Drumming to support St. Jude’s

I’m honored to be taking part in the Drumming Up Hope Foundation’s 3rd annual Drum-A-Thon to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospitals.  On Friday, May 25 at 6 pm, I’ll be doing my part to carry on the 81 hours of continuous group drumming over 4 days, and am looking for generous souls to sponsor me in this cause.  100% of your donation will go towards St. Jude’s Children Hospital.  Any amount, no matter how small, will go a long way towards supporting this great cause.

Donate $10 – Request A Drum-along Song

While drummers are taking various approaches to their hours, I am dedicating my time to playing along with requests made by donors. For every $10 you donate, you can request any song and I’ll add it to my drum-along mix and will send you a video later on if you’d like.  Do you have a favorite song that has an awesome drum part? Perhaps you have a song that you’d like me to give my take and provide a drum remix? Maybe you’ve always wanted to hear a heavy drum remix to one of your favorite Disney songs? You could even just mess with me and throw me a curveball in the form of a classical song – I’ll play anything you’d like!

I only ask two things of your request:

  1. That it clocks in at less than 5 minutes or so (no In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida unless you’re willing to donate $40)
  2. That there’s a clean version of the song since the event is family-friendly.

Use the button below to donate and write your song request in the “Special Instructions” or email it to me at romeyinfc [at] Gmail [dot] com.  If you’d prefer not to use PayPal, please email me and we can set up alternate arrangements.

[Removed the button since this is now over – thank you to all those that helped!]

Also, I’d love for you to come out and join me at the Drumathon at Thunder Mountain Amphitheatre in Loveland. Admission is free and I’ll be there Friday, May 25 from 6pm-7pm, but the drumming start 10 am Thursday, May 24 and carries forth through Sunday, May 27 at 7 pm. Bring your own ear plugs!

Thank you so much for your support! I’m super pumped for this awesome event!

How to suck at back line sharing

Last week I played a gig with a three-band bill on a small stage, so the conditions were ripe for the “backline sharing” suggestion. You may know my stance on backline sharing, but just to refresh: I absolutely hate it and avoid it at all costs. At the same time drummer get put into situations where you’ll look like a pretty big jerk if you don’t backline share. This typically comes when you don’t have a good staging area for gear, a tight stage, and finally a tight schedule that doesn’t allot much time for transition.  Even with this all being the case, I wasn’t planning on backline sharing when a last-minute mix-up forced the issue.

What makes backline sharing awful are all of the unknowns associated with it.  You don’t know what kind of setup each drummer has, what gear they’re planning on supplying on their own, the differences in quality and tone between kits, as well as how they set up and position all of the equipment. After setting up and tearing down my kit countless times, I’ve come to master the position of every element in my drum set. This is in large part enabled by having memory locks and various heights/lengths pre-set from your usage.  All of that goes out the window when you backline share. Rather than focus on moving your kit on and off the stage, you’re stuck having to re-adjust everything that was there before, which is not often corrected until a few songs into your performance.

This leads me into how to suck at backline sharing:

Don’t over-adjust someone else’s kit just because you have some crazy posture.  Look, I know we’re all not the same height and build. I know we all approach things differently, but do you seriously need to raise my throne 8 inches (as well as all of the subsequent drums and cymbals) to enable your technique?  You’re not eight inches taller than me.  If you know your approach is that different and will need to adjust every piece of equipment: don’t backline share.

I liken playing someone else’s drum set to driving someone else’s car: while you’re not familiar with all of the intricacies of the car, every car roughly drives the same and thus you should be able to get from point A to B without much resistance.  You’re not going to win any races driving someone else’s car for the first time, but at that point, you need to adjust your expectations.  This is the same with drum sets: you might not be able to do any crazy-ass solo on someone else’s kit, but for the most part you should be able to hold the pocket and drive a short set on without heavy drum adjustment.

Don’t treat the drumset owner like your drum tech. Granted, there are parts in drum setup and teardown where you want to be personally responsible (basically any point that something could break, or you’ve got a mental checklist that ensures you’re not forgetting anything), but if the drummer has cases then the least you should do is help load in and load out.  I didn’t let you play my drum set just so that you can have a night off from schlepping gear.

But most importantly…

Treat their gear with respect!

2017-03-03 00.20.28

I mean come on.

Look, I know drum heads are meant to wear out and be changed. I know that they’re relatively not expensive (although $12-15 per head still isn’t chump change).  I know there are drummers go through heads in 1-2 weeks – but that’s not me, AND IT’S MY DRUM SET.  Others may disagree with me, but over 25 years of drumming has taught me that you can get a great, loud sound out of your drums without pounding the shit out of it. If you are that drummer, then how the hell do you not notice this after playing on someone else’s kit??  If there was an apology and an offer to help replace the head, I probably would have even let this slide, but now you’ve left me in an uncomfortable position of being a collection agent.

Moral of the story: don’t backline share, but if you do, don’t be a jerk about it.

Two Drum Covers in Two Days

After a busy couple of weeks, I finally got the opportunity to sit down and do some meaningful drumming and recording some new covers.

I went back to the John Butler Trio well again and brought up my favorite JBT songs: I Used To Get High.

With this cover, I went ahead and played around with some new angles. I turned my kit around 180 degrees and moved the main camera to capture the view from the front. I took my second camera and placed it next to the floor tom looking up.  I then took my little web cam and placed it on one of the overhead mic stands to capture a view of the  hi-hat and snare.  After going through the whole recording process, I ended up only liking the angle that was on the lowest-quality camera (the overhead). I still had a lot of fun recording the cover and decided to go ahead and post it.

On Saturday I had some alone time after my daughter went to bed and did something that I had been wanting to do for sometime: drum while she was sleeping.  It turns out that she slept through the whole evening of my drumming, which made me happy – thus I decided to cover “Happy” by Pharrell Williams to celebrate my opportunity to drum some more:

I did some more tweaking of the camera angles and was a bit more satisfied with the result.  I’ll need to continue to adjust things for the next video a bit, as it looks like one of the cameras had a tough time focusing.

I’d love to get any feedback on the covers, the video, or anything else: I’d definitely love to hear from you.

New drum cover and more YouTube problems

It’s been nearly a month since I posted my last drum cover, and the busyness of work and life interfered with my goal of posting one drum cover per week.  I was definitely anxious to get another one out there and build momentum, but with the YouTube copyright troubles this one has given me, my momentum is all but dead.

I went and covered one of my favorite Muse songs, “Time Is Running Out”. I nailed it in the third take and am now to the point where editing the video has become the easy part.  I started the upload to YouTube only to find that my version got blocked in some countries – actually one country – the United States.

Confused, I searched for other drum covers of “Time” and found quite a few of them out there.  On one of the more successful ones, I noticed that he raised the pitch of the recording. I went ahead and tried the same thing and made Muse’s Matt Ballamy sound like a woman, but I was hopeful that I’d be able to get my video posted.  No such luck, it got blocked in the US again.

Frustrated, I was about to delete my video, but found that it was already getting a few views and even a comment from users in other countries, so I decided to leave it be.  I’m trying to dispute the blocking on the video, on the grounds that this video is for educational purposes for other drummers, but I’m not too helpful that my dispute will be successful.  We’ll see.

Look, I get that Muse’s record label and publisher is acting within their designated rights here, and that these drum covers are on pretty shaky ground.  What sucks here is that there’s some kind of double-standard with the same freakin’ song.  After already being burned by my Kanye cover, I’m pretty leery about putting in the work of practicing and recover a song, only to have it immediately flushed.  Seeing the number of “Time” drum covers that I can see, I assumed that the labels saw this as a promotional vehicle for their music and were happy to collect ad revenue from the videos. It looks like I was wrong.

I guess for now I’ll stick to the more obscure songs or spend some time which researching which labels are cool about covers.  However in the meantime, this process is royally broken.  By the time you discover the end result, it’s too late and you’ve already wasted your time.

Luckily my original video has found a home on Vimeo:

Vimeo has a really nice platform and some great tools, and my video may still be up because of their “security through obscurity” model – but YouTube is where I’ve been trying to grow my channel.  However, with half of my videos now crippled by these blockings – I don’t have much to show for it.