….I never really thought of the musicians and students I work and play with as my community until I began to truly ponder leaving the bay area...
My situation is new in that I'm seeking to leverage my relatively long and somewhat successful drumming career and reputation towards the pursuit of improving the visibility and reputation of my original band, Ratatet.
But seeing that my compositions do not generally feature me much on drums, is this wise or even doable? Shouldn't drummer led bands feature the drummer prominently? The models that come to my mind most readily are Billy Cobham, The Buddy Rich Big Band, Jack DeJohnette, Art Blakey, Tony Williams.
Being a naturally introverted fellow, I tend to write gentle and somewhat pensive music. This feels at odds with the concept of a drummer led band. But that's where my compositions tend to go. That being said, I do have a goal to more closely link my compositions to the outermost abilities I have on the drum set. So that deeper integration is the major task before me.
Perhaps I should heed the wise words of advice I give my students:
1) There's never a shortage of things to learn.
2) Limitations suggest new possibilities.
3) If you can't play something, you're simply going too fast. Patience!
Out of necessity, my wife Sondra and I have recently moved up to lovely (a word I seldom use) Sebastopol, California. So we're now outta Oakland - our home since we moved to California in 1993. At first I felt GUILTY living in a place with so much space, peace and quiet, beauty, and lack of police car sirens, midnight CHP megaphone-accompanied pull-overs within earshot, robberies and other such city-like accoutrements. I'd say we've had our fair share of brushes with muggings and smash and grab thefts for one family. So the guilt has been easing a bit. This is good.
But a change necessitated by the move up here is the winnowing down of my musical activities. The amount of driving needed has forced me to become more selective. So I've quit several musical projects I've been involved with for years. I think being more selective about the musical projects one chooses to get involved in is a good thing; and perhaps a luxury afforded to me now partially because of a life-long career in music. But still, saying no can be difficult, and a bit scary.
Every time in the past, when life has required a leaving behind of something, it's been unnerving; but it usually turned out surprisingly well. New possibilities have emerged, new connections made, new challenges met.
I'm happy to report the same has been happening this time around. I've been writing up a storm and making new musical connections. Though I'm still doing too much driving, I eagerly look forward to coming home to our peaceful empty-nest at the end of each work day.