The following story is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.....and the not-so-innocent, for that matter.
Several years ago I was hired to finish a studio album that was already in progress. The original drummer had, uh....moved on, and I was happy to take his place. Actually, I was more than happy. This guy was easily the best drummer that had ever lived in that particular area, and was absolutely the standard for being a true pro player.
In short, I was feeling pretty darn good about myself. You might even say I was feeling cocky. I thought, "If I'm replacing that guy, I must be as good as he is." This was a great feeling.
It lasted about five minutes. Typical, right?
Producer: "You know you're not nearly as good as him, right?"
Me: "Yeah, I was....wait? What?"
Songwriter: "Yeah, he's amazing. Best drummer I've ever worked with."
Me: (Shocked, trying to keep my composure.) "So....why'd I get hired, then?"
Producer: (Laughing) "Because, man! You're always on time and you never show up drunk!"
Ok, then. There you have it from a career-long pro. Be on time and don't show up drunk. They did go on to reassure me that I'm a good player and they were excited to have me on the project, but it was shocking to know that (apparently) my most marketable features were punctuality and sobriety.
It actually ended up being a great project, a huge learning experience for me, and a whole lot of fun with some great new friends. But it sure was humbling.
Stay sober, my friends.
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