When I was asked by moderndrummer.com if I would be interested in writing a blog, I was honored and said, “Heck yeah!” So, what was I going to share? First, I reviewed other drummers’ blogs. Some share personal stories, while others include bios or details of projects. They are great and represent that particular drummer, but they just didn’t quite reflect what I wanted to say. The more I thought about it, I realized that the concept of delivering your own voice is true in life and in our collective passion of music. In other words, we all need to find our own style, our own unique personality that reflects our best efforts.
Like many drummers, I grew up feverishly studying the drummers of the day—Starr, Bonham, Rich, Peart, Baker…. The list is endless. I attempted to work out their unique approach and feel. One day I had an epiphany: Why be Ginger Baker? Because Ginger Baker has already been done, and done quite well. And there is only one Buddy, right? I can only be me. So I started looking at it from a whole new perspective: I can and will be the best drummer Eric Selby can be.
Interestingly, after this revelation, a bit of the pressure was off because I discontinued my effort at simply trying to imitate the greats. Of course, I continued to pull ideas and concepts from their approach, but I relaxed in my musical exploration and started developing my own style that works for my drumming. The musical plateau that I was standing on had vanished. My ability to grow in fresh approaches in many new genres exploded! Soon drumming and drummers from jazz, reggae, New Orleans second-line, soul and, in particular, blues, opened my eyes, ears, and hands to new ways to think and play.
So what’s the moral of the story? Ask yourself: “Do I approach the music like the already amazing Ginger Baker or the potentially amazing me”?
Here’s what’s shakin’ in my drumming world. It’s been an incredible couple of years, co-producing and drumming on Memphis Gold’s recent release, as well as recording and performing with the Billy Thompson Band in clubs, theatres, and festivals around the United States. Blues Festival Guide selected one of our recent performances from the New York State Blues Festival as their video of the week. (Link is below.)
I’m now in recording mode, having completed sessions at Sirius XM’s studios for B.B. King’s Bluesville, with legends Warner Williams and Jay Summerour, for an upcoming release on Soul Stew Records. I’m also working on the Billy Thompson Band’s next album.
When I’m not recording or on tour, I teach drums at Victor Litz Music Center in the Washington, DC–metropolitan area. I am an endorser of Peace drums, Soultone cymbals, Tycoon percussion, Los Cabos drumsticks, The Grombal-Cymbal accessories, and Beato bags.
Best drumming wishes in finding the potentially amazing you!