Calvin Rodgers is, without a doubt, one of today’s greatest drummers. Period.
I had the privilege of hanging with Calvin and his drum tech, Rich, for their stop in Toronto on the Festival of Praise Tour. We have an interview with Calvin that we’ll publish at a later date, but I wanted to record and share some raw thoughts/reflections and pics/videos from my experience.
So here they are in no particular order:
More than just a phenomenal drummer. Besides being Fred Hammond’s drummer, Calvin holds down the fort as the Music Director and is responsible for song arrangements. For this tour he also played a part in song selection and creating the set lists with the artists.
He also shared in the creative direction for production (video/lights).
Stamina and Endurance. The days are long! Calvin and the band rehearsed and sound checked for over 2 hours and then played a massive set that spanned over 3 hours.
Hybrid Kits are Here to Stay! Calvin’s kit has an electronic kit seamlessly integrated with it and not only did it sound great, it was so dope! Don’t be afraid of technology, embrace it. Experiment with it. And most of all, have fun with it! If it enhances and adds to your sound, then go for it.
Mad Respect for Drum Techs. Rich is Calvin’s drum tech and he is a humble dude. I have a new-found respect for drum techs: They quietly and invisibly serve the drummer and his needs and it takes massive amounts of humility to serve someone else, instead of trying to use their platform for your promotion! Stay humble and remember you are never above serving (Think of Jesus – Philippians 2:7)
The Show Must Go On! Even though there were some technical hiccups during the concert, I saw Calvin and Rich (who ran the tracks in Protools) work together, communicate, and stay focused in order to get things back on track (no pun intended). There will always be the potential for something to go wrong. When you are prepared and know your gear, music, etc., it will make it that much easier to “find your place” again. (Remember Josh Freddy’s experience?
Never Stop Listening to Your Own Playing. It was subtle but I noticed it. Calvin had his Macbook Pro on the floor behind his kit with Garageband open and recording. Rich told me that Calvin records his mix so he can listen back to the night and analyze his playing. It’s no accident that he’s one of the best. I’m reminded that you gotta do the time!
Be Approachable/Available To People. What I really appreciated was watching Calvin take time after the concert to speak with people (young and old) and make them feel like a million bucks. A lot of us might “check out” once we put the sticks down, but we minister to people, not to pews. Loved seeing young kids coming up to Calvin with a shy smile to say hi and take some pics. That’s what sticks and makes an impact!
Generosity Goes A Long Way. Not only did Calvin allow me to shadow him for a day, but he blessed me with a pair of his own Promark signature sticks. The whole time, I felt like I needed to do something to bless him and thank him for the opportunity. And yet before I could finish thinking through that, he hands me a pair of sticks. Be generous. Be a giver. Why not buy a small gift for the drummers in your life and let them know how much you appreciate them!
Lastly, here’s the closing set from the 2015 Festival of Praise Tour. Enjoy