“A studio drummer plays a song for the first time like he’s played it a thousand times. A live drummer plays a song a thousand times like he’s playing it for the first time.” – Rich Redmond
No truer words have been spoken in regards to professional drumming. The first statement applies to the studio drummer while the latter speaks to the stage musician. The challenge with both of these applications is to keep things fresh and to pursue them with the same vigor as the situation calls for. In the studio, a drummer is called upon to play the song as tight as possible within the least amount of takes. On the stage the drummer is called upon to play the same song over and over and over while maintaining the same level of enthusiasm. Both instances require patience and proficiency.
Studio musicians are hired because they can deliver a product in the shortest amount of time. Stage musicians, or “sidemen” are hired because they can entertain an audience. Bernard Purdie is a perfect example of a studio musician. He has played on over a thousand recordings. Kenny Aronoff is the perfect stage drummer and has performed with countless entertainers on television. Both understand the requirements of their position and deliver consistently when called upon.
You don’t have to be at the same level as a Purdie or Aronoff. Cover and wedding bands are often required to repeat the same mind-numbing set list. Original bands often record their own amateur CDs. Both situations mirror the ones mentioned above. Maybe you are a professional. Either way, are you in this situation? How do you cope? Leave a comment below.