What’s up, Modern Drummer readers? I’m Chris Reeve, drummer for the band Filter. It’s an honor to be featured on here. This has been the most intense year of my life—getting the call to join a multi-platinum rock band, moving internationally to Los Angeles, dealing with visa woes, and, of course, playing drums!
The question I’ve been getting asked most out here is, “How did you get the Filter gig”? Well, let me start from the beginning. Eighteen months ago, in between teaching and cover bands, I was sitting at my home in Perth, Australia watching my new A Perfect Circle: Live at Red Rocks DVD and loving the sound of Jeff Friedl’s snare. I hopped on his website to check out his setup and also discovered he did Skype lessons. I contacted him and he was more than happy to get started right away. We went over all kinds of things from hand technique to music business and, more importantly, we developed a friendship.
One day Friedl called me up and said, “Dude, this band Filter I used to play with needs a drummer and you’d be perfect but you’re not here in the US. Anyway, just wanted to inspire you to get your butt out here. Bye!”
Naturally, I was beside myself. However, there wasn’t enough time to obtain a working visa. So time goes by and six months later my best friend from Australia, Oumi Kapila, emails me from LA and says, “Dude, I just randomly met Rich from Filter at a party and we’re gonna work together—also, they need a drummer.” Then Oumi is in Rich’s ear about me while Rich is saying to Jeff, “I remember you mentioning Chris. Should we get him”? To which Jeff replies, “Yes!”
Next thing I know, I have an email straight from Rich asking for some video footage of my playing. Then, after four painful weeks of dealing with US immigration, I found myself sitting in Mexico City just four days before the first US tour, waiting for my emergency visa approval. Thankfully, I made it in the nick of time!
In my situation, the Internet has proven extremely useful. I was living in the most isolated city in the world, where there is limited musical opportunity. However, I had managed to circumvent the find-a-gig process by making professional connections online. There was definitely an element of “stars aligning” in my quest, but if I hadn’t reached out to Jeff and received his endorsement, coupled with my friend’s recommendation, I may not be here today. It’s all who you know!
Also, be super prepared to take on any opportunities that come your way. These days, with influential musicians making themselves available online through many channels like YouTube, Skype lessons, Instagram, Twitter, etc., it’s actually become a realistic possibility to connect and create relationships remotely. From there you can learn so much about your craft and the business, and who knows, if you have the skill set and are easy to get along with, maybe the big call will come. One thing is for sure, thinking creatively and putting yourself out there creates more opportunities a lot more quickly!
I’m always down to talk shop! Peace!
For a Modern Drummer exclusive that includes Reeve’s audition video sent to Filter, look below: