How’s everyone doing? Hopefully life isn’t being too hard on you.
Spending time on social media, as so many of us do these days, we become more and more aware of what’s happening in people’s lives—and we communicate the general vibe of our own lives on a daily basis. Some days are good: We share news of a cool gig we’re playing or a groovy beat we’ve learned, or we post pictures of a vacation that we’ll cherish forever. And unfortunately some days are bad: We announce that we’ve lost a pet, or that a loved one has passed away.
And, of course, something that many of us musicians do regularly on social media is complain about the current state of the music industry. I’ve addressed this topic before, and I still can’t say that I have all the answers. But one thing I do feel strongly is that all of us should try to complain less and just continue making music. Yes, we all want to be acknowledged and respected, and we all long to reach our goals. But ask yourself this question: Why do I make music? Your answer should always be, simply: Because it makes me happy, and it makes the people listening happy.
Take a look at our cover artist this month, Green Day’s Tré Cool. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Tré not looking like he’s having fun. Sure, he’s a very successful musician who’s no doubt paid well for what he does. But he hasn’t always been—and there are certainly plenty of other successful musicians who nonetheless seem to have a negative attitude in general. We can’t let the shake-up of the music business get us down. While our industry seems to change every day, in reality it’s always been that way. There’s never been any guarantee that people are going to buy the music we put so much time and effort into making. And while it’s true that streaming, which is the way most people consume music now, may not pay what we feel is fair, the upside is that more people are hearing our music than ever before. And truth be told, not all of us back up our opinions with action. If you stream a song and dig it, buy it. If we all did that, the state of the industry would change for the better.
As I grow older, it becomes clearer to me that perseverance is the main ingredient in success. Trust me, all you youngsters, you’re still learning. And although you may think you know it all—and I say that lovingly—there’s so much more that you’re going to learn, and that only comes with experience. Yes, us “old dogs” are thankful to be taught some new tricks, but that doesn’t change the fact that, for better or worse, wisdom only comes with experience.
But there are advantages to youth as well. You have drive and determination. That’s a wonderful quality—keep that going! Believe in yourself. Set out to do everything you dream of. Go for it. But as you get older, don’t lose track of what’s important to achieving your goals, and don’t be afraid to adapt to a different way of getting to the finish line.
Life will always have its ups and downs; it’s how we handle them that’s key. As musicians, we’re lucky to be able to channel all that into our music. Not everyone is born with that gift. So appreciate what you’ve got, live for today, and make every second count.
Enjoy the issue, and I’ll see you next time.
Editor at Large
Modern Drummer Special Offers