Hey, MD readers, I’m TJ Courtney, and I’m a drummer turned lead singer. Don’t get me wrong, I love the kit, but at live shows I overcompensated with Tommy-Lee like antics and was frequently accused of trying to upstage bandmates. Each quarter rest was a stick-twirling opportunity. And a measure rest? You better believe one of my oak Pro-Mark 5Bs was thrown high in the air.
Off the stage I was the model drummer—practicing rudiments on a pad, constantly playing exercises from advanced funk and jazz books to a click, and improving my technique with brushes. I highly recommend working with brushes to any drummer. The technique crosses over and makes playing with sticks seem effortless. I even went through a phase where in the weeks before recording sessions I would fall asleep listening to a different metronome speed from a different song we were recording each night. (While this sounds like it could be the early stages of some sort of mental disorder, it actually might be effective—engineers would always comment on my natural ability to lock in with the click).
In my experience, starting as a drummer has made all other aspects of musicianship easier. Singing harmonies at live shows while drumming makes singing and playing guitar feel very easy. As a front man, I can easily communicate with my drummer at rehearsals, and when all else fails, I can hop behind the kit and play exactly what I want to hear. Working with Glen Sobel in the studio on my new EP, Into the Sky, was a great experience. He brought a lot of great ideas to the table and was also very open to suggestions. We recorded drums and bass live at Ocean Studios in Burbank, California. This place was awesome—the ceiling was retractable, and we raised it pretty high to get a big, long room sound to blend in with the close mics.
Thanks for taking the time to check out this blog. Find me on Twitter: @tjcourtneymusic. Into the Sky is now available on iTunes. You can check out the music video for the EP’s single, “One Day,” here.
For more on TJ Courtney, go to tjcourtney.com.