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the works

Part One

Dinner at the Sechuan Palace
By Greg Gaylord (DrumPro Magazine, November 2004 - Unedited version)
My name is Greg Gaylord. It is NAMM time here in Los Angeles and I would like you to join our dinner table here at the Sechuan Palace. Joining us tonight will be players who have been making their living in the trenches as working drummers. We have seasoned road veterans as well as players who are just breaking into the business. Everyone joining us tonight comes from a unique perspective of playing, whether it be rock or R & B/hip hop. So order some Chinese take out, grab your favorite beverage, pull up a chair and join us here at the Palace. Shall we introduce ourselves?…
Marco: “Marco Meneghin, not Marco Minneman. Currently playing with Liz Phair.”
Ray: “Ray Luzier. Current main gig is David Lee Roth.”
Michael: “Michael Miley. Playing with Joe Firstman.”
Victor: “Victor Indrizzo. Freelance, or playing with myself as usual.”
Jerohn: “Jerohn Garnett. Currently with Macy Gray.”
Greg: “Why don’t we start with what you have to do to get to be a working drummer. Like auditions, audition protocol and what you have to do to prepare for the auditions. What do you have to do to get the gig?”
Michael: “I’m not as far along as these other cats here, but what I’ve seen pay off more often than not is confidence. Just owning your shit you know. We’re in the process of auditioning guitar players, and no one has come and just taken the job. That job is yours before you walk in. That’s kinda the way I’ve always done it. Most of the gigs I’ve done are through word of mouth, through hangin’ and playin’ with somebody or opening for somebody. SO the important thing is, if your gonna be in a touring situation, to have some kind of a personality. Its more about personality and being able to hang and not piss off some people that are in the bunk across the way from you. You’re only on stage 40 minutes to an hour and a half and there’s 22, 23 hours left in the day to be a person.”
Greg: “When I talked to Dave (Johnstone) earlier today, he said that so much of it is personality based. Everybody going in there is gonna have chops. But there’s also the personality. Can you work with this cat? Are you gonna like being with this guy because you’re gonna be with him a lot. And if you’re on the road, you may be living with this cat. I think that was a pretty good point.”
Michael: “Yeah. Like our last guitar player who just left the band, for a good reason. His knick name sometimes is “doomsday”. He was, like, completely…”
Marco: “You want this going on tape?” (Laughter from everyone).
Michael: “It’s making the point. Like, just being confident and owning your instrument. (That’s true) for any musician going into an audition. No pussies. (More laughs).
Marco: “See this is amazing because I always thought gigs were just decided on a series of blow jobs. The fact that you have to go in and play, this is news to me.” (Laughter).
Greg: “So Marco, how did you get your gig?”
Marco: “Well, being that I’m working with a woman it’s a little different. You know, you get called by… I got called to do the 2 week promo when the album first came out and Liz asked me to go out and do the tour.”
Greg: “What did you do to get that 2 week promo though?”
Marco: “The MD and the bass player knew me. There were a lot of people he (the MD) could have called. But it’s like I came in and did it, and it was cool. He (the MD) didn’t ask me to go out on the tour. Liz personally called me and asked me to go out (on tour). When I did Josh Groben, the MD was a guy I went to school with, who had been working with David Foster and so he (MD) called me. That’s how I did that. All my best gigs have never been through auditions. They’ve always been through someone who knows you and knows what you’re gonna bring to the music other than we just need a body in there.”
Greg: “So a lot of it is political too?”
Marco: “Not necessarily. What I’ve seen, is guys who have a career rather than just a couple of gigs, it’s that you bring a certain thing. To use an example, you (talking to Victor) have a very specific thing. When you do a track, I can tell instantly that it’s you. Bringing that to a gig, people go “yeah we need that thing and nobody else can do it”.
Greg: “So what your saying is Victor has a certain type of personality coming through the drums?”
Marco: “Yeah. It’s something very special that he brings to the music. Miley’s the same way with Firstman. The band would not sound the same way without him. I think that’s a big part of it. When people are basically like, if you’re gone, they’re gonna miss you.”
Michael: “Things wouldn’t be slowing down anymore.” (Laughter).
Jerohn: “Politics are right smack dab in the middle of the game. Everybody in R & B can do the gig just as well as the next guy. Everybody can do the gig, but it’s all about who you know, how long you’ve known these guys, and relationships.
Ray: “I agree about what you (Marco) said about the audition process. I’ve had the David Lee Roth gig for 7 years now. I do sessions all around LA for movie sound tracks, you name it. The way I got the Dave gig was the farthest from an audition. This nerd-y kid kept buggin’ the shit out of me to do a session with him. He said “we’re recording at Steve Vai’s house, you gotta come up and do the session”. I kept blowing him off and blowing him off. Finally I just said “all right man, show me when we’re goin’ to Steve Vai’s house to record this song”, ‘cause he’s this punk kid who’s goin’ to school at GIT, and I was teaching at PIT, and he’s like “I’ll pay you whatever you need, I want you to play drums on this.” I finally did it and it turns out this kid ended up writing with Dave. Two of those songs I did with him, Dave wrote lyrics over the top of ‘em. Dave asked who the drummer was ‘cause he really liked that style. Next thing you know, I’m gettin’ calls to do demos with David Lee Roth. I went in, did the songs, and a week later the manager calls me up and says “that was your audition, you passed with flying colors”. I had no idea I was auditioning for Dave in the studio. But the point is, it’s not all auditions. This nerd-y kid, out of Indiana, that I was almost ready to knock out ‘cause he was buggin’ the shit out of me got me the gig. 7 years later I’m still playin’ with Dave."
Marco: “Half the auditions I’ve done are like “hey, can you do the Tonight Show on Monday?”
Jerohn: “yeah! Fast gigs.”
Marco: “When I did the Josh Grobin gig, my first big gig, we were rehearsing one of his pop opera songs to a track and half way through it David Foster busts open the door and says “You guys all suck! Hi, I’m David Foster.” After we cleaned our pants, it was cool. So it was do the Tonight Show on Monday, and here’s the next date.”
Jerohn: “That sucks. (Laughter). I’ve done, like, 20 of those. One Tonight Show, one Rosie, one here and there. They tell you “yeah were going out, it’ll be about a month or so”…and it’s one show. It’s always one show.”
Marco: “and then it’s “here’s the calendar, block out these dates.”
Jerohn: “Right.”
Marco: “It gets to the Monday before you’re supposed to leave, and it’s like “oh those fell through, we didn’t get the funding”. That’s always fun…
Jerohn: “Let me tell you this. I do the Tonight Show with Macy Gray. The guy comes around and asks, “where do you want your money sent?” I said send my check home. I give ‘em my address. Two weeks pass. I told the manager I hadn’t got my check from the Tonight Show gig. He said, “let me check.” So about 2 weeks of calling my management, the Tonight Show, Tonight Show finance, the union, all this. Come to find out, my check was sent to the (management) agency, cashed by the agency, and the guy has not called me yet. And the horrible thing about it is he gets a lot of people work, but when he gives it, it just falls apart."
Marco: “I did a video for him one time, and when I got the check it was half of what it was supposed to be. That was nice….”
Jerohn: “Better days are comin’.”
Marco: “You (Victor) haven’t said anything man.”
Victor: “Well, I think drummers definitely get the raw end of the deal most of the time. I played with Macy for two and a half years and there’s stuff I did…”
Marco: “You were MD right?”
Victor: “Yeah.”
Jerohn: “Let me shake your hand Dog!” Chris always talkin’ ‘bout you like “Victor laying it on this track this way… Cool deal.”
Victor: “Yeah there’s things I played on I never got paid for. I’m still waiting for stuff. I just did Anastasia last summer that I haven’t got paid for yet. That seems to be one of the hardest things in this business, just to get paid. That’s why a lot of the times I end up going out on the road, for a steady paycheck. For me, going back to the audition thing, there’s only been a couple of times I’ve had to audition. One of the scariest ones I ever did was for Beck. I got an audition for that and I got it initially by doin’ a session and meeting some of the guys in the band. They said, “why don’t you come try out for this?” It’s a scary and daunting thing when you go to some kind of cattle call for like an artist that’s that big. For me, I’m not the guy that has a ton of confidence walkin’ into something. But what I try to do is study the music and see what makes what they’re doing special and can I do that. Is that really part of what I do? Can I get inside what they’re doing? And then go in and play your heart out. Put as much passion as you can into what you’re playing when you go do it. Because it is that thing where everybody’s got chops and everybody can go play. There’s always somebody who’s got better chops, so sometimes it is who you know that helps you get the gig. Sometimes it’s just fitting into that situation. Maybe your personality is right, or your look.”
Ray: “Certain look. Yes!”
Victor: “There’s a lot of factors to it, but I think the bottom line is if you want to play drums for a living, you better just love what you do."
Jerohn: “Amen!”
Victor: “‘Cause if you think you’re gonna get rich or have a steady paycheck, you try maybe singin’ or something”. (Laughter).
Marco: “You brought up a good point though. Talking about going in and learning somebody else’s part… On Liz’ album it’s you (Victor), Matt Chamberlain, Mario, Abe Jr., all these different guys…”
Greg: “And you’ve (Marco) had to learn all their parts?”
Marco: “Learn all their parts, but then try to do it in my own way ‘cause I’m not you (points to Victor). I’m Not Matt Chamberlain.”
Greg: “Not a Xerox copy.”
Marco: “Yeah, you can’t. I can play the part, but it’s not gonna sound like Victor, it’s not gonna sound like Matt, ‘cause that’s just not what I do.”
Ray: “Bring your own personality into it.”
Marco: “How often will you (Victor) just simply change the part because you have to? Maybe it worked on the album, but live…”
Victor: “You have to. It’s like you (Marco) said, you have to bring your own thing to it. That was the thing when I played with Beck, or even doin’ Macy stuff, I played on the second and third record but Matt Chamberlain played on most of the first. So it’s like finding…Try to do what they did. Try to find what they did that makes this song work. But you do have to interject your own personality. Everybody has their own thing that makes them special. You may not play the same kind of fill, but you can put your thing where you hear it as long as it serves the purpose of the song."
Ray: “I agree man. I have to follow Alex Van Halen, Gregg Bissonette, J.R. Robinson and Omar Hakim. To put my own flavor in it (whistles to show it was extremely difficult). You have to play the signature fills and all that, but the greatest compliment I ever got was from Dave ‘cause he said “Wow, you’re playin’ all the signature stuff but I can tell it’s you ‘cause you’re puttin’ a lot of your stuff in.” BUT…there’s certain signature fills that you can see people in the audience air jammin’. If you’re wankin’ over that, forget it. You’re gonna get somethin’ thrown at you. We only played 3 songs on this years tour that I actually played on the records. Everything else is copying these guys.”
Marco: “But those are not bad guys to have to copy! Who didn’t grow up playing to 1984? Running with the Devil and all those. Come on, how fun would that be!”
Ray: “It’s great.”
Greg: “You’re saying signature fills. By that you mean the fills at the end of a phrase where it has actually become part of the music?”
Ray: “Dance the Night Away for instance, if you don’t play it (Ray demonstrates the part on the table)…you’re in trouble. Hot for Teacher is another story. We open with that song… "(Moans of pain and awe come from everyone at the table).
Marco: “The bridge on Jump, you almost have to play that note for note.”
Ray: “I do, but I phrase it differently. The thing is, I try not to step on it. I talked with Bissonette about this too, ‘cause we play a lot of stuff off Eat Em and Smile and the records he’s done. I just love his playing. He’s got a great feel and he’s in the pocket. But I still try to make it mine ‘cause I’m out there doing it."
Victor: “I actually saw you play in London over the summer. I was playin’ at one of the same festivals and I came over for a second to watch and I saw you play. It’s neat seeing somebody else’s take on something."
Jerohn: “Right. Man you (Victor) played that Come Together that we (Macy) do.”
Marco: “Is that the fast one?”
Jerohn: “Uh-uh. It’s like… a right here tempo. I heard that little break down and I’m like “ok, we can have some fun with this here song!” Great stuff man (complimenting Victor).
Marco: “I’d like to ask you. On the first track on that album…is that the one…uh…”
Jerohn: “When I see you?”
Marco: “You’re talking about the id right?”
Jerohn: “No, no, no. We’re talking about her last, Trouble Being Myself.”
Marco: “Not the Id… What’s the one…? Hot wings, hot chocolate. What’s that one?”
Jerohn: “Psycopath.”
Marco: “That’s a fuckin’ great part on that one.”
Jerohn: “You (Victor) playin’ on that?”
Victor: “I play on a lot of that album, but I think that might be Matt Chamberlain’s track actually.”
Marco: “On that one?”
Victor: “I think so, maybe”
Jerohn: “Macy has, for her sound, she has some really good percussion. Nailin’ exactly the flavor.”
Victor: “Yeah.”
Jerohn: “The drummers hooked up exactly, and the producers know everybody part and can lock it in.”
Marco: “Now, how did you (Victor) start working with The Matrix?”
Victor: “It was a fluke. It was really a fluke. I just got a call from a guy who used to be Daniel Lanois'…”
Marco: “Was that from doin’ Theatro with Daniel?”
Victor: “Yeah. It was the Willie Nelson record. I became friends with the engineer and it’s like you go, you show up for a gig, and you play good, and do the stuff, and people are gonna call you back.”
Ray: “You’re always meetin’ people. That’s a really good point though. Be cool to everyone.”
Victor: “Yeah, it’s like you said with that kid. You never know.
Ray: “That kid changed my life.” (Laughter erupts).
Victor: “I met, actually, Daniel Lanois through doing a record and we wrote him a letter asking him to mix some tracks. We were big fans and we never thought it would work out, but he heard the stuff, mixed the stuff and (we) ended up getting a record from him. From that engineer I hooked up with The Matrix. I remember going in to do the Avril Levine stuff, and I just thought it was like, honestly I never thought I would hear of it again. I do a ga-zillion girl singers like this, and it sounds all the same to me. I thought that’s another one for the cut out bin. A couple months later it’s huge. Then those guys got superstitious so they want to use me on everything, and you know I’m all about it!" (Laughter).
Greg: “That’s good.”
Victor: “It’s still, I gotta tell ya, I have so much trouble getting paid still, ‘cause I don’t have a manager because I’ve been screwed over so many times. And I haven’t been able to count on the union to take care of me. I tell people now, if you want me to play, you have a check waiting for me. You can run a single session through the union and do that so I can still try and get health insurance which I finally got this year for the first time.”
Marco: “Through the union?”
Victor: “For the first time ever! We’re talkin’ 10 years down the line."
Jerohn: “That’s a tough game to play man.”
Greg: “I’m in that boat with ya man. I got nothin’.”
Marco: “And you (Victor) have a kid, right?”
Victor: “yeah, I got a family. It’s hard. The thing I’ve found out is that you gotta try and do as many different things as you can. For me, I try to write music too. Luckily, I got to write a lot of songs on that Macy record, but the record didn’t do very good. Everything’s kinda hit or miss, but its like, again, I do have the responsibility to try and take care of a family, but too, I have to do this because I love to do it. Because if not, I’m gonna fuckin’ pull my hair out. Ya know what I’m sayin’? Not having a manager, I have to get out there. I e-mail record companies all the time."
Greg: “So you’re hustlin’ to get everything you got. You’re hustlin’.”
Victor: “Yeah. I’m trying to get paid like everybody else. It’s like, just send me the money for the work. I really wish, and hopefully there will be some changes in the union. I’ve talked to other drummers and musicians about trying to change some things because it’s just really… if you do a job, you shouldn’t have to wait 5 to 6 months to get paid. Any of you guys ever do something where you had to wait, or maybe you didn’t get paid?”
Marco: “Oh fuck yeah.”
Ray: “I’m still waiting for a tour I did in ’94!" (Laughter).
Marco: “You can probably let go of that one. Just let go of that one.”
Jerohn: “I think TV shows are the worst. I’m waiting on a check from… what’s that guy? Jimmy Kimball.”
Marco: “Oh! I had to wait forever for that one.”
Victor: “So it’s hard. You gotta learn how to keep up on stuff. Honestly, when I was younger, I left a lot of stuff up to other people. I just thought maybe a manager would take care of it or somebody would look out for me. In my experience, you gotta learn how to do this stuff yourself."
Marco: “Sometimes if there’s a problem I’ll call the tour manager. He’s really great. He takes care of it, so I’ve been really lucky with that. I don’t know any drummers that have a manager”.
Ray: “I know a couple.”
Marco: “Really?”
Ray: “Yeah. They help a little bit, but…”
Marco: “I don’t even know what a manager would do for a drummer. Rather than a manager, I’d rather get a hit man! (Laughter). You wanna get some shit done."
Jerohn: “I have a manager, but I do producing. Another thing, You’re talking about extra income… I come from a church background. Most of the church musicians, nationwide, are out there doing pop and R & B gigs, and lets say 7 out of 10 drummers play bass, play keyboards. And they do it well enough to go hop on that gig. I myself, I play bass. I just came from a bass gig right now. And I produce. So it’s like, drums are nice. Drums are my passion, my first instrument. I’m always gonna play drums, but I need that producing money. I want that sit at home, cut it in my basement, just go to my mailbox and pull out that check money. A lot of drummers in R & B are doing that right now. The guy that plays drums for Missy Elliott, Nissan Stewart, he’s producing on Biance Knowles , Ashanti… He’s doing tracks on everybody. Drummers now, can do all these little beats, so its like set up my mpc. Tracks today, they ain’t nothin’ but little simple lines. It’s just makin’ ‘em all come together. I can make this money. Check in the mail. Easy. Again, we travel; we get on this road and start meeting managers. Talkin’ with the artists. And then on top of that, this guy Nissan, they have a band. Most of the R & B/rap artists, JZ to Puffy to… anybody you can name. Any time they come over there and do a TV show, it’s that one band. You always seem ‘em on TV. They like another house band. Its like “can we get another band”? NO! These guys here play it just like the record and put the fire on it because they produce the album."
Victor: “You know another great point too, I think it’s important to learn at least a little something about other instruments.”
Ray: “Makes you a better drummer.”
Victor: “You know what to listen for when you’re playin’ a song. I’ve never went to a session where someone asked me to throw down some chops. They want you to play for the song and it’s usually pretty simple or in a groove. If you understand playing a guitar or bass or another instrument it helps you so much."
Ray: “Different perspective. Changes your whole perspective on it. I started playin’ guitar about 5 or 6 years ago. Laid me way the hell back. I’m like “oh, wow”. Now I know that if I play this, the guitar player is freakin’. I know this is not gonna mesh with that."
Marco: “That’s another point too; what you need to get the job done. We’re mentioning chops, all of us know, unless you’re playing at the baked potato on a Tuesday night, you will never actually use those chops. When all of us, or at least when I was coming up, especially if you came from any kind of a jazz background, you get in this head space of wanting to do like Vinnie or all these session gods. It’s like “Oh, I gotta practice my reading”. You actually get out there, and it’s like fuck, nobody reads in the valley. It’s all about what you bring to it. Can you groove to a click, do you have good ideas, and can you play musically. That’s it. No one cares."
Ray: “I agree with that highly, but I just finished Billy Shehan's new record and I just 28 tracks. He was asking me to pull off some stuff, like 32 notes on the kick drums where I haven’t played that in quite a while. I was glad I kind brushed up on that a little. But I agree with you 100 percent. It’s all about the pocket and timing. But there’s certain times, ‘cause I’m more in the rock world than probably most of you guys are. Billy was firing, ‘cause he’s used to working with (Dennis) Chambers , Pat Torpey, Terry Bozzio. That’s who he’s used to working with, so when I got that call… 28 songs in 3 days. There was a lot of 7/4. So I agree, but keep up (chops) in the back somewhere. I was trippin’. It was challenging. Kicked my ass you know. Definitely"
Greg: “Talking about chops, when you guys are on the road, what are you practicing and how are you practicing?”
Jerohn: “Getting on lighting directors nerves…"
Michael: “Typically, I’m waiting side stage ‘cause they’re setting up the mics and all that shit. I’m like on a starting line, because I want to go out and play. Feel the room. Usually I’ll come in with a new beat that I’m working on, and I get 3 minutes to practice! Otherwise it’s on my e-pad."
Jerohn: “Lot of times, depending on where you at, you develop relationships with different guys. In my little circle, in most towns; Chicago New York, Philadelphia, Dallas Texas, there’s always someone I know. Go to their house: “hey, lets work out”. Get that work out in while I’m on the road.”
Marco: “You mean like on a day off or something?”
Jerohn: “Yeah, yeah.”
Ray: “You hit those states more? You go back there more?”
Jerohn: “Yeah, exactly. While I’m out here (LA), we get together 5 or 6 drummers, 3 drum sets. Beat starts at 9 o’clock, don’t stop until 4 in the morning. Sheriff shuttin’ us down! I’m fortunate enough to really get often enough chance to really work out. All we do is chop. Set an mp, everybody just choppin’ away. When I get to the gig, or sometimes at the house, I may have some specific stuff I work on.”
Ray: “See I don’t get to practice on the road at all. We have a 2-hour show. It’s pretty vigorous, there’s no breaks in it. It’s just non-stop. My real-feel is about all I get. Do my rudiments, that’s about it. But when I come home, that’s when I (practice)."
Greg: “But you say your first tune is usually Hot For Teacher! (laughter) Holy cow! Talk about coming out with both guns blaring!”
Ray: “Yeah. No slouchin’! For sure…”
Greg: “You’re going from zero to a million in less than a second."
Ray: “That’s why I definitely warm up. At least 15 minutes before. I gotta stretch every muscle in my body. Make sure I’m ready to go. I made the mistake a couple of times of goin’ out cold. Ooohhh!… Muscles were froze for the first three songs until you get movin’. We’ve never changed the opener in the past 6 years. I keep telling Dave “let’s open with somethin’ different this year”. He’s like “it’s such a great song let’s just keep going”. (laughter).
Michael: “You’ve (Ray) been doing it so long, doesn’t it become second nature in a way?”
Ray: “It does man, but ya know on the road you gotta take care of yourself. Eat, be healthy. This year we were out for a long time. We’re still out. We’re going to Japan and the UK on the 23 of the month. Dave just likes to go. You gotta watch your health. We’ll go out for a couple months straight, then take a couple weeks off. Thank god. It’s such a physical thing. If you’re not properly warmed up, you guys know how the road is, you’re on a tour bus and if one guy gets sick…. That’s why I pound vitamins as much as you can, that’s what I recommend to all of you.”
Michael: “Neosporin in the nostrils, don’t think I’m nuts.”
Ray: “Is that good?”
Michael: “It works, especially on planes.”
Ray: “Really?”
Michael: “It kills germs that you breathe. An opera singer told me this in college and she travels all over the world doing opera shit, and she’s on 15 hour plane flights.”
Marco: “You can kill a lot of pain with icy-hot in the pants too." (Laughter).
Michael: “You can get real anal about it. On a plane, I do that every time ‘cause you don’t know who’s on the plane with you."
Marco: “You always get the one dude who’s always sweating a lot.” (laughter).
Michael: “I used to get sick every time I would fly. Now I don’t get sick and I fly at least every 2 months."
Marco: “On our last bus tour, I was sick. I was literally lying down. It was 3 weeks, no days off. I would just sleep in my bunk, and then get up 10 minutes before sound check, go do soundcheck, go lie down again, then do the show, then go sleep. It was horrible."
Ray: “You (Marco) sing in the band?”
Marco: “No. I probably will on the next tour.”
Ray: “See I sing every song. If I miss one vocal cue, Dave’s all over my shit. So if we get sick, we go down. Your vocals are the first thing to go. I can fake (drums) pretty good with the flu, but if your vocals go down, you’re screwed."
Michael: “You got a vigorous gig!” (laughter). I got it easy. I’m sipping my scotch…"
Ray: “I could miss, 5 fills in a row, which I hope I never do, but if I miss one vocal cue Dave’s all over me.”
Marco: “I got a question. Does anybody here smoke?”
Michael: “I did.”
Ray: “I don’t.”
Marco: “How do you smoke while playing, ‘cause I burned my eyebrow." (laughter).
Ray: “Bum E Carlos. You gotta watch his shit.”
Greg: “I think Bun quit a long time ago.”
Ray: “Did he? Bun’s done?”
Greg: “Bun’s done.”
Michael: “9 weeks 1 day.”
Ray: “Yeah? You’re done?”
Michael: “I’m done.”
Greg: “You might be over the hump.”
Ray: “Stay over man. Stay over.”
Michael: “I quit for 17 months, 2 years ago. Then I started up again."
Victor: “I got a year off. At Halloween I had a year.”
Ray: “Nice.”
Greg: “Ray, you brought up a good point about health on the road. What are you doing to stay healthy when you’re on the road?”
Ray: “Well, you have to ask on your rider. Luckily with Dave we travel pretty much in style. We travel well. He takes care of us. We’re at the nice hotels because of that reason; health factor. Not everyone (does that). I toured with The Nixons. I went from Ritz Carletons to motel 6’s. Dave tried to do the Van Halen thing again in 2000, so I was let loose for 6 months. So I appreciate the money spent. The point is, you wanna get the cleaner rooms if you can, if it’s in the budget for the tour. You gotta eat right. On our rider, we make sure we get somewhat healthy food to eat. I’m a sweet fanatic. I gotta have sugar. I gotta have donuts. I gotta have chocolate. I’m the one they’re always yelling at about the rider: “who ordered this shit!”. It’s me, sorry. (laughter). I caught pneumonia in ’99. New York man, I’ll never forget. I just thought it was the flu. We were out for about 4 months. Meanwhile we had a schedule, we were touring with Bad Company, so we had about 4 days in the states, fly to Amsterdam and do 2 shows, fly back do 2 in the states, fly to Japan. We had this crazy, crazy schedule. 9 hour time change, you know, just crazy. I thought I had the flu. I thought I’d just sweat it off. Same thing as you (Marco) bro. I was in the bunk 10 minutes before we hit the stage and my tech would come in and wake me. I’d just crawl out to the stage. Then sure enough, I hospitalized myself. Doctor in New York says “you leave here, you gonna die”. I didn’t want to do that! I.V. in the arm, oxygen in the nose, the whole bit. They admitted me. Me had to cancel 5 shows. It happens. You gotta watch it."
Greg: “I guess you were lucky in one respect that they stuck by you and didn’t bring in someone else."
Ray: “Yeah. I even called Gregg. I called Bissonette, ‘cause who knows the set better? He played that stuff backward for years. But Dave didn’t want to do it, which kinda made me fell good in a way ‘cause they only wanted me to do it. But there’s a lot of cats out there in the rock world too that can… We’re all replaceable. You gotta face that."
Marco: “Was it like “you owe us for those 5 shows”?
Ray: “No. But I had people give me shit at the shows later. Like in Phoenix, “oh I canceled work for you!” I was dying! (laughter). Come on.
Jerohn: “That’s beautiful to hear. (laughter).
Marco: “You know what’s funny? No matter how sick you are, once you get on stage you’re fine."
Ray: “You know you’re right. You’re right. The day before I got hospitalized, I did a show in New York. I swear I looked out and everyone (crowd) looked like gummy worms. Little squiggly lines. I swear when the lights came on and we started doing the show, I pounded threw the whole thing, got off and went to the back of the bus, fell down, and the last thing a heard was “Drummer down!” (laughter). Next thing you know, I’m on a stretcher."
Marco: “I got a great story. When I was playin’ with Josh Grobin, we were playing this Good Morning America broadcast at a vineyard. It was like 2 o’clock in the morning because they have to broadcast it live to New York so it has to be 3 hours ahead of New York to do it live. So we’re there at 3 in the morning, and we all go to the catering truck and get our food. It’s pretty knarly, there’s something not quite right with it. So we go and we do the taping, and it’s just this halacious taping where it’s literally, between commercials they’re figuring out what they’re gonna do. Finally we do the last tune. Diane Sawyer and whatever that guy, Charles Goodwin or somethin’, are interviewing Josh. The MD is there, and you can see him swaying. So they’re interviewing Josh, and you can see the MD take his in ears out, put them on the piano, he gets up, you hear him walk out the door, and as soon as he’s gone you hear Bluuhh (puking noises). On live TV!!!! (laughter). It was so great."
Michael: “On the topic of taking care of yourself, on the hotel things, some days you’re traveling over night. So you don’t really get to sleep in a bed that night. So we get a day room with a shower or something. I’m like in the gym or something. As long as I can keep my mind on trying to stay fit, then I’m usually eating right and doing all that stuff. Most drummers have a pretty aerobic evening.”
Jerohn: “I’m burning, I’m sweatin’.”

Part 2