What did you do to bring in the New Year? Well you know it depends on your age how you bring it in. I remember back when if you didn’t have a gig on New Year's Eve that was a bad thing, that meant you couldn’t play well, and no one wanted you on the bandstand. I will never forgot my first New Year’s gig in New York, I think I was the only drummer available that year, so they called me.
I didn’t get another gig until the next New Year’s Eve, but from that gig my New York career took off and I never looked back. That was my first gig, I had just returned from military service. I could play, but I didn’t know what it took to be a club date drummer in NY. To play is one thing, but in order to be a cabaret musician you have got to be able to play all genres of music. When I say all genres, I mean every form of music there is.
That year while I was off, I spent my time woodshedding and going to jam sessions. Practicing is one thing and playing with others is another thing. You can practice at home for hours and hours, but if you never get a chance to play with others musicians, you will never get a chance to put in practice what you have learned. That’s why jam sessions are such important part of your musical education. School gave me the tools and skills, but it was that street school that taught me how to play.
Sitting at home this New Year’s Eve made me go back in time. I am very thankful for still being here and very graceful to our fans for the many years they have supported us.
Got an e-mail from a dear friend of mine whose son is aspiring to be a hip-hop artist. He was asking for a few pointers to further his career. The first thing he should do; is to get an education, take a dual major if you can so you will have some way of making ends meet, while you're building a music career. There are no short-cuts if you want to have a long-lasting career.
The one thing you have got to be is great, not good. Greatness doesn’t come by short-cuts. Just ask any of your superstars, the few that are still around, and I’m not talking about the ones who have a hit today and are gone tomorrow. In order to be great, you can not sound like or act like someone else. You have got to march to your own beat. Be yourself, and most of all be true to yourself and listen to those who have been there and made it. This is the kind of foundation that you have to have to build on.
Looking back on the way we did it, if I had to do it all over again, I think I would it the same way, with only a few small changes. First, I would find me some musicians who thought like me, and who wanted to play. It's about the music not the money. I wanted to play with musicians who would take any gig just to play and played any and all kinds of music. I wanted to play with musicians who would bring something new to the bandstand by adding something new to the old songs we have been playing every night. Guys who were willing to play out of their comfort zone, Guys who were willing to go out on the edge. From that, you will start finding your identity. Before you know it, the band will be making new arrangements and jelling together.
Believe it or not Fatback made five songs off of one song. Just for the fun of it, see can you name the five songs and what songs did they come from? That is the way I did it. We put in the time, that’s all I’m saying. The first album we recorded, we did it in less than four hours and mixed it in three. All the albums on Perception Records were done in less than eight hours. That was all the money they gave me. We were just that tight. That is what happens when everyone is on the same page wanting the same thing, just playing music.
We never had any idea that the music that we made back in the Seventies that they would still be dancing to it in 2012. You say, "Bill, that was then, times have changed." Well, you’re right; the thing that really changed the most is technology. But you have still got to build a fan base. You have to still be accessible to your fans. For years we built a Fatback community just in the NY, NJ, Connecticut and Philadelphia area. When we started recording, we had our followers. And they went out and sold the band, by word of mouth, to their friends around the country.
Hey I don’t want to write an epic here, so at a later date I’ll you tell how we built up our UK fan base.
Fatback Band Droid App Launches
We have launched our Droid App, check it out here:
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