Sure, it’s one thing for me to espouse all this sage advice to DRUM! readers, but it’s a whole other thing for me to follow my own suggestions. Case in point: I wrote an editor’s column in the August, 2006 issue about acting quickly whenever a career opportunity comes your way — otherwise you run the risk of losing it. Too bad I didn’t listen to myself.
One evening last week, I got home from work and went to the gym for an hour or so. When I returned home, I noticed that someone had left a message on my cell phone, and checked my voicemail. It was from a well-known blues guitarist named Ron Hacker, who recently sat in with a band I play with. He explained that he needed a drummer to do a month-long tour of Europe in May, and asked if I would like to go on the road with him.
Yet instead of rushing to the phone to call him back, I hesitated. After all, I’m not actually a full-time professional drummer anymore. I play a handful of gigs every month — just enough to keep my chops up and have some fun. Truth is, I love being the editor of a drumming magazine, but it’s more than a 9-to-5 job, and is punctuated by a series of deadlines that must be met like clockwork, otherwise the entire operation can go haywire.
I consulted my production schedule to see how the dates for the tour would coincide with our deadlines in May, and realized that it was actually feasible. So I then opened my editorial database to see which issue my staff would be tackling in May, and how my absence would impact their workload. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a perfect fit. They would be working on the July issue at that point, which is the issue that will unveil an entirely new redesign for DRUM! (you’ll hear more about it in upcoming issues).
Hmm. It wasn’t a perfect fit after all. Stymied, I decided to go into the office and talk to my editorial staff and business partners about this the next morning. I couldn’t stop thinking about the tour for the rest of the evening. It sounded like such a great opportunity: An all-expense-paid vacation in Europe — and I get to play drums every night. I was still thinking about it as I fell asleep.
First thing in the morning, I explained the situation to my coworkers and got a unanimous opinion: I’d be insane not to go. And they were right. I work with a bunch of highly talented people. They’d get along just fine without me. Invigorated, I ran to my office and got Hacker on the phone. But as soon as I told him that I could do the tour, he said, “Oh, sorry, but I already hired another drummer. I needed an answer last night so that I could get a good price on airplane tickets.”
You might want to write this date on the calendar, because you’ll probably never hear me say this again: Don’t be like me. Jump on the next chance you get to do a cool gig or recording session. If you don’t, it’s likely that another drummer will beat you to the punch.