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Notes From The Coast

Dave Weckl: On Time

By Published: December 19, 2012
The downside of the internet is that it can create a terrible distraction. It's a time hog, first of all. We all know how much time we can spend surfing, It also, of course, has become a source of illegal and free downloads, and can tend, I think, to serve as enough entertainment for some people to the point that they don't go out anymore and support live music, or buy it. This is dangerous, and although I think a lot of people know how dangerous it is, and therefore still come out and support the live gigs and buy the CDs or purchase downloads, I worry some about the younger generation especially. I find that a lot of young people have trouble focusing on anything for too long of a period, which of course is necessary to become a musician or anything really that demands time and practice. I think the internet, and other forms of current technology are somewhat to blame.

AAJ : How difficult is it and time-consuming to stay on top of your social media responsibilities?

DW : I don't have a manager, so it can be difficult to maintain everything. I do, however, have a marketing manager as it were, who handles my website updates. I do some posting here and there on my Facebook fan page, but he helps there too, when I don't have the time. It's hard enough for me to stay up on business email, and I try to spend as much time as possible staying in touch with loved ones while gone on the road as well.

AAJ : How much time do you spend practicing?

DW : I am working so much that I have very little time for practicing. With all the touring, the body needs rest when I come off the road. I am usually recording when home as well, but if I do have down time, I do what I call "maintenance practice," which is basically do exercises that provide practice for independence, stamina, and spontaneous creation all at once.

AAJ : Who are your jazz heroes?

DW : [Trumpeter] Clifford Brown
Clifford Brown
Clifford Brown
1930 - 1956
trumpet
, [saxophonist] John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
, [trumpeter Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
, [saxophonists] Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
and Michael Brecker, [drummers] Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
1927 - 2004
drums
, Tony Williams
Tony Williams
Tony Williams
1945 - 1997
drums
, Jack DeJohnette
Jack DeJohnette
Jack DeJohnette
b.1942
drums
, PPhilly Joe Jones
Philly Joe Jones
Philly Joe Jones
1923 - 1985
drums
and Buddy Rich, as well as Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock, to name a few.

AAJ : Who are your rock heroes?

DW : John Bonham.

AAJ : What do you do for fun?

DW : Hang out with family, drive my car (a high-performance Chevy Corvette) fast on a race track, watch movies, take photos, cook, and exercise.

AAJ : How important is chemistry with fellow band members when you are on tour?

DW : Very important, as with any relationship. It's especially important on the stage, both musically and from a personal vibe standpoint. Musically, when there is an agreement of time, feel, musical direction, you have positive chemistry. From a personal standpoint, there's nothing worse than someone vibing on stage to the point where it affects the show, whether it's a musical/stage issue, or worse, bringing a personal issue on stage and allowing it to affect your playing and general vibe towards everyone else.

AAJ : Did reading music come easy to you?

DW : I would say so, I had a lot of exposure to reading both in grade school band, high school jazz band, and in my private studies. So basic reading was learned in school, while advanced drum set reading was taught by my private teachers, and then getting a good dose of it in school and other big bands.

AAJ : How has jazz influenced your life and music?

DW : It has given me the inspiration and knowhow to express myself through my instrument.

AAJ : How would you describe yourself as a person?

DW : Honest, Serious, not influenced by beliefs. Generally good-willed, but difficult at times because I want it my way.

AAJ : How would you describe yourself as a musician?

DW : Honest, supportive, sensitive, consistent.

AAJ : How do you relax?

DW : Cook some food and watch a movie. Relax with loved ones.

AAJ : Is music the universal language?

DW : Yes...no translating required.

AAJ : What was your most embarrassing experience on stage?

DW : Circa 1990—a 70 piece orchestra, taped TV performance in front of an audience of a couple thousand. The musical director and star/lead singer wanted two different tempos. No one knew who to follow. It was a train wreck. We stopped and started over. I stopped first, so of course, everyone looked at me.

AAJ : What were some of your special on stage moments and memories?

DW : Every time that I can play what I want to play, if having a good time with the people I am playing with and seeing the audience really get it is always a very special moment. But, playing with Steve Gadd and Vinnie Colaiuta at the same time was one of the most special moments in my career. Also, I guess the first show with Simon and Garfunkel in a stadium. It's quite special to hear 70,000 people screaming at you.

AAJ : Describe a typical day in your life when you are on tour.


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