Lowdown: Have You Hugged Your Drummer Today?

It’s been more than a month since it all went down, but my skin still crawls when I think about it.
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It’s been more than a month since it all went down, but my skin still crawls when I think about it. Maybe you’ve been there: in need of a drummer, you post an ad on [insert website/bulletin board here]. You word your post in such a way that, without sounding insufferable, communicates that you’re looking for a player of a certain caliber. You meet the first contestant. Not happenin’. You meet the next. Almost, but not quite. Third time’s the charm, right? Right. . . .

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Sympathetic to the drag that is schlepping a drum kit, you agree to meet at his/her house, just out of town. Dodging doggie-doo landmines in the side yard, you pass a rusted-out El Camino (truck-bed pool must have sprung a leak) and squeeze into a garage “studio” that smells of popcorn and feet. Nice enough guy/gal, though. Still hopefully optimistic, you set your rig next to the cleanest soundproofing-mattress you can find as your drummer/host assumes the throne. You hear the first thwack of the kick drum, and your heart sinks.

“Lock in with the drummer.” After nearly 10 years working for Bass Player, this phrase ranks #2 in my book of interview clichés (a distant second to “Serve the song,” but that’s another column). My conditioned response upon hearing it—an exasperated eye roll—has become such a problem that I’ve taken to wearing dark glasses for face-to-face interviews for fear of outing myself as the cynic I’ve become. Well, no more. It took 20 years of playing with good drummers to spoil me, and mere moments of playing with a poor one to make me learn my lesson. That lesson? You sound only as good as the weakest link in your rhythm section. I may have missed it in my personal Thanksgiving proclamations, but I now have a proper New Year’s resolution: If you’re sounding good, give your drummer some. After all, you might be that weakest link.


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Lowdown: August 2013 - Livin' LIVE!

“OH MY GOD, I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S ALREADY [INSERT MONTH HERE].” THAT’S definitely a mantra around my house, where two thirds of the residents live pretty much by the academic, rather than Gregorian calendar.

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Lowdown: May 2013

I COULD GO ON FOR PAGES AND AGES ON THE THINGS I LOVE ABOUT LIVING IN THE SAN Francisco Bay Area—the climate, the landscape, the musical heritage.

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Lowdown: November 2012

SHEESH. I TAKE THIS EDITORIAL GIG JUST LIKE ANY PLAYING GIG THAT COMES MY WAY— very seriously. Bass Player was there for me when I was a beginning bass player some 20+ years ago, and I owe it to the community at large to do my best to ensure the magazine is of the high quality that we all deserve.

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Lowdown: January 2013

WE HAVE LOTS OF GREAT STUFF FOR YOU IN THIS ISSUE OF BASS PLAYER, AND I HOPE you each get lots of mileage from this month’s news, features, reviews, and lessons.