Cruise Ship Drumming

wayne

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He is one incredible drummer. Very hard hitting and accurate and reads those charts with ease. Not hard to guess what he will be doing for the rest of his life. One thing I wonder about is the equipment, esp sticks and heads. He has to go through a boat load, not to mention crack a few cymbals as well...He,s what I refer to as a complete drummer....and a very decent person from what I can tell.
 

ThomFloor

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Nice vids. Many a pro session musician all mention the key element that led them to employment.... 'learning to read well'. Blaine, Purdie, Vinnie C, Kenny Aranoff.....the lost goes on.
 

EvEnStEvEn

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I did a cruise ship stint at the tail-end of the 70s for a couple seasons...or maybe it was 1980-81 actually? Bah, can't recall now....
Anyway, at that time it was like a floating nightclub gig but you had to be versatile, polished & professional - we played standards, torch ballads, top-40 & oldies and a LOT of disco & dance music 3 hrs nightly in the lounge and banquet hall with one set daily on the sun deck.

There wasn't a big showroom onboard and no charts, but we did rehearse and we all bought tuxedos as required. We docked & departed into and out of San Francisco bay, 3 weeks on, 3 off, then three weeks back again. I think we were alternating with another group from the same agency.

Good experience if you could handle the trip and what it entails. High musician turnover though, some couldn't follow thru with the protocol but I have some pretty good memories from it and some is just a blur. lol.
Things have definitely changed and become more extravagant in that scene over the decades since I did it.


Check this out...
 
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ppfd

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This is perfect. My GF has booked a cruise for next year and I wondered about wi fi.
Cleveland boy. Cool I grew up in Akron.

Actually was looking at cruise nursing jobs recently.
 

amosguy

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What gear is he responsible to bring to the ship? If he is jumping around on short notice, the basics must be covered I would think - heads, hardware, etc.
 

Treviso1

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Watch some of his other videos...he's the real deal. He can really tear it up behind the kit while reading through charts. The complete drummer, if you will. Very impressive.
 

moodman

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Our 'sub' Sax man, a policeman, plans to retire and play aboard cruise ships.
He is also an undertaker, he says that skill is also apparently needed occasionally at sea, given the age of many passengers.
 

lossforgain

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Incredible player and great videos. I just spent way too much of my morning watching them and remembering the days when I could play *some* of that stuff. Now I am so out of practice.
 

drummaman1

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Funny that...I did nearly four years of that as well. Same ships as he's playing, no less...but because I didn't vlog any of it, I get the shaft. Not really, the experience I gained during my ships stint is still helping me to this day with the groups I perform with locally.

Yeah, the gear situation. It has improved a little since I've done it, I was bringing my cymbals and the company was reimbursing me for the extra luggage. I brought a snare drum to one contract, and was always searching for snare drums because I couldn't stand to play the snares they had available. Like I said it has improved, but not much. Heads, I would put an order in through the necessary channels, which would take about 2 months to get. For anything short term, I would bring a set or buy a set in port (Sam Ash or Guitar Center on embark day) and save receipts so I could get reimbursed. The reimbursement took a few weeks. Ship time is really a thing. The ships he's performing in have Oak Custom in the theater and the maple Tour Custom (from late 2000s) in the lounges. They have a few Zildjian A packs for each kit, but not the new thinner, good sounding As. It's the old, thicker, clunky (not the hats) A's which I never cared for. But if that's you, then you're good to go.

Will he show the crew mess? When you can't go upstairs to eat but you're hungry? I ate burgers for weeks straight for lunch because nothing else was appetizing. They go through a lot of fish heads for stew. Will he show you the weekly crew drill, trainings, department meetings, the once per cruise mandatory passenger drill? That you can get in serious trouble and even be fired if you try to avoid doing any of those things? The theater is so busy with stuff, practicing a kit on stage is out, and he tried to get away with it at 4am?? That s**t will get you if not fired, they will consider it for your next contract you take on.

Will he take video of the manager in the guest buffet area telling him he can't eat lunch here at this time, even though it's not busy with guests?? And if he tries to push back, he could get reported and worse, fired? They like their hierarchies on the ships over there, and don't you dare try and pull rank, or even look like you are. The managers in the guest areas have full reign, if they say you can't be there or they don't want you there because of the guests, Sorry. You leave. Day is done, play your shows and return to your cabin. Try again tomorrow. Don't get me started on the servers at the buffet in certain stations, the shade is real. If their manager tells them to not acknowledge staff when serving food to guests, they will act like you are a ghost and there's NOTHING you can do about it. Luckily, it only happened twice in my nearly four years on seven ships. But man, that feeling where someone won't acknowledge you are there, even though you are allowed to be there...it is one of the big reasons I no longer work on ships.

Oh, and no upward mobility. The best you can do as a musician is be a music director/bandmaster. The MD not only runs the orchestra but sets the schedule for the other musicians/groups. You get a pay bump and your own cabin and that's it. For the amount of work an MD does, it's ok. You won't go crazy after the first few contracts. But if you want "higher office" like a cruise director, that's a different track that doesn't have anything to do with music.

Here I am prattling on. By all means, enjoy his vlog and dream about waking up one day in Aruba and the next in San Juan (its takes three sea days to get from one to the other, but you get my point.)

Ciao!
 

wayne

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We have a winner!!!...Now that's the truth, and very much bang on. I didn,t want to say anything about the ships protocol, but when my friend returned after 3 months, she said exactly the same thing...If it floats your boat...bon voyage.
 

davezedlee

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My guitar player played on a couple of cruise ships, and he said it was like working at a mall with a power-mad security guard as your boss
 


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