Monday, December 5, 2011

Gear and stuff

I was just looking at an article on Paul Motian's cymbals and it reminded of another way this particular artist went his own way. Mr. Motian played cymbals from a combination of companies.
I assume he found what he wanted, and then stuck with it. He probably would have been in more ads etc. if he would have been exclusive to one manufacturer, but that obviously wasn't very important to him. I mention this because I think I am guilty of getting overly concerned with endorsements and press. Now, I have worked with both Vic Firth and Zildjian for some time now, and both companies have been great to me and have given me a lot of support over the years, which I'm very grateful for. I do feel, however, especially in my pursuit of a drum deal, that I have lost focus on what's important occasionally. I have drums that sound good and work well. Some I've paid for and some I have not. I don't necessarily need any more gear, and I think some of this is in pursuit of getting my ego stroked, which has nothing to do with the music.

I also feel sometimes I have overly focused on the gear. Some years back, my 20" old K Zildjian started cracking. This caused me a huge amount of stress. I had been playing that cymbal since high school and assumed I would be playing it for the rest of my life. Before I decided what to do about it I continued playing with other various Zildjians I had owned, both old and new. Did I suddenly forget how to play? No. Did the quality of my playing go on a massive downward turn? I don't think so. Ultimately this was a good experience of teaching me regardless of the gear, I have a sound and a way of playing, and that's going to be there no matter what I play on. (P.S. Roger Flock drilled a couple of holes in the cymbal, and it's been fine for about 10 years now.)
I no longer face drums (or cymbals) that I've never played before with trepidation and trust in the fact that I can create something with whatever is there. Apparently artists such as Joey Baron and Billy Hart often don't even bring cymbals on the road with them anymore. Why should they? Their talent and musicality will transcend any gear their using. Get the sound you want in your head and heart and it can go with you anywhere!

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