Cris Cohen: Working with artists as diverse as P!nk and Foreigner, what is the common denominator from your angle? Or to put it another way… how the hell is the same guy the right drummer for Velvet Revolver and Cher?
Mark Schulman: I attribute my abilities to having grown up listening to a lot of music. And playing in bands very early on that played everything from bossa novas to Led Zeppelin to Black Sabbath to Foreigner. The joke when I got the Foreigner (gig) was that I was singing the same harmony part that I sang when I was in my band at 15.
You'll find that most musicians who are very well rounded and have really been educated, have the ability to play a lot of different styles. It's having what I call “big ears,” so you're really listening. But it is also having the vocabulary and having the experience of having played different styles.
And (it is) how you get along. For most of my gigs, I've been a hired gun. And it really comes down to, not only the way you play, but the way that you communicate, the way that you fit in, and the band member that you are.
My nickname P!nk gave me years ago is “Disneyland: The happiest place on earth.” One of the things that drew her to me, in addition to my playing, was my ability to just be a light beam and bring that positivity.
I look at my job as being of service. I'm in the service industry. And I know that a lot of musicians look at it that way. But when I get on stage, I'm there to be of service to P!nk, to the band, to the audience, to the crew. I want to make everybody's life easy.