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A Crazy Saturday Night Playing Drums at the County Fair

It’s our last 2 shows of the weekend at the Clallam County Fair.  To get to this point, I’ve loaded my drums in the car, travelled 3 hours, set up my drums 3 times for 3 shows, had a mildly upset stomach from eating “road food” and have spent 29 of the past 31 hours “on the road” but not playing the drums.  Not to mention the threat of being electrocuted by lightning!

And, even though I’ve played in the band for several years, I’m not in any of the promotional pictures.  That’s okay, though, because (from past experience) as soon as I’m included in a band picture, the band breaks up :)

Has all this effort been worth it just to play drums at a county fair?  Absolutely!

This is the final installment in a series of 3 posts about my mini-road trip to the Clallam County Fair in Port Angeles, WA.  The first post covered getting to the gig and our Friday night shows (2 days in the Life of a County Fair Drummer – Friday).  Post 2 (Seafood Eggs Benedict, Goodwill and Electrocution) described what we did all day Saturday to kill time and get ready for the shows.

Here’s what happened Saturday evening as we played both shows:
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How to Play a Blues Shuffle Drum Beat

For a drummer, nothing feels better than playing a straight-ahead, no-frills blues shuffle “in the groove” like the one below.

Even though “groove” in this case is a feeling, drummers will have fun talking about “groove” as if it’s a real, physical thing, like a crease in the pavement or the groove on a vinyl record. They will describe grooves as “deep,” “in-the-pocket” or “wide.”  The conversation typically goes something like this:

Drummer 1: “That groove my band played last night was so wide!”

Drummer 2: “How wide was it?”

Drummer 1: “It was so wide you could’ve driven a Mack truck through it!”

Drummer 2: “Man, that’s a wide groove.”

Drummer 1: “Yeah, it was so wide, the Mississippi could’ve run through it!”

Drummer 2: “Whoa, that is wide.”

Drummer 1: “You could’ve landed a 747 in that groove and the wings wouldn’t have touched the sides.”

Your goal as a drummer is to Read More…

Seafood Eggs Benedict, Goodwill and Electrocution

I bet you didn’t know that a glamorous life on the road as a drummer includes eating breakfast at a local cafe, a trip to the Goodwill store and having to worry about getting electrocuted on stage (and “no,” it wasn’t part of the act).  Those things and more were a part of a recent road trip I took to Port Angeles, WA where I played drums in The Chris Ward Band for the Clallam County Fair.

This is the 2nd in a 3 part series about a weekend on the road as a drummer.  As mentioned in the first part of my adventure (2 days in the Life of a County Fair Drummer – Friday), musicians get paid for the 22 hours of the day when we’re NOT on stage.  And that’s what this series is about: The other 22 hours.

On Friday night we played 2 one-hour shows as “Chris Ward’s Tribute to The Eagles.” And on Saturday we were scheduled to play 2 one-hour shows of country-rock music as “The Chris Ward Band.”

We had a lot of fun Friday night and made a lot of new friends.  But there was a storm brewing when we left and we weren’t sure if we would be playing in the rain Saturday night.
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How to Play a Slow Blues Drum Beat

The Blues… If you’ve got ‘em you know it. There’s nothing worse than that “down in the dumps”, “nobody can help me”, “leave me alone”, “I’m sad; why aren’t you?” feeling. And when songwriters get the blues, look out! They will write some of the most mournful, gut-wrenching, heartfelt songs you’ve ever heard. That is why when a drummer plays the blues, the beat must be simple but played with a lot of feeling.

I have this theory that the most popular rock, pop and country songs over the past 50 years can be played with one of six drum beats.  For background on my idea, read these posts: 6 Simple but Powerful Drum Beats – Part 1 and Part 2.  In this post, you’ll be learning The Slow Blues Drum Beat which is the 4th of the 6 beats.

The Blues

“The Blues” can mean different things to different people.
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2 Days in the Life of a County Fair Drummer (Friday)

So you wanna be a star drummer?  Here’s an inside look at what goes into being a “star.”  It’s not all glamorous but it’s still a lot of fun to play the drums in front of a crowd!

There’s an old saying among musicians that we get paid for the 22 hours a day that we’re not on stage.  In other words, we need to get paid for all the time it takes to travel, set up and practice but we don’t need to get paid for the time we spend on stage because we enjoy it so much!

We love to perform and would probably do it for free if we could somehow transport ourselves to the stage with all our equipment set up and all the preparations complete.  With that in mind, I thought I’d give you a peek into a normal gig weekend where I’m playing out of town with a band.
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