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Thread: How did you "go pro"?

  1. #1

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    Default How did you "go pro"?

    What's your story? How did you make the jump from playing for fun to playing for fun AND money? Did your neighbor own a bar and ask you to play? Were you "discovered" by a producer who drove by while you were jammin' in the garage? As for me, my singer/lead guitarist's ( Michael Hedges ) father was a local professor and we got an inside track to play for fraternity and sorority parties and dances. I left before Mike became a recording artist, but for a while there in '68/'69 or so getting $25 for a party gig was alright.
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  2. #2

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    Very carefully!!

  3. #3

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    I guess I don't consider playing for money as being "pro". Not unless it's all you do. As far as paid gigs goes, my brother's band needed a drummer and I could (almost) keep a basic beat. I think my 4th time behind a drum kit was a paid gig....and it was painfully evident. 25yrs later, I'm better than I was, but my lack of skill is still evident and the take-home pay is still the same $50. But....it's still fun.
    -Brian

    "Too many crappy used drum stuff to list"

    Play the SONG......not the DRUMS!!!

    "I think that feeling is a lot more important than technique. It's all very well doing a triple paradiddle - but who's going to know you've done it? If you play technically you sound like everybody else. It's being original that counts." ~ John Bonham

  4. #4

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    I drove a oil truck for a couple of years in the Jersey winters. After that, everything I made came from drums.

  5. #5

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    I grew up covering here and there for my dad's band in my teens.
    Then when I was in college I did some local studio work for people
    Then met the guys in my first big name band (we all went to school for music) and we were signed and started playing for real.
    I've been in several bar cover bands since leaving that group.
    19pc Yamaha Maple Custom Vintage | 10pc PDP X7 Sparkle Orange | 9pc Ludwig Jr. wine red | 8pc Pork Pie ZebraWood | 6pc Sonor | 5pc Orbitone | 4pc Sonor Martini | 39 Snare drums and growing!

  6. #6

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    Out of necessity. Back in '78, it was the easiest and most fun way to pay for school (and then some).

  7. #7

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    I was fortunate to grow into the biz in the Dallas clubs of the 70s......................and there were lots of them.
    At that time, if you were hired, it was for a 6-night gig.............always started on a Sunday night (then Monday off) and ended the next Saturday.

    These days I play in a cover band that plays once or twice per month...............we do it because we still love it and it is fun.
    Gretsch USA & Zildjian
    (What Else Would I Ever Need ?)


  8. #8

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    Back in my early twenties, I had an offer to go on the road with a country rock band. I jumped at the chance because at the time I had no job. I have no regrets. I got to see just my whole country (Canada) from coast to coast. An opportunity I may not otherwise have had.

    all the best...
    Last edited by kay-gee; 03-02-2017 at 01:56 PM.

  9. #9

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    Back when I started playing out , 1977 it was just what you did if you were in a band. We started playing high school dances and then once we were good enough we called some booking agents to come see us and get us into the clubs. 14 years later after relentlessly touring the New England Club circuit I was so sick of playing cover tunes I hung it up at age 31 and just continued to play for my own enjoyment in my basement.

    You have to remember back in my day there was no internet or you tube so you either played covers with a very few originals tossed in or you didn't play, so I chose to not play, new years eve 91 was my last gig.
    Last edited by NPYYZ; 03-02-2017 at 08:13 AM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by NPYYZ View Post
    Back when I started playing out , 1977 it was just what you did if you were in a band. We started playing high school dances and then once we were good enough we called some booking agents to come see us and get us into the clubs. 14 years later after relentlessly touring the New England Club circuit I was so sick of playing cover tunes I hung it up at age 31 and just continued to play for my own enjoyment in my basement.

    You have to remember back in my day there was no internet or you tube so you either played covers with a very few originals tossed in or you didn't play, so I chose to not play, new years eve 91 was my last gig.
    26 years?

    all the best...

  11. #11

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    I played the party scene for a few bucks here and there when I was in high school, but it was all for people I previously had known.

    When I got to college, I went to every open-mic night I could find to try and scope out the local talent. I met some guys, had some rehearsals, learned some songs, and played the same open mic nights for about a year. Eventually someone heard me play that had a regular gigging band. He was the drumset player and wanted to take a step back. He moved to hand drums and backup vocals (so he could miss a gig if needed), and I became the regular set player. Interestingly, I started playing hand drums in his other band (where he played set, sang, and played guitar), so we were in 2 bands with switched rolls. I did that for the next 4 years. When I graduated and moved away, I scoped out the local open-mic nights again and found another great group. Since then I have always just fell into one band or another.
    Website with free full song transcriptions: redeyepercussion.com
    Youtube channel with covers, lessons, and product reviews: youtube.com/RedeyeSPR

  12. #12

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    I got the bug in the early 80's. Back then, you could work a circuit and make $250 or more a week steadily. It was more fun than the day gigs so I went for it.
    - Tom

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  13. #13

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    never went officially "pro"

    But I've had a ton of fun and made a few bucks on the side!

    Nowadays, I only play with the worship band at church.....................still get to play my drums, have fun and keeps me out of trouble!

  14. #14

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    Never did drumming full time to be considered a "pro" but I've been a weekend warrior and making G.A.S. money since the '80's.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by N2Bluz View Post
    ...I think my 4th time behind a drum kit was a paid gig....and it was painfully evident...

  16. #16

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    Back in high school ,I had friends that played with the local VFW band .
    I got recruited to join and one of the perks was if you were in the musicians union ,you got paid to play.
    So everytime we played a concert in public ,we got like $18 bucks from the Musicians Performance Trust fund.

    From there I started playing with local combo bands for dances and weddings.

    Vince Colaiuta back in the day referred me to do some summer stock at the local theater doing 1776.
    FibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibes FibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibes FibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibes FibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibes FibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibes FibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibes FibesFibesFibesFibesFibesFibes

  17. #17

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    Some great stories there, folks.
    The boomy things:
    Mapex Orion Classic 6 pc
    The pingy/crashy things:
    K Custom Dark and K Darks
    A Customs
    Meinl Byzance
    Silken Sebring and Avus
    More cowbells than I have cows.
    The other things:
    Roland TD9, Pintech drum triggers, Yamaha cymbal triggers

  18. #18

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    I once knew a really cool guy named "Nate" who was a lead singer for this 80s hairmetal band called "Ruthless" in L.A. Anyways Nate got old so he became a really good blues singer and once told me that he actually got Vinnie Colaiuta to play on his solo album. I was like did you get Frank Z throw down some leads for you too? Anyways that's what he told me I guess it's true. Wish I had connections like that.

  19. #19

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    Vince was playing weddings and bar mitzvahs when he moved out to the west coast to make ends meet,so any gig that payed was more than welcome.

    Back in Pa ,I remember in high school he had a dance gig at a place called Saint Sebastian's every Sunday afternoon playing polkas and such.

    The lead trumpet player in the marching band use to tease him that he had a developed 2/4 feel in his playing.

    Vince used to get so pissed off.
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  20. #20

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    My turn... I had a next door neighbor who was the lead singer to a very popular Tejano (Tex-Mex) band , The Latin Breed . He had gone solo and came back to town to put his backup band together . His mom knew I played drums and told my mom that I should audition for the band . I said NO WAY ! I was in my last year of high school and had no plans on being a gigging drummer . I had a drum kit but I only played along to Tower of Power , Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears albums . I never played in a band or with other people ..at all . I was taking vocational classes at school in electronics and planed on being a TV repair man or something like that . Anyway..mom kept pestering me and his mom kept pestering him until he calls and said we should get together just to shut our moms up ! So show up with my POS drum kit and started playing to TOP's "What is Hip" . And he started putting other things for me to play along to . Then he asked me to come back the next day . The next day he had his bass player and keyboard player there and then we just jammed . Now I was not nervous at I was more embarrassed because my drums were total junk ! So I became the drummer . And these guys were total pros ...the roadies would set things up and bring us lunch . I literally that "babe in the woods" , "I was born yesterday" , "just fell off the turnip truck" guy .
    And so it went from there . I jumped on this whirlwind that is the music industry and haven't looked back since . A world of ups and downs . One moment you're on stage playing for thousands of people , backstage everyone wants to be next to you touching you , taking picture and wanting your name on a piece of paper . Then an hour later you're by yourself on the tour bus on the way to the next gig (in a hurry) alone with your thoughts staring out the window at the lights in the distance .

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by jedi View Post
    My turn... I had a next door neighbor who was the lead singer to a very popular Tejano (Tex-Mex) band , The Latin Breed . He had gone solo and came back to town to put his backup band together . His mom knew I played drums and told my mom that I should audition for the band . I said NO WAY ! I was in my last year of high school and had no plans on being a gigging drummer . I had a drum kit but I only played along to Tower of Power , Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears albums . I never played in a band or with other people ..at all . I was taking vocational classes at school in electronics and planed on being a TV repair man or something like that . Anyway..mom kept pestering me and his mom kept pestering him until he calls and said we should get together just to shut our moms up ! So show up with my POS drum kit and started playing to TOP's "What is Hip" . And he started putting other things for me to play along to . Then he asked me to come back the next day . The next day he had his bass player and keyboard player there and then we just jammed . Now I was not nervous at I was more embarrassed because my drums were total junk ! So I became the drummer . And these guys were total pros ...the roadies would set things up and bring us lunch . I literally that "babe in the woods" , "I was born yesterday" , "just fell off the turnip truck" guy .
    And so it went from there . I jumped on this whirlwind that is the music industry and haven't looked back since . A world of ups and downs . One moment you're on stage playing for thousands of people , backstage everyone wants to be next to you touching you , taking picture and wanting your name on a piece of paper . Then an hour later you're by yourself on the tour bus on the way to the next gig (in a hurry) alone with your thoughts staring out the window at the lights in the distance .
    Great story Rudy; something books and movies are made from.

  22. #22

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    You get paid?
    Signature here

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by late8 View Post
    Ohhh Yeahhh!!! Where do I get one of those?

    Look a little complicated to set up, however.
    -Brian

    "Too many crappy used drum stuff to list"

    Play the SONG......not the DRUMS!!!

    "I think that feeling is a lot more important than technique. It's all very well doing a triple paradiddle - but who's going to know you've done it? If you play technically you sound like everybody else. It's being original that counts." ~ John Bonham

  24. #24

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    I saw that guy on utube playing that Hee Haw drum kit. You need alot of balance and he did pretty darn tootin good too.
    Keep on drumming and have fun doing it.

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  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl MCX Man View Post
    I saw that guy on utube playing that Hee Haw drum kit. You need alot of balance and he did pretty darn tootin good too.
    There's a video of this guy Gilles? Thanks man...I'll look it up!

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