Showing posts from 2019

Life Goes On

It's been a difficult 3 months for me since April. Besides a very intense schedule of both gigging and teaching, my 89 year old father's health took a rapid decline and he died. Between gigs, we were visiting him as much as we could. Since he died, it's been a lot of work to just deal with his passing and trying to settle his estate. Of course my blogs all fell by the wayside. 

Next week (July 1-5) I will be in Chester, CT as part of the 1st Gong Summit. I will be presenting a master class and be a part of 3 panel discussions. I will also be hanging out all week and hope to have time to talk with everyone attending. I plan to blog daily about the whole event starting June 30 and going to July 6. Hopefully I will have the time and energy to at least post a wrap up of each day. If I can't post in detail, I'll do something later in July when I have the time. Watch for this on The Way of The Gong™.

After the Summit my wife and I will be taking a much needed bit of vacati…

Percussion As A Way Of Life

Percussion. It affects all aspects of my life, because I see/hear everything as sound and rhythm. I'm always listening to the world for inspiration: birds, traffic, children playing, the wind in the trees, rain, trains, water, machinery, driving, walking, sitting—these are all things that I find rhythms and life in.

Silence. I drive an amazing amount of miles to and from gigs. While I do listen to music or podcasts, more often than not, I listen to the silence. I listen to the sounds around me and feel the motion of the journey. I find this a sort of driving meditation. I get some of my best ideas driving. The activity of driving occupies one part of my brain and frees the rest for thinking. I play things over in my head, work on various scenarios, debate ideas, and listen to the music of my mind. 

Performing. I improvise a lot and think of it as a living laboratory, where I try things out, following different sounds and rhythms to see where they lead me. I record every performance,…

Don't Lose Sight of the Music

I look at a lot of the younger drummers and percussionists out there and marvel at their technical ability. They are doing things that we never even thought of when I was their age. In the past 50 years the level of sheer technique and ability among percussionists has grown at an astounding rate.
I watch a lot of different drummers and drum videos. While I am amazed by many of them, and what they can do, I'm also bored by a lot of them. Technical ability is a great thing to have, but it needs to be balanced with musicianship. Raw, unbridled technique is interesting for a short time, but after the wow factor wears off, I find myself longing for some actual music.
Many people, including drummers, knock both Ringo Starr and Charlie Watts for their lack of technical mastery. But there's a reason those 2 drummers have had such long and successful careers, and even now in their 70s, they keep going: they make music. Both drummers are masters of the groove. The Beatles or the Rolling…