for school plays and anything else I was asked to do. During that time also played privately on my own in rock bands, dinner-house bands, blues bands, etc. around the Milwaukee area. Loved every minute of it. I was typically first chair or the kit drummer in ensembles. Went on to play in a Big Ten college marching band and was section leader and most valuable percussionist for two of my four years.

While I was probably good enough to stay in and pursue music full time, I had aspirations for a business career and more comfortable living. After college, career, marriage and family took over and my playing time faded. My love of music and seeing it live never did however.

Life has a strange way of evolving. With our encouragement, both my sons played in school bands. My younger son played trombone, then drums, then guitar and became an outstanding guitarist who attended Berklee in Boston and now lives in Nashville working day jobs and doing his best to play music professionally. When he left for college his drums became mine and I started to play more seriously. About that time (7 years ago) an acquaintance said a friend of his was in a band looking for a drummer and with more time on my hands, "why not?" I've been playing constantly ever since been in four regular gigging bands, still in two of them, take lessons, am a better drummer than I've ever been, enjoy every minute of it and can't get enough. I really enjoy the local music scene, connecting with and seeing other musicians and bands. Similar to Larryace, the total presence it takes to play well is a fantastic counter balance to my business day job. Love of music has never left me, the fire's just bigger and hotter now.

Rock on friends!
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
I think at this point it would be hard to sum everything up in just a couple paragraphs.
Bullet points:
I began taking drum lessons when I was about 9/10 years old. My whole family, well Mom's side of the family, was all drummers. I'm talking Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents, even my Mother, ALL drummers. So that kind of put me behind a kit.
Started taking it series when I was in high school and dedicated my life to making it my career. Moved to NYC for a little bit in 2007, didn't jive, relocated to LA in 2009. Been here almost 11 years, work full time as a drummer, teaching, recording, touring the world. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Anyone who would like to dive deeper is welcome to sift through the few dozen interviews I have posted on my website. I tend to rather long winded when answering questions, lol

Living Dead Drummer PRESS
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
I picked up sticks when I was 9, got my kit from a pawn shop when I was 11. I played to records with headphones for “practice”. The usual music of the 1960s and early 1970s. Through high school I was the drummer for all the musicals and fund raisers. When I was “elected” to organize & produce the senior prom, I got a band together and played drums. For the next two years, that band played high school dances, proms, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and—thankfully—debutante balls. It was a 5-piece band and we split money six ways to maintain the PA, mics, lights, gas, etc. Almost every weekend I came home with $100–$400 in my pocket. I thought I was the shizzle. heh.

Along comes college. My father tells me I have a choice: enlist in the armed services (Viet Nam was still raging, but near the end), go to PIT in Los Angeles, or go to college. I pussed out and went to college (UCSB), and declared myself as a music major in percussion performance. During the first week of classes was auditions. I walked into the audition room with my sticks, ready to lay it down, but there was only a piano in the room along with two professors. It was kindly explained to me that a percussion major plays the piano, marimba, bells, tympani, and I needed to be able to read music to enter the program. I was crushed.

I walked out of that room at a complete loss. I had no idea what I was gonna do. Back then, UCSB was a very chill school with most students attending class in bathing suits and flip flops. I went to the beach, considering whether or not to drop out, talked with some friends, had a few tokes. Decided that, since I was good with math & science, I’d declare a Mechanical Engineering major.

I didn’t touch drums for another 15 years. Worked as an engineer (earthquake analysis on nuclear reactors, a black hole of energy-transfer theories), painted cars, boats and anything steel, managed a bike shop, and eventually picked up a camera.

Then, one day when living in Detroit, my bride & I walked into church for the first time in 20 years and I saw a killer 7-piece bright yellow Yamaha drum kit. The church drummer sat down and slayed it. The music was great, the preaching didn’t scare me back out the door, and a year later I auditioned to play at the church.

I played churches for the next 25+ years. The gig is easy. No late nights, no load-in/load-out, easy music (‘cuz guys like me hafta sing to it). I met a lot of great musicians and a fair share of weirdos who use religion to control others.

About five years ago, I was asked if I would drum for a local “School of Rock” graduation performance. Tunes such as Frankenstein, Carry On My Wayward Son, Fire were played. It was then that I realized I’d lost a lot of my rock chops and decided to join a gigging band. I found my calling with a group of afro-americans playing 1970s funk, and said good-bye to the church gig. Lotsa fun, lotsa laughs, until COVID, George Floyd and the riots.
 

pocket player

Junior Member
I picked up sticks when I was 9, got my kit from a pawn shop when I was 11. I played to records with headphones for “practice”. The usual music of the 1960s and early 1970s. Through high school I was the drummer for all the musicals and fund raisers. When I was “elected” to organize & produce the senior prom, I got a band together and played drums. For the next two years, that band played high school dances, proms, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and—thankfully—debutante balls. It was a 5-piece band and we split money six ways to maintain the PA, mics, lights, gas, etc. Almost every weekend I came home with $100–$400 in my pocket. I thought I was the shizzle. heh.

Along comes college. My father tells me I have a choice: enlist in the armed services (Viet Nam was still raging, but near the end), go to PIT in Los Angeles, or go to college. I pussed out and went to college (UCSB), and declared myself as a music major in percussion performance. During the first week of classes was auditions. I walked into the audition room with my sticks, ready to lay it down, but there was only a piano in the room along with two professors. It was kindly explained to me that a percussion major plays the piano, marimba, bells, tympani, and I needed to be able to read music to enter the program. I was crushed.

I walked out of that room at a complete loss. I had no idea what I was gonna do. Back then, UCSB was a very chill school with most students attending class in bathing suits and flip flops. I went to the beach, considering whether or not to drop out, talked with some friends, had a few tokes. Decided that, since I was good with math & science, I’d declare a Mechanical Engineering major.

I didn’t touch drums for another 15 years. Worked as an engineer (earthquake analysis on nuclear reactors, a black hole of energy-transfer theories), painted cars, boats and anything steel, managed a bike shop, and eventually picked up a camera.

Then, one day when living in Detroit, my bride & I walked into church for the first time in 20 years and I saw a killer 7-piece bright yellow Yamaha drum kit. The church drummer sat down and slayed it. The music was great, the preaching didn’t scare me back out the door, and a year later I auditioned to play at the church.

I played churches for the next 25+ years. The gig is easy. No late nights, no load-in/load-out, easy music (‘cuz guys like me hafta sing to it). I met a lot of great musicians and a fair share of weirdos who use religion to control others.

About five years ago, I was asked if I would drum for a local “School of Rock” graduation performance. Tunes such as Frankenstein, Carry On My Wayward Son, Fire were played. It was then that I realized I’d lost a lot of my rock chops and decided to join a gigging band. I found my calling with a group of afro-americans playing 1970s funk, and said good-bye to the church gig. Lotsa fun, lotsa laughs, until COVID, George Floyd and the riots.
Great History,keep on playing, dont worry about mankind ,he always has to screw up royally in order to learn,lets hope its not to late !!
 

moodman

Well-known member
I started in'61, first gig in '63. My band opened for Jerry Lee Lewis, Ronnie Dove and Bobby Vee in '65 and we backed Dobie Grey and J Frank Wilson that year. I backed Stringbean and Charlie Louvin in '66 and my band signed with RCA in '67, didn't become rich and famous. We did cut one tune on the first take, the engineers in RCA studio B NYC said that you could 'count the times that's had happened on the fingers of one hand'
I've done one gig with John Lee Hooker, gigged with TOP's Bruce Conte and Roger Smith, also Seymour Duncan, Jimmy Sacca and the Hilltoppers, Gregg Galbraith, Mark Robinson, Craig Brenner and the Crawdads (Aranoff played on one of his albums) Krista Detor, Bob Cheevers, Slats Klug, Lauren Robert and Dave Muskett, Dobie Grey, J. Frank Wilson, Stringbean, Charlie Louvin
I've opened for Hank Ballard, Archie Bell and the Drells, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ronnie Dove, Bobby Vee, John Cippolina and Copperhead, Hot Tuna, New Riders of the Purple Sage,The Syndicate of Sound, Lothar and the Hand People, Little Charlie and the Nightcats, Elvin Bishop w/Pointer Sisters, The Charles Ford Blues Band (Robben Ford and his bros), Anson Funderburgh,The Association, Coasters and Drifters, Clover, Barry Melton and the Fish (Country Joe had just left the band), Steam, Otis Day and the Knights, Kandy Kane, The Bellamy Brothers and Ronnie and the Daytonas (road band, didn't make the record)
I've played Keystone Korner, Larry Blake's, The Boston Tea Party, Fillmore West and The Mad Trapper in the arctic circle.
I've been the drummer with 70 to 80 bands, many for one night as a sub or hired gun, others for years, I keep a list.
I've played N&C CD Maples for 25 years but have a Sawtooth Bop Kit and an old Rogers Memriloc.
 
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