Updated: Jan 4
Growing and cultivating positive and reliable relationships is the basis of the music business. It's true what they say... "You never know where your next gig is going to come from". Or WHO it's gonna come from! After patiently waiting 10 years, I'm happy to publicly announce that I am now officially the drummer for Mannheim Steamroller!
Back in 2012, I was living in Las Vegas and was asked to play the Vegas production of Mannheim Steamroller "Winter in Venice" at the Venetian. It was a lot of fun and a huge learning experience for me. I flew out to Omaha with the Music Director, Dave Loeb, and I met everyone at the Mannheim home base from Chip Davis himself, to all the production people and musicians. The whole operation was foreign to me. I was not aware of the production nor the music. It was two solid months of shows (I think it was 7 shows/week with Mondays dark), and I really enjoyed playing the music, and playing consistently night to night. I remember it really elevating my playing level!
Fast forward a bunch of years and I remember being on vacation in Hawaii with my family. It was probably September or October and I got a call from Mannheim production asking if I would be willing to fill in on a tour. It didn't happen but it was nice to be thought of for the job. A few years later, I received a call from one of the MS touring drummers, asking if I could fill in for him on the tour that year because his father had become ill. I played 8 shows that year filling in on the tour. I remember having to back out of another tour last minute to Canada to make it happen! I might've burned a bridge doing that, but I had a hunch that the MS gig was a much more long term gig that would eventually pay off. Ever since then, I was called every year to come to the rehearsal week in Omaha and just familiarize myself with the set list, just in case they needed me.
This year, I was on the road with Tracy Lawrence with a day off in Las Vegas, when the phone rang early in the morning. I was asked how soon I could join the tour starting immediately and the gig was offered to me right there. Mannheim was firing their current drummer due to reasons I cannot talk about here. (Sorry!). With 2 shows left with Tracy Lawrence, we arranged for me to join the tour in a few days after my obligations with TL were met for the year.
So here I am, the new drummer for Mannheim Steamroller. So, what is the meaning of all this? Well, the reason the gig was offered to me was because I kept up a consistent, tight, well meaning relationship with the MS management. They grew to count on me when they needed something. It has everything to do with me picking up the phone when it rang and just working with them, whatever they needed. Being open to changing my plans and making their production a priority was the name of the game. The gig is now mine because I kept the relationship alive and healthy though 10 years of absolutely no guarantees. Sometimes, you just have a hunch on something and you should follow your gut on what it's telling you. That said, I'd like to think I'm a good fit for the band. As a classically trained percussionist who is a drum set player first and foremost, my skills are a nice fit for what the gig entails.
So I'll leave you with this. Keep those relationships alive. Nurture them. When you meet someone and they take an interest in you, find a way to be helpful. It may not happen right away but you never know what could happen down the line a ways. It could just come back to you tenfold.