Too old to Play Drums

Foggie Blur

Active member
That's one despairing song title. You trying to make the OP feel worse, pa? Shoulda' quoted the last chorus: "you're never too old to rock n' roll, if you're too young to die".

OP, I play in a power trio. I'm 48, our bass player is 44, and our guitar player is 32. I usually have another hour or two of rehearsal left in me by the time they tap out. Heck, we had a dedicated signer up until last year who was 58. This is drumming, not rugby; it's about the soul, not the body - any musician would know that.

Try to arrange a jam before you give out your age. If they balk, you'd be dodging a bullet.

But, you mentioned you're coming off a long hiatus. I hadn't touched a stick in ten years before we started. It took some time for me to get any of my chops back, and just as long to get my endurance back. You good to go in those regards?
Thanks for the reply. The chops are coming back. Lots of practicing. Revisiting all the instruction books. The classics never die!
Foggie
 

philrudd

Senior Member
I say just do it and see what happens. Get involved in the local music scene - find some musicians you think are good and ask to jam with them. Start playing out when you can. Then everyone can see exactly what you bring to the table, and you go from there.

I'm coming in fast on 50 and over the past decade, I've been asked to play with people from 22 to 65. I play some fairly heavy stuff with some younger guys, and I've been playing with them for the past five years or so. If there was any question that I couldn't keep up, they wouldn't keep me around. (And truth to tell, I always outlast those guys at practice anyway.) I haven't had to look for a band in all that time; I play in several, and just played back-to-back sets last night with two different bands. The locals KNOW I bring it, and don't seem to care much how old I am.

Having said that, most of the guys I play with are pretty close to my age. It's just logical - we grew up on the same music, we usually have a similar home/work situation, and a lower tolerance for bullshit. (I will admit, though, that playing with the younger crowd has introduced me to some pretty good music I might have otherwise missed.)
 

beatdat

Senior Member
I turn 80 in January. Still gigging, rehearsal every Monday, play every day. Keeps me alive.
"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

- Dylan Thomas
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
What I like about reaching my present age, in the present age of pollution and climate change, I"m not being turned into Soylent Green to feed the masses. So 70 and 80 aren't old either- I just knew it!! Full speed ahead.
 

2bsticks

Platinum Member
65 here, never been so busy plus still working a full time job in a prison. Never too old, just need to make adjustments at times.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Since hitting the 40 yr mark it seems like I’ve crossed some magical age line for music. One guy I was emailing with told me after several emails and after he found out my age....man YOU too OLD to play drums! I was so mad I forgot to pick up my viagra at the drug store! Bwahaha no not really.
You should have told him that you weren't interested in being in his boy-band anyways. :)

I've run into this a couple of times just in the past year or so. It only bothered me one time, but only because it was with a group I've dedicated 10 years to. Another drummer was chosen for a concert because he was younger, not better. It really opened my eyes about the whole thing.

With that said, I feel like I'm at the top of my game in drumming. I think right now I sound the best that I ever have.
 

steadypocket

Gold Member
The question isn't CAN we more seasoned drummers still play. Clearly we can. I'm 57 and probably as good as I've ever been, all things being relative. For the past few years, however, short of occasional fill-in gigs I haven't been gigging. While part of that may be attributed to the sorry state of the live music scene where I live, I've experienced an uptick in age discrimination as I've gotten older. In some situations, I understand young kids in their 20s wanting to play with their generation and agree that age should matter for original music where image is an issue. I've been passed over though by cover bands comprised of members in their 30s and 40s ironically playing music from my generation! At least one or two bands had the backbone to tell me I was too old for them. I should add that I'm especially fit and can still run four miles at a flat 8 min per mile clip. Frustrating.
 

fess

Senior Member
I'm 69. Gigging regularly. My 64 year old wife is my roadie. Just auditioned for a 2nd band last night and it went very well. I did warn them that I'm a bit 'mature'. We'll see.
 

Shedboyxx

Silver Member
I'm a fairly young 61, still feel good about playing, have a couple of regular gigs and would welcome more. The playing is never an issue and I don't see it being that way for some time.

Load-ins/outs: That gives me pause.

Two weeks ago i played a club with an act who I gig with regularly. We always do one set and we always get paid decently (singer who pays us is doing this for fun and his main gig is acting/directing etc.). The load-in was off a busy street here in L.A. and with harzard lights flashing on my SUV, the gear had to be first stacked in a place it could stay for a few minutes while you found a parking spot. THEN I carried/dragged all the gear up three steps and a flight of stairs. No elevator. I have a Ludwig Breakbeat I'm regularly gigging with although I occasionally gig with one of my other regular size kits. I use light single brace hardware except for the Roc n Soc (14lbs?) Even with these attempts at lightening, that hardware bag still feels like dragging two dead bodies around, especially late at night. I use a ride, two crashes and hi hats so there's the cymbal bag as well. I think you guys close to my age get the point. It's not the playing. Load-ins - That's something that guys like Charlie, Nicko, Tommy and Graeme don't have to do anymore. I feel like it's easier to age out from loading than it is for playing.
 
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TMe

Senior Member
A question for the older drummers: Have any of you felt the need to change the style of music you play, to be more age appropriate?
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
I wouldn't say it's age appropriate but ability appropriate. Needless to say our bodies don't work as well as they used to but maturity brings with it a different approach. I think in a good way!!
 
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