Professional Working Drummers

Chazdrums

New member
For all you drummer out there who mainly play for a living: How did you start playing for a living? Do you consider yourself a sellout/whore? Is there integrity in playing music you had no part in creating?

And any advice for the guys trying to 'make it' at least as far as being a professional musician?
 

Dale

New member
Chazdrums":151wzcb3 said:
For all you drummer out there who mainly play for a living: How did you start playing for a living? Do you consider yourself a sellout/whore? Is there integrity in playing music you had no part in creating?

And any advice for the guys trying to 'make it' at least as far as being a professional musician?
Although I am now only teaching, I have spent years as a professional playing musician. How did I begin? Simple, I played as much as possible and received calls for gigs. As time went by I found myself making a living playing music.

As for the "sell out" idea, I think this is a negative and naive term. Did Steve Gadd sell out? I don't think so. Did Vic Firth sell out by becoming a classical musician playing music written by greats such as Mozart, Beethoven, Stravinsky and others?

Over the many years I've spent playing music, I have played music by people I never met as well as "original" band musicians. Often, the "original" musicians stated that people in cover bands were sell outs. They are entitled to their opinions. Most were starving and have since moved into day jobs.

It is fine to think "I will play my own music and nobody elses!". Just be prepared to play very little, make no money and have a small outlet for your art.

The best way to become a pro is to focus on playing as many styles as possible, get your reading and groove together and work as much as possible. The more people who know you the better. Much of this business is based upon word of mouth. Also be easy to get along with and friendly. It helps to have a business card as well and a good agent or personal manager. Having someone working for you who needs to make money from your work, motivates them to find you work.
 

Dale

New member
Chazdrums":1nmn2ay0 said:
Well said! I Agree 100% Thats how I started, now I play everything from Bebop to Metal.
Just so long as you don't play metal on the bebop gigs and bebop on the metal gigs!!!! :shock: :shock: :shock:
 

SmellsLikeIan

New member
I've played in everything from all original punk, metal, and jazz/rock bands to bands that played strictly covers. That being said, a healthy combination of the two is a good way to enjoy making a few bucks and getting to play your own music. None of the bands I've been in that played only original material made much money, if any. Usually it was open mic night a some dive with 20-30 people there, or a small club and a few close friends, but at times it was just as fun as playing to 2 or 3 thousand. I can't necessarily say the same for playing all covers for 20 people, but if it floats your proverbial boat, go for it. I've opened up for a lot of big name original artists with my current group, and guess what? Most of them play a few covers. Some of them 5 or 6 covers! My band does the same thing. When you play a few songs people recognize, and play them well, often you can get their attention during your original tunes. The term "sell-out" is pretty silly....I can't remember who it was that said, "Sellout? We sell out every show." Just as long as you're having fun, you're not a sellout......One great way to meet people, on the other hand is a jam night (usually weeknights at a local bar). Ask around and see if there's one in your area. Sometimes local heavyweights will even show up to play a few tunes, and you never know who you'll see/jam with. Just make sure you can improv, cuz you'll most likely play a song or two you're not really familiar with....Its a great way to get better at interplay and developing listening skills, too.
 

bullets

New member
Dale":3bkvhmnd said:
Chazdrums":3bkvhmnd said:
Well said! I Agree 100% Thats how I started, now I play everything from Bebop to Metal.
Just so long as you don't play metal on the bebop gigs and bebop on the metal gigs!!!! :shock: :shock: :shock:
Funny you should mention that. Around here we used to joke about generating more work by gigging at restaurants, showin' up with a kit with double 18 inch bass drums and a bag full of brushes. We gave the genre the name, "Dinner Metal". :-D
 
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