Fresh starts – May Blog 2016.
Some Random Thoughts – March Blog 2016.
I thought I’d get a bit more personal with this months blog by sharing a few things that I’ve learned in my life/career so far. These are the gems that I feel apply to being a musician particularly well. So I hope that they are of some use to you all. Here goes…
1. Unfortunately, you really can’t (and won’t) please everyone, and trying to do so usually backfires.
2. If people can’t accept you for who you are, or don’t wanna be friends with you after you’ve made an effort to try to be, then you’re probably better off without them in your life.
3. Life can get pretty crazy sometimes, so if possible try to take a little time to do the things that make you happy – even if it’s just for a few minutes each day.
4. When in doubt, just go with it. Don’t try change situations that you have absolutely no control over (so unless you’re hurting yourself, or others in the process), just enjoy the moment. They’re not going to last forever.
5. Develop a hard skin. Successful people want to stay on top forever and might not always give you the turn that you might feel you deserve. Likewise, often people on their own way up might feel threatened or self entitled to something that you’re also after and hurtful things can be said or done that might discourage you along your journey, (who knows you might even be the one to say or do them). Regardless having a hard skin can help you shake the negativity off – especially within the entertainment industry.
6. Trust your gut !!! Pretty self explanatory really, but your instincts are usually correct.
7. Be nice to others, even if you think they’re unkind or inconsiderate towards you. You never know who’s help you might need one day, or who might need help from you.
8. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and help build you up. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve by doing this, even if it means that you might have to hear the ‘cold’ occasional truth about yourself every once in a while.
9. Stop complaining all the time. Unfortunately, this is much harder than I’d like to admit, but negativity breeds negativity (you would’ve heard me say that on the UK Drummer Podcast a few times).
10. Don’t fake it – just make it… You don’t have to be a fake individual to survive in this world. As mentioned earlier, you’re probably make a couple frenemies along the way but being true to yourself is worth its weight in gold so don’t let anyone take that away from you.
Until next time, practise hard, work hard and I’ll see you around.
Sometimes opportunity doesn’t knock on the door – January Blog 2016.
Ah life… It’s a funny thing. Most people are either content with where they are, or trying to break down barriers in order to get to where they eventually hope to be.
It’s with this in mind that I wanted to write this months blog, as it’s important to remember that while attempting to claw one’s way to the top and open as many doors as we can along the way, that it’s very easy to miss some of the windows of opportunity that might come to us, purely due to the fact that we’re too focused on our end goal (whatever that may be).
Recently, I was in the studio with a great band., who were recording their debut album.
I was hired to record a few guitar parts on the record and was itching to have a go on the drumkit that had been hired for the drummer on the session. As I wasn’t that close with the band, I decided to act professionally and simply just track my guitar parts.
During the recording process, a few comments were made that made me think that the band weren’t completely happy with their drummer or his parts, but again by trying to remain as professional as possible, I held back my comments that I might be able to do what they wanted ‘drum part wise’ in a better way (no one wants to be ‘that guy’, especially when it’s not even your own band).
While on quick a break from the actual recording process one day, I thought I’d have a quick play on the drums before we hit record again, but not knowing me, the drum tech that had been hired for the day didn’t think it was a good idea and so for a third time during the session I again decided to remain professional and convinced myself that I didn’t need to play the drums and went back to my guitar.
Anyway, fast forward two or three months and as suspected the band seem to have released their drummer and hired a new guy to fill his position. They also have some amazing dates booked in on their new tour, with support slots of some absolutely massive bands…
Now, while I’m super happy for them (they were terrific guys) I can’t help but think that perhaps had I made sure that they had the chance to see what kind of drummer I am and what I could do on the drums within their genre, that when the decision came to replace the above mentioned drummer that just maybe I might have been considered as a potential replacement. Not to say I would’ve, but I might have been. The worst part is, that I’ll never ever know and I have no one to blame but myself.
So, while I do believe that upholding professional standards should always be one’s priority, I think that maybe we should also trust our instincts and take advantage of the moments we’re in as we might miss opportunities that are right in front of us. After all, sometimes opportunity doesn’t knock on the door, it lightly taps on a window.
Until next time, keep on practising, take those opportunities, and remember the harder you work, the luckier you’ll get.
It’s the season to be jolly – December Blog 2015.
Wow, I can’t believe the year is already over! It seemed like it was only yesterday that I performed at some year-end functions and celebrated the start of 2015, and now I’m busy (or about to) do it all again for 2016. Plus, yesterday one of my students told me that she’s been coming to me for lessons for twelve months and I honestly couldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t have guessed that it was more than six months. Where does the time go?
Something that I always tend to think about around this time of year is just how many special occasions we as working musicians miss in regards to various family or friend related events while we’re out on the road gigging or doing PR for upcoming projects (you know the ones: birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, New Year’s Eve etc.). I really can’t tell you how many times that I’ve personally said to my wife that I’m going to gig less, or take a break for a few months (and meant it), but then that phone rings and I’m right back out the door. I guess that it comes with the territory though and I firmly believe that it only takes turning the “right” people down once in order for them to not ever want to call you again.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I love my life and I’m bringing this all up simply because it’s the Christmas season and I’m very excited because for the first time in a very long time, I’m going to be able to spend some real quality time with my family and friends over this busy period. Heck, I even turned down a gig for the 24th (which is something that I would not usually do, but it was a friend’s gig and he was really cool about it) so that I can celebrate Chrimbo with my wife and her side of the family.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this, it’s great doing what you wanna do for a living, and if this is your passion you need to follow it. It is easy to keep thinking that we’ll spend some ‘quality time’ with those we care about tomorrow while we’re young and not really thinking too far ahead, but what if (heaven forbid) tomorrow never came?
You always hear stories about people on their deathbeds saying they wish they had worked less and spent more time with those they love, and maybe they’re right? So on that note I’ll end on this: if you have a couple of days off this year, maybe rather than polishing your cymbals or browsing eBay for 2nd hand drumming gear try spend some time doing the “little” things with the important people in your life. After all, it’s Christmas and I’m sure they’d appreciate your time, especially if your time is often spent away from home.
Until next time, merry Christmas and thanks so much for all your support this year! May 2016 be even more kick ass than 2015 was and stay driven. Oh, and come January we’re launching the official “UK Drummer Podcast” so watch this space and make sure you check it out!!!
If you can’t join ‘em, try someone else – November Blog 2015.
There are countless sources dedicated to drumming out there. Some cover topics from clinics to gear reviews, whilst others focus on interviews, blogs, podcasts, or even the selling of 2nd hand drum gear.
Regardless of what their main content is, I quite enjoy most of these sources. I think that there’s room for them all and they can be pretty cool to use to better one’s own playing or insight into drumming as a musical instrument. Plus, all these platforms (websites, social network groups, pod casts, interactive video lessons etc), really help give us drummers the impression that we are all part of one big supportive drumming ‘family’, which we don’t often get to see with other instrumentalists.
I’m part of more drum groups and websites than I care to admit, (especially given my often over-opinionated views on social media in general), and even though I don’t often get involved with many forum-type conversations, I do enjoy reading some of the banter between complete strangers on topics such as drum sizes, laughing at some of the drumming jokes or the odd moans and groans regarding expensive gear, or the comparison of how big the space for the drum set up was on someone’s last gig.
I have noticed though, that some discussions seem to get a little heated every now and then, and have on occasion even seen a couple instances where a group of individuals will sometimes stick together and almost ‘gang up’ on someone because it’s felt that this specific individual has the wrong opinion. This makes me wonder if we’re really as close as we all sometimes imagine. I mean at the end of the day they’re just personal opinions and different personalities and opinions aren’t always going to relate – that’s just human nature. Plus, as much as I love drumming, it’s important to remember that it’s just drumming – we’re not exactly saving individual’s lives over here people. So things really don’t need to get too heated or mean, do they?
If you’re one of the individuals who has felt bullied within a group or forum-type situation I would like to apologise on behalf of these mean spirited “drummers”. Please remember that most drummers, (especially those without anything to prove to others), are usually really supportive and keen to share their knowledge. I guess just like any other industry there are some people out there who don’t want to break bread and share with others. It’s a pity, but give them time, they’ll come around one day. My advice to you is to forget about them and don’t spend another minute letting someone else’s words or opinions put you down. Take a look at your own diary, if you’re getting bookings there’s no need to worry about these other people.
The drumming community can be incredible. It can be a wonderful and supportive place where you will make some truly great, lifelong friends, and if you haven’t had luck making friends within a specific group/site/forum/whatever, try somewhere else. Or as this month’s blog title says – if you can’t beat ‘em, try someone else.
That’s it for now, have a good one everyone. See you at the LDS. Practise hard.