Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Farm Aid at Miller Park October 2nd.

Farm Aid Milwaukee
Here we are, coming up on October 2, and it's Farm Aid at Miller Park. Willie Neslon is someone that I would like to see before he goes to the great beyond, but joining tens of thousands of fans in a venue made for professional sports is not the location I dreamed about. I would rather see him at the Riverside Theater, or Marcus Amp.
Still, Farm Aid is a great cause, and it's less about a single superstar act. John Mellencamp is on the lineup, but I never really liked his style. Little Pink Houses is a song that came out when I was in my teens. It reminds me of hanging out with my friends whose parents could afford cable tv. There are no pass outs for the event, but honestly, who would want to do that. Miller Park is an island in a sea of asphalt. Once you drive away, you feel completely disconnected with the ballpark. I'm going to wait to see Willie Nelson for some other time.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Muse with Passion Pit Bradley Center Set List

Do you ever check the set list of a band just before they come to your town? I started doing that a few years ago. I like to see if the band deviates from the set, from city to city, from night to night. The majority of the time, the set never changes. When I first posted that Muse and Passion Pit are playing the Bradley Center, I didn't take the time to check the set lists for the current tour. Now, as the date approaches, I will look to recent shows to see what I can find.

Sadly, the only dates I could find were California shows from last week. They did play the same set back to back though.

Muse Set List from September 23

1. Uprising
2. Resistance
3. New Born
4. Map of the Problematique
5. Supermassive Black Hole
6. Hysteria Star-Spangled Banner intro
7. Nishe
8. United States Of Eurasia
9. Feeling Good (Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley cover)
10. Helsinki Jam
11. Undisclosed Desires
12. Starlight
13. Plug In Baby
14. Time Is Running Out
15. Unnatural Selection
16. Encore:
16. Exogenesis: Symphony, Part 1: Overture
17. Stockholm Syndrome
18. Knights of Cydonia Man With A Harmonica intro

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Five Items To Bring On Stage Before Drumming

If you are a drummer, you are more than likely to be the only person on the stage who gets to sit all evening. You are usually behind the singer, or tucked away in a corner of some small stage. The guitar player will usually try to invade your space, or push you further back, just to make room for the amps. It can be a tense few moments, when you (or your roadie) puts the kit in place. By the time you sit down, it's usually dark on stage. You hope that everything is in place as the lights go up. When they do go up, I hope that I see five essential things in front of me, aside from the drums.

Five Key Items To Bring On Stage

  • #1 Duct Tape.

I know that it may seem to be silly to have to list it at all, but you would be surprised to find that many of your band mates will ditch the heavy roll of duct tape and leave it at the practice space, thinking that they won't possibly need it. Perhaps they think that the venue owner will have some, or someone else in the band may bring some along. Don't trust that crucial item to anyone but yourself. I won't list the reasons you need Duct Tape. Trust me.

  • #2 The Gibraltar Drink Holder
Some people laugh when I set up my Gibraltar drink holder. It attaches to my high hat stand. I can reach for it in the middle of a song, or between songs. It keeps me from bending all the way to the floor. You don't want dirty looks from your guitar player because you are using his Marshall Amp for a drink holder. You won't be tempted to place it on the back line, only to find that it vibrated right off the speaker, splashing you in the back and pissing off the sound engineer. Finally, the drink holder will also keep you from kicking over your own drink. Bonus!
  • 3# Ditty Bag for Drummers
I will never forget the time I snapped the spring to my drum pedal in the middle of a set. We were the headline act, and the opening act had already packed their gear and left. I was ready to swap out the broken spring because I had a ditty bag full of essential hardware. That bag has felt rings, cymbal screws, duct tape, drum keys, ear plugs, bandages, wing nuts, snare string, and more. We stopped the show and it took all of 90 seconds to replace the spring.
  • #4 Multi Tool
It's a screw driver-knife-pliers-file-bottle cap opener-saw device, and I would be dead in the water without it. I love it when your guitar player's bridge needs tightening, and he looks around in a panic, just hand him your Multi Tool.
  • #5 Set List
Yep, I said it. You cannot rely on anyone else to provide you with a set list. You may think that you will read the list off of the singer's copy, but what if your singer goes nuts and the set list flies into the mosh pit? What if someone steals the set list from the guitar player before the show is finished? What if everyone else forgets theirs? All of those things have happened to me, and more.
I encourage others to add to this list, but if I have those five items, I'm comfortable, happy and kicking butt behind the drums.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Prom For Adults Tomorrow Night at Stonefly Brewery

The DJ's will be spinning, and the beer will certainly be flowing at Stonefly Brewing Company tomorrow night. If you wished for the chance to redo your prom night, or if you finally have the courage to ask someone to prom, here is your opportunity. The Pedal Pushers of Milwaukee are hosting an "adult prom" and admission is only six bucks. No need to rent a tux, but you may want to follow the suggestion to do so. Formal is fun!

The party runs from 10pm to 2am, food and drinks are extra. The Milwaukee Pedal Pushers have thrown this party before, and they expect it to be another successful night. This time, you don't have to worry about getting your date home before curfew.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kiss Show Is Flash and Not Much More

Kiss Milwaukee
I'm sorry to all those Kiss fans. The band is just a hollow flash, and not much more. Back when I was a child, a really small child, the band was interesting. I didn't care for them, but they were interesting. Who were these guys? That was the big draw. The music was never really that good, and it just got worse over time. Now, the band that calls itself Kiss has just two original members, and two hired guns.

Yes, there is blood, flash pots, confetti, flying Paul Stanley, fire breathing Gene Simmons, etc. Who wouldn't expect to see the same thing, year in and year out. No matter how many times they tell us that this is their last tour, you know that they are lying to you. What was the best part of the Marcus Amphitheater show? When they handed a check to the Wounded Warrior Project. At least that was honest, and generous. Convincing people to go to Wall Mart to buy their new album was the low point of the night. Wall Mart? Really guys?

Friday, September 3, 2010

How to Make Great Rock and Roll Posters

The gig is fast approaching, and we did all of our digital promotions. We also sent out an email blast. Still, those hardcore fans want something physical, something to arouse the tactile senses. Time to make a great rock and roll poster. But wait, I'm a drummer, not an artist. What do I do?

Hire an Artist to Create a Great Poster

In the 1980's we had Jerry "The Axe" Hammer making our punk rock DIY style posters. Jerry had an attention to detail, even though he only used a Bic pen. Jerry's Work is above.

In the 1990's we hired a popular local Milwaukee artist to do our posters. John Hill is currently putting ink to skin, as well as ink to paper.
On a rare occasion, a band is lucky enough to draw the attention of very generous artists who donate time and supplies, and make a poster just because they appreciate what you do musically. One of the best poster artists working out of Amsterdam made amazing art to promote our mini tour. Yes, Amsterdam is thousands of miles from Wisconsin, but this is 2010, you can get digital files and print here at home.
What's the moral to this blog post. Skip the DIY after you hit your 21st birthday. Hire a pro to make your band look "pro."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Taking a Break from Playing The Drums

For the first time in 17 years, I'm not in a band, and after playing gigs, recording, touring, and all that comes with it, I'm taking a break. It's eerily quiet here at the house. Don't get me wrong, I'm still rehearsing on my own. I would never stop drumming altogether. So what do you play on the drums when you are all alone?

I'm working with a Tama metronome, and it's great fun. For those of you who hate working with one, I suggest their higher end models. You have so many options, not just the beats per minute. You can store up to 20 signatures at a time.

I keep a list handy and jot down songs that I hear throughout the day. If I think that I would like to learn that song, or it would be a great exercise for me, I will go back to that list and download the tune. Slip on some noise reduction headphones, and play away. Don't forget your rudiments. Don't forget to stay loose. By all means, take a break sometimes. It just might inspire you to get out of that deep drumming rut you find so comfortable. For now, I'm going to grab some Riverside Theater tickets, and check out some of the touring pros. More inspiration.