I just watched a great special on Netflix, ‘Standup For Drummers’ by Fred Armisen. This was a fun reminder for three essential concepts: history, humour, and finding the balance of ‘caring so much we find the zone where we don’t care’, or not giving a f**&. Let’s get into all three concepts, then dive in and enjoy watching this special.
The history of the drumset is about a century old, but you can go deeper. Drummer Steve Smith is an enthusiastic student of history, and he recommended a book called ‘Blues People’ by Leroi Jones that goes back all the way to the 1600’s and roots of slavery, which is tandem to the history of the drumset and modern music. So, you can go back as far as you want! Drums are the original human instrument after all, perhaps after the voice. This richness found in the past gives us an understanding on how things evolved to the way they are today. One of my favorite reasons is the uncovering of all the great music, stories, and characters that make up the past one hundred years. Ironically, knowing your history also gives you a firm foot towards the FUTURE, because you are seeing more clearly with detachment, and can now question the present, seeing with fresh eyes. Let’s be curious and constantly question everything, allowing us to reinvent ourselves and live on the edge of our abilities to uncover our truest potential. This is not a comfortable place to live, but the rewards are great! This is true self expression of YOU, and not letting your voice get lost in the crowd of mediocrity.
Let’s not forget to LAUGH! Drums are supposed to be fun… that’s why we PLAY the drums! With such a challenging instrument, we need to keep our sense of humour. And, let’s see the ridiculousness of what we doing, hitting things after all! I have been lucky to spend time with some of the elder legends of drumming, and you always see a strong sense of humour in the greats of our craft.
As for ‘Not Giving A F**&’, what does this mean?? This is the yin yang of the balance of art, meaning we care so deeply about improving our craft, that we need to live slightly in the space of thinking (almost pretending) that we DON’T care about the outcome. There is the yin yang of a balance of the two sides, finding a little of both in each, because this is admittedly a bit of a paradox. But no one can strangle an ability to grow, force ideas, or to make an outcome happen out of sheer will. We need to let go, surrender, and trust our instincts. Saying ‘F-it’ is where great art lives. Go for it and trust yourself! BELIEVE. Not knowing what is going to happen, following a crazy idea, and surrendering to the process when you listen to your gut, feels scary! But this is the only place where true innovation lives, in that split second of taking the leap off the cliff. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?? Let us create fearlessly.
Watch this comedy special, let the world melt away, and then learn, laugh, and create!