Cris: What drives you to keep making these big changes in your drumming technique?
Ben Sesar, drummer for Brad Paisley: There are benefits to it. To make life easier. It's funny. You have to go through a whole forest of crap in order to get to the easy part.
With me, nothing physical comes easy. Maybe it's that way for everybody, but it's really a lot of over and over and over …
Cris: Building up muscle memory?
Ben: Yeah. Especially when you are talking about the faster stuff. I would get to a certain point and then I would be like, “Well, how much do I really use that anyway?” And I'd put it down. Then I would noodle around and I would pick it up and I would be like, “Oh! I'm a little better at that. Let's keep going.” So I've just sort of added it slowly into my routine.
Cris: What have you learned through experience that you did not know starting out?
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.
Cris: What is your songwriting process?
Tim Charron: I always write the guitar and vocal parts together. I usually don't have lyrics and then try to put them to music. I always try to do it at the same time.
Most of the time I will start with a title and build the story and the song around the title.
Cris: Wow. I don't think I have ever heard of a songwriter approaching it that way.
Tim: This way I know the end game, what the story and the song needs to lead to, the payoff. So I have the title, which will usually be in the chorus, and I go back to the beginning and I start building a song. I try to lay out a story. Why am I saying the title? What does it all lead to?
Cris: How does inspiration figure into that? Because that sounds very methodical.
Tim: In Nashville I am around a lot of professional songwriters who go to the office every day and from 10:00 to 1:00 they are writing songs. That's really methodical. I don't know how to do that.
A lot of times I will come up with a title and parts of songs when I am either going to sleep or waking up, kind of in that half-awake state. I'll come up with a title and maybe part of a chorus and I will scramble to write it down.
Sometimes ideas come when I am driving, when I am working out … and it is really important to grab it, write it down, hum it into your phone, just something so you capture it. Then the work begins when you have to actually sit down and follow up and address it.
"Real content marketing isn’t repurposed advertising, it is making something worth talking about."
Read the full interview on Contently.
This past week I worked at Rich Redmond's 3rd annual Drummers Weekend in Nashville. No, I wasn't one of the instructors. "And now Cris will demonstrate how even the simplest groove can go horribly wrong."
One of the best clinics was given by Mark Poiesz, drummer for Tyler Farr. In addition to his advice about becoming a better musician, he also spoke to the students about not discounting who they are as individuals. He said, "Being yourself is the best thing you can ever be." Constantly learn from others, but don't get caught up in thinking you have to be exacty like them.
It is a rare message to hear in the music industry ... or really anywhere in life. But Mark spoke about it with sincerity and heart.
(photo: Elle Jaye)
It is often the simplest concepts that are overlooked by the student. But ironically, that's the stuff that, if you master it, can create the most amount of success from a commercial standpoint. Just being able to play great time, to choose great fills, to be able to listen and play for the song ... instead of trying to figure out a place to play something that you learned online.
- Jim Riley
- Drummer for Rascal Flatts
- Clinician at Rich Redmond's 3rd annual Drummers Weekend