July 31, 2005

Words From The Wise

Some of my favorite drummers’ quotes...

Source: Modern Drummer, 20th Anniversary issue, January 1996


“Adulation is nothing without self-respect.”

Neil Peart


“You just have to keep projecting that you will be there. Whatever you dwell on long enough, use your powers of concentration on, dedicate yourself to, and persist at, you will bring to fruition. I suppose it’s a holdover from the early days when I practiced. There was nobody twisting my arm to practice eight hours a day. I just did it because that’s what I wanted.”

Terry Bozzio


“Basically, work is its own reward. If you are into it, the work justifies itself. Your work and your playing will show you something about yourself. Work and learn. That’s what I’ve been doing, and what I’ll continue to do.”

Bill Bruford


“You can’t be everything; nobody is everything. You just do what you do, and you try to do that as well as you can. And if somebody doesn’t like it, too bad.”

Vinnie Colaiuta


“When you say you’ve been influenced by someone, it should mean that you took certain things from that person’s style to help you find your own direction. It’s a chain that goes on, and you can’t avoid it. Nobody can come through here and say that they didn’t come from somebody else.”

Jack DeJohnette


“Follow your bliss. That’s the key to life. Whatever excites you, follow that. Most people don’t have the guts to do it, or they don’t recognize it when it happens.”

Terry Bozzio


“I do believe that the artists who have really taken the time to develop their craft and pursue the part of themselves that stands out in any situation, and that pursued their musical personality, I think they seem to hit longer. They may not get rich overnight, but they last longer. Sometimes they do get rich overnight!”

Max Roach


“I think the second you tell yourself you can’t do something, you’re not going to be able to. I’m not that way. I’ll try something. I might fall flat, but if I don’t try, it won’t ever work.”

Billy Cobham


“I’ve always had people who were mentors, people who really gave me a lot of inspiration – and also, people who really believed in my talent. I find that to be a really important aspect in the development of a player, especially regarding confidence. I notice that people who don’t grow up with a mentor-type person sometimes struggle with a level of confidence.”

Steve Smith


“I’ve never been terrified about being able to live up to any reputation. Because my whole thing is, number one, I don’t think that much about the reputation, and number two, I just want to get better.”

Dave Weckl


“I’m forever trying to do something else with whatever I’ve already been involved in. But at least you keep on trying, because if you get caught up in formulas that you know will work, it can stunt your creativity.”

Max Roach


“You’d be surprised at how good it makes you feel when you send an audience home happy. I feel good when I hear people go out saying, ‘Man, I really enjoyed myself tonight.’ You might help somebody get through the next day, or even the next few days. It is profound fulfillment to know that you are contributing to someone’s happiness, even your own.”

Philly Joe Jones


“Everyone has prejudices and fears. But anyone with experience knows that if you do take a couple of years to study something, several years later you will be very glad that you spent that amount of time improving yourself. Sometimes you don’t realize how much good something has done until years later.”

Tony Williams