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The 'sometimes' drummer

I’m going to assume that you already know who I am and what I do if you’ve made it this far. Just in case - I’m Jay Postones and some of the time, I play drums for TesseracT. I have no idea why we capitalise the ’T’ on the end of the band name. I guess it’s a ghost from our early years when we were trying to look like a big metal band.


I’ve wanted to write a blog for a while for a number of reasons.

  • Firstly, there’s a whole load of ridiculous things that happen when you’re me and I think some of them would make great stories.

  • Secondly, there’s a few drummers out there who ask me questions and I figure a blog would be a good place to reply.

  • Thirdly, I want to help people - I have my own difficulties and demons which I don’t publicly divulge, and I’d like to use a blog as a platform to exercise them - and in doing so, maybe help others through theirs.

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I’m writing this blog four days before heading out on tour with TesseracT around Europe and the UK. We’re touring to promote our fourth album ‘Sonder’ which was released earlier this year and we’re bringing ‘Between the Buried and Me’ and ‘Plini’ out with us on this run, which I think is huge. I personally consider BTBAM to be a pretty big band, especially in the world of music that TesseracT is considered to be a part of. We actually opened for BTBAM on a US tour back in 2011 so it’s kind of crazy for me doing it this way around.


Their drummer Blake Richardson is crazy-good. He’s for sure one of the guys who I don’t really want watching me that closely. Spoiler alert - insecurity demon rearing its fat head…


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So here’s the deal. Maybe a year ago, I reached out to my old Sabian rep - who by the way is an absolute legend. I must have needed a replacement cymbal or some sticks. We had the usual back and forth banter during which he innocently dropped the biggest truth bomb on me. He called me the ‘sometimes drummer’. OUCH - hit me right in the truth nut sack.


You might be thinking ‘what’s a sometimes drummer?’ - let me explain. It’s someone who looks as though they’re a full time musician. Someone who appears to be on tour a lot, playing their instrument all the time when they're not on the road, being in fancy recording studios on sessions and doing clinic performances etc. I get to do all of that - sometimes. Full disclosure - my career as a musician takes up about three months a year.


My Sabian rep doesn’t know this, unless he’s reading this - those two little words profoundly affected me. Not in a bad way necessarily. They grounded a fact that I’d not wanted to admit to myself or to the world - I don’t actually play drums very much. I mean, I really don’t play drums much at all. To learn songs, I listen to them a lot so that I know the song structures, then I eventually hash through them using the techniques I already know from the countless hours I spent drumming in my youth. Then, if I need to, I spend a bit more time on the difficult fills and fine detail.


I’ve not played drums in over six weeks and I go on a headline tour in four days. I’ve mentally learned our newest live song ‘Juno’ - and I’ve played it behind my kit a few times. But I’ve certainly not drilled it like I imagine most guys in my position would.


Take someone like Troy Wright - if he was drumming for TesseracT, I know every fill and groove would be like really heavy silk. Alex Rudinger could for sure do it too - I’ve seen those latest videos he’s done and the man is next level. I’m not saying the job is up for grabs - I’m just saying that if I was to have a say in a very capable alternative…


Anyway, my Sabian rep’s teeny tiny comment made me realise that I wasn’t hiding anything - at least to the people who I work closest with. And that the value I bring to these companies is still considerable. At least enough for them to work with me for the past seven years, provide free replacements worldwide and ask me to perform under their name at the UK drum show last year - which was terrifying by the way.


So, thanks Tom - I’ll wear my ‘sometimes drummer’ badge with pride - and I still love you.


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In 2017 we toured with Meshuggah, which was for sure one of my bucket list bands to tour with. I don’t very often get starstruck by musicians - being active in the music industry bursts that bubble quickly (that’s content for a whole other blog) but watching Meshuggah every night and chatting daily with them and their crew was an experience that I value a lot. Tomas is for sure one of my drum heroes and I did a decent job of playing it cool through the tour… until the last drunken night. We were all stood around the tour buses saying our goodbyes and taking end of tour photos, which felt like the right time to punish Tomas (I’ll explain punishing in another blog).

This is definitely my normal face

I kept it short and sweet because not many musicians enjoy face-to-face praise. He took it like a champ with a casual ‘ah thanks’.


The evening before, Meshuggah had just stepped off stage when Tomas was somehow lured into our dressing room by Eric Moore (super-human drummer - possibly an alien). Eric wanted to have a drum-circle chat for his Instagram with the four drummers on the tour. Tomas wasn’t into the idea though, his reason being he didn’t consider himself a ‘drummer drummer’. I quizzed him on this - as did Eric:

“…dude, you’re a drum god!”.


Tomas’ reply was that he didn’t see himself like this and that he’s more of a ‘tool’ for performing Meshuggah’s music. Nothing has ever resonated with me as much as Tomas’ response. This is exactly how I feel with my own drumming and TesseracT. I don’t write the drum parts - I learn Acle’s very detailed and expertly-programmed grooves and attempt to humanise them using my own abilities. I’m perfectly happy that this is my role as a drummer now but I’m not comfortable being held up as the creator behind the ideas - and most people don’t know that there’s a difference. Because I’m up on stage, that means I must have performed on the record. Nope - not since ‘One’.


I’d like to record in a studio, but that’s not how TesseracT works - at least not right now.


Anyway - Tomas, there’s no way you’re reading this, but you opened my eyes that night and made me realise that it’s ok to admit these truths to the world.


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Since that tour, I’ve come to realise that I’m actually very content with my current drumming ability. I don’t want to spend hours and hours behind the drums to get my paradiddles faster or my kick speed up, learning every possible variation of every possible combination of numbers, backwards and forwards and with my feet. I just don't get the same enjoyment out of that stuff that I used to when I was in my teens and early 20's. I also don’t need to do any of that for TesseracT.


What does matter to me is putting on a great, consistent show every night and connecting with the audience as much as possible as let’s face it - the music is for them. Sure, we’re on stage performing but there’s a lot more people in the crowd than on the stage - they’re the important ones in the room. So that’s where I’m focussing my energy now and not on a load more drum licks. I’m still a drummer but happily, I’m a ‘sometimes drummer’.



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©2018 by Jay Postones