Written at: Javista Coffee Bar in Hollywood, CA. Drinking a hemp milk Gibraltor, like a fuckin' yuppy.
By Conor Logan
It's about 30 minutes before rehearsal. I like to get down into the city a bit early... I park my car at our lockout (LA term for 24-hour rehearsal studio) and walk a couple blocks to this sweet spot called Javista. I think I was their very first customer, when they opened in 2013 or so. My wife and I used to live just down the street, until we had Sonya and decided to move somewhere that we could roam the streets a little more freely in the evenings.
It's nice to have a moment to drink a coffee, check on the site, setup Facebook Live for the evening, and get a little billing done (I'm an acupuncturist, so I'll take a few moments and input my billing for the day's patients that I saw.) Shannon is making her way, no doubt, over from Glendale right now, and Dan from where he lives over in Santa Monica. Hollywood certainly is central for all three of us, even if it can be a bitch getting in/out.
Dan used to be a guitar instructor. I imagine a very good one. He's patient but firm, keeps his boundaries and, I'm sure, didn't allow his students to walk all over him. He also is a fuckin' machine on the guitar and a Berkeley grad... well-trained. He leads by example, and I usually arrive at rehearsal to him blasting through scales and prepping for the evening. He comes with ideas worked out, parts of songs that he wants to review and/or revise, etc. Practice for practice, that'd be the mantra.
Shannon is similarly excellent and well-trained. She plays in lots of projects and really gives a fuck about her playing, her presentation, the quality of her voice, etc. She comes to practice ready to roll as well... although she'll need a few minutes to vent about work and decompress... no problems there. Dan and I know this and will readily pass her a beer and chat her up about the day... get her into the rock mode. Me... fuck, I'm just stoked to be there... always ready to hit a drum. I rehearse a good deal at home, but I'm not the studied up musician that those two are.
I remember taking lessons from this great instructor, Dave Tepper, back in high school. He have me go over theory and prep for my lessons, but always wanted me to learn a cover song. I hated that, but I had a reason. I never enjoyed learning the ways that 'other drummers' played the instrument. I simply liked to create. I'd practice for hours alone, just creating creating creating... never had a problem coming up with new ideas. I remember he wanted me to learn this Journey cover. I learned it, but my heart wasn't in it. I didn't want to do it. The next lesson I told him I didn't want to do covers anymore. He was annoyed and asked why. I explained "I don't want to learn the styles of other drummers. I think it'll affect the creation of my own." He thought about that for a second and then said 'Ok. You don't have to do covers anymore.' It was one of the first times I felt truly respected for my viewpoint, from someone outside my family. Meant a lot to me... obviously, because I'm writing about it years later, right?
Back to the title of the article... what's it like to play with two people that are well-trained, creative as all get-out, and expect me to hang with them. It's fantastically frustrating. They hold me to my word... they push me to learn new things and come up with new ways to attack different parts of songs. They remind me of my Dad telling me 'you never want to be the smartest or best one around... you need people to push you from time to time.' Sage advice... and I'm happy it's manifesting in this band.
So... you learned a little about me and our band. I hope you find yourself in great situations that push you to be your best... or even to new areas where you didn't realize you could be excellent. A life without learning it pretty wasted....