I knew I was totally screwed as soon as I turned the corner. I was trucking down 14th street on my way to a lesson with Thomas Pridgen (of drum god fame), I turned the corner and — pothole. One Jabba the hut’s sand pit (a Sarlacc) sized pot hole.
I flew over my handle bars, caught myself partly with my hands and a little with my face. But, my bike was fine and I could still get to the lesson on time.
I asked Thomas if I could wash my (bloody) hands before we started. He was his usual chill self about the whole thing and just replied “Damn man, it looks like you got in a scrap.”
Thomas doesn’t write anything down, or slow down, and it’s awesome.
Right when you sit down at the kit, he’ll start playing 7 stroke rolls over a bassa nova bass drum pattern and tell you to switch your hands. I immediately think “What? What do you mean switch my hands? I’m barely keeping up with my dominant hand.” Of course, I say nothing and just do it. Then, as Thomas knew all along, you’re doing it. You’re strengthening your weak hand, you’re playing some crazy pattern in 7/4 that he won’t slow down so you can understand, and won’t write out. You just do it.
Thomas says that he looks at some of the drills and patterns he teaches as shapes. You can’t break them down into these little bitty parts because you lose the sound.
His advice during that lesson:
Just make the drum sound good. Work on when you hit the snare, it doesn’t sound like anybody else, it sounds like you. So when somebody wants to hire you, they say ‘I want that guy, because he just makes the drums sound like they should, like they fit.’
At the end of the lesson he complimented me on being one of a few students that could get through his snare drills. I freaked out like a little girl on the inside.
I’m incredibly excited to be learning from Thomas and I’ll post lesson updates in the future.