Count & Preparation Overkill

By Rob Landau "Dirt" on July 18, 2014



Count & Preparation Overkill

 I might be telling you all something you already know, but it is quite amusing how many times this little trick, which I learned the hard way, has come to the rescue of me and my band.

I can tell you that if one of a band members gets into a flap because he, or one of the other band members is ill prepared, it can really affect the rest of the band - and not just for that gig either. Sometimes personality tensions can last a long time. I think we've all been there.

So I try to help minimize this possibility by doing something I call “count & preparation overkill."

I'm a drummer, and as a drummer going off to do a gig I'm normally prepared with the obvious things that are important to me; for example, spare sticks and something convenient to place spare sticks on in case I drop one during the gig, tuning key and/or drum tool, drum microphones and hardware, etc.

But I wasn't always so organized.  Once I left my kick pedal behind, and that really hurt.  Call it hard-learned experience, but since that day, instead trying to use a checklist to make sure I haven't forgotten anything, now I just make use of a “count”. The trick is that once I've established what I need to take to a venue, I then count how many items there are. Then when it’s time to pack up, if I make the same count, I know I haven't forgotten anything.

Each gig is likely to have a different count number I must remember. I say this because not all venues are the same. Sometimes when playing at a multi-band music festival, for example, some equipment is supplied - maybe the drum shells, microphones and so on.

And I can tell you that almost every time I do a gig at a music festival a drummer from another band will ask me if he or she can borrow something of mine. Sometimes I feel they do it on purpose because they can't be bothered carrying all their own stuff. There was one time when a drummer arrived at a gig with absolutely nothing. NOTHING!! I had to laugh. It's probably why we get the reputation of being “Dumb Drummers”.

Believe me, the count trick really works, and it works equally well whether I'm rushing to get off a stage to make way for the next band, or just packing up after a gig at a pub. It's a lot less to think about, and it gets rid of unnecessary stress; not to mention that it also saves me money not having to replace things I've forgotten.

The other trick I learned the hard way is something I call “preparation overkill,” and what it involves is preparing a drum bag which contains everything I need. This is not too difficult a thing for us “dumb drummers” to do, but it's what goes into the bag that is important. Things to consider putting into the drum bag and just leaving there permanently are:

  • 9 volt batteries
  • Spare cannon, jack, RCA, power, PA and patch leads
  • Leatherman or multi tool
  • Money
  • Deodorant (believe me, people…normally not for me!)
  • Torch/Flashlight.

This may seem crazy, but this little section of my drum bag gets opened many times - before, after, and even during a gig. Yes…..Many times!!!

It’s the little things that are often overseen by one of the other band members that can become issues, because it's just not possible for somebody to think of everything. So coming to the rescue by being reliable and being prepared, really neutralizes a whole world of stress on everyone; and it makes you feel pretty important too. Or at least less “dumb”.

Well, my fellow drumming “dummies,” I hope my trick of Count & Preparation Overkill helps you become a bit more appreciated in your band.

Hit it my friends!