CRASH Course For Success

Principle 3: Attitude

by Rich Redmond (part three of five)

Hey folks! Do you want to be a better musician? Do you want more gigs? Do you want more overall happiness in your life?

Well then, try my “CRASH” concept on for size. CRASH is an acronym for Commitment-Relationships-Attitude-Skill-Hunger. The CRASH Course For SuccessTM is a true philosophy for living with five main principles that I have developed over the years. I would like to share them with you!

A musician’s job is to serve music, lift up the songs, drive each other to greatness and inspire each artist to be his or her best. I’m willing to do anything to make that happen. This includes showing up early, staying late, taking direction and occasionally making suggestions.

Photo by Paul Griffin
Photo by Paul Griffin

Always play from the heart (“play from the heart, it will set you apart”). I do it all with a smile on my face. I hope my employers will notice this and will want to call me again. All businesses thrive on repeat business. Focus on giving more than receiving, and the phone will ring off the hook!

Remember, your playing may get you in the door, but it’s your attitude that will keep you in the room. Your attitude is the one thing most people will always remember about you more than any of your other traits.

A great attitude means you are open to suggestions. You have to be willing to change time signatures, forms, grooves, attitudes, colors and textures on the fly. This rule applies whether you are working for an artist or band, live or in the studio. Don’t make the mistake of being negative or closed off to suggestions. You are being paid to be there! Don’t be a “Negative Nelly.”

I have witnessed many situations where a paid musician is difficult to work with and doesn’t like rolling with the punches. The whole situation becomes uncomfortable, and that musician is never called again. Over time, that same musician may develop an unfavorable reputation.

In my book, a man’s reputation is everything. Why jeopardize that? I have been at recording sessions where the morale has slipped, and the negativity is hanging so thick in the air that you could cut it with a knife! You can ease tensions with a witty joke or by expressing how excited you are to be there and be part of the project. Positive attitudes are contagious. Enthusiasm is contagious. I don’t know how it’s contagious, it just is. Experiment with this. You’ll like the results.

In this fast-paced new world in which we live, you have to run just to stand still. This means you need to consistently go above and beyond expectations and constantly deliver “the goods” with a smile on your face.

Many people talk about “vibes.” How many times have you heard, “Man, the vibe in that room is way off.” Or, ”Man, that dude has a really dark vibe.” It happens all of the time. This is called intuition. People are all given the gift of intuition. It’s our birthright. All people can sense and feel when someone is thinking negative thoughts. It’s been proven that negative thought patterns actually manifest themselves in a molecular way. In other words, our thoughts become things. That’s why it is so important to stay “in the green” and avoid “the red.” Stay happy, stay positive. It requires less energy to be positive, and the effects on your life are way better!

Recently, a manager of a very popular studio in Nashville pulled my rhythm section aside and told us he loved having us around because there is always a positive energy in the building when we work there. We let our attitudes show, and as a result, we attract other like-minded people to the studio, who end up booking their sessions at the studio. That’s a great scenario for a studio owner!

Always try to play with confidence. A confident performer has charisma. Let’s face it, charismatic individuals get preferential seating at restaurants, win elections and can even convince whole countries to go to war! There is tremendous power in playing with attitude.

Playing music is the way I express myself spiritually and physically. It’s the physical manifestation of who I am as a person. In my experience, I notice that as soon as I step near my “expression zone” (a drum set), I assume a certain attitude. That’s what I do and is what I was put here to do: play drums. I own every second of it, from the click of my sticks for a count off, to the first crack of my backbeat, until the very last cymbal blow!

I perform from the first moment I step on stage, to the final vibration of the crash cymbals, and to the final stick toss to a crazed and appreciative fan; I perform with attitude. I strive to always maintain that attitude of confidence, while being open to musical and verbal suggestions from my fellow musicians.

Attitude rocks. Let yours shine.

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