This is an anecdote about going to see a drum show, with 3 or 4 drummers on the bill. All phenomenal, incredibly inspiring, and after meeting them at a signing, all wonderfully friendly, kind and encouraging.
As a background to this, at the time I was watching videos (VHS’s, not YouTube!) of drummers like Tony Royster Jr and Billy Ashbaugh – there were many others, but those stood out because they were young, and we’re doing very professional gigs from a young age, and this is what I wanted my musical journey to be too! So in my head I had that by 16 I wanted to be on the road touring with a huge international artist and earning a living! Talk about reaching for the stars!
Now back to this drum show… there was one particular drummer performing, who was playing with some of the world’s greatest musicians and artists, and daydreamed of being just like him in a few years… what a life he leads… touring the world… always on big stages… never having to do small gigs or anything like that… or so I thought!
Flash forward about a week later. I was walking through London in the evening with my family, past a restaurant made all of glass and with a band playing that sounded great! I peered in to see my hero from the week before playing his heart out! This is when I realised that success wasn’t about just playing with huge artists in arenas around the world, it was just about playing, being a better musician and making a living.
Ever since I saw him there, my goals changed for the better. Now, my favourite place to see any musician is in a tiny club or pub. I don’t know what an environment like that gives but it seems to bring the most honest, vulnerable and emotional musical performances. Not only impressive to watch, but so fulfilling to give to an audience too.