becoming an independant drummer


New member
hey all,

some of my favorite drummers now (thanks to some of you for showing them to me) are dave weckl, chad wackerman, thomas lang, etc etc

i love how they have an independant style and are completely on their own. true they do play with musicians however they are clinicians as well.

i would like so much to do this in my future...but i have no idea how. my father who is a great acoustic guitarist told me to make a site for myself and show it to as many musicians and "fans" as i could

all in all could any of you tell me how one would aquire this status as an "independant" or "clinician" ????

my site is

please friend request me and comment me on there
and please give me constructive criticism, but message me the criticism on here please

thank you all again so much


New member
you have to either have a manager or a butt load of sponsors (most likely both) to do stuff like that. your manager (and your band or bands who would have to be doing a good amount of touring) gets you the sponsors and the work and your sponsors use you to promote their products. it takes a lot more than just having someone look at a site. you have to make companies want you to be the one to show off their products and you also have to have good enough teaching skills that your clinic isnt a 2 hour long drum solo. you do have to teach so whoever is there walks out with more knowlegde than they came in with.


New member
I hate to say it, but it's a lot more than that. I have no idea how Thomas Lang got his start, but Dave Weckl and Chad Wackerman were launched into drum superstardom by landing signature gigs.

Weckl came to the forefront by playing some AMAZING stuff with Chick Corea's first Electrik Band. It was groundbreaking. And he didn't just show up at an audition for that, either. He played in a fusion band in St. Louis called Nite Sprite, named after a 1970s Chick Corea tune. Then he went to New York where did a ton of session work, including Madonna's first album and, if IIRC, Simon & Garfunkel tour. He also played with seminal fusion artists such as Bill Connors and George Benson. Safe to say, by the time the Corea gig came up for grabs, people like Anthony Jackson were telling everyone within earshot somebody needs to give the kid a gig where he can stretch.

Wackerman was a little different in that his father was a well-known high school jazz educator in Southern California. Still, Wackerman had to earn his way, and he had the distinct challenge of replacing none other than Vinnie Colaiuta on the Frank Zappa gig. Colaiuta did the impossible before that by replacing Terry Bozzio. Bottom line, if Zappa hired you to be his drummer, it was instant credibility in the entire music industry -- and for good reason. Playing for Zappa meant you there was literally nothing someone could put in front of you that would throw you off. It's sort of like the difference between basic training and Navy Seal training. One is hard but the average person should get through. The latter is set apart for only the select of the select, and even some of them won't make it. Jeff Porcaro, for example, turned Zappa down four times. Porcaro was awesome, but he knew his limits.

So, yeah. These guys didn't spent 40 years in the woodshed closest and come out writing books and making DVDs. They spent perhaps their entire childhood shedding, and most of their young adulthoods playing some of the most challenging music with some of the best musicians in the world. It doesn't happen overnight, and it requires untold work and a little bit of luck.

If that's you're goal, more power to you. Just realize it means setting the loftiest of goals every time you sit down to practice. And it means getting your butt out there and getting some experience with the best musicians you can possibly find. Constantly challenge yourself by trying to play with musicians better than you. That was the Weckl and Wackerman mentality, and now they can hang with anyone.
What I've seen from a lot of the independant guys is that they do play everything, they didn't get stuck playing the same stuff. When you can play latin, funk, fusion, rock, or metal or anything else for that matter you are probably well on your way to potentially ending up being a future independant drummer.. And if you can stick some solid gigs with a variety of music with some incredible musicians, it's probably safe to say you are well on your way.

Here are some other musicains you might want to check out. Have you taken a look at a guy named Akiro Jimbo, that guys pretty amazing and has great technique, Marco Minneman is one of my favorite independant drummers, they do a lot of four way independance type stuff. And if you like Weckle check out Steve Gadd, the guy is unreal.

Learn as much as you can, find out how they did it, and go for it.