Showing posts from February, 2014

Rack It Up: How To Build A Gong Rack

I get a lot of questions about my Gong racks (I received 3 different E-mails in the past few weeks), so I decided to tell you all about them. I have all sorts of Gong stands & racks I've collected over the years, but what I use mostly are the racks I've put together with Gibraltar parts. Back in 2001-2002, as my set up was expanding, I needed something that was: Easy to set up, tear down, and carry. Flexible so I could change it to fit my needs. Expandable so I could build on it as my set up grew. I have 3 different Paiste stands, but they can't be adapted for different set ups. Back then, I had been using a Gibraltar rack for my drum set for 5 or 6 years, and I loved it. I could change my drum set up as needed and change the rack with it. It matched the 3 criteria up above. So it was natural to look at using Gibraltar stuff for my Gongs. Now Gibraltar has a Gong stand, but only 1 type. It's well designed and you can build on/adapt it. But I started ou

The Art of Improvising (It's All About Listening)

I get a lot of people asking me about improvisation and creativity: How do you do it? What do you exactly do? There's no one way to answer that, and I suspect that for many of us, it is a different experience. Improvising is a highly personal process, and one that's not easy to quantify and break down into any sort of steps. But a recent event I participated in offers a good example of how my creative process works. Sometimes you are thrust into a situation where you need to be extremely creative in the moment. Recently I was in such a situation. The local monthly improvised music series, Unrehearsed , was celebrating its 1-year anniversary. The program featured many of the people who had been part of the series during the past year. Because of this, there were more featured groups than usual. This meant that each group would be given a very short period to perform one, maybe two short improv pieces. It also meant that to facilitate things, set up and tear down had to kept

150 Blog Posts!

Just a quick note to say that my previous blog post,  Check Your Ego At Door , was my 150th post in this blog. This blog is also nearing its 3rd Anniversary (March 11). This blog is a continuation of sorts, with a slight change in direction, from a previous one called, VIBRATIONS (which had 66 entries from March 2008 to the end of December 2010).  I'd like to thank everyone who has checked in, read posts, and commented. I'd especially like to thank those who have offered encouragement over the past 3 years. I look forward to continuing here for many years to come! ~ MB

Check Your Ego At The Door

The moment you think you are really cool, you are not. The moment you think you've really got your shit together, you don't. The moment you think you know it all, you may come to realize that you know actually very little. Ego is always about us, as in, "Look at me playing this music, I am really interesting and amazing!" Yes, in my younger years, like many others, I thought I was it . I thought I had my stuff together and was really something amazing. But then I broadened my horizons and discovered a lot of other stuff I didn't know about. And this stuff was amazing! Suddenly my little world looked exactly like that: a little world. So it's a natural part of the maturing process to (hopefully) grow up and realize you are not it .  In all my travels and interviews, all the artists that I thought were simply amazing never once expressed that about themselves! They were all too busy creating new art and moving forward to just stand still and proclaim their