Longtime DRUM! subscribers may have received one of the many surveys we periodically mail to gauge their opinions, buying habits, and demographics. It can be enlightening to peruse the results, and I always fish for the age of DRUM! readers first. They tend to be pretty young – the median is 24 at the moment, which means that at least half of you are just starting to get a foothold in the music biz. This column is directed to you folks. Old timers (like me) can either surf through other parts of the website or post a complaint in the forum that I never do anything for you (don’t worry — we’re masochists).
Okay. Here’s my point. Don’t squander the opportunities that come from being young. You already know what you want to do, right? You want to be the drummer in a well-known band. You want to learn how to tune drums. You want to tour. You want to record. You want to work on four-way independence. You want to develop faster feet. You want to pick up 20 students. You want to be a sight-reader. You have a list of things that you want to accomplish that you probably wrote in your head a long time ago. So what are you waiting for?
Believe me, I know how it is. You’re 20, and it seems like you have your entire life ahead of you. Don’t sweat it. There’s plenty of time. Plus South Park is about to come on. I’ll work on Stick Control tomorrow. A few years go by, Stick Control is still sitting on the music stand next to your practice pad, only now you’re watching South Park reruns. Would you say your life is going in the right direction?
I moved to Los Angeles when I was 25, right in the middle of the punk and new-wave explosion that turned that music city on its ear in the ’80s. Honestly, I wish I had moved there earlier because of all the opportunities that are available there, but I’m also glad that I didn’t wait longer. After seven years, I had accomplished everything I set out to do – recording albums, doing tours, living off money earned as a drummer. I also learned that I wasn’t cut out for the music industry. I loved playing drums but hated dealing with all the phony baloney bull that germinates in the music biz.
As you may have guessed, I turned my attention to music journalism. But I’m glad I learned those lessons while I was still young. Even after beating my head against the wall to get ahead as a drummer I was still able to redirect my focus onto a new career that would sustain me for years to come. Here’s the thing – I know drummers my age who are still debating whether or not they should move to L.A. and take a stab at the big time.
I don’t have the heart to tell them that it’s probably too late. So don’t wait. Just do it. Live your dream. Invest in your future. Now.