I had the privilege of being interviewed by Joe Gansas on his exceptional internet radio show Around the Kit. One of the points we discussed was the double-edged sword of social media. On one hand, the Internet has given drummers a platform to promote their playing like never before. Drummers can use sites like YouTube to showcase their talents in order to get jobs or recording opportunities. Drummers can also use sites like Facebook to join communities and endorse themselves. At the same time it also provides a perfect environment for illusions, false identities and dishonesty.
The issue is that nothing is vetted. A video can appear to be seamless even though it took dozens of attempts to capture the song or solo correctly. A Facebook post can be inflated and misleading about a member’s capabilities and experiences. How does one really know? I believe that musicians should take advantage of social media to make connections and build an audience. I also think they should use technology to interact with people they wouldn’t normally reach through traditional means. That said audience members should not automatically assume the player is as exceptional as they appear or is an expert or authority on anything. That comes with trust and trust is earned.
I like to give people the benefit of the doubt but I have had instances when I was duped. As a writer I prefer to select my own interviewees because I only choose the ones I know are legit. If I have any question as to their sincerity I don’t approach them. Once I initiated a conversation with a drummer who made the impression that he was a successful touring musician. It turned out that he was a hack who hadn’t worked in years. I almost looked like a fool for not properly doing my research. Thankfully I got a heads up by someone who knew him. I also know of an instance when a friend got played on Facebook by a drummer who bragged about his recording background. Turns out he wasn’t nearly as skillful as he proposed. Here is my advice:
To the musician: Establish your presence. Be honest.
To the audience: Look. Listen. Authenticate.
If you are interested in real integrity visit the Around the Kit podcast. Joe has interviewed over 200 drummers. All of them have established themselves just by being themselves.