Saturday, September 26, 2009

DRUM TECHING 101: A three part “Drum Dungeon Series”

Part One: How to Get the Gig

This is being written so we can share a few of our own personal views on “drum teching”, and illuminate some helpful hints on how to become a working-professional drumtech. Having been asked the same questions so often; ''How do you become a drumtech'' or ''How did you get this gig'', we felt it was time to write up a tight little series on our experiences and our observations along the way. And remember friends; this is not a total “How To”, but just some words of wisdom that we would like to share, from people that have been doing this for most of their lives in one form or another.

Well, to start with, there are many different ways, and many different avenues to take that could eventually lead you to the drum tech position. From contacting as many band sites and management agencies, promoters, etc. with your resume – online, on the phone and in-person - to the simplest way; already knowing some peeps in the industry that can help give you a leg up and get you your first gigs.

But aside from that, assuredly most of us, no matter how we ultimately get there or plan on getting there, had our start or will need to start, by humping OUR OWN gear to develop the skill set needed to KNOW HOW to properly set-up, tune, secure, then tear-down and properly pack-up a drum kit with all of it’s accessories.

Now some might just tag along with there friends band being their ''Roadie'', which probably includes driving the van, unloading the gear, setting up the drums, and everything in between and after. Where others had or will have their own bands and schlep their own gear for at least a few years (both scenarios, even together, are highly recommended). Ah, the good old days!

Surprisingly, some of the drummers out there were once the drumtech for the very band they are now playing in. But most, including myself, have come to be a professional drumtech by the same means that most do, by just staying in the field and networking. I was lucky enough to make some great contacts and got thrown right into it, my first gig working for Chris Slade [AC/DC, The Firm, Asia, etc], through my industry friend, Don “Dodger” Dodge. And, that first tour was after many years of doing the same old grind of setting up my own kit and teching for other local bands [usually for free drinks if I was lucky], and all the while networking my ass off!

Networking, that is THE biggest, number one thing you can do. Get out there, meet the people, all the bands, at all the venues – leave your cards, help out for free, you almost always will be more than welcome, as the extra hands are usually needed [before and after the show], and now you get a chance to learn the ropes from pro crews. Now not just drum teching, but learning to, and becoming a solid overall roadie [or road technician]. The more valuable you can make yourself the better – a well rounded guy might not get a steady teching gig right away, but if you start out humping road cases, you will most likely be there when a new opening comes up for a specific slot – and if you’re a reliable hand, AND you happen to know drums, chances are if a drumtech slot opens you will be their man. Also, moving to the areas that have the most shows on a steady basis [big cities, etc.] also can help immensely; if that is something you are able to do.

Stay Tuned for Part Two: The Ins-and Outs