Possibly the hardest hitting drummer of our time, Sevendust’s Morgan Rose has been through more than his fair share of failed bands and rehearsals-gone-wrong. Eager for his experienced advice on the topic of successful rehearsals, we invited Rose to chime in. His response? “Oh, dude. I was hoping you’d ask for tips on do-it-yourself home surgery. I’m highly experienced at that.” Of course, he’s kidding, so read on to learn how to optimize your band’s rehearsal time.
If you’re too tunnel-visioned on what you’re doing it can make a real mess, so I do a lot of listening. In this band, we all write so much together that my ears have to be wide open to anticipate what the other guys are doing on their instruments. I try to make sure I’m not stomping on too many toes while we’re rehearsing. Of course, playing live I stomp all over them, but they can’t do too much once we’re in the heat of battle!
2. Be Prepared
Some people like to rehearse a lot, some people prefer not to rehearse too much. For the people that don’t rehearse much, nothing bothers them more than somebody who doesn’t know what they’re supposed to be doing. If you have to keep being re-taught something, it’s a pretty easy way to lose a gig. And it saves everyone time and embarrassment if you know what you’re doing walking into a rehearsal.
3. Take Notes & Record
Back in the day, we used to just record our practice sessions on a Sony boom box with a towel thrown over it. At least we could hear what we were doing so that we could pick up where we left off from one rehearsal to the next. I don’t use paper much and my mind doesn’t work well with notes so I prefer to record as much as possible whenever I can.
4. Be Open To Suggestion
In the bands that I’ve been in over the years there always seemed to be a few too many cooks in the kitchen. Usually that makes people uneasy about having suggestions from another player in the band. That’s not a very productive way to go about things. I wasn’t always a fan of outside opinions, but I later learned that regardless of how much you think you know there’s always someone listening who can help bring your playing to a whole different place.
This is huge. I do more experimenting while recording than when rehearsing, but it’s equally important throughout the entire process. The drum parts are usually the last thing I put down when I write — just something simple to get the stretcher from A to B. It creates a wide-open space where I can start experimenting with different things that could be better for the song.
6. Use The Right Equipment
Before we landed a record deal, I used to tape broken drumsticks back together for rehearsals. I ended up spending more money on electrical tape than I would have on new sticks. So it’s all relative to your situation. In a hired gig you need to have all your ducks in a row. But in your own band you find yourself getting by the best you can. Make do with the best of what you got. Nowadays I break stuff and they send me new stuff, so it’s pretty damn easy at this point.