Be A Pro Or Go Home

I recently joined an online drum group that looked interesting. For the most part the discussions have been interesting. But there’s also a sizable amount of people posting who seem to be whiners. 

For example: the current whine is from a guy who is playing a free, 1-hour benefit that will be supplying the drums. He’s complaining, and wants to bring his own drums.

But I just found out that they are supplying the drums (a crappy set), and goodness knows what cymbals and peddles (sic) they will have. Some people don’t understand that drummers take pride in their sets, and our muscles are accustomed to our layouts, and the tensions of our peddles (sic)? You just can’t play your best in a strange set.”

Rule #1 – If you are a drummer, you need to learn that you can’t always use your own drums and cymbals for the gig. 

Your challenge, should you accept, is to make music with these. 


Many times drum sets are supplied as part of the backline (amps, drums, keys, etc), or maybe the club has a house kit. No, it might not be vintage Gretsch with K Zildjians, or a brand new DW. It could be an old TAMA Swingstar with Sabian B8 cymbals on it. I regularly play at a series here in town that uses an old, inexpensive, well tuned drum kit (I don’t even know what kind of drums they are). All the drummers bring their own cymbals and use the kit. No one complains. No one in the audience complains. The music is great!

I’ve played my share of gigs on backline, rental, and house kits, and I’ve never let that get in the way of making the best music I can. Yeah, some kits aren’t the best (like a big muffled, power tom rock kit supplied for a jazz gig), but suck it up buttercup, and play the gig! If I was playing a free, 1-hour benefit gig, I’d be glad to just show up without having to haul my drums, play the gig, and then leave.

Being a drummer is hard. To be a drummer is a life force. You have to be motivated to even deal with this instrument. – Roy Books


Playing you own kit, set up the same way every time, is a luxury. Even big name drummers play supplied kits to save on travel expenses (have you ever paid to fly a drum kit?) Playing a kit du jour is a challenge and keeps you on your game. You have to be focused and make music. Rise to the challenge.

I realize that a lot of drummers out there are hobbyists or weekend warriors, but you still need to be professional and understand that drums are often supplied for you. Don’t let not being able to use your own drums get in the way of being a musician.

I leave you with the words of the great poet, Ranier Maria Rilke:

“No great art has ever been made without the artist having known danger”

 Embrace the danger.

~ MB

Deconstruct Yourself™






Articles Origin: Be A Pro Or Go Home

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