tour, drumming & yoga

So many things to blog about, but where to start?


Well, I’ll start with what I’m working on, and what my day to day is while I’m here on tour, and explain backwards and forwards from there.


…or not…      how ’bout I just start here:


I’ve been a drummer for Blue Man Group for over 5 years now, and I have to say that the physicality required to do this show is quite different than any other show that I’ve played.  First of all, there’s a lot of LOUD drumming in the show, and secondly, a lot of the patterns are played on the toms  (lots of tribal rock stuff),   and these toms are tunes pretty low in their tuning range, and have thick heads-  so all of this means that the heads aren’t going to give much response back to the stick.   In other words, it’s a good amount of work on the hands, shoulders, and hips (hips because of the intense foot work involved as well).  Lots of drummers have gotten into this show, and had difficulties and/or injuries with their hands, hips, backs-  you name it.   I remember Josh, one of the drummers at the New York show who trained us, telling us “new trainee drummers” that Blue Man would sure get our drumming muscles in shape- and he was right.

But for my first 5 years as a Blue Man drummer, I was a “part-time” drummer, meaning that there were other guys who were the full time guys, and I was scheduled in as needed.  During the busy seasons I was doing 3-4 (sometimes more) shows per week, but  during the slow seasons, I could be doing 1-2 shows per week, perhaps only 1 show every other week.  Which meant for me that the physicality of the show, as well as the flow of the show, and the connection to the Blue Men could get a bit wonky.  My game would be a little off-  especially compared to the guys who were doing the show full time.

Throughout my time as a Blue Man drummer, I noticed that the guys who were doing it full time had this ease about how they were playing the show-  they could get up there and play an intense, exciting show, but it seemed effortless for them.  They didn’t have to warm up hardly at all, but were totally in the game when they got on stage.  And so, this is one of my goals as a drummer while I’m out here on tour,  doing more shows than the full time guys do in the cities with stationary shows:  I want to attain a level of ease, and at the same time,  maintain that exciting edge to my playing.  Because I feel like if I can get that with this show, that I’ll be able to bring that into all aspects of my drumming, no matter what gig I’m doing.

And already, one month into the tour, I’m amazed at how much easier it is already becoming.  Now, I’ve also really started to work out on a daily basis.  When I was home in Orlando, I was doing 30min of yoga perhaps 2 times a week, on a good week.  Aside from that, playing with Taiyo (my son) was my only exercise.  And while I really enjoyed playing with Taiyo, it’s not the same thing as a good work out.  So now on tour, I have some yoga videos that I’ve been doing that are more intense, and I started with 30 min sessions 3 – 4 times per week, but am really trying to amp it up to where I’m doing a 45min-1 hour session 5 – 6 times per week.  Plus the actual programs are tougher than what I was doing in Orlando.  And I can already tell a difference.  Of course, my body needs a good amount of sleep to keep up with the new workouts, but that’s something that tour is actually affording me.  During the week, our call times aren’t until 6 or 6:30, so I can sleep in till 2 (like I did today), and still have time to get up, meditate (more on that later), do some yoga, make myself an egg & kale sandwich on toasted sour dough bread, do some facetime with my family, and still be on time to work because the theater is only minutes away.

I’m also walking more now, because we’re just dropped into these cities, and if we want groceries, we gotta figure out how to go get ’em.  Which usually means getting out and walking.  And I actually enjoy the walking quite a bit.  It’s a great way to get the feel for a city very quickly (more on that later too)

Like I said, this is one of my first blogs, and it’s a bit scattered, but as I get further into this whole site, I’ll get more focused and figure out my groove on this whole thing.


thanks for reading-



Published by rionsmith

drummer husband father philosopher composer lover of life

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