The top coolest experiences you've had as a drummer?

jptrickster

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Walking down the street and a passerby says hey aren’t you the drummer from Rubber Biscuit? For a minute I thought I might’ve owed him money or taken his chick home ! He just said you guys are awesome!
Yeah that one made my musical existence worthwhile.
 

Vicey

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Two come to mind. First, a wedding I played with a reggae/soca band. I didn't know the couple, didn't book the gig. We set up and I notice there's a big beautiful wedding cake with no bride and groom topper on it. The band is mostly Jamaican ex-pats and of mixed race. When people begin to arrive, it's quickly obvious that the bride's family is white and the groom's is Afro-Caribbean. There's a kind of tension: not that these people don't like each other, but that they're unfamiliar with each other. They don't know how to interact. We get to playing, and it's the best illustration I have ever seen of music building a bridge over a cultural chasm. Soca is easy to dance to, and people get into it. The reggae works too. It's amazing. Only at the end of the night does it dawn on me: there's no cake topper because they couldn't get one with one black and one white figure. I hope that's not still true.

Second one was working with a band backing Kwame Dawes for a musical-art-poetry show at the University of South Carolina: this sounds like a potential train wreck, but it actually worked. All original music combining reggae, jazz, and soul, but culminating in a cover of Bob Marley's "Exodus." Again, a mixed-race audience brought together by music. It was cathartic, chaotic, and beautiful.
 

pgm554

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Two come to mind.

Back in my early days after first moving to San Francisco,I arranged a jam session by leaving a note on the
Mills college bulletin board in the music building.
I ended up jamming with 3 people who got nominated for Grammy's and a 4th that was an ex Buddy Rich bass player..

I was at the Guitar Center in Emeryville,sat down at a set and played a few grooves.
A homeless guy who was watching came up to me and asked me if I could play some more.
He said it made him smile.
 
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TPC

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Great read so far. Thanks everyone.

I played a bunch of gigs during college. Every weekend. Power pop, hippy rock, obscure indie, a bit of Jeff Beck style fusion, etc. Hundreds and hundreds of fun shows and life-changing gigs. But my true love was always jazz.

After graduating I moved from Milwaukee to Florida for a job. I found a couple working groups, saccharine standards, reggae, etc. But I found a jazz teacher. The great Louis Ferkovics. He was the real thing. Studied with Henry Adler in NY, played in his own straight-ahead quartet five nights a week, just oozed bop. I would go to most of his gigs and usually sit in for a few tunes. I learned a lot and started to play a bunch of straight-ahead music, but was orders of magnitude below the level of Louie, who had lived it for 50 years.

So one night, he has a gig at The Eagles Nest, an old Blues club on the north end, the other side of the tracks, so to speak. There’s a Blues band trading sets with Louie’s bop group. The Blues guys ask if I want to sit in for a tune. Sure.

Now ... I was a suburban kid of Swedish descent, as white as white can be, and other than Louie (a Hungarian emigre/defector), everyone else in the place was black. The band leader calls a Blues, counts to four and we go. I play through it as I had a zillion times before, after all, Blues, Rock and Roll ... this was my wheelhouse. We finish the tune, and it seemed to go pretty well - we all ended at the same time, usually a good sign.

The place erupts. I get out from behind the set and walk back toward the bar, getting high fives and pats on the back from nearly everyone I passed. I reach the bar and Louie is there, tears streaming down his face. He gives me a huge hug and doesn’t say a word.

I still don’t know exactly what happened, I just played a 12-bar Blues like I had always done, but somehow that time it was different.
 

Core Creek

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Just a few:



- Played in an international battle of the bands. Came in 1st out of 250 local bands, 2nd out of 450 regional bands. Got voted 2nd best drummer of the night. Band was picked as the best band by the other bands. I had written about 1/3rd of the songs we played, and got to perform in front of about 600 people. Crazy great time.



-I met a guy in Paris through a guitar forum and helped him get some gear. When my wife and I were visiting Paris he and his wife took us out to dinner and then a jazz club where they were having an open mic. In my broken French I asked if I could sit in, and within 10 minutes I found myself on stage with some real fusion type guys. They call out a Miles tune, which I don’t know, but it’s rock based - I know because the bassist condescendingly shows me a basic rock groove with his hands. I proceed to play... cautiously at first, find a cool groove, take a drum solo, and I’m done in 15 minutes. My French host was floored and said I was the best musician on that stage. I insisted they all had better chops, but he insisted none of them had feel, just chops, and I had more feeling than all of them combined. It was quite an ego boost.



-Got to play with a local singer songwriter who had a week’s worth of gigs in Lisbon Portugal. I flew over on a red eye, got picked up at the airport, and had a gig 5 hours later at the Hard Rock Cafe until 2:00am. The place was packed and we played great. The next day, while the band was checking out some tourist sites, a random girl comes up to me and the bassist and asks us if we were playing last night at the Hard Rock. My only real Rock N Roll moment.


-I met the singer above through a one off gig from a bassist friend. I didn’t hear back from her for years until one day she emails me desperately looking for help recording her album. Her current drummer wasn’t cutting it and she needed her lead track to slam. She sent me the track and I did a rough take in my home studio, which she loved and asked me to come to the recording studio to record it. I nailed it. Then I was asked to replace another track. Nailed it. And another. I ended up replacing all but one track... the original drummer did a good job on that one and I suggested they keep his original part. That session connected me with the studio owner and got me a bunch more paid recording sessions and really solidified my ability to nail a drum track in the studio.


-I have loved John Mayer’s music since he first came out and I went on both of his “Mayer Cruises”. On the first one, there was a pretty unknown band with a decent drummer who I kept running into. He was real stand-off-ish. Whatever. One night in the casino, they have a stage and gear, and a bunch of people sitting in at a jam.... all mostly the paid musicians from the Mayer Cruise (famous bands.... not cruise ship bands). I see the drummer just finishing a song and I ask if I can sit in. He tells me he has no clue (not so friendly) and ask the band leader. The band leader gives me this look, like, oh crap, who the hell is this guy. Is he going to suck? I should mention there’s decent crowd of maybe 100. So I sit behind the kit and he calls out some random 80’s tune. I nail it. So he calls out another. I nail it. And another. Soon the rest of the band is giving me big smiles, and before I know it I’m backing the band for 2.5 hours into the middle of the night, in front of what is now an audience of 250+ screaming women. Rumor has it Mr. Mayer himself walked through the room while we were playing but I have no clue if he approved. The band asked me to come back the next night and I did, but only lasted 1.5 hours before I had to get some sleep!



-Joe Satriani camp in CA. Three rooms were set up each night for jam sessions. I would take over the drums each night in the advanced room. I was known by the end of the week as that-guy-who-plays-the-drums and got to play with some amazing players. Until the last night Andy Timmons not so kindly kicked me off the kit to prove to everyone he could play drums. It was odd.... I don’t know what he was trying to prove... we already knew he was an amazing guitarist??



-Countless gigs, some great studio recordings, and I’ve met some great (and not-so-great) musicians along the way.... the ride is still on-going.
 
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blikum

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I've definitely had a few. One of the coolest was a gig at The Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA. My drums were set up right under the nose of Air Force One. I thought that was pretty cool. Another was when Steve Ferrone sat in on my kit and played You Wreck Me.
 

Drm1979

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Ive got a few. The 1st one was in 2000 we had booked a few out of town gigs that we played. The 1st and 2nd night went ok but on the third night which was a sunday everything that could go wrong did. Our guitarist broke stings, i broke my last pair of sticks and our bass player's amp literally blew up on stage. We returned home, i got more sticks, guitarist got more string and our bass player borrowed another amp because the next night we opened for Less Than Jake which in our style of music they were one of the biggest acts at that time and we got redemption for ourselves that night rocking out with a crowd of at least 2000 people. The club was as packed as it could be.

The second experience was when the headliner didnt show up one night because their van broke down. So we played 3 sets that night, drew in a great crowd and expanded our local fanbase at the time and made a killing in cash. The next weekend we were in the studio to record our second album.

And the 3rd was being in a recording studio. I dont know why, but my young self loved that whole process of being in the studio and hearing what we created come to life through the monitors in that small space but it just blew my mind.
 

Trey Gray

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Here's a fav of mine....

As a kid I would usually fall asleep watching Letterman. Jordans poppy snare and super high cymbals, and of course the groove, always made me happy.

Fast forward to 1995. I was playing with Faith Hill, a country artist. She had been on a few times before with the house band, Anton, and was becoming a big enough artist to now be able to bring her band.

We were off tour when the show was booked. Day of show we hopped on a private jet and landed at Teterborough, a private air strip in NJ right across from Manhattan. Got in 2 runner vans and headed to the city....taped the show...hopped back in the vans...back to the jet...landing in Nashville about 8, if I remember correctly.

On the way back the keyboard player and I decided to get drinks to celebrate at the Wildhorse downtown Nashville.
We asked the bartender to put Letterman on. And there we were....so I got to be at home to watch myself the first time I played Letterman...it was crazy....

cheers and blessings, Trey
 

gbow

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Jamming with Pat Travers in my basement studio . " All Along the Watchtower " and two hours of pure musical fun .
Hey Benny, where was your basement studio? We shared a practice room with Pat for a month or so in Orlando, FL maybe around 1984 or so while we were doing some recording at BeeJay in Orlando. Good times!

gabo
 

Wheresmyroadie?

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I think that would be Red Rocks,1987 with Jonathan Richman. We showed up for soundcheck and I asked where I should set up. One of the guys pointed to a yellow star imbedded in the floor of the stage and said: "Right there."

I couldn't help asking what the star was all about. He broke out in a big smile and said: That's where Ringo set up!"
red rocks.jpg
 

RogersLudwig

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I think that would be Red Rocks,1987 with Jonathan Richman. We showed up for soundcheck and I asked where I should set up. One of the guys pointed to a yellow star imbedded in the floor of the stage and said: "Right there."

I couldn't help asking what the star was all about. He broke out in a big smile and said: That's where Ringo set up!"
View attachment 501915
You played with Richman? Roadrunner is the best two chord song in history!
 

Thosmosis

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1981 Cathay De Grand LA, CA


8 in the crowd.

a news team from Eye on LA was there promoting the show for local music.

During the third song, the place was a sweat box. Just happened to be staring at the guitarists cord going to his amp head. It was vibrating (we were loud!) and wiggling out. Then no guitar! He looked all around. We kept playing, bass and vocals and I. Just then the bassist held his Bass straight up for cool effect and got the tuning head stuck in the “cool black curtain” that covered the ceiling. And couldn’t get it out, but continued to play. Guitarist finds the plug issue. Plugs in, and we finish the song.

Spinal Tap level stuff there. Lol
 

JazzDrumGuy

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2018 Monterey Blues Festival, I am asked literally 2 minutes before the set to go up on stage and sit in with the band as their drummer. I have no drums on me but they have a house Mapex kit. I have no sticks and the sound tech jumps on stage and flips a pair out of his pocket!

My then 8 y.o. is in a group of maybe 20 kids on acoustic guitar with a few adult teachers. Although I know the songs as I volunteer teach guitar with the band weekly, I've never played drums with the band and never even played drums on 1/2 of the 8-10 songs! Needless to say, I basically moved the HH and snare stands, and we (the kids!) killed it. Maybe a crowd of 1000+ or so. Big positive audience reaction, and I've kept that gig ever since. My dude is now 13 and a lead player in the group, and my 8 yo is also now in the group.....
 

LarryJ

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Summer of '67, place called the Go Room, corner of Rosecrans and Bellflower in L.A. Lady approached us and asked if she could sing some blues with us (a rock and R&B band). Of course we said yes and she sang for about an hour and a half. Janice Joplin.
 

Radio King

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I've had some cool experiences as well, but one in particular stands out just because it was so nonchalant and off the cuff. Back in 1986, my band was playing on a cold winter weeknight at a medium-sized club at the Oceanfront. No tourists at that point, and it was a pretty dead night. No fun - just work. Our guitarist happened to be friends with bassist extraordinaire Kenny Aaronson, who was touring with Brian Setzer at the time (Setzer had just gone solo and was touring behind his "Knife Feels Like Justice" LP). They were doing a concert in town that night, and our guitarist invited Kenny and band to our show after theirs was done. I never expected to see them, but lo and behold, in walk Brian, Kenny and Tommy Byrnes right as we were starting our third set. They were feeling no pain at that point (nor was I) and they wanted to play. So my band walks off the stage and I did the rest of the set with Setzer and crew. God, those guys can play, particularly Setzer and Aaronson. Since I was somewhat familiar with most of the album, I hung with them just fine. The people who were in the audience that night got a treat, for sure. And I had a blast.

setzer1.jpg
setzer2.jpg
setzer3.jpg
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halldorl

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Took my then three year old son to his friends birthday barty. Another dad introduced himself to me and thanked me for my drumming and said I was the reason he played drums. I was humbled beyond words.

Another:
I was doing a mini tour in the UK with a 13 piece band. The managers friend came along to one gig and asked if he could join in on percussion. Manager said he was a pro so no problem. He came along to another gig, then another. After one of the soundchecks I was chatting with him and called him Peter (I thought that was his name). He corrected me and said his name was Preston. Turned out it was Preston Heyman, Kate Bush and Terence Trent d’Arby drummer. I felt like an idiot.
 
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EvEnStEvEn

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It was probably during 1981 when my band had a #1 radio single on rotation for weeks in my hometown area (Modesto, Ca.) and the surrounding central valley

We were suddenly in demand for more live appearances than we'd ever had before.

One particular afternoon we opened for Steppenwolf at Stanislaus State college in Turlock, then hopped in a van to go open for Elvin Bishop & Greg Kihn at 7pm at a hall in Stockton, then got back into the van to go play with The Plimsouls at the Oasis ballroom in Sacramento until 2am.

The next day we had to pack for our 4-month tour of Canada.

'81 was an exciting year, when I look back on it now it seems like it happened to somebody else.
 
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crash

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Joe laBarbara Was at a little place up here on the central coast. We went in, asked be seated near the drums. He figured out that we were one of the kind, and then on a break he came over and sat down and talk to us. His girlfriend came over and we had quite the party at the table. She assured my wife, “they’re all like this”. After it’s over, he brought me up to the bandstand to check out his drum set. He had an old Gretsch snare he’d recently restored and was very proud of the restoration work. I explained to him showing pictures of my stop sign set I just restored. We had a great time, it was like hanging out with old friends. Such is the brotherhood of drumming! And his brush work was awesome.
 

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My next favorite was when we were flying from Reno to Las Vegas. Sitting at the lounge realize the guy across the way is very familiar. It was Abe Laboriel! Went over, introduced myself. He was very happy to talk to Drums. It’s kind of been the unknown part of the band for him. Everybody knows Paul McCartney, but nobody knows who the drummer really is. Very nice guy, we asked where he was playing in Vegas. Said it was a corporate gig. Or we would’ve gone to have seen him! My wife to be Didn’t know who he was, so when we came home I played the McCartney” Back in the USA”video for her. She was like shellshocked. Was really surprised how cool he was to talk to the after seeing him play! Go big.... zx
 


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