Photo by Jim Trocchio

On Practicing on the Road

Hey MD readers, Abe Fogle here! I am honored and privileged to once again write up something for this “On The Beat.” It is truly a blessing to do what I love to do, and then be able to share my experiences with everyone.

I recently returned home from the first leg of Rob Thomas’ Chip Tooth Smile tour, and it was an absolute blast! I met so many great people along the way, and was able to catch up with old friends as well.

One of the greatest things about touring, aside from seeing and meeting new people, is finding time to get in a few practice licks along the way. As drummers, we are not always afforded the luxury of getting behind the kit and “noodling” or “shedding” as much as the other band members. It’s much more difficult for your crew to talk over loud and constant drumming than it is a guitar or piano player doing their warm-up routine. If I could offer any advice on this subject, it would be to find a way to bring along a practice pad and keep a pair of your sticks close by. I was fortunate enough to have a pad set up in the dressing room every day, along with a pair of my “tree trunk” heavy sticks so that I could warm up before sound check and the gig. It comes in handy when your day is filled with things other than music (travel, meet and greet, rest, etc.). I would strongly encourage each and every drummer to have access to one while on the road.

For those who have limited luggage/travel space, there is a workaround. After a brief stint doing physical therapy due to a car accident, my doctor gave me therapy putty. It was intended to work the ligaments and tendons in my hands by forcefully squeezing it. One day, I laid it out flat on a hard surface and tapped it with a stick and voilà—an instant portable drum pad! Of course, a pillow or bed can be used as well, but just in case you’re looking for something that’ll give you some bounce back, I’d recommend therapy putty any day.

Thanks for tuning in, MD readers! And by all means, always keep stepping to the beat!