RICH REDMOND’S THIRD ANNUAL DRUMMER’S WEEKEND CHARTS SUCCESS
Nashville, Tennessee was the setting for Rich Redmond’s C.R.A.S.H. Course For Success 3rd Annual Drummer’s Weekend. It’s a city full of musicians, industry insiders, top of the line equipment, and stages to perform on. For anyone hoping to break into the music business, improve their playing, or make it big, the opportunities here are endless. Rich moved to Nashville in 1997, a relatively unknown drummer with top notch skills, relentless drive, and an abundance of positive attitude. The career he’s built over nearly two decades makes his vast experience and unparalleled ingenuity a precious commodity as a mentor and veteran clinician. His drummer’s weekend provides an exclusive environment for an expanded version of his C.R.A.S.H. Course For Success.
This year’s Drummer’s Weekend brought together 19 students from across the country, ranging in age from 12 to mature player. If we were charting them using The Nashville Number System, they would cover the scale, both geographically and skillfully, with their ages and experience requiring different keys with the emphasis in different places. The unifying element for this course is its core instructor, Rich Redmond. Setting the tone for each day’s instruction, like specifying the key at the top of the chart, every day started on a high note. Soundcheck Nashville provided the classroom setting, but the energizing atmosphere in the room came from the man at the head of the class. Striking a balance between drum instruction and how to succeed in the business, it was a daily testament to the power of dynamics.
The format of an intense three day immersion into the life of a professional musician allowed for plenty of content without being too instructionally heavy. Coursework was presented from nine to five each day, with a tempo that best showcased its dynamic offerings. Each day played out like Rich had charted the perfect drum piece for each student. There was an emphasis on timing and hitting the right notes, with an allowance for diversity of voice and showmanship throughout the day. The space between the technical aspects was filled with a range of topics and demonstrations by some of the top drummers in the field. Drawing from the abundance of top level drummers who live in Nashville, as well as bringing in a few superstars from distant locations, it was a well-rounded and experienced crew. Providing this kind of access in such a small group setting offers a unique opportunity for student enrichment not often available. These specialized clinics within the comprehensive course were the day’s diamonds on an already spectacular daily chart.
When I walked into the room for Day One of this weekend course, things were already in motion. The energy in the room was palpable, and the students were literally on the edge of their seats, anxious to get started. After the introductions and general housekeeping stuff, they reviewed some hand techniques and handed out a practice sheet. The topic of reading music was lightly addressed in preparation for a more in-depth presentation later in the day. Jim Riley (drummer/bandleader Rascal Flatts, clinician, author) touched on the importance of practicing the rudiments every day and developing dynamics by playing on the same surface, loudest to softest. Each of the students was given a ProLogix Practice Pad to use throughout the weekend. The first of the day’s clinics featured award-winning producer, Michael Knox (Jason Aldean). Michael’s success as a producer is based on doing things outside the norm. He and Rich have worked together since 1999, when Rich was hired as Jason Aldean’s drummer. He stressed the importance of having a great drummer, saying, “You can’t get through a bad drummer at a show.” The direction and energy that dictates the performance starts with the player behind the kit. He outlined the importance of learning percussion, both as a marketable skill and for what it adds to the recording. Michael is one of few producers who uses the same guys in the studio that play the live shows. He looks for the energy in a player and emphasized the need to be overprepared for each opportunity. “Play like you’re playing at Madison Square Garden every time.” It was a unique vantage point, giving the students inside information on what a potential employer may be looking for. In a city full of talented musicians, his advice on how to make yourself a more valuable player is a golden ticket in any market.
Jim Riley has graced the cover of Modern Drummer magazine and been a highly sought after educator for many years. The timing of this clinic coincided with the release of his new book, Survival Guide for the Modern Drummer, which he made available to students. The topic of his clinic was The Nashville Number System, on which he’d previously written, Song Charting Made Easy: A Play-Along Guide to the Nashville Number System. The ease with which Jim talks to the students and presents the material takes the mystery and anxiety out of learning something the pros in this town use. For one of the students, learning this system was a primary focus, and having the guy who literally wrote the book on it presenting the material was an educational coup. Jim stressed the importance of the song in this songwriters’ town, and how understanding its elemental construction is paramount to playing well with others, both in the studio and on stage. If you’re familiar with the scale made famous by Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, it’s as simple as replacing do-re-mi with 1, 2, 3. Note the key, listen for the chord changes, and chart the equivalent chord numbers. Harlan Howards’ definition of a great country song, “Three chords and the truth,” is translated as I, IV, V. Knowing this system is essential to working in this town, and it can be easily adapted to suit the individual player in any locale. Jim’s breakdown of this system was easily understood and gave the students an invaluable tool for understanding the structure of any song.
This was followed by a tuning clinic, presented by Rich Redmond’s drum tech, Jon Hull. Jon has been with Rich for several years now and works with him on tour as well as at his private clinics and special events. Jon has experience with tuning drums and solving gear issues in every kind of situation, with and without the proper tools to do it. Tuning drums can be a very tedious job, and when there’s a time crunch involved, having the right equipment available to assist you can be a lifesaver. Jon talked to the students about where to begin the process of tuning, always the bottom head first, and introduced a couple of items to assist with fine tuning – the DrumDial to get a tension reading and the Tune-bot for reading frequencies down to 1/10 of a hertz. Jon is a gear wizard, but he explains things on a level that even a non-drummer can understand. Understanding the diversity of tone available in each drum type, how to get it, and what products like Drumtacs can do for tone control, is like opening up a new playground of sounds. The information Jon presented gave the students the ability to tune a drum for Carnegie Hall or the local honky tonk. It’s a basic, but priceless part of playing.
After a catered lunch break, studio legend, <Greg Morrow,> sat with the students for two hours of conversation about his life in the business and a demonstration of his much lauded playing. Greg doesn’t talk about himself much, so this was a rare glimpse into the career of a humble player who turned his love of drumming into paying gigs and award-winning studio recordings. It wasn’t as much a how-to clinic as it was a sharing of lessons learned through decades of experience in the business. He’s mostly a self-taught player with a gifted ear. His hands and his feet cooperate most of the time, and he has that instinctual ability to get to the sweet spot of his sound. Listening to his stories, the students seemed captivated by his honesty. He wasn’t there to lay out a laundry list of his accomplishments. In raw form, he told them of both good and bad experiences over the years and how he’s grown as a player through all of it. Telling them not to be too possessive of any gig, and how to approach every opportunity, he stressed faithfulness of practice and a diligent effort in all things. His advice was to be humble and always remember why you started playing. He demonstrated some songs that lit his fire and talked about his reasons for loving life in the studio. Greg isn’t a clinician and he wasn’t there to teach. He sat on a stool and opened his heart to people who share the same passion for playing he has. He smiled through the good things, laughed at the bad, and shed a tear at the memories of all the things in his career that have touched him in some way. It was an understated approach to leaving an indelible impressible on these students. What they spoke of later was the abundance of humility in a man with a legendary career.
The last hour of instruction on Day One of this weekend course was a gathering of the nucleus of Jason Aldean’s band, The Three Kings. Rich Redmond, Kurt Allison (guitar), and Tully Kennedy (bass), have been together since the late 90s when they were all hired as Jason’s backing band. They tour together, play sessions together, and are ¾ of a production team called New Voice Entertainment. They played a few of Jason Aldean’s hits for the class and talked about the value of having a tight-knit band of brothers who play well together and can get along in life. This was a lesson in respecting your fellow bandmates and the accountability that goes along with that. In addition, they explained the need to respect the song you’re playing and play every time like you’re being recorded. Having these guys present the band aspect of touring life and studio recording was a subtle reminder that music is not a solitary pursuit. Being the best player you can be is notably important, but playing well with others is vital to being hired for and keeping a gig. It was a harmonious way to end the first day’s lessons and gave the students much to talk about over their first group dinner. Bon appetit!
Day Two of Drummer’s Weekend was jam packed with content and powerful presentations. The focus of the first hour was on musicianship and finding balance on the kit. There was a demonstration of “money beats” and incorporating percussion into your playing. By this second day of immersion into drum world, it was becoming clear that drummers speak a language all their own. No matter where they come from, get them behind the kit and literal translation is no longer required. Sounds speak louder than words.
<Mark Poiesz> (drummer, Tyler Farr) has only been in Nashville for a couple of years, but his impact on the market has already been enormous. Tyler Farr did two tours with Jason Aldean, which meant that Rich and Mark have spent a lot of time together on the road. When I asked Rich who the best new drummer in town was nearly a year ago, he didn’t hesitate with his answer…..Mark Poiesz. Mark’s clinic turned out to be one of the highlights of the weekend. His connection to the students, and straightforward approach to what it takes to get to the next level of drumming, left them in awe of how someone so abundantly talented could be so grounded in reality. He put himself in their place, describing how he felt as a student listening to an accomplished drummer talk about his career, and wondering what he had to do to walk the eight feet from the student chair to gig drummer on a major tour. The core message of his presentation was to know who you are behind the kit and recognize that you are a sum of your influences. He stressed the creative side of the business and the need to be yourself when playing. “Do what comes out naturally,” he said, “and do it with purpose.” Articulation on the drum kit is how you fine tune that purpose. When Mark played a song from one of his drum influences, Morgan Rose of Sevendust, it left the students nearly speechless. The vigorous fluidity with which he played was spellbinding. At the conclusion of this, Mark asked if there were any questions. One of the students raised his hand and said, “This is not a question. Holy shit!” That pretty much sums up the jaw-dropping reaction to Mark’s presentation and the usual reaction people have to his playing. It seemed unanimous amongst the students that this was one of the best presentations of the weekend.
Billy Hawn and Rich Redmond perform as a percussion duo called STRIKE THAT! Their original and creative show is a demonstration of the unlimited and unusual percussion possibilities available. Spreading percussion instruments across the floor, Billy invited the students to gather around in a circle for a hands-on lesson about how to use them to add flavor to your playing and skills to your resume. Billy has traveled the world as a drummer/percussionist, playing and recording with the likes of Colbie Caillat, Katy Perry, Sara Bareilles, David Crosby, and many more. He is a master percussionist and no stranger to sound innovation. He talked about the traveling rig he started with in 2007 that fit into two checked bags, weighing under 50 lbs. By honing his percussion skills, he created opportunities for himself to add unusual elements to recordings and play gigs with singer/songwriters who wanted a beat and some spice in their performances. He buys things he finds when an unusual sound strikes a chord, whether in Home Depot, Target, or anywhere else something unique resonates. At the end of the verbal instruction, he and Rich performed a portion of their show to illustrate the power of percussive ingenuity, inviting the students to join them for a rousing finish. It was informative, fun, and inspirational for those wishing to exercise their creativity.
Drummer’s Weekend always ends with a concert at Douglas Corner where the students get to showcase their skills. They’re each assigned a song to play with the help of a house band, selected by Rich Redmond. Chris Nix (guitar) and Luis Espaillat (bass) make up the house band rhythm section for this show. For about an hour, just prior to the lunch break, Rich had each of the students play a little with Chris and Luis to get a feel for which song he would assign them. It was a pregame warmup for what the students would be doing at the closing ceremony show. Following this musical interlude was lunch sponsored by the Nashville School of Rock.
The afternoon’s marquee clinic was presented by superstar drummer, clinician, and author, Mark Schulman. Mark is an L.A.-based drummer who’s recorded and played with some of the biggest names in the business – Pat Benatar, Stevie Nicks, Pink, Cher, Foreigner, Velvet Revolver, and Billy Idol, just to name a few. His presentation is a dynamic mix of video clips, commentary, and live playing. His life in drumming is a rock and roll story, and when he punctuates that with stories from his personal life woven throughout, it makes for a captive audience. His new book, Conquering Life’s Stage Fright: Three Steps to Top Performance, was just released, and its three core concepts were the basis for this presentation. While showcasing some of his best moments from stage performances via videotape, he stopped the tape and talked about how he got there. Glamour shots never reveal the blood, sweat, and tears it took to get there, so Mark dissected his past experiences into lessons learned, hoping to inspire others to conquer their own fears. The three concepts he defined for the students were clarity, capability, and confidence. While explaining the ideas behind the concepts as they related to playing, he performed some of his favorite songs from artists he’s played with to demonstrate real application of those concepts behind the kit. Stressing the importance of believing “life is a series of nows,” he encouraged the students to embrace their stage performances by giving their all and directing their energy outwards to the audience. Quoting Shakespeare’s, As You Like It, he said, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.” It was a lesson in applying these concepts to all aspects of your life, with an emphasis for this audience on the concert stage. Mark is the embodiment of energy directed outwards in everything he does. His zest for life and performing filled the room, and left an inspirational mark on every student. Rockets have lifted off with less energy than he brings to a room!
Mike Wrench‘s afternoon clinic was a microscopic window on a very big vision. Mike is a drummer who’s battled certain disabilities in his life, and instead of letting that define him in a negative way, he’s turned them into positive innovation. He shared his struggles with the students and had them run through some exercises he uses in his Upbeat Outreach program. Mike believes in using drum/percussion therapy to “raise awareness, encourage acceptance, promote positivity, and offer healing/dealing techniques for individuals of all ages who suffer from a disability.” In 2011, he received his certification for drum therapy, and his goal is to take this program to schools and hospitals for implementation. It’s a healing blend of techniques and music that puts positive energy in place of negative afflictions. This topic is not something you’d get in most other drum camps, if any, yet it was an enlightening alternative to the usual opportunities available to drummers. The presentation itself was only about 30 minutes long, but the effects of sharing this idea with a room full of engaged students can be far reaching.
The last hour of instruction for the day was a breakdown of the namesake for this Drummer’s Weekend, Rich Redmond’s C.R.A.S.H. Course For Success. This signature course was the basis on which the Drummer’s Weekend was founded. C.R.A.S.H. stands for the five elements Rich believes are essential to being successful in anything you do – commitment, relationships, attitude, skill, and hunger. I’ve seen Rich give this presentation before, but not in this type of setting. This was context within the big picture frame. Everything the students saw, heard, and experienced during this weekend event was an example of these five ingredients for success. What Rich does with them during this expanded course is turn those five nouns into verbs. The students see Rich as the pinnacle of success they’re looking to achieve. He, and the people they’ve heard from all weekend, embody those things, and put them to work in their professional lives. It’s one thing to put words on paper and hand them out like directions to an unknown place, and quite another to live the message. This is what I would call putting his C.R.A.S.H. Course in motion. He ended the presentation with Redmond’s Rules For The Road. With the many years he’s logged on the road, this is practically scripture for a touring musician. Ending Day Two on an upbeat and humorous note, the students were dismissed, and would reconvene for another rock star dinner.
Day Three of Drummer’s Weekend started with wrapping things up from the first two days and answering any questions about the material covered or things on the schedule for the final day. Going back to The Nashville Number System, Rich covered functional theory as it relates to charting songs into phrases. He showed the students alternate ways to chart songs, still based on the system, but with leeway for personal preferences to suit their playing situations. This adaptability makes it a very comfortable system for any player. There was a brief discussion on click tracks and loops, how to use them, and how to find your place within the track so it feels more human. This was followed by two hours of practice time with the house band rhythm section (Chris Nix and Luis Espaillat), during which each student got to run through their song for the closing ceremony show at least once. This was not an unsupervised endeavor. Rich took time with each student to observe and listen to their playing, making suggestions or corrections as needed. He made sure there was a comfort level there before moving on to the next player. At the conclusion of this, there was an hour-long break for lunch.
The final clinic of the weekend was, perhaps, the most spectacular. <Thomas Lang> is a Vienna-born drummer who is widely considered one of the best in the world. He is a touring musician, session musician, composer, record producer, and world-renowned clinician, having launched the Thomas Lang Drumming Boot Camp in 2009. He did the entire presentation seated behind a drum kit, essentially his office. While he was playing (two songs and a solo), no one in the room took their eyes off of him. The speed and control of his hands and feet is extraordinary, the sound he achieves from the effort – audibly invigorating. His demonstration of drum finesse, equally using both hands and feet, was the starting point of his lesson. The obvious question on everyone’s mind was, “How in the world do you learn to play like that?!” Though the exercises he would demonstrate throughout the afternoon were no average paradiddles, the rudiments of learning his craft were not superhuman. He reiterated the basics of practicing with a purpose and putting in the time it takes to master something. As with any muscle you’re trying to build, he said it takes concentrated and consistent practice to reach your goal. When asked about the equipment he uses, he laughingly said that his drumsticks are man-sized, as he sees no use for knitting needles behind a drum kit. Duly noted! He talked about the matrix he uses when practicing to help stay on task and sharpen your focus. The comment everyone seemed to take note of was this, “Never play while you practice, and never practice while you play.” He mentioned that most players waste 70-75% of their practice time with unfocused playing (noodling). Most of the students seemed in awe of his abilities, as were the other professionals in the room, but when he breaks it down into practice patterns and discipline, anything seems possible. It was a highly entertaining and inspirational way to bring the instructional portion of this camp to a close.
The last item on the day’s educational itinerary was a Question and Answer session with some of Nashville’s top drummers – Chris McHugh (session), Kevin Murphy (Randy Houser), Tom Hurst (Tracy Lawrence), Matt Billingslea (Taylor Swift), Lester Estelle (Kelly Clarkson), Ben Sesar (Brad Paisley), Tracy Broussard (Blake Shelton), and Keio Stroud (Big & Rich). Just to put some perspective on who these guys are – Ben Sesar, along with the host of this camp, Rich Redmond, have both been nominated for Country Drummer of the Year in Modern Drummer’s 2016 Readers Poll. In that same poll, Chris McHugh is nominated for Session Drummer of the Year. The rest of this panel has years of experience in the business and resumes that are worth framing. The answers they gave to the student’s questions were honest and concise. It was sound advice from guys who’ve been in those student seats and largely came to Nashville without anyone’s guidance. Having this kind of access to successful, working drummers at this level is a coup, and they were kind enough to stick around for autographs and pictures with the students afterwards. It was a fitting end to three exceptional days of instruction.
One thing musicians never seem to have enough of is great gear. After three days of Rich Redmond’s Drummer’s Weekend, all of the students left with a suitcase full of the latest and greatest in high-tech gear. Rich has a group of very generous and supportive sponsors for this event who make sure he has plenty to give away. Each day, several times a day, there were drawings for gear giveaways. Students were given tickets and numbers were pulled randomly. With each drawing, staff was on hand to help pass out items and ensure that everyone got something. Custom t-shirts for the event and some of the sponsors were also handed out. Judging by the students’ reaction to these giveaways, new gear is a crowd pleaser and not something they were necessarily expecting in that quantity.
Rich Redmond’s Drummer’s Weekend always ends with the closing ceremony show at Douglas Corner. It’s a rite of passage for those who’ve attended the camp and earned a performance slot on a Nashville stage. All 19 students were assigned songs for the show, covering a range of genres, artists, and decades of music. They would be accompanied by house band members, Chris Nix (guitar), Luis Espaillat (bass), Rich Redmond and Billy Hawn on percussion. The vocalists for the evening were Shelly Fairchild and Jace Everett, who each performed songs of their own to open the show. Some of the students were a bit nervous about performing in this setting, but when it came down to crunch time, they all gave top-notch performances. Bobby Hapgood set the bar high with his opening performance of Led Zeppelin’s, “Rock and Roll,” and the rest of the class followed suit. The youngest of the students, 12-year old Tristan Thompson, nailed Nirvana’s, “Come as You Are,” like it was a standard for him. Kevin Joyce closed the show with The Rolling Stones’, “Gimme Shelter,” accompanied by all 18 of his classmates assisting with percussion. It was the perfect ending for a group of students, now friends, who supported each other over the three-day weekend and on every performance of the evening. Rich’s enthusiasm, and abundance of positive energy, rubbed off on his weekend charges, and they brought to the stage everything they learned from him. This was an exclamation point on a spectacular weekend of learning and friendship. The cost to attend this concert event was just $5, with the proceeds going to the W.O. Smith Music School in Nashville. What a great night, for a great cause!
At the after party, I had a chance to talk to a number of the students about their experience at this year’s camp, and all of them couldn’t say enough about Rich, the staff, and how well run everything was. Every aspect of this camp is top level, from the accommodations to the food, transportation, learning environment, structure, and staff members. The attention to detail is unmatched, and the value to content ratio is superb. Several of these students had attended a previous camp, and many were already saying they’d be back next year. That is how excited they were about the experience and the friendships they’d made over the weekend. But the common denominator in everyone’s compliments was <Rich Redmond.>
As I watched the moving pieces of this Drummer’s Weekend come together over three days, I took each one individually and evaluated it. The content, the clinicians, the chemistry amongst the group was all there. What brought it all together was the conviction of Rich Redmond to make his C.R.A.S.H. Course an educational event instead of just a handout or a YouTube video with no accountability. Rich makes a Commitment to the students who attend this camp, regardless of their age or experience level, that he will provide top level instruction that will make a difference in their playing and in their lives. He builds a relationship with each student over the three days that lets them know they’re not just a seat filler to him. He genuinely wants to see each of them succeed beyond this course. In turn, the Relationships he’s built with each of the professionals who made presentations during this event are a primary reason this camp is so highly regarded. He surrounds himself with successful people, innovators like himself, who bring the same attitude and invention that he does to a lesson. The positive Attitude he approaches everything with is an infectious part of the atmosphere in the room. He’s a motivator with no off switch. The Skills he has in both drumming and percussion are without question, top of the line, but it’s his knowledge of the business side of music that makes this an unequaled product in the market. His Hunger to be the best he can be, and to make each student the best they can be, is what drives his ingenuity to push the boundaries and improve the presentation whenever possible. If there were a second ‘H’ at the end of C.R.A.S.H., it would stand for the Heart he puts into everything he does. That alone is what makes this three day Drummer’s Weekend a three-dimensional product. His personality, presentation, and performance incorporate a heartbeat, a backbeat, and a signature beat into a weekend that will change your life. In a town that loves to chart things, whether it be The Nashville Number System or Billboard’s Hot Country Songs, Rich Redmond’s C.R.A.S.H. Course For Success 3rd Annual Drummer’s Weekend clearly topped the charts.
The event was administered by Scorpio Marketing, LLC, which is JC Clifford, Jimmy Elcock, and Lee Gomila.
Special thanks to: Bobby Mertz, Phil Potor, and Greg LaPoint, who graciously donated their time and talents.
Rich Redmond and Scorpio Marketing would like to thank: Drummer’s Guide To Gear, Mugan Music Group, Nashville School of Rock, and Grind It Out Clothing for their generous sponsorship of this event.
“Closing Time” of Rich Redmond’s Third Annual Drummer’s Weekend. A look back at a spectacular weekend!
Video by Brady Hartman.
What the students had to say about their Drummer’s Weekend experience…..
“His key ingredient was the relationships he had with the other drummers and musicians. He had the top drummers in Nashville at an event they were not required to attend, but their love for him is obvious. I will utilize the drum instruction going forward, however, the relationship lesson I learned from Rich will make me a better musician and person.” – Walter Kelleher, Quincy, FL
On choosing his favorite event of the three days….. “Thomas Lang’s clinic. The advice that really stuck with me was, “Don’t play when you practice and don’t practice when you play.” – Chad Thompson, McPherson, KS
“I am moving to Nashville next month, and I kept asking everyone what do I have to do when I get there. Everybody told me that you have to create a lifestyle, play everything, and network. Play gigs even if you’re playing for free or even for a drink. Stay humble, with a great attitude, and eventually, someone will notice.” – Braden Griffith, Birmingham, AL
“I live in an area (Northern California) that does not have a large music scene, so usually the closest place I go to for camps is L.A. Rich’s camp is much different than others. It’s all about business and connections rather than just drum-related techniques.” – Nick Ambrosino, Santa Rosa, CA
“There is just so much more information to take in on a weekend as opposed to just a few hours. With as much information that is needed to know about the music business, you can’t just squeeze it all into a few hours or even a weekend. But you can get a much broader spectrum of advice and knowledge in a full weekend, which is what’s great about Rich’s Drummer’s Weekend.” – Jesse Nicholson, Sallisaw, OK
“Playing a song with short notice in front of a Nashville audience, alongside top musicians, is a big responsibility. It teaches the player to build confidence before performing. We, as humans, rise to the occasion when we enter a situation with confidence. And when it’s over, and you did it, that confidence will carry over a long way.” – Kevin Joyce, Braintree, MA
“Every drummer that spoke was completely humble and still felt like they were all still learning in ways, just like us, which made for such a great environment to learn in. The friendship among all the drummers in Nashville really speaks for itself. It’s something that nowhere else compares to, and the friendships made over the weekend are truly awesome to see how they last. One of the guys even created a Facebook page just so we could stay in touch with one another. The talent of the clinicians was absolutely incredible, and Rich does a great job with keeping such a high energy environment.” – Daniel Story, Brentwood, TN
“Rich is an amazing teacher. He is there to help each student succeed. He has reached out to me to encourage me even outside the class, so I know Rich cares if I succeed. I highly recommend his class. It is filled with top-notch teachers that know what it takes to get to the next level.” – Tristan Thompson, Beloit, KS
“There’s no substitute for being around people who are the living embodiment of your dream. You can ask these dudes whatever you want, see how they interact with other musicians, hear how they play up close, and you’re locked in a room with a bunch of them all weekend. I feel connected now to the guys who have blazed the path to musical success before me, and I feel more empowered than ever to join their ranks one day. Mark Poiesz gets an extra shout out, though, because of how well thought out, relevant, and insightful his presentation was.” – Harry Miree, Nashville, TN
“When I came to the Drummer’s Weekend camp, the one thing I was really looking forward to learning most was The Nashville Number System and song charting, and I learned it from not one, but two of my favorite drummers in the business! I left the camp knowing so much more about drumming and the business than I ever thought I would.” – Bobby Hapgood, Lawrence, KS
On being asked to choose her favorite presenter…. “Everyone was so inspiring, and I idolize all of them, but I would have to say I am stuck because Rich Redmond has so much passion for drumming, Mark Schulman gave such a motivational speech, etc., etc. I could just keep going on about each and every drummer that came to the Drummer’s Weekend. I gained so much knowledge from each and every drummer that choosing one was just too difficult to do.” – Sarra Cardile, Bolton, CT
On being a returning student, what brought her back….. “Yes, I am a repeat offender, and I most likely will attend next year’s session too. I think I felt like I was at home. There is such a great community in Nashville. Everyone is so supportive. We are all cut from the same cloth. We all love playing. I also felt such a rush playing with Luis, Chris, and Shelly. Attending last year’s event made me believe I can do this. I want to be the best drummer I can be. I am struggling with making the jump from corporate America. I need to believe in myself.” – Kathleen Steahle, Guilford, CT
“This is not just a weekend to learn drums. This is an experience to meet new people, make new friends, and to be a part of something bigger than the instrument you play. I highly times ten recommend this weekend to anyone who is serious about getting into the music business and expanding their knowledge of music. Be a part of this wonderful weekend and your life will be changed, because my life was changed too.” – Matt Gretter, San Bruno, CA
“What I took away from the Drummer’s Weekend is that I learned you have to have conviction in whatever it is you are looking to accomplish. If you have passion and drive, with the proper direction, you will go places unimaginable. Keep your head in the clouds and two feet on the ground mentality is what I aim for. With that in mind, always remember to have fun while pursuing your craft. If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.” – Anthony Caruso, Hoffman Estates, IL
“I was afraid I’d be in over my head, but my bandmates encouraged me. What better way to improve than be around people who are better than you. Besides, I knew Rich was a motivational guy. How could I go wrong being around his energy? Exceed my expectations? By far!” – Steve Kattell, Alachua, FL
“There were so many standout moments. But I would have to say the best moment for me was watching all the “campers” perform their song live at Douglas Corner. Besides that, I would like to say that I love the way Rich and his team organized the weekend. Everything was perfect. With each day, the camp kept getting better and better. It was so exciting, and I would recommend this camp to all. I will be returning. Great time!” – Jimmy Linear, Scarsdale, NY
On summing up the experience and success of the program…. “This weekend wasn’t so much about tapping out notes and learning technique as it was building relationships, learning about the business, and learning what it takes to be a successful drummer. For me, the highlight was the openness and camaraderie between we “campers” and the professionals that do this for a living, here in Nashville and from around the world. The ability to hang out for the weekend with drummers that we all look up to, and be treated as equals, was phenomenal. It all culminates with a performance in front of a live audience in Nashville. It’s a surreal experience to be with these guys, perform, get a sweaty bro hug, and then see them on the CMAs two days later. There is just something really cool about that. It gives you a sense, even if just a fantasy, that you’re somehow on the inside of the Nashville music scene. All that being said, I would not categorize this as a rock and roll fantasy camp at all. I think the only correlation would be that, at times, you’re pinching yourself to assure that you are really there, sitting in front of the greatest drummers in the industry as they play for you, and with great appreciation. In summary, there was absolutely zero pretentious, rock star vibe at all during the entire weekend. Rich has put together a phenomenal program, an excellent panel of drummers to support this, and tremendous industry support. I believe this is a huge success, and I plan on being back annually as long as they will invite me.” – John Braswell, Baton Rouge, LA
All photographs by Lauren Elle Jaye.
©2015-nashvillethreesixty.com. All rights reserved.