The curious case of Thomas Pridgen

T.L.

Senior Member
I know exactly the fees of some jazz artists, and i can tell you for example that artists like Robert Glasper, Christian Scott, Ambrose Akinmusire (just to name the first 3 that come to my mind) makes good money.
Glasper for a gig with his band ask something like 15k, while Christian Scott and Ambrose 5k...if they don't live in expensive penthouses over central park to me they're living good
I definitely agree that those guys can command top dollar (just like names such as Christian McBride, Pat Metheny, etc.), but there are many similarly talented jazz artists playing far less often and for less money. Also, it's not uncommon for accomplished players to be making peanuts (relative to their worth) playing a gig at a small club in February, then make many times that price for a jazz fest gig in a big city in July of the same year.

Keep in mind, too, that a booking for $5000 sounds great on paper, but after you get your gear there, split the cash with the band, pay your booking agent, and pay your other costs, it doesn't work out to a great living unless you're getting booked often at that kind of rate.
 

lbachir2200

Junior Member
I don't follow him in detail but always thought he made a living mostly as a 'clinician', in a vein to Benny Greb or Jojo Mayer. Also, not everybody is out to work with majors and headliners.
I don't know anything of Pridgen's mentality, however on the issue of salary and jazz artists, nowadays there are not very many (Harry Connick, Wynton, and so on.) that can bring home the bacon playing "jazz." Most world-class players (in Canada) I am aware of who don't play popular music as an afterthought (to make money) play jazz in the nighttimes a couple of evenings seven days if fortunate, yet make the vast majority of their pay through their life partner or by showing private exercises as well as at a school or college.

Bringing home the bacon in music is an intense go nowadays, and in a classification with such a little crowd like jazz it's significantly harder.
 

jimmyjazzuk

Junior Member
When he took over the chair in The Mars Volta from Jon Theodore you could hear the egocentricity and lack of maturity in the live jam improvs. They sucked big time. His playing to me is rudiments>brains. Cedric said "replacing Jon Theodore was the dumbest thing we ever did."
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
Don't get me wrong, he's an amazing drummer, and some of these anecdotal stories may be exaggerated. But I think most pro-level bands would much rather have a merely "pretty good" drummer who has a pro attitude & work ethic vs an amazing drummer who is difficult to get along with and not always reliable.
And these days they wouldn't even need to make that compromise. There's no shortage of musicians just as talented as you ready to replace you. Maybe fewer in the jazz scene (I have no idea) but in every popular genre from R&B to country to extreme metal, talent has gone through the roof in quality and quantity.
 
When he took over the chair in The Mars Volta from Jon Theodore you could hear the egocentricity and lack of maturity in the live jam improvs. They sucked big time. His playing to me is rudiments>brains. Cedric said "replacing Jon Theodore was the dumbest thing we ever did."
Theodore is a very good drummer, but if you think TMV sucked big time with Pridgen...you know nothing about drums. I big fan of both, but Pridgen is and always will be on another level.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I wonder if he got Pridgen-holed for being the wild chops drummer of Mars Volta-that was the first I heard of him. I like his style of playing. I hope he isn't a buttwad that would be sad and everyone Is correct if you are no one will want to work with. Just be an annoying person can really get to a co-worker-so my co-workers have told me LOL.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
Theodore is a very good drummer, but if you think TMV sucked big time with Pridgen...you know nothing about drums. I big fan of both, but Pridgen is and always will be on another level.
Pridgen's performance on the Bedlam In Goliath album is a real masterpiece.
He's a great drummer and back when he was more accessible on facebook we had some good laughs back and forth. It would be cool to see him hook up with some over the top prog/punk players again some day. His dynamics may make jazz unfulfilling for him to play.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I haven't followed what Pridgen is up to lately, but I know there was some interpersonal drama when he was in The Mars Volta which eventually lead to his dismissal. According to Juan (TMV bass player), Pridgen just wasn't a mature/professional guy. Apparently there was one incident where Pridgen got drunk after a show and peed all over the tour bus. Pridgen has also badmouthed Cedric (TMV vocalist) to the press and on social media since being kicked out of the band. Plus, there's this: https://www.reddit.com/r/drums/comments/4r7fp1
Don't get me wrong, he's an amazing drummer, and some of these anecdotal stories may be exaggerated. But I think most pro-level bands would much rather have a merely "pretty good" drummer who has a pro attitude & work ethic vs an amazing drummer who is difficult to get along with and not always reliable.
Thomas Pridgen seems to have the same issue as Michael Jordan.

World class talent, tons of adoring fans, and the majority of them don't know he's a horrible person.
 
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