Long before he became one of the most popular touring and session drummers in the music industry today, our co-author Rich Redmond was simply a kid who wanted to play drums. After getting his first blue-sparkle snare drum, Rich knew that this was all he ever wanted to do.
Here are some excerpts from past interviews in which Rich discusses where it all began. *Full interviews are linked at each publication title.
Can you tell us about the early days and how you got into drumming?
I started playing the drums in 1977. I started taking lessons because my Dad was like, ‘Hey, do you want to learn a musical instrument?’ and I was like ‘No, I want to learn the drums!’ (laughs) So, I started taking lessons and my first teacher taught me how to hold the sticks correctly, the importance of posture, reading and the rudiments. Then I added a cymbal and a kick drum to the set-up and started working on co-ordination, you know, the Joel Rothman books along with all the bibles, Stick Control, Syncopation and of course, Carmin Appice’ Realistic Rock.
We ended up moving from Connecticut to Texas for my Dad’s job and that worked out great because Texas has an outstanding music education program. Football is huge in Texas and whenever you have football, there’s marching bands and so the schools always want to have a great marching band. I was in the marching band for eight years – I did four years in high school and four years in college and that gave me great rudimental facility which I count my blessings for.
I got really involved with the music programs in school starting in the fifth grade. Concert band, marching band, orchestra, jazz band, the pep band – anything I could get my hands on and then always had projects outside of school as well… jam bands, rock bands, tribute bands. I just always wanted to play and started getting paid to play when I was 18 years old in El Paso, Texas.
What happened next?
My parents are really supportive and they said, ‘Son, the music business is not a good thing. We support you all the way but you should get an education.’ So, I went and studied Music Education and I ended up getting a four year degree at Texas Tech University under Alan Shinn. After that I went to the famed University Of North Texas which has cranked out guys like Steve Houghton, Ray Brinker, Greg Bissonnette and Keith Carlock. As a matter of fact, I used to sub for Keith back in the day when he was playing in top forty bands and horn bands in Dallas. Those were some big shoes to fill and I always knew he would go on to change the world because he was something really special. He moved to New York and six months later he was, like a household name. So, we all aspire to that.
Who is the biggest influence in your life?
My parents of course!!! My parents taught me the big stuff: The difference between right and wrong, the value of hard work, the importance in having a direction and purpose in life, setting goals, being kind, the importance of having a firm hand shake, etc. Most importantly, they supported my passion for music very early on. They bought that first set of drums, signed me up for lessons and put up with the noise for years. If I ever get to say something at The Grammy Awards, they will be the first people I thank!!!
How did you get started in music?
I started studying the drums at age 8. I was beating on everything in the house and my Dad asked if I had any interest in playing the drums. I said ‘yes’ and immediately started taking lessons. My passion for percussion inspired me to play in a million bands and to pursue my Master’s Degree in Music Education and Percussion, which I received from The University of North Texas.
What are some of your musical influences?
I fell in love with bands like The Police, Van Halen and John Mellencamp when I was younger. I’ve studied many of the world’s greatest drummers by LISTENING tons and even transcribing and playing to their recordings. It’s all invaluable stuff. I find inspiration in the best and worst music and musicians!! You can learn from everyone. Remember the old adage: ‘Good composers borrow but great composers steal.’ So true.
Do you have any personal experiences that have shaped your or influenced you as artist?
I always knew that practice makes perfect, so I jumped on that train at a young age. There is a theory that is becoming more and more accepted that it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated practice to make someone any expert at anything. I agree totally. I never counted the hours I practiced, but I’m sure it’s very close. My dad took me to see Buddy Rich and Carmine Appice (at separate shows) and I knew that this was something I wanted to do. I always had very encouraging teachers and I always tried to play with musicians that were more experienced so I could grow as a player.
I had a dream as a young man to play drums every day for a living, and I followed through with that vision. It’s not for the faint of heart. With practice, persistence, and determination it can happen for anyone. The most important aspect of this or any business is to keep a positive mental attitude. Attitude is everything. It will open or close doors for you.