A few years ago I had a night off between gigs in LA and decided to go see Alex Acuna play at the Baked Potato. That particular night, Abe Laboriel Sr. was playing bass (he’s played with everyone, check him out).

Though I went there to get some drumming inspiration, I had no idea that Abe Laboriel would end up completely stealing the show! Was it because he was showing off his bass chops or trying to get attention?


No. It was because Abe was simply PLAYING WITH LOVE. I don’t mean this in a cheesy sense. I mean that he truly LOVED what he was doing in that moment, so much that he was radiating with joy. Abe was playing with a huge smile on his face, and during his solos he’d get so animated that he’d literally start jumping up and down, as if he was experience the kind of joy you’d have playing the instrument for the very first time! His amount of love for the music was so magnetic that he forced everyone in the room to rise up to his level. It was amazing and I’ve honestly never seen anything like it in my whole life. I came to the Baked Potato that night to watch Alex, but ended up mezmorized watching Abe the whole night!

To me, playing with love means that you’re playing from the heart, not from the brain. You’re not trying to gain approval from the audience or your bandmates. You’re not trying to play “correctly”. Instead, you're expressing yourself through the instrument and giving that gift of love to others. How lucky we really are as musicians to be able to do this for other people!


This week, I’d like to challenge you to answer some difficult questions:

-When you sit down behind the kit, are you really playing with love for the music? If not, why? Be honest with yourself, what needs to change?

-If you didn’t care about what others thought about your playing, how would your playing be different than it is right now? If your playing came from the heart, would it mean more to other people?

-If you feel you’ve hit a rut musically, how can you inspire yourself to fall back in love with your instrument? (Some ideas: buy a new piece of gear, try new setups/tunings, learn a new style of music, take a lesson, play with new musicians, watch drumming videos, etc.)

-What are the 3 things you love doing the most in life? How can you allow yourself to be in a position to experience these things more often?

-How can you "PLAY WITH LOVE" in areas outside of music?



Thanks to Victor Indrizzo for offering his 3 words of advice to drummers (PLAY WITH LOVE) and for inspiring me to write this week's article!

Victor has toured, recorded and worked with an amazing variety of artists, such as: Beck, Dave Gahan, Sheryl Crow, Macy Gray, Alanis Morissette, Willie Nelson, Gnarls Barkley, Colbie Caillat, Juanes, Avril Lavigne, Melissa Etheridge, Brandon Flowers, Sara Bareilles and many more. He was also the drummer for Infant Sorrow in the movie "Get Him To The Greek" starring Russell Brand.


Steve SuchComment