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First performance for 2012, and the importance of being versatile.

this is a “Video Souvenir” of our first performance for the New Year, 2012, at good ol’ Taco Surf in Surfside, CA.  they contacted us just a few days prior, and i asked the guys if they felt like playing on New Years Day and everyone was cool with it.

if you watch the video, you might notice that i play drum set, and other times i play steel drums.  this is because i feel it is important for all of our players to be able to perform on different instruments.  in this case, Gabe the Drummer plays steel drum as well, hence my need to back him up on drum set.

why do i feel this versatility is important?

i feel it is important for several different reasons.

the first being the awareness as a musician.  i played drum set for years, as i backed many singers, as well as instrumentalist.  the first time i stood in front of a band and sang and played, i was amazed at how important the drummer was to the song, the gig, the vibe.  it was a real eye opener, and i don’t think most drummers ever get the chance to stand in front of the drum set and perform.  this awareness helps the drummer be more sensitive to the singer, and to truly understand what it means to support and add to a musical situation, rather than detract………something many other musicians often complain about in regards to insensitive drummers.   when i stood in front of the band, i became aware of how the dynamics of the drummer will dictate the dynamics of the band.  this is important if a drummer would like to work and get paid……….what a concept, huh?

secondly, i have a policy in this band that everyone must be able to lead their own gig…………with out me present.   i do this so that nobody is absolutely dependent on another musician.  we can all work and gig, even if the leader is gone.  i have booked duos, trios, quartets and more with much success to hundreds of clients.  sometimes a client gets in a jam and desperately needs a band that evening.  in this scenario, i am able to send some players one way, and other players another way.  it all works out for the best, and i believe this practice to be one of the unique strengths of Steel Parade.  when i interview potential musicians, i ask “do you play any other instruments?”  i ask this question so that i may see the versatility of each musician.  in my 21 years as a full time musician, i have found being versatile is a necessary quality that helps pay the rent.

thirdly, i believe being a leader helps one become a good follower.  booking gigs, relaying information to the players, communicating with clients, directing the band, etc, are all issues a leader encounters and a follower does not.  it’s good for the follower to understand the leader.  this makes for a good team atmosphere, and everyone is on the same page in regards to creating a great performance for each event.  in this band, there really are no issues with leader vs follower.  as the leader in Steel Parade, i couldn’t ask for a more supportive group of musicians. they’re professional.  they’re good.  it’s cool.

Chris the Bass Player also sings, plays acoustic guitar, djembe, and various percussion.

Joe the Percussionist also sings, plays bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and double bass steel drums.

Gabe the Drummer also plays bass, acoustic guitar, djembe and various percussion, tenor steel drum, and double bass steel drums.

Max the Conga Player also sings, plays djembe and various percussion, drum set, and tenor steel drum.

each musician is an experienced band leader.

that’s how we do it around here.

your comments?