Chris Belin Drums - Traveling Drum School & Freelance Drumming
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May 2012

Essentials for performing outdoors

The Positive Spin on Drums
by Chris Belin


Essentials for performing outdoors 

   Yesterday was my first official outdoor show of the season, and it definitely lived up to the true nature of what can happen while performing outside. For starters, It was hot and muggy with periods of extreme sun reflecting off of my cymbals. I noticed that during set up in between swatting bugs from my face! Then came the allergy attack, which for me personally is common for late May. That’s my “Welcome to Summer” from Mother Nature! Finally in true western Pennsylvania fashion came the heavy downpours of rain, which were sporadic enough so we could stop playing, cover the equipment, uncover the equipment, start playing, & repeat the cycle again.    
  After all that, the venue put is inside where we did the final set. The crowd was fun and the show was a great time. Even with all the rain they were patient and cool. The venue was very hospitable and had great intentions with us playing outside. There was a really cool tiki bar type atmosphere behind the venue. There was cover but unfortunately it rained so hard our stuff still got wet, but not ruined :)    
  Years ago I compiled this list I often show to students that runs down a top ten list of items I feel every drummer should have on hand, not including normal drum equipment, when performing outdoors. I needed all of these yesterday!! 

  1. Sunglasses
  2. Sunscreen
  3. Bug spray
  4. Allergy medicine
  5. Extra water bottle 
  6. Towel(s)
  7. Water resistant covering
  8. Small fan
  9. Duct tape (many applications!) 
  10. Hoodie (in case you or your significant other gets cold)

Pre-show Rituals

The Positive Spin on Drums 
by Chris Belin

Pre-show Rituals

   Just like anyone going thru their morning routine before work or school I have my pre-show rituals I do before a show. A show for me is usually “part 2” of my day, normally having students beforehand. This is common if the performance is in town or tri-state area. Teaching before shows is great, usually the first thing that gets me excited for the show. I also drive by myself and transport my own equipment to most shows so I can schedule lessons right up to when I have to leave.    
  After the lessons are done, I usually figure out food plans if I haven’t already. It’s never good to start a show hungry then try to find food on a set break. Not always the easiest task, especially if the venue is in a rural area or if you want to eat somewhat healthy. A lot of times the venues have food options for purchase or they have free stuff as part of your rider.  Honestly, all I ever ask for in a rider is water! I’m simple, not “bowls of M&M’s with all the colors but brown” type of stuff. Even if I was rocking arenas all over the globe I wouldn’t act like that. I usually will do research on the venue and see what cool local food places are nearby. Any kind of mom & pop coffee shop, pizza place, sandwich shop, organic market, or diner is usually what i’m seeking out. AppleBee’s is everywhere so I tend to avoid the chain stuff, opting for a food adventure.
   A big part of my pre-show ritual is listening to music. Since i’m usually driving solo I get full control of the airwaves! The music selection starts with listening to songs from the artist i’m performing with that night, especially newly learned songs or last minute quick reviews of updated arrangements. Then i’ll normally flip to the genre(s) i’m playing that night, get into the sounds and vibes of what pioneering artists have done in that field. Lastly, I love to find music from when I was a kid. The music I listened to when i first started dreaming about being a musician playing live, or songs my mom always listened to in the car while on the way to school. It used to be difficult to find at times because stations vary from city to city. Now I have Sirius radio in my car, which has tons of nostalgic stations from every era making it so easy to consistently find what I’m in the mood for.     
  Approximately fifteen minutes before I arrive to the venue I usually just enjoy silence, driving around with the windows down and just relaxing. I may make a non-business related phone call to someone for quick catch up (hands free blue tooth of course!). When I make it to the venue it’s usually load in, set up, & soundcheck. If there is time I always attempt to sight see and experience the area. After that, I warm up on a drum pad, usually by myself, getting my hands feeling comfortable for the set (videos on that coming soon.) Then I make sure i’m looking as good as I possibly can. Finally up to showtime I’ll either mingle in the crowd, lounge in the backstage room, or watch the opening acts.    
  The following clip is one of my soundcheck rituals to ensure my sticks are up to par for the show!

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Pre-show Ritual; stick test
This video goes in conjunction with my May 21, 2012 blog titled "Pre-show Rituals". This clip reveals a test i do on each stick i'm using for a show during soundcheck. The focus is to eliminate sticks...

New Student Videos; Solomon Cole & Tyler Tedesco

The Positive Spin on Drums
by Chris Belin


New student videos; Tyler Tedesco & Solomon Cole

   I just finished the final edits this week on two new student videos. The first video features the young aspiring Jedi master-in-training Solomon Cole, who loves Star Wars and his performance was inspired by the Imperial March. He amazes me every time I see him, the sky is the limit for Solomon!
   The second clip features Tyler Tedesco, who proposed the idea of doing his own drum part to an old folk song redone by Johnny Cash. I thought this was a great idea and offered to film it. He wrote all the parts with no influence from me, I just smiled after he played it for me! Tyler continues to mature as a player every time I see him and this video proves his musicality. He's currently a big fan of Metal music but is also open to other genres.
   Both videos will be added to my <Traveling> Drum School page. More are on the way. Hope you all enjoy!!

SOLOMON COLE
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Solomon Cole drum solo
First drum video by Traveling Drum School student Solomon Cole. Enjoy!

TYLER TEDESCO
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"God's Gonna Cut You Down"
A version of Johnny Cash's "God's Gonna Cut You Down" written & performed by Tyler Tedesco

The Satin Hearts make the FMQB Top 50 most added nationally to radio!

The Positive Spin on Drums 
by Chris Belin
  
The Satin Hearts make the FMQB Top 50 most added nationally to radio! 

   It’s been a great few weeks for The Satin Hearts, a band i’m in with Marci Eustice, Fran Rifugiato, & James Capp. Our new album, ‘Living On Overdrive”, has been getting great feedback and radio stations all across the US, plus some in Canada, have been adding songs to their airwaves. I’ve been reading the reports for weeks now and they keep getting better! More stations add us every week and some send messages notifying us they’re increasing the amount of plays on their station. This past week we cracked the Top 50 (at #45) for songs added nationally to commercial radio!! Still none in our hometown as of yet, but we’re hopeful. :)   
  As for the stations playing us, they are mostly mix of college & adult contemporary. As far as we know, “Sucker For Your Love”, “Cyber Stalking Girl”, & “Wild Child” are the songs that have been played. We can’t be 100% sure as the college stations can play whatever they want and can change it up. Below is one of the lists I recently received from a station who added “Wild Child”, which is currently doing really well on the adult contemporary and AAA stations. More stations are slated to add us this week!! There is more info and a current list of stations playing us on the bands official site; www.TheSatinHearts.com.   

Q-104.9 TODAYS HIT MUSIC
WEEK OF4/23/12   

SPINS     
45  RIHANNA WE FOUND LOVE 
45  J.O..B. MESSINGER 
45  MARIAH VER HOEF SUMMERTIME 
32  KATY PERRY THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY 
32  FLO RIDER GOOD FEELING 
32  LMFAO SEXY AND I KNOW IT 
28  ANKIT LOVE BEETHOVEN BURST 
28  DAVID GUETTA WITHOUT YOU 
28  ADELE SET FIRE TO RAIN 
28  MARK WIRTZ I NEED TO FALL IN LOVE 
21  JAMIE MITGES A GIFT OF LOVE 
21  KELLY CLARKSON MR. KNOW IT ALL 
21  J.COLE WORK IT 
21  T-PAIN 5’OCLOCK 
21  JESSIE J DOMINO 
21  BRUNO MARS IT WILL RAIN 
15  YASMIN TAYEBY STRANGER 
15  GAVIN DEGRAW NOT OVER YOU 
15  THE MAIER PROJECT CRIMSON SECRET 
10  THE HOOKS COMIN’ AFTER LOVE
5   STUDER IT’S THAT TIME 
5   RICHARD ANTHONY LOVE IS THE POWER 
5   ED HALE SCENE IN SAN FRANCISCO 
5   THE NEURONS DIAMONDS & PEARLS 
5   DRAKE TAKE CARE 
5   RICHARD KINCAID AIN’T NO SUNSHINE 
5   THE WANTED GLAD YOU CAKE 
5   GOOD KING FRIDAY CAROUSEL 
5   CALVIN HARRIS FEELS SO CLOSE 
5   MACY GRAY SAIL 
5   FRANK D'ANGLEO 'YOURE THE ONE 
5   VANMARTER PROJECT TOMORROW GUARANTEED 
5   MARJI DEE THE LAST TIME 
5   THE SATIN HEARTS WILD CHILD



Fresh drum heads & spicing up stale playing routines :)

The Positive Spin on Drums
by Chris Belin


Fresh drum heads & spicing up stale playing routines :)


   Late Sunday night I did a percussion maintenance session at YCS studios, replacing drum heads on one of the house kits. I fitted the "almost vintage" Ludwig toms, 12X9 and 16X16, with Remo vintage emperor coated tops / ambassador coated bottoms. This was the first time I used the vintage emperors. They are slightly thicker than the originals, which helps bring out more warmth and low end. After some playing and experimenting with different tunings, I decided to film some sound samples for today's blog. The heads worked well at a variety of pitches, especially in the low mid range, which the clip below showcases. Overall I was really pleased with the results, as was the engineer. I feel any drummer seeking out a good solid Classic Rock sound would be satisfied with this combination. Honestly If I had to use tom heads like these for a Jazz gig, I'm sure I could totally make it work. 
  Also for the video, I decided not to use any cymbals, a concept I learned from Stephen Perkins in 1998. His philosophy is basicially spend some time playing the drum set without any cymbals, to rethink or reinvent your style. He said he spent almost a month doing that once. I spent the bulk of my playing session this morning cymbal free as I've done many times before. For me, the experience is rewarding. Plus you get to hear the tom sound with no cymbal interference! I've done the opposite as well, only playing the cymbals. I'll be demonstrating that in a future blog! Till next week...
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4/30/12 blog; Fresh drum heads & spicing up stale playing routines :)
Please check out the April 5th, 2012 blog @ www.ChrisBelinDrums.com for more info on this clip.

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