Rich Redmond is everything you would imagine a hustling musician to be; highly motivated, passionate, talented, and as energetic as a five year old with a Slurpee. Before his CRASH Course to Success seminar, I had the privilege of picking the brain of this long-standing musical powerhouse as he told me more about his 20+ years on tour with Jason Aldean, 10 years of teaching this course, and lifetime of practice. The following is an excerpt from our interview:
Tell me about yourself. What made you want to play drums professionally?
Rich: I think we are all born with a calling, and that was mine. From an early age I was hitting everything in sight and when I was six or seven years old, my dad asked me if I wanted to play drums and he started taking me to lessons. I started learning while we lived in Connecticut and then we moved to El Paso, Texas where I joined the school band in the 5th grade, then the high school band, marching band, orchestra band, pep band, garage bands, you name it I probably did it. Then I went to school at Texas Tech University and the University of North Texas in Denton to get my masters in music education and classical percussion. In 1996 I moved to Nashville, coming up on 20 years and have been there ever since.
What made you want to create the CRASH course?
Rich: Like drumming, I think that teaching is also my calling. I think that teaching makes you a better musician and person because it helps you figure out why you do what you do and how you do it. I never wanted to be a full time teacher but I keep it as part of my diet. While I was tour with Jason Aldean between 2004 and now, before sound check every day we would pull into a city and I would go do a drum clinic at a music store, coffee shop, guitar center, etc.
I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a drum clinic where it’s not just a guy with a drum solo for 90 minutes and then asks, ‘Any questions,’ but actually have something of value to anyone in attendance.” CRASH was the brainchild of that question, and it’s an acronym that stands for Commitment, Relationships, Attitude, Skill, and Hunger. These are five things that I’ve used to attract success into my life, and anyone else can too. I’ve done this event for a variety of ages, from kids as young as kindergarten to college graduations and even some Fortune 500 companies who need unique motivational speakers.
How do you balance going on tour with teaching these courses? Are you still touring?
Rich: Yes, in fact Jason Aldean and I are in the busiest season of our tour and about to release our seventh studio album. It’s been an amazing ride, performing in as many morning and late night shows as we have, even things like the Grammys and professional baseball games. I’ve been with these guys for 17 years and they’ve become some of my best friends. But I created that opportunity for myself. We attract the things we want out of life with this philosophy of hard work, commitment to excellence, and valuing of relationships.
How do you choose the locations where you have these classes?
Rich: I make it super turn key for the host. Usually I do these on tour before soundcheck. Typically we pull into a city between 6:00-9:00 am and don’t have soundcheck until 3:00/3:30, so a host will pick me up and I’ll do it before 3:30 pm every day.
The event itself was jam-packed with an interactive show-and-tell as Redmond wove stories into his drum samples throughout the night. I am a guitar player and singer who grew up in the very structured realm of reading music rather than playing by ear, which is why I was surprised to see how adamantly this rock star personality emphasized the importance of starting with the basics of committing to lessons and learning proper music technique. Rich said that learning “the rules” of music and mastering the basics, like reading music, gives musicians the ability to hone their craft and branch out to a variety of genres. This helps musicians book more gigs and showcase the mastery of their art.
Another important takeaway from the night was his devotion to the idea of practicing. He said, “They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in something. You must average eight hours a day, seven days a week for six years to come up with that number. The earlier you find your passion and find that focus the better because you can then start putting those hours in.”
The CRASH Course event on Monday evening was a smashing success. A variety of local musicians (not just drummers), industry professionals, and media outlets were present to learn from Redmond and network with this charismatic personality. Prizes were given, drinks were had, and the idea that valuing relationships as a core key to success was proclaimed. For more information on Rich Redmond’s CRASH course to success, go to http://crashcourseforsuccess.com/.