Well, it’s 2013. I will say that 2012 was a good year full of music for me. I spent most of the year touring with the Texas Tornados. We went from Texas to San Francisco to Switzerland and just about everywhere else. In between tours, I spent my off time freelancing here in Austin and giving a few private lessons.
We recently had the honor of hosting the PASIC convention here in Austin, Texas, and what a treat it was to see some of the world’s best drummers and a lot of the new drums out there. I was able to visit with my friend Rich Mangicaro at Innovative Percussion, as well as Andrew Shreve and Tim Shahady at Paiste.
It was a nice surprise when I found out that that Innovative Percussion will be making a signature drumstick for me. They are great folks to be associated with. Also, one of the most exciting things for me was that I had the honor of picking up Hal Blaine, who was in town to receive his Hall of Fame Award from PAS, at the airport and taking him to a Mexican restaurant. It was so great to hang and talk with Hal. What an amazing guy. So funny, and with lots of good jokes!
As far as recording, I just finished doing about twenty-five tracks for Joe King Carrasco. One of his CDs is out now. We had recorded a Christmas tune “Tamale Christmas.” Joe lives in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, but comes to Austin to record. The HAAM (Health Alliance Austin Musicians) people picked it up for their Christmas compilation CD. HAAM is one of the few organizations to offer health benefits to low-income musicians. There are so many musicians working around Austin for tips and low wages. On any given weeknight, you can find at least eighty to ninety venues with live music.
I usually spend more time away from Austin and on the road. One of the coolest gigs we did was in Burbank, California, where we played a birthday party for Tom Kenny (the voice of Sponge Bob). He happened to be a big Texas Tornados fan. He even got up and sang “Adios Mexico” with us.
Music is what keeps me going. Drumming has been so good for my health, both physically and mentally. I do have some hearing loss due to years of slamming, so please protect your ears. It’s something I should have done years ago. I guess most musicians suffer from some sort of hearing loss. I quit using monitors and now only use the ones up front, which is usually enough. Being a drummer is no longer a struggle like it was in the past. I feel blessed that I survived doing my passion.
In closing, I say learn all you can about your instrument and different musical styles. Listen to all types of players and practice as much as you can. Getting a private teacher always helps.
Best Wishes for the New Year!
For more about Ernie, visit his website at www.erniedurawadrums.com.