Chris Fryar of the Zac Brown Band: I wasn't (playing drums) for the money. I wasn't doing it for anything other than feeding my soul. Because at the root of it all, I'm a musician. It's what I do. I want to make music with other musicians and other likeminded people. If you do it for money, you're sunk out of the gate. Because the reality is there are not that many huge gigs out there. Compared to the number of drummers there are available to do them. And so if you're in it for the money and fame and all that other fun stuff, you might be disappointed. But if you do it because you love to do it and you would do it for free, then you might be a lot happier. And then when things pan out, if they do, it's icing on the cake. It's gravy on the potatoes, baby.
Cris Cohen: Well, that makes me wonder though. How does one do it so you don't get taken advantage of. Because there are a lot of guys who play for the passion and they'll do some horrendous gigs and people will take advantage of them. “We can't pay you, but it'll be great exposure.”
Chris Fryar: In my opinion, you have to just figure that out. Everyone has their limit. Everyone has their line. For me, it was making sure that I didn't have to pay anything for gas and I didn't have to buy food. As long as I'm breaking even in that regard, I'll go play. I used to tell people all the time that I played for free, but getting me to move my gear is expensive. I love to play. I love to make music. When I was freelancing in Birmingham, I would play anything. I was doing like a singer-songwriter thing on a Tuesday night for 20 bucks. Just a kick drum, snare drum, tambourine. Sometimes not even the snare drum.
I would tell guys around town, “Hey, let me sub for you. You got a steady gig. I don't want to steal your gig, but you've got a wife and kids and life is going to happen. Call me when life happens. Let me cover for you for a night.”
You would be surprised how much work I got just doing that.
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