My travel plans were made because of a lear jet; not any jet airplane that I would be taking of course. I mean, I know some people think that the life of an AR manager for a cymbal company is all glamour (it's not), but let me assure you that whatever glamour it might hold, taking flights on charter lear jets is not a part of it.
No, said lear jet was, and still is, being chartered by The Prince of Fu**ing Darkness himself, better known to you and me as Ozzy Osbourne. Gone are the tour buses for Ozzy and his band. They get around by lear jet these days. They "hub" out of one city for a few days and fly into and out of other cities for gigs. They get in with just enough time to get prepped for the show, play the show, then get out and head back to the city that they hub out of. Pretty nice arrangement.
All of that being said, getting some hang time in with Ozzy's drummer and Meinl Cymbal artist Tommy Clufetos while on tour with Ozzy required some planning. Because even though Ozzy had a Nashville date on the books, and that's where Meinl USA is based out of, they weren't hubbing out of Nashville. So after a careful assessment, I was on my way to Denver, Colorado for a good hang with Tommy, Tommy's drum tech Panda (who happens to be one of the best drum techs in the biz), and also to capture some good footage of Tommy at work.
The night before the gig, Tommy, Panda, and I sat down to a killer meal and really got a good hang in. These things are so important, as it's the same as with any other business, it's ALL about the relationships. Keep this in mind people... you can have all of the technical skills required to do whatever your job might be, and sure, that is important. But you have to have people skills too. You have to be able to hang in any situation you find yourself in. If you can't do that then none of your skills really matter. People who end up in Artist Relations are inherently a "people person," meaning they have the ability to befriend just about anyone they meet within 30 seconds. I'm guessing that I have this skill, otherwise why would I still have my job at Meinl?...(Insert snide comments here internet haters...)
The same goes for Tommy Clufetos. The guy has had a steady stream of work since he was a teenager with some of the biggest names in rock and roll - Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie and Ozzy Osbourne. That's a totally impressive list. It all boils down to two things. Technical skills and people skills. Sure Tommy may not be on an exploratory free jazz fusion level of playing, but so what? As rock and roll drumming goes, Tommy has it down. Feel, style, and substance. To top it off, after he's passed the playing part of the audition, the dude is simply a nice guy. You can sit at dinner with him and feel like you're hanging with a regular joe; not some holier-than-thou rock and roll demi-god. Totally refreshing.
ANYWAY...next day. Gig day. Hanging at a rare sound-check with Tommy and Panda. I bought this nifty little mini-tripod that has legs that grip around anything and stay there. I placed it above and behind Tommy, mounted my video camera on it and got some great footage of Tommy during sound-check and also of Tommy's solo during the show. Check out the video montage of all of that plus a short clip of Tommy saying hello and checking in.
Thanks for reading my account of a day in the life of an AR guy. It's artists like Tommy and techs like Panda that make my job fun. Plus getting to see the Prince of Fu**ing Darkness and his band play clssic Sabbath tunes like Fairies Wear Boots (the riff in the verse is probably the heaviest riff of all time) or classic Ozzy solo tunes like Mr. Crowley isn't too bad either.