Whether it’s a practice session, band rehearsal, or live performance, drummers should be prepared for every playing opportunity. Not only is it important to know your music inside out, it is essential to have your equipment working in tip-top shape.
As a veteran drummer, I have always kept my equipment – drums, cymbals, hardware, etc. – in excellent condition. I always do a pre-gig check to make certain that everything is tight and that all of my pedals are functioning properly. Finally, and most importantly, I always carry a small repair kit, including a crescent wrench, duct tape, pliers, and a screwdriver.
Before a recent gig I made the mistake of thinking my new kick drum pedal was functioning properly. Little did I realize that the pedal was starting to unravel. While I readied myself for a solo, I watched in horror as the nut holding the tension spring on my kick drum pedal rolled onto the carpet. With my heart pounding, I asked my bandmates to stretch out their parts while I took care of the emergency. I grabbed my pliers, dropped to my knees, and tightened the pedal so that this would not happen again. In my haste to make repairs, I knocked over my snare. Damage would have occurred if the snare had not been tightened snugly on the stand.
After making the repair, I sat down on my drum throne and a few bars later I was soloing as if nothing had ever happened. That’s what you’ve got to do: Get any unpleasantness out of your mind so you can concentrate on your drumming.
Later that evening I joked with our lead vocalist, saying that if this situation ever repeated itself, he should tell the audience, “Don’t worry folks, it’s just part of the show.”
Yes, I had my own floor show going on but it wasn’t by choice. Never assume that your equipment is infallible.
I’ve passed this episode on to all of my drum students to help them avoid similar circumstances when they’re under the spotlight. They realize that even their seen-it-all drum teacher can still learn a thing or two.
Steve Parezo of Ellicott City, MD, is a member of the Professional Drum Teachers Guild (PDTF). He teaches at several Baltimore-Washington Area music schools and has his own private practice (www.spdrumschool.com).
About Steve Parezo
Steve Parezo is a Master Drum Instructor and a member of the Professional Drum Teachers Guild. With over 25 years of professional drumming, recording, touring and teaching experience, he brings a wealth of knowledge to his students. Steve specializes in helping students maximize their drumming skills by improving hand-eye coordination, developing sound counting and sight-reading skills, and honing techniques that are associated with the rock, country, funk, pop and R&B
genres. Steve shows students how to prepare for band auditions, competitions and various types of live performances. He also teaches drum set maintenance, tuning, set up and cleaning to maintain optimum performance. Known for his “big beat” on a vintage Ludwig kit, Steve’s technique was greatly influenced by legendary rocker John Bonham and studio star Hal Blaine. You can catch Steve drumming with Baltimore area classic rockers Cruise.
For more information on Steve’s lessons, performance and clinic schedule, visit his site at http://www.spdrumschool.com.