Keeping aware of your environment. A short survival guide for drummers.
When you are playing in public …which I have since the early 70’s.. you learn to keep your eyes open and be aware of who and what is around you at all times. It is not paranoia it is awareness. Knowledge will keep you afloat.
The drums as we all know can invoke interesting responses from almost anyone who hears them. Form someone coming up to hit the drum with out asking to someone drunk wanting to rub on you. Sometimes people come up happy and want to thank us and some times hysterical. If you have been around then you know exactly what I am talking about. It takes all types.
Therefore, when we are out there we all need to be careful, especially in bars, parties and drum circles. Anything can happen and sometimes does. You don’t want to have your eyes closed and someone runs up and knocks into you. I can tell you some stories,and maybe I will but for now I will continue here.
When there is alchohol, drugs are people gathered in large groups there needs to be an awareness of who is acticng particularly crazy around or near us. It is best to avoid problems drumming before they happen and with a little care and fore site you often can. Know your environment ask about your gig, party, drum circle before you go. its always great to have data to prepare for.
It does not matter who you are or where you are, stuff can and does happen. Sometimes it is as simple as moving or stopping to play to avoid trouble. Whatever you do, don’t get suckered in to responding to nonsense. Walking away is fine and living to drum another day. Listen to your inner guide, your stomach or whatever it is that gives you guidance.
If you walk up to a drumming situation and you feel ill at ease there is probably a good reason. SOmetimes I will go to a drum circle and when i get close I physically feel ill. In this case I don’t go. There can be so much energy and vibes flying around it might not be good for us sometimes.
A survival tool I like to use is distance. I always try to distance myself from any potential problems or people.
For example, since we play in parks a lot i like to play on the bandstand where we go as the drunks can not get in our face. This distancing is healthy and helps us all to relax. In India we had to put lawn chairs down as a barrier as the drunks were kicking up sand from their frantic dancing during our nightly jams on the beach.
You want your eyes open and to be fully aware at all times any time you are playing in public. This has helped me survive several interesting situations. If your eyes are closed you are possibly inviting energy you may bot want.
First, when I go into any new situation and even familiar situations. I like to survey the area and the place I am going to play. Be it with a band, a jam or whatever. I am always looking at exits, who is beside me, in front of me, etc. This way just like on an airplane if something happens I know where to go. You may think this all sounds paranoid but again if you have been around then you know exactly what I am talking about.
Stay smart, do your do dilligence. Keep aware and open minded and you can get through almost anything that pops up when you are drumming.
Always remember to keep your drum covered and packed when you are not playing it. If you dont want a foll to grab your drum when you are on break at a gig then cover it well. If I can I will actually cover and move the drums back and away. Why invite mis opportunity when you can avoid. We know how people are going to act so instead of acting hopeful and leaving your gear out, be prepared and keep it covered and out of harms way. People will use your drum,covered or not as a table!