The Positive Spin on Drums
by Chris Belin
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!