So as you can gather from part one of this blog, tempting a star drummer is the hardest part, no surprise there then. Especially if you are relying on a brand to help you out as I was. I came close with Korg who supply Mapex drums, Paiste cymbals and Vic Firth sticks. We had booked Jason Bowld of Bullet for My Valentine, “This is it” I thought. I have a world class drummer coming to my home town to perform a drum clinic.

If you are going to start hosting drum clinics and make a success of it, choosing the venue is the next biggest thing. Visibility, good sound options and comfort are crucial to keeping people’s attention. Luckily a lovely small local theatre ticked all these boxes and wasn’t too expensive. This helped keep that all important ticket price attractive. So all was looking good, but then just a week before tickets went on sale Korg and Jason cancelled.

Right, this isn’t getting me anywhere, I needed to cut out the brand angle and do it myself. At this point, Nick Hartland and I had started making our Drum.Dog YouTube videos. He was now the shop’s drum teacher and he would be the drummer for what turned out to be, the first Drum.Dog live event. We booked the theatre, asked another great local drummer/teacher “Ryan Halsey” to also perform and then started promoting. Thank goodness on the night an audience showed up. I’m not saying it was a sellout but we broke even without a famous headline drummer and a drumming community came together.

Confidence up on the back of our first show, it was now time to grab a headliner. I spoke to the sales rep for Yamaha Drums and said: “I know a big brand isn’t interested in a small-town clinic but could you put me in touch with a Yamaha Artist?” He said “Yeah sure who would you like?”. Quickly remembering one of my favourite drummers is a Yamaha artist I replied “Steve White maybe?”. A week later Steve got in contact saying “Hi Ryan I hear you’re interested in a show” … “Err yes please sir!”.

So here I am standing on the stage of a full theatre about to introduce one of the best drummers in the world. The same drummer who I had seen at my first drum clinic back in my school days. Steve’s clinic was amazing and it felt great to know we had done a good job for him.

While promoting Steve’s Clinic I got to know Robert Brian. Rob is a session/touring drummer who has played on platinum-selling and Grammy-winning records. He has become a great friend of Drum.Dog since we hosted a successful clinic for him too.

While promoting Rob’s clinic I had an email saying “Hi, I hear you host drum clinics, would you like to have Ralph Rolle?” Ralph lives in New York and plays for Nile Rogers and Chic. Ok, so things are starting to happen. Steve White, Robert Brain and now Ralph Rolle. But what is it really like to work with these drummers?

Find out next week in part three of this blog! In the meantime, check out Steve White and Robert Brian perform drum solos from their clinics on our YouTube channel:

Robert Brian has also created a full video lesson pack on the art of studio drumming, packed full of the knowledge he’s picked up over the years that enable him to perform at his best when it comes down to crunch time and the red light goes on! Pre-order it now over at the DRUM.DOG website ready to stream when it’s released soon: