Wednesday, June 9, 2010

When Do Old Drummers Retire?

retired drummers
Do old drummers retire? Is 45 too old to rock? Do I start learning some other instrument? Perhaps I just pick up a pair of 2B's and beat the crap out of my drum kit and stop thinking about it.

I'm feeling my age this morning. As we prepare for the three city tour with my old band, I'm noticing that what I played at age 30 is not as easy to play today. I'm not writing this issue off to my age just yet. At age 30, I think I was just a bit myopic to key parts that make up a good drummer. I wanted to play the crap out of my drums, party, and remind everyone that I am who I am. Ego was certainly a part of my style back then.

What makes me a better drummer today?

  1. I know my limits, and I won't push it too hard at a live show, just to show off.

  2. I learned that what I eat before a gig will either help or hurt my performance.

  3. Warming up before a show will make your first song sound great.

  4. The singer is the face of the band, and the drummer just support.

  5. I'm never going to be a star, and knowing that fact helps me enjoy those Tuesday night gigs. (not that I ever had visions of being a star)

  6. I can afford better gear.

  7. The drama is easier to blow off. Yes, the singer has an ego, yes the guitar is never loud enough, according to the guitar player.

  8. I can think beyond the evening, knowing that I have another show the next night, and save energy for the next town.

  9. A gig is not a gig until you are actually on stage and playing your drums. You never know when a show will be cancelled.

  10. If two people show up for a show, play even better because they are probably uncomfortable being the only fans there. Make them feel special.

  11. Being forced to do full volume rehearsals, three nights a week is probably not going to make you a better drummer. It's just going to make you hard of hearing. Turn it down.

I don't have all the answers. Sorry, if this comes off as preachy. As I was rehearsing last night, I thought about those musicians that have perhaps one or two shows to call their own. They might have played in a high school band. They might have played at a dance, or basement show. They might have spent 12 months getting ready to play a gig only to have their singer quit the band a week before their debut. (this happened to me) I'm eternally grateful for what has come my way.

If I were to break it down even further, I would say that I'm happy that I can play a double stroke roll down the rack. At age 45 you are probably too old to get noticed by a 20 year old guitar player. I'm happy to say that it doesn't bother me too much. Those 20 year old guitar players have to go through what I went through, and I don't want to live that all over again. I'll do more stretching, eat better, sleep better, be wiser, sober, and wake up the next day feeling like I can crush it. When I'm 60, I'll start playing the vibes.

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