Aerosmith Tech-Turned-Drummer Exhibits Art, Talks About First Gig

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From the First Coast News:

Ready to Rock : Drummer, artist on tour at Jax Beach gallery shares stories of preparation, opportunity, rock 'n' roll
After touring with Aerosmith, drummer John Douglas is displaying his art at Gallery 725 in Jacksonville Beach. His real-life rock 'n' roll stories offer life lessons


JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — I've lived here going on four years and can honestly say there's never a shortage of cool things to do on the First Coast, but Friday night I was doing the coolest thing possible.
I was listening to real-life rock 'n' roll stories from a rock star while taking in some brilliant art.
Before the pandemic shut down much of the country last year, John Douglas was drumming for Aerosmith during their Las Vegas residency filling in for the group's regular drummer, Joey Krammer, who was battling an injury. Douglas also played with the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers during the Grammys and at the prestigious MusicCares where Aerosmith was honored as Person of the Year.


Douglas, a brilliant painter, also toured with multi-platinum rockers like ZZ Top, Slash, Van Halen and Bon Jovi. He's now on another tour of sorts of his own in which he's the frontman.
Gallery 725, 1250 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville Beach, is hosting Douglas' "High-Performance" Fine Art Tour which runs through July 30. Douglas will be at the gallery from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Matt and Shayna Winghart, owners of the gallery, are friends of my family and they invited us out to a small gathering to see Douglas' art and meet him.
My 19-year-old son Max has been drumming for about six years so naturally, he was excited about meeting Douglas. As we drove to the gallery, I encouraged Max to ask a lot of questions and see what kinds of lessons he could learn from this incredibly talented man.
Douglas didn't disappoint. He shared stories that my son and I turned into a lesson.
  • Be prepared because you never know when an opportunity will present itself.

You often hear athletes talk about being prepared if their number is called. That's what happened with Douglas when Steven Tyler called him. "Steven never called me before," said Douglas, who was a drum tech for the band before he started playing with them.
Tyler told Douglas that Joey Krammer wasn't able to play and they needed him on drums that night.
"I didn't even know all of their songs," Douglas said. That didn't stop him from accepting the opportunity. He watched videos from the songs on the set list and did some quick cramming.
Douglas said he was hoping for a soundcheck or some kind of practice so he could get in sync with his new bandmates.
When he was finally on stage with Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and the rest of the group, Douglas thought they'd go through a few things to prepare for the show.
That didn't happen.
Douglas said "when that curtain went up and I saw all of the people screaming and holding their phones up," he knew it wasn't a soundcheck.


It was time to rock.
I admit. I was a total groupie listening to Douglas talk about rocking out with Aerosmith. I asked how he was ready for that moment.
"Church," he said.
For the past 10 years, Douglas has been playing drums at his church. "They give me four new songs every Saturday that I've never heard." He takes the songs home and learns the music for the next day's service.
"That helped me be prepared," he said.
Being thrown into the mix with little preparation time, I asked Douglas when he finally had that OMG moment of, "this is actually happening."
He said that occurred when he received a text message from Steven Tyler after the show complimenting his performance.
The show didn't come without rough spots. While performing "Love In An Elevator," Douglas said he was in the groove, looking down at his drums. He said he looked up and was terrified when he saw Tyler, Joe Perry and the rest of the band staring at him.
Douglas said he knew immediately that they were waiting on cues from him to move the song forward.
"That was a moment where we could have had what they call a 'train wreck.'"
That didn't happen. Douglas gave his cue, "and then they all turned around and kept playing."
After the show, Douglas said he put a note on his drum for that song so he wouldn't make that mistake again.

 

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From the First Coast News:

Ready to Rock : Drummer, artist on tour at Jax Beach gallery shares stories of preparation, opportunity, rock 'n' roll
After touring with Aerosmith, drummer John Douglas is displaying his art at Gallery 725 in Jacksonville Beach. His real-life rock 'n' roll stories offer life lessons


JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — I've lived here going on four years and can honestly say there's never a shortage of cool things to do on the First Coast, but Friday night I was doing the coolest thing possible.
I was listening to real-life rock 'n' roll stories from a rock star while taking in some brilliant art.
Before the pandemic shut down much of the country last year, John Douglas was drumming for Aerosmith during their Las Vegas residency filling in for the group's regular drummer, Joey Krammer, who was battling an injury. Douglas also played with the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers during the Grammys and at the prestigious MusicCares where Aerosmith was honored as Person of the Year.


Douglas, a brilliant painter, also toured with multi-platinum rockers like ZZ Top, Slash, Van Halen and Bon Jovi. He's now on another tour of sorts of his own in which he's the frontman.
Gallery 725, 1250 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville Beach, is hosting Douglas' "High-Performance" Fine Art Tour which runs through July 30. Douglas will be at the gallery from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Matt and Shayna Winghart, owners of the gallery, are friends of my family and they invited us out to a small gathering to see Douglas' art and meet him.
My 19-year-old son Max has been drumming for about six years so naturally, he was excited about meeting Douglas. As we drove to the gallery, I encouraged Max to ask a lot of questions and see what kinds of lessons he could learn from this incredibly talented man.
Douglas didn't disappoint. He shared stories that my son and I turned into a lesson.
  • Be prepared because you never know when an opportunity will present itself.

You often hear athletes talk about being prepared if their number is called. That's what happened with Douglas when Steven Tyler called him. "Steven never called me before," said Douglas, who was a drum tech for the band before he started playing with them.
Tyler told Douglas that Joey Krammer wasn't able to play and they needed him on drums that night.
"I didn't even know all of their songs," Douglas said. That didn't stop him from accepting the opportunity. He watched videos from the songs on the set list and did some quick cramming.
Douglas said he was hoping for a soundcheck or some kind of practice so he could get in sync with his new bandmates.
When he was finally on stage with Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and the rest of the group, Douglas thought they'd go through a few things to prepare for the show.
That didn't happen.
Douglas said "when that curtain went up and I saw all of the people screaming and holding their phones up," he knew it wasn't a soundcheck.


It was time to rock.
I admit. I was a total groupie listening to Douglas talk about rocking out with Aerosmith. I asked how he was ready for that moment.
"Church," he said.
For the past 10 years, Douglas has been playing drums at his church. "They give me four new songs every Saturday that I've never heard." He takes the songs home and learns the music for the next day's service.
"That helped me be prepared," he said.
Being thrown into the mix with little preparation time, I asked Douglas when he finally had that OMG moment of, "this is actually happening."
He said that occurred when he received a text message from Steven Tyler after the show complimenting his performance.
The show didn't come without rough spots. While performing "Love In An Elevator," Douglas said he was in the groove, looking down at his drums. He said he looked up and was terrified when he saw Tyler, Joe Perry and the rest of the band staring at him.
Douglas said he knew immediately that they were waiting on cues from him to move the song forward.
"That was a moment where we could have had what they call a 'train wreck.'"
That didn't happen. Douglas gave his cue, "and then they all turned around and kept playing."
After the show, Douglas said he put a note on his drum for that song so he wouldn't make that mistake again.


Pretty cool story, really. Obviously, the guys in Aerosmith knew he could handle it before they asked him to do it. I think he's playing a little coy. And he's right about the church thing. Get 4 to 6 songs you've never heard before and be ready in 1 to 3 days. And then do it with people of variable skill and experience, it's pretty consistently on the edge of chaos. You have to keep your ears AND your eyes wide open. And then be able to recover when things inevitably go south, that's a skill too.
 


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