From Basement Drummer to Studio Drummer
Tomorrow, I go into the studio and record Awful DIn's 3rd EP. This will be the first time my drums will be on a professional studio recording (other than the quick Leesta Vall recording). I don't usually let the excitement hit me until the day-of, but now that I just finished all my packing, some call it busy-work (I think of myself as a strategic over-planner), I'm feeling my stomach get lighter. I'm starting to play over scenarios in my head both good, great, and awkward. No matter what happens, I'm proud that I'm getting this done.
In this moment, I can't help but reflect on the the 14-year-old version of myself. I can see him playing Rock Band in a dark basement at 3am, surrounded by empty Rosemary and Olive Oil Triscuit boxes and Pepsi cans. I imagine all the hours spent perfecting that toy instrument and trying desperately to smash every single colored rectangle that sped down the screen. After each successful hit, it felt like I was doing something that mattered. I felt like I was a part of something. Like I was connecting with the musicians who wrote this music when they first laid it down to tape. In that moment, we were both in the studio, together as one, or we were both on stage in front of thousands of people. In a bit of self-indulgence, I would imagine myself as the one who wrote that song. Those were MY drums that were making this animated crowd on the TV screen dance.
I'm trying to think of a cool song to list right now, but all I can think of is Green Grass and High Tides, by The Outlaws. This song was on the original Rock Band, and I remember the first time Jake and I gold starred it. I felt so proud. That song is a beast to play. We would continuously try to gold star as many songs as we could, like it was somehow winning us the approval of the music community, as well as our friend group.
This may seem like a funny thing to get worked up about, but this meant everything to me. Playing music and being around people I liked was everything I wanted (and I'm grateful to be doing that today). Up until this point now, I've always been sort of a live musician; coming in after a band had already recorded and their drummer moved away, quit, or was kicked out. Although I love the chance to play music live and learn the amazing parts that other drummers come up with, I've been yearning to be able to get my "voice"down in a physical sense.
Tomorrow, I will no longer be only a live musician. I will be a studio drummer, tracking my parts on a record that I'm already incredibly proud of. I don't expect Awful Din to be on the next Rock Band DLC pack, but I don't need that anymore. I've grown so much since those days. My idea of success has changed. I don't need to be famous or rich to be happy. All I want to do with my music career is express myself on my instrument and have that affect people in a positive way. I want people to enjoy the music, dance to it, be inspired by it, and allow it to live on.
I will be joining the ranks of all the enormously talented people that have ever sat down on a drum throne and made magic. For that, I am exceedingly grateful.