Jimmy Elcock (drummer for Jamie Lynn Spears): No matter how prepared you are, no matter how many years of paradiddles you've played, stuff happens fast. I was in Nashville playing so many gigs, but then all of a sudden someone says, “Hey, we're doing the Today Show in four days.” You fly to New York. You have an appearance here, an acoustic gig there. Then you show up at the studio at 4:00 am, rehearse once or twice, and perform on live TV.
It may have been a slow climb to get to that point. But no matter how long you've been with the artist or what you've done, that moment happens quick. And so you just have to be prepared for that. It doesn't matter how simple the song is. It doesn't matter what your part is, just be on your toes at all times, be ready for anything, and have the confidence to go out there and do it.
The producer has the headphones on, the camera is right in your face, and it's just “1-2-3 …” There are no tracks. There's no “Oh we taped that earlier so we can use that instead.” They are cuing the drummer to start the tune. So no matter what, that moment comes pretty quick.