“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”–Harry S. Truman
After reading a couple of drummers’ posts on here, there is a point that I want to stress, that no one else in mentioning. As with most anything in life, music is something that has endless amounts of knowledge to be obtained. We as drummers, no matter how much we practice, study different styles of music, and take lessons with endless numbers of teachers, can always continue to learn more, and get better. It took me someone that I looked up to as a drummer to make me realize that even in music, the learning process is a life-long journey with no end.
When I was about eighteen, I was in a local band that was the “it” band of our town. Everyone from our high school liked us, other local bands were covering our songs, and we started to get notice from people in the industry. By this point, I had been playing drums for ten years. During eight of those years I had taken lessons, and I ended up learning all I could from that teacher. I thought I was “all that” at drumming. I started to practice less and talk myself up more.
One of the people who started to take in interest in us was John Dolmayan, drummer of System of a Down. He ended up taking us under his wing, and started to produce and manage us. It was at this point that I got my reality check. John would sit in at our practices once a week and try to improve our songs to a higher level. Since John is a drummer, I was his main focus area of critique. “Do this there, why did you play that there, that beat again?!” This brought me down to reality, and made me realize where my drum skills really were. After six months of this, it broke me down so much that even though we had started to get deals from Columbia and Immortal records, I left the band, feeling I was an inadequate member and holding the band back.
After picking myself back up, and realizing that I wasn’t a bad drummer, that I just had room to grow (as does every musician), I quit my day job and put everything I had into drumming. I enrolled in the world-renowned L.A. Music Academy, and studied drums eight hours a day, five days a week. I studied everything from Latin and jazz to sight-reading and technique. It was here that I realized the endless amounts of knowledge there is to obtain in music. We as drummers can continue to improve by learning new styles and developing our technique until the day we can’t play another beat.
After graduating top of my class from L.A.M.A. and studying with some of the world’s top drummers, my drive to continue to learn has only increased. I try to immerse myself in every style of music I come across. Once you get proficient with a style, you can take aspects of it and incorporate it to your own style of music. Today I am in a signed, touring band, LoveHateHero. We have a CD that’s available in most stores, and we tour internationally with some of the world’s top bands. Once our CD was released we got great reviews, and my drumming on the album was highly complimented. Vic Firth sticks and Evans drumheads, who endorse me, see it as well!
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