By the time I went to Japan, for this last trip in April-May of this year, I knew that I would be full-time with Blue Man in July. So, of course my wife Yuki and I talked at length about what this means, how good it would be for us as a family, and how much of a change it would be for me, as far as my relationship to my time.
While I was part-time at Blue Man, I was almost completely in charge of how I used my time. Blue Man would approach me, and ask when I was available for the coming month. So, if I had other gigs, or wanted to take a trip, or whatever the reason, I could make myself ‘unavailable’ for said dates. It allowed me the freedom to take month-long trips to Japan, or have out of town gigs with other bands whenever I wanted.
As a full-timer, I will be much more on their schedule. Any time I want to take off will be very official, and there will be paperwork involved, as well as a limited amount of time off available. This is just the reality of the situation. I’m entering into my full time work with Blue Man very happily and gratefully, but also aware of what it means to how I use my time.
The truth is that my relationship to my time will be very different. So, while I was in Japan, and talking over these things with Yuki, I mentioned how my Yoga teacher was leading a yoga retreat to Thailand very soon, and how much I would love to do it. To my surprise, Yuki actually encouraged me to go for it! So I immediately began to look into it, only to realize that it was happening just after I started full time, so I would be unable to go.
But I still had it in my mind- it sure would be good to go and deepen my yoga practice before beginning my full time work, which will be physically demanding, and I will very much need to keep myself in top physical shape to ensure that I can do this for many years to come.
So I looked around for other possible yoga retreats, and thru some searching found a place called Samadi Bali that is a year round yoga shala that offers yoga/wellness retreats that include a room, breakfast/lunch, unlimited yoga, Balinese massages, a few other therapy sessions, and a consultation session to tailor the retreat to my needs. I was also drawn to this place because of their emphasis on Ashtanga Yoga, which is the style that I’ve been practicing for over 2 years now, and has given me more benefit than all the years prior in which I had dabbled in different yoga styles.
While I was still in Japan, Blue Man Orlando was emailing me to ask what my availability was for June. So I needed to book this trip, and work out all of the details quickly, which I managed to do.
I returned to the States, and began preparing to go to Bali…. In the meantime I received an email from Billy Martin’s (from the band Medeski, Martin, and Wood) mailing list, talking about his Rhythm, Sound, and Magic workshop/ week-long camp that would be happening just after I returned from Bali on June 16th. I was booked to play at Kevin Maine’s CD release party on June 17th, where I would open with Hannah Harber & the Lionhearts, and close with Shak Nasti, and Blue Man had booked me for one show, on June 18th, then not again until June 24th. The Rhythm Sound and Magic Camp was June 19th thru June 23rd. It just might work. It seemed that this window of opportunity had presented itself. I had just dropped some pretty coin on booking the yoga retreat, but for years, I had seen the camps that Billy puts on, and had always wanted to go. Should I do it? Could I? I knew that I wanted to…. Logistically it was a bit crazy, because the transportation to and from was pretty mysterious…. Just fly into NYC, and somehow get to the NYC Port Authority bus terminal, then there was a bus from there that would take me to Big Indian, NY, and somehow get picked up to get to this place called the Full Moon Resort. Well, I hesitated, and milled it over in my mind, and, even though it wasn’t cheap, I decided to go for it. I wasn’t sure when I’d have the opportunity to do this again, so I better do it while I can.
And, I’m so glad I did!
I can’t say how grateful I am to have had both experiences, and all with the loving support of my wonderful, beautiful wife of 17 years. Only my life partner who’s been through so many years and so many life experiences with me would understand me enough to say, “Go! Do it!”
At a campfire bond with my Samba-Batucada-Low-End-partner-in-rhythm Josh (whom I met at the rhythm camp), summed it up with this: “When your girl tells you to go to drum camp, YOU GO TO F###IN DRUM CAMP!”
So far, I haven’t posted anything from either experience. I made a conscious effort to experience both things as much as possible, and not to get tangled up in posting to social media. I knew my life would slow down a bit once I returned, and before full time work started up in July, so I figured I’d do it all then (which is now).
So, for the next few weeks, you’ll be seeing me post pictures and videos from Bali, Indonesia, and then from Big Indian, NY. But, I’m not in either place. I’m here in Orlando, posting some not-so-insta Instagram posts- but, at least for me, it was well worth the wait.
Much more coming SOON!!
It’s time for me to make the Big change. In myself, in my life, in my drumming.
This year, I just turned 40. The Big 4-0. To celebrate, and to help invite that change into my life, I’m going to undergo 40 Days of Drumming. I will eat, sleep, and drum. That’s it. I will not be logging on to Facebook, I won’t be texting anyone, I won’t utter a word to another human being. I will be in isolation from the rest of the world, alone with me and my drums. My mom and dad have graciously offered up their home, and to help out with my food during this time. We still have to work out the details, but in a sense, they will be providing room and board. So I can simply go to the fridge and grab something to eat, then get back to drumming.
I want to re-invent myself as a drummer, re-invent HOW I approach the drums. I want to learn to play the drums in such a way that I can still play when I’m 80.
It’s amazing to me how different “the same” show can be every night.
Being on tour, we are playing, at least on paper, the same show, every night. But it never feels exactly the same. For myself, it’s not so much the specific events, or notes that get played that are so different. It’s how different it can feel.
Now, I’m very focused right now on getting myself in good shape. Mainly through yoga. Yoga focuses on alignment of the body, and symmetric movement, as well as breath, energy flow, and a clam state of mind. The Blue Man show by nature (at least for drummers) is a very asymmetric show. It’s very right hand and right foot driven. That’s just the way the parts are written, as well as the way a traditional drum set is designed. The way the hands cross over for the Hi Hat/Snare Drum combo, and the fact that the right foot plays the largest drum on the entire kit, while the left foot plays a dainty pair of light weight cymbals. That’s a very different workload. (more…)
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 (more…)