A few months back I was setting up for a session while the producer was talking with the drummer. He apparently left some snare drums and certain sticks they had previously discussed using. The drummer was a young kid and producer a very seasoned vet of music industry. The producer is pretty well known and has a string of hits through his career, so this was a big deal to play on this session. The drummer didn't take it this way. His attitude was as if he had finally "arrived".
As I was setting up, I could hear the studio lesson he was giving his young musicians. I was glad I wasn't in the control room. The producer wasn't yelling at them, but he was laying down some great knowledge on these guys. The players sat silently. Listening. Taking the lesson in.
I'm in the performance area, cringing. These dudes, especially the drummer, are getting worked over. It made me think about my own experiences of when I've been on the receiving end of a life lesson. Thank God that as you get older these things happen less frequently.
I place the mic on the snare.
"You have to come prepared."
The mic for the bottom of the snare get put up. (Remember square pegs?)
"These are your tools. You left the tools that we talked about at home? Any other producer would fire you from the session on the spot. No discussion."
Now the tom mics are in position.
"I'm giving you guys the opportunity to play on sessions and get your foot in the door. I could have called up the best players in Chicago. They would have brought their tools. They don't forget these things."
I'm glad I was there to hear this. If only as a reminder that being able to do what you love is a gift. Not everyone has this ability or drive to persevere through the ups and downs, the feasts and famines.