I know we’ve all heard stories of bands giving one of their fans a shot at joining their group. Be it Henry Rollins getting pulled on stage to sing with Black Flag, or Arnel Pineda becoming Journey’s lead singer through a YouTube video, the idea that any person could one day be in their favorite band is exhilarating. I was given this opportunity recently, and the feeling is totally different when you’re actually put in the situation of practicing and performing with a group that you love.
Honestly, I was scared shitless to play with Ashes Of Folly. The musicians in that group have been playing music longer than I have been alive. They are experienced, talented, and held me to professional standards. And all of this doesn’t even touch on the fact that I idolized this band, listening to their album, The Chemical Plan, over and over for six straight months. This fear came to fruition the first time that I rehearsed with the group. I expected to feel better, less scared and more confident in my abilities after this practice. Instead, for the first time in years, I felt inadequate as a musician.
Now, I would say that I am a good drummer. I am not the best, but I know that I bring something unique and interesting to every band I have been in. Essentially, I know that I have the abilities to play in Ashes Of Folly. So I thought a lot about what exactly made me feel so inadequate and I found two of the most important reasons. I intended for these to serve as lessons for any aspiring musician.
- I came to rehearsal knowing about 95% of the material. Sure, I could play through all of the songs, but there were sections where I was lacked confidence and missed important details. I learned that day that by the time I come to rehearsal, I need to know every detail of a song. And most importantly, I have to know the structure. I would wager that these professional musicians found nothing more frustrating than watching me learn the structure of these songs. I am the drummer. I am the timekeeper and the master of the arrangement. I need to know the structure so that the group moves from section to
section with ease.
- I was too busy being a fan of the group. Look, there’s nothing wrong with being a fan of a band. In fact, these people are the lifeblood of any successful venture, musical or otherwise. But once you step foot into a room with these people, you need to leave this behind you. If you ever want to be taken seriously as a musician, interviewer, or businessperson, then you to set your fandom aside and get to work.
After my first rehearsal, I spent hours every day working on the material, perfecting the songs that I thought I already knew. By the time our next rehearsal rolled around, the songs were tight, I locked in with the band, and we sounded great. A couple days later, I took the stage with Ashes Of Folly with my heart pounding and my head ringing. I did well. Not excellent, but I pulled it off.
Here’s the thing, I grew more as a musician in that one week than I had in my previous year playing in bands and practicing individually. That is the most important thing. Every musician must realize that every gig, every band, and every experience they have is a chance to grow. And the most important of these experiences is playing with musicians that expect you to perform at a professional level.
Ashes Of Folly’s Music Video for “Make Up, Make Out”
My interview with Perry from Ashes Of Folly: #8 – Rick Perry (Ashes Of Folly)
Ashes Of Folly’s Website: http://ashesoffolly.com/