Mike Dawson at drum kit with drum stick raisedMultifaceted drummer Mike Dawson has refocused his career on studio work, teaching, visual arts and of course drum gear. Prior to the pandemic, he was a gigging machine, managing editor at Modern Drummer Magazine, and co host of the Modern Drummer Podcast With Mike And Mike. He’s more recently become Chief Creative Officer at Drum Factory Direct, which as the name might imply, is all about drum gear.

Mike’s return to the Unstarving Musician was as much an opportunity for me to get caught up on all his recent life changes as it was an opportunity to celebrate episode 200 the Unstarving Musician. Mike also appears in episodes 1, 25 and 50 of this podcast, all three of which are among the our most popular episodes.

In this conversation Mike and I talk about his increased involvement with the visual aspects of his work. We also talk about recording, the details of his new gig at Drum Factory Direct, the future of upcoming events, a new podcast he was working on when we recorded this conversation, my climate beaten drum kit, his new home base of Pittsburgh, and re-prioritizing life. We also laugh a lot. That happens quite a bit here on the Unstarving Musician, laughing.

Please enjoy my conversation with Mike Dawson.

Mentioned in this Episode

Mike Dawson on Instagram

Drum Candy – New podcast hosted by Mike Dawson

Modern Drummer Podcast With Mike And Mike

Mike Dawson in Episode 1 of The Unstarving Musician

Mike Dawson in Episode 25 of The Unstarving Musician

Mike Dawson in Episode 50 of The Unstarving Musician

Robonzo’s latest single – New Gods Part 2

Robonzo 0:02
This is the Unstarving Musician podcast. I’m your host Robonzo. The podcast features conversations with me, indie music artists and industry professionals. And it’s all intended to help other indie music artists be better at marketing business, the creative process and all the other things that empower us to do more of what we love. Make music.

Robonzo 0:25
If you love what I do here on the podcast, please visit Unstarving musician.com forward slash crowd sponsor to learn about the many ways that you can show your love and support for the Unstarving Musician, including a new podcast startup course by yours truly that you can join to support. Again, just visit Unstarving musician.com forward slash crowd sponsor to learn more.

Robonzo 0:49
My latest single New Gods Part 2, which was co written by Peter Rand drops into the digital wild on May 29 2021. But you can preview, pre save and or download at Robonzo.com that’s my artist website. New Gods Part 2 is my personal homage to Zeppelin, Genesis and prog rock with a little social commentary. I hope you’ll check it out. And I hope you like it.

Robonzo 1:16
Welcome to Episode 200. That’s a milestone, right? My guest is Mike Dawson. He’s a drummer, was a gigging machine pre COVID. He’s a studio musician, and a teacher among other things. He’s the former managing editor at Modern Drummer magazine now Chief Creative Officer at drum factory direct, which, as the name might imply, is all about drum gear, including just about every tiny part imaginable. He’s also the former host of the Modern Drummer podcast with Mike and Mike. It was a really popular podcast for drummers, maybe people who don’t even play I don’t know. It was just a great podcast, super informative, couple of great hosts. Mike Dawson was featured in Episode 1, 25, and 50 of this podcast, all three of which are among the most popular episodes of this Unstarving Musician. So I brought him back for 200. And in this conversation, Mike and I catch up on all the changes in his life, and career including his increased involvement with the visual aspects of his new work gig in music and drums. We also talked about recording. He was a big help in my getting started with recording at home. He details his new gig at drum factory direct, the future of upcoming events as they affect his world, a new podcast he has in the works. My drum kit, we talked about that too, which has taken a climate beating here in Panama, between extreme humidity, salt air, and a little bit of neglect on my part. And we talk about his new home base of Pittsburgh, and reprioritizing life, as the stinkin pandemic has enabled many of us to do, reprioritizing our lives. We also laugh a lot that happens quite a bit here on the Unstarving Musician. Laughing. Alright, so without further ado, here’s my conversation with Mike Dawson.

Mike Dawson 3:28
Are video and unmute. What’s up?

Robonzo 3:31
How are you man?

Mike Dawson 3:32
I’m good. How are you?

Robonzo 3:34
Doing all right. Doing all right. It’s been a long time

Mike Dawson 3:38
It has been right?

Robonzo 3:40
Yeah, maybe maybe 100 episodes.

Mike Dawson 3:47
How long is that?

Robonzo 3:49
I don’t know. I gotta look and see. Where are you at today?

Mike Dawson 3:53
I’m in Pittsburgh. I moved.

Robonzo 3:54
You did?

Mike Dawson 3:55
Mmm hmm.

Robonzo 3:56
How come?

Mike Dawson 3:58
We wanted to get out New Jersey, sold our house, found somewhere cheaper.

Robonzo 4:02
And when was that kind of pandemic related?

Mike Dawson 4:05
Yeah, my Well, my, my wife was working in the Bronx, and she went remote a hundred percent.

Robonzo 4:11

Mike Dawson 4:12
So we were like, why are we staying here? And let’s look somewhere a little bit cheaper. And we looked to Pennsylvania. And then we found, you know, this cool place in Pittsburgh. And here we are.

Robonzo 4:22
Are you, I know another cool company there, not that you, well you are kind of a company, aren’t you? But Duolingo based in Pittsburgh?

Mike Dawson 4:32
Is it really?

Robonzo 4:33

Mike Dawson 4:34
I use that app.

Robonzo 4:35
Yeah, it’s great. What language

Mike Dawson 4:38
I mean, I’ve been flirting with Spanish since I was about 14, but nothing sticking. I mean, I was playing in a band for like three years with with primarily Spanish speaking band members.

Robonzo 4:49

Mike Dawson 4:51
Every show I would go to it’d be like, I can’t understand anything you guys are talking about. Sorry. I had to freshen up a little bit. But yeah, it’s It’s not sticking, but I keep trying.

Robonzo 5:02
Yeah, you have to be around people that are just, you know, going to force you to speak it. And have you have a reason to. Yeah, talk I went before we moved here, I would practice in Mexican restaurants in California and just practice on them non stop as much as I could. But nothing. I didn’t really speak Spanish before we moved to Panama. But nothing worked. Like just kind of being immersed in it.

Mike Dawson 5:25

Robonzo 5:26
You’ve had a lot of changes going on, it looks like. I sort of kind of saw some and then this morning, I’m looking at your Instagram, which was great, as always, by the way. And so it looks like you’ve had a few changes. I didn’t even know about the move. But tell me what else is going on professionally, musically, and everything else

Robonzo 5:41
Wow. Where do you want to begin?

Robonzo 5:43
I missed a lot. It’s funny. One day, I looked at the podcast and like, okay, I missed a few episodes. I don’t know what happened. And yeah, I saw very recently the Creative Officer thing with, forgive me, I’m blanking on the name here.

Mike Dawson 5:58
Yep, drum factory direct.

Robonzo 6:01
Didn’t know you moved. That sort of makes things sync up a little bit for me in my head, but, and I assume you’re still, It looks like you’re still doing teaching. You’re clearly still posting a lot of cool stuff on Instagram. So yeah, just wherever you want to start.

Unknown Speaker 6:15
Wow, man. Yeah, still teaching. So teaching college drumset lessons.

Robonzo 6:20

Mike Dawson 6:21
During a pandemic. interesting experience. So it’s been a pretty tough year to keep everyone motivated. But yes, I teach drumset faculty U Arts in Philadelphia, which, when I lived in New Jersey, I would commute down and teach in person, but this past year, everything’s been online. So then we were able to move and I was able to keep teaching. So next semester, that’s all going to be restructured a bit but yeah, so doing that. I stepped away from the daily work of Modern Drummer. So I can focus on a new opportunity, which is with drum factory direct. They’re here in Pittsburgh. They brought me in to build up their their media. I’m doing a lot of photography, rewriting all the website content, new website, launching this summer, tons of video demos and all that kind of stuff. So I get to, I get to play around with drum gear all day. That’s kind of the gig. Currently. It’s photography. I’m like crash course in photography, product photography. [okay.] And I’ve learned that the hardest thing on earth to photograph is a small chrome tube lug. [I bet.] Yeah, I guess like trying to take a photograph of water? Like how do you do this?

Robonzo 7:41
Wow, have you? I guess you’ve probably met some product photographers during this journey to try and seek out some tips for weird little.

Mike Dawson 7:49
Yeah, I have. I mean, and they all kind of say the same thing. Good luck. Yeah, and I’ve started subscribing to some online courses or photography, and they do product photography. They’re like, Oh, this is really hard to photograph. It’s a shiny can. But it’s not that hard. Because it’s, it’s a black cat or something. So you can hide all the reflections. But if you try to take a shot of a round tube lug, and it’s Chrome. No one’s no one has any solutions for that. So we’re actually like, brainstorming things to build like an acrylic cylinder that we can totally surround the product with and then put the camera in a small hole. Because it’s insane. It picks up 360 degree reflections [Oh wow.] So no matter what there is, it just looks bad. It just looks bad. And you don’t want to over Photoshop it because it starts to look fake. Yeah, anyway, so that’s my my full time gig now as I was working with them. Super cool. Totally unexpected, but kind of falls right into my wheelhouse of a lot of you know, you know, we’re going to be launching a bunch of stuff, a lot of video, new podcasts in development. So the kind of stuff that sits right in my, You know, my obsession, which is drums and sound and visual art. So it’s been fun in Pittsburgh is, you know, a whole interesting. I mean, it’s cool. It’s weird, cuz everything’s shut down. You know? So like, we’ve been here, moved here November, and we haven’t been downtown once. You know, it’s like, we just live five miles outside of Pittsburgh. And you know, like, Oh, yeah, yeah, we’re in a major city, but nothing, nothing happening, so it’ll be exciting when things start opening back up again.

Robonzo 9:38
Yeah, I can imagine I had never thought about that. I’m, it seems like several people I know are we know have have moved that are in the States. And I thought about that fact that a lot of places are just well, hardly anything’s operating like it used to. Pandemic’s like, I never thought about what that’s like you go to a new place and like oh wow, gotta wait for things to be sort of like they were to discover it.

Mike Dawson 10:02
Yeah and then I kind of I mean it’s like a private city right now like I can I can our house is quarter of a mile from the whatever they call it here the the Beltway on what they call it like the Beltway in DC it’s the the interstate that goes right to downtown. So I can be in downtown at the stadiums in under 10 minutes. But that’s right now with no traffic, like I don’t know what’s gonna, like literally just whip right in. So we’re in the suburbs with like trees and mountains and space. And in 10 minutes, I could be right downtown Pittsburgh, but I don’t know what’s gonna be like, full full traffic chaos. So it’s been kind of fun to like, pretend like it’s a private city, we can whip around, do whatever we want.

Robonzo 10:44
Are you working remote for drum factory direct?

Mike Dawson 10:47
Partially. So I know, a lot of the writing stuff, editing of product, descriptions of things. I just do that at home in the morning. And then I go to the warehouse, which is in downtown Pittsburgh to do photography and other stuff.

Robonzo 11:00
Cool. Well, a lot of a lot of cool stuff to learn. And this Yeah, I know, playing has been completely changed, like performing. You used to do a lot of that, obviously. And so what have you had time to sort of fill that gap? With all the changes going on in your life? Are you doing a little more of something else? I mean, I know you get to play anyway. But like, yeah, I guess for maybe the part that got disrupted like maybe collaboration and certainly performing live? Have you done anything to sort of fill those gaps? Is there some of that starting to come back into your life?

Mike Dawson 11:35
No, it’s it’s gone. There’s a few things on the books. But I’m being you know it this whole, this whole year was a good chance to like, take a reset and ask myself, like, do I really want to be gigging every weekend and it was really important. We know what would be better usage of my time, or what do I really want to do. So I’m taking a few things here and there, but only ones that I really want to do, I’m going to want to stay away from trying to be just the jobbing drummer anymore. Which is I’m totally cool. And this new gig is occupying so much of my time, because we’re you know, we’re in a race to get this website launched. So it’s like every, every day is just jammed with different different objectives in different challenges, like really learning photography for real rather than just toying around with it, and really, really developing, like video production schedules that are like real, and not just me throwing a camera on and hitting a snare drum for 10 minutes. So that that creative juices is in that other area, which I think is awesome. A lot of recording, still, that’s still happening. The biggest thing that’s picked up is a lot more online lessons, because everyone’s stuck at home. And we got a lot of you know, professionals who hadn’t touched their drum in five, six years. And they find me like, Can you just give me back up to speed or show me how to record or help me with video editing, it’s a lot of, you know, mixed bag of I don’t have any beginner students, they’re all like, pros and used to be Semi Pro or got another job or are trying to figure out this whole new digital world that we have to exist in.

Robonzo 13:19
Yeah, yeah, I mean, you know, kind of where I was at when we first met. And I finally got some recording going. But the whole visual aspect of it is, you know, I’ve not even really scraped the surface. So I’m guessing that for you the visual aspect of what you do, because the new job and all this stuff you’ve been immersed in, trying to learn and improve has really upped your game for your personal work as well for the stuff that you do on social media, right? Because I was looking at some today. And I’m like, that looks really interesting. When I think back now, I always enjoyed your, your videos, playing snippets and stuff, but I looked at a few of the more recent ones. And that’s pretty cool. So has it kind of is changing the way you do stuff.

Mike Dawson 13:58
Yeah, kind of, Ironically, it’s making me think simpler, you know, not overthinking it like this. This is my teaching booth here is a clear Sonic booth. And I refuse to put like real microphones in there. Like I don’t want to I don’t want to turn this into another studio. This is for teaching in messing around and being weird for Instagram. So I’m only using the Yamaha ad 10 for my audio and I’m only using a lavalier clip on if I have to do any talking. Okay, and I’m refusing to allow myself to go any further with it. So and I’m having to just use the tools, use my experience and my confidence with the tools to just make sure I’m not you know, because you can overthink it you can kind of spiral if I get like I tried to set up like an overhead camera and I’m like, why am I bothering just do a front camera? One light, I’ve got a ring light instead of a bunch of lights. And it just so it’s forcing me. I forced myself to simplify. Knowing that I can get the results I want because I’ve done so many different experiments and Don’t need eight microphones in this tiny little booth. Yeah, you know so that ends in the other rooms the bigger studio that’s works for full tilt I’m still learning it i mean i’m still it’s it’s a never ending process, you know filming a drum set to the you know what angles are really what? You know, like that’s the thing like how do you where do you put the camera? That’s where I’m at now like where do you put the camera to get the desired result and what is the desired result instead of just put a camera up and get whatever you get, you get something more like compositional visually a whole lot more rather than just put a camera wherever I can fit it and get whatever I can get. My old room was much smaller so I only had I only had one side to work with. This room I can shoot from 360 if, not this room but the studio on the other side. I could shoot for 360 if I want, so now I really gotta be like deliberate with everything.

Robonzo 15:59
Yeah, now I kind of remember the earlier videos it was like for me anyway I’m thinking memories like the the angles were kind of from here.

Mike Dawson 16:06
Yeah, cause that whole other side was all the ugly computer stuff. So I couldn’t put a camera on the show that’s not at all it was just totally disaster

Robonzo 16:17
Wow, well that’s nice.

Mike Dawson 16:18
So now I’ve got it set up a little cleaner. My rack is much cleaner. I’ve got drums stacked in the room kind of make it a little bit more, because the old room it was just I barely had space to fit anything, so every nook and cranny there was a wire or something or a drum or whatever.

Robonzo 16:34
Well I went medium simple with my recording setup for me medium simple, based on our you know, you were nice enough to have a conversation with me when I was first thinking about getting mics and stuff and I didn’t go with just a couple of overheads you know, I ended up micing I, the one thing I doubled up on I guess, so to speak is I put one mic on two on two rack toms which I recorded my first two tracks with that configuration, but and then, but I did end up using sm 50 sevens for overheads, and

Mike Dawson 17:05
Oh, yeah, and they don’t sound bad. You you have to EQ them, but they don’t sound bad.

Robonzo 17:09
Yeah. And I have a friend who’s played with me on the first two tracks, and he is a great engineer. So he actually he said the drums sounded really good. The second one we did, I’m in a different location. And there were a couple of problems like on the kick drum and the snare, they had changed from the first one, like there was probably a mic stand, tap and then tap on the kick drum in one case and little stuff like that, but. But yeah, it worked out. And that was really helpful that he did that. And I am I’m trying to put together some real simple videos for people to just show like, you know, this is how I got started. And for most people who you know, were not recording acoustic drums. My situation is arguably a lot more complicated. But you know, just talking about you don’t have to break the bank. And you know, all this stuff is really simple. I don’t even have a high end kit and listen to what we did. It’s great.

Mike Dawson 18:01
I mean, our hands handful of SM fifty sevens, you can get in a lot of trouble. I mean, you could do acoustic guitar, you can do vocals, you can do electric guitar, you can do percussion. I mean, the only thing that maybe like upright bass might not be the best thing for, but I don’t know, I’ve never tried it. [Yeah. Yeah.] I mean, it’s it’s funny that it’s one of those mics, everyone’s like nah it’s a 57 like, No, you should. You should have five of these. You never know. And there good inside the bass drum, I mean, the Shure Beta 52 the bass drum mic. It’s just a 57 inside of them.

Robonzo 18:34
Is it really?

Mike Dawson 18:35
Yeah, it’s maybe made slightly differently, but sounds pretty much the same.

Robonzo 18:42
It’s funny, yeah. Just packaged for marketing purposes, I guess.

Mike Dawson 18:45
Yeah, fits in the old got the you know, it’s bigger. So it’s obviously going to pick up more low end because that’s what we believe.

Robonzo 18:51
Yeah. That’s cool. Interesting. Yeah. But, you know, I clearly have some opportunities for upgrades, but I’ve had a lot of fun. My biggest challenge has always been the space in which I’m recording. It’s pretty harsh. And then like, now I’m in a place where I’m having neighbor trouble so so we’ll have to work that out. But I know plenty drummers and so if I can also fortunately focus on writing and singing and, and hopefully get back to playing on my own or continue playing on my own stuff short term. But if I need to, I can, you know, get someone to play for me, which is nice. So nice.

Mike Dawson 19:23
Is there any performing down there where you are?

Robonzo 19:25
Yeah. So there was an In fact, I was going to relate to what you were saying about, you know, reassessing this whole thing about playing all the time.

Robonzo 19:35
And now a quick word from our affiliate partner and then back to the interview. This episode is powered by bandzoogle, the most effective platform for musicians and bands to build their website and manage direct to fan marketing and sales, powering over 55,000 websites. bandzoogle features powerful design options, a commission free store to sell merch, music and tickets, a built in mailing List tool, detailed fan data, integrations with social networks and more plans start at just 8.29 a month, which includes a free custom domain name, you, indie musician can try it out for free at bandzoogle.com. And you can use the promo code Robonzo R O B O N Z O to get 15% off your first year of any plan. Again, that’s bandzoogle.com promo code Robonzo ROBONZ O.

Robonzo 20:33
During the pandemic, I had one performance, and it was kinda recently and I looked back on it as soon as I left and I’m like, I shouldn’t have done that. Just this is my sort of attitude on being around people during this time too many people, but it was good. And it was easy. I got paid well, and the guys I played with a really nice. But I was asked again, by the same guys that it was a nice little opportunity for a private thing. But I just realized I’m I’ve been doing like these sort of cover gigs, mostly, you know, cover music gigs for years, and I just am having a lot more fun writing music and thinking about things. And I said, You know, I just I’m not inspired to do that right now. Maybe I will. But yeah, I just don’t want to do it so much. And I’ve always gone back and forth with the whole lugging a drum set around, you know, for these types of gigs. Some of them are very nice. And some of them are just a ton of work. Yeah, yes. Right now there’s no performing though.

Mike Dawson 21:29
Oh, none. Okay. There’s a couple clubs, a jazz club here in Pittsburgh that has live still has live gigs with, you know, much, much smaller audiences. It’s a little restaurant anyway, I don’t think it holds many people. But yeah, I haven’t even thought about going to a show like that not even and I’ve got some events coming up. I’m like, I may have to cancel that. I don’t know if I want to go to that.

Robonzo 21:52
I have one as well not, but yours looks pretty exciting. And if this is current, I saw that you have a Music City drum show in August. Is that is that like for this upcoming or is that an old?

Mike Dawson 22:03
Yeah so that was originally scheduled last August, and then obviously got cancelled or postponed. So they’re trying to bring it back this to August? That’s the one where I’m thinking, Hmm, maybe I should sub this out to a national drummer who’s already there. Like I’m not vaccinated, and I’m way low on the list to get vaccinated. Yeah, so I don’t think August I’ll have my shot or shots.

Robonzo 22:25
How old are you, Mike?

Mike Dawson 22:27

Robonzo 22:28
42? And you’re low unless I guess it’s like everyone 50 and up that there? And if your essential, whatever medical and all that stuff?

Mike Dawson 22:34
Yeah, yeah, I don’t have any any qualifications that would bump me up. I’m, in Pennsylvania is really slow. We’re still in like the very first tier one a or whatever they’re calling it. So yeah, I don’t want predict that I’m going to have a vaccine by then. So I don’t know. It’s a bummer. And I haven’t even talked to them about it yet. But I kind of would rather just say get someone local who doesn’t have to get on an airplane to do this. And I’ll you know, I’ll give them your because they paid me like a deposit last year.

Robonzo 23:03
Oh, wow.

Mike Dawson 23:04
So I’ll give you your money back. And just I think it might be better. I’m not sure. Because there’s no there’s also risk of this thing flaring back up. And certainly I want us to get sick after a year and a half of avoiding it.

Robonzo 23:19
Yeah. So what happens at those shows? Normally, I’m not familiar with it.

Mike Dawson 23:25
This is a new show, I think they’ve only had one. So it’s like a it’s it’s a big exhibit hall where, you know, they’re renting out booths for companies that bring their stuff and I guess sell their stuff there. And then each day has two or three performances.

Robonzo 23:41
And you were gonna perform right?

Mike Dawson 23:42
Yeah, I was supposed to be the like the opening one and sort of like emcee of the day. Nice. Which I mean, it was

Robonzo 23:49
It’s a high exposure gig.

Mike Dawson 23:52
Yeah, I mean, it was, I mean, 2019 it was my goal to do a lot of drum events. That was, you know, this was one of them. I did PASIC, I didn’t, you know, went to London and did a thing over there. taljaard. So I was like, you know, checking off all the boxes, and this was gonna be another big one. But again, I’m like reevaluating, like, do I want to do drum events where I’m surrounded by a bunch of people? I don’t know. Don’t know. By nature, they get to get kind of close to you.

Robonzo 24:22
Yeah, well, if you do, you know. I guess the thing to avoid would be like the happy hour thing is because people want to get a little bit closer.

Mike Dawson 24:30
Yeah, yeah. The hang and also, I mean, it’s it’s so it’s so politically divided here. I don’t know what’s in that. I mean, Nashville was kind of open. I think I don’t want to I don’t want to be the guy who’s like a jerk, like, Hey, I don’t I’m gonna wear a mask and then be the only one in the in convention, I just don’t know, I don’t want to create any sort of oddness.

Robonzo 24:52
So back to the podcast. When did the format change? When did you and Mike stop doing it?

Mike Dawson 24:57
Oh gosh, I don’t even know. This whole year has been like one never ending day.

Robonzo 25:05
So it was it was last year, right?

Mike Dawson 25:07
It was last year, I would assume. I don’t even know when we initially had our last episode. I’m sure iTunes will tell you, but yeah, 250. So we got to like, summertime, I think last year in just was COVID. And our work schedules I was working remote. And then all the sudden my wife was working remote. And Mike was dealing with things with his business or, you know, getting it pivoting to a certain direction with like he was doing because he had to cancel all his drum camps.

Robonzo 25:07
Oh right, I was thinking to myself. I was thinking his business was built for this. But I forgot about the drum camps.

Mike Dawson 25:44
Yeah, I mean, from March until October, he had drum camps every week. And they were all booked solid. So he had to cancel all those. And then he was experimenting with, like, digital camps. So just our lives just got really kind of intense. And every week, we would be less prepared. It was like, you know, we need to take a break from this thing. Like, I’ve got to get my stuff together. I’m trying to figure out how to do my full time job from home now. I had a sick dog. It was like all these things that were happening. And then we were like, you know, we said originally that if we made it to 250, we would quit. So we got to like 246 I think. And Mike was like, I think I need to I need to stop. And like Alright, well let’s do four highlight shows and just call it quits. And that’s what we did. So we just ended at 250. There was no no

Mike Dawson 26:34
No fan fair?

Mike Dawson 26:36
Yeah, and we probably should have like a farewell. But we didn’t want to do that. Because the you know, the Modern Drummer team wanted to just start a new show and just have to keep going, though we didn’t want to be like this show’s over goodbye. And then [Sure.] So we just kind of let it fade into into the new format. And I’m not not really involved in it anymore. So yeah, we just did that it was 250. There’s no no issues with me and Mike, we’re still good friends. We still text every once every couple of weeks or so and joke about hey, let’s catch up. And we never do, typical drummer, drummer friend thing. But yeah, so that’s what that is. And then I’ve got a new show in development now hopefully launching. By the time this airs, there might be a few episodes already out for the show.

Robonzo 27:21
What’s the premise of it?

Mike Dawson 27:23
This is for drum factory direct. So the premises, just gear talk, you know, deep, deep dive on all the nerdy nuts and bolts of gear that, you know, I’m curious about. And I’ve never really experimented with, like getting all the different types of drum hoops onto one snare drum, in really anylizing what they do, what they sound like, what do they feel like? what’s the what’s the benefits of each one. And you know, every detail of that lugs, drum head comparison sticks, I mean, the whole the whole gamut. So drum factory direct has a warehouse full of stuff like 7000 little bits and pieces of drum sets. So it’s every company and also our own in house brands. So that’s the premise is just go through the warehouse and just pick out a stack of stuff. And let’s talk about it.

Robonzo 28:16
Yeah, cool. And there’s probably a nerdy niche army of people that want to listen to that.

Mike Dawson 28:22
Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping. I mean, if I figured if I get a couple 1000 people who are just into the drum nerd stuff, then we’re good to go.

Robonzo 28:29
Probably so and I would think to that, you know, there’s some you have some fans from the last podcast. So I think that’ll definitely help a little bit. And you, you and Mike clearly learned a lot about the whole business of making those things found a findable. And now you’ve got some new resources with some new ideas, too. So are you going to be the the one and only host? Will it be co hosted? Are you going to do an interview stuff?

Mike Dawson 28:59
It’s going to be? Well, I have like the grand idea which I’m not going to disclose yet, because it’s gonna require the pandemic being over. But for the Get Started, I’m going to just call some of my expert buddies, like, drum builders, you know, so why should I talk about the what a bearing edge is, I may call my, my friends who make world class instruments, so they won’t be a guest hosts consistently, it’ll just be special appearances by that’s kind of what I’m thinking special appearances with, you know, the 20 or 30 drum builders, I’ve become good friends with over the years.

Robonzo 29:38
That sounds good. And you probably have the great base of experience and knowledge even if you wanted to do some completely on your own which maybe you’re planning to do that you can just do an episode. Nobody else comes in. You know, you can really interesting stuff.

Mike Dawson 29:52
Yeah. And then also the owner at drum factory direct has been making drums since the late 80s. So when when in doubt, he just he’s hesitant, but when in doubt, I’m just gonna call him in. He’s like, I’d rather not be involved, but maybe once in a while. Maybe certain things I mean, there’s so many things that he’s learned selling drum parts that you never would think about. How do you measure the holes in your drum shells to get the right lugs? Do you measure from the bottom of the hole to the bottom of the top of the hole? Or do you measure from end to end or measure from the center? little little things there? He’s had to deal with over the years of people ordering the wrong part. Yeah, so we have to address that, like you measure from the center of the hole to the center of the other hole. And that’s your distance.

Robonzo 30:34
What is so I, when I saw the name associated with you drum factory direct, I felt like it was a familiar brand to me, but maybe only through you, I don’t know. But what’s the elevator pitch for the company? Tell me for those of us that aren’t super familiar with it.

Mike Dawson 30:50
I mean, the tagline is the drummer’s candy store. So it’s a bit and we also call it the drum tech, the digital drum tech for the world. So it’s an e commerce. So there’s no there’s no retail element. Though it’s just ecommerce drum parts everything except for complete instruments. We have a few snare drums but we don’t sell full drum sets from all the majors are not many cymbals. It’s just it’s mostly parts lugs, tension rods, heads, wires, throw offs, and all this stuff that breaks so that’s the that’s what it is. So it’s it’s a source for any replacement part you could ever imagine needing. They’ve got everything from seven inch Tom heads to you know, like the crazy stuff that no one has 30 inch bass drum hoops

Robonzo 31:41
Premier parts,

Mike Dawson 31:43
They have premier hoops like the the strange sized Remo premier heads. Uh, yeah, they have some of that stuff.

Robonzo 31:50
But I mean, I have some lug, one lug that

Mike Dawson 31:54
Premier parts are hard to find, because no one is making them currently.

Robonzo 31:58
Yeah, that’s been kind of a,

Mike Dawson 32:00
We have plenty, so don’t fit it. But do you’ll have to have a mismatch or replace them all?

Robonzo 32:06
Yeah, that’s probably what I do. I’ll have to send you some gnarly pictures of my current kit. It’s been it’s kind of weather beaten from the massive humidity that we first exposed everything we own to when we lived in this mountain town. And now we’re by the beach and it’s just saltier, and not as humid. So I’m like, I look at my kit go wow, I never imagined I would play a drum set that looks like this. I used to see people, actually, when we travel, like to tropical areas, I’d go see a band and being like, man, how can he play on that? I know it’s harsh out here. But I was making my making my video about the the recording. And I’m like, this is not a high end drum kit kids and I’m like, I’m thinking myself, I’m not gonna get too close. I don’t want them to see some of the damage. No man, and I’m sure that I could have really mitigated it. But I just between like being kind of caught by surprise. And, you know, letting everything else be a priority. It’s kind of destroying them. Like, I guess I better change out that hardware. So yeah, I’d love to love to send some pictures and get an idea of what like, re outfitting it would cost me, so

Mike Dawson 33:12
Yeah I mean, we could make your your kit a podcast episode.

Robonzo 33:16
Oh, that would be amazing. That would be amazing. Totally. Alright, man. Well, we we hit our half hour. Thank you so much for joining me to celebrate 200 episodes of the Unstarving Musician for those.

Mike Dawson 33:30
Congratulations for sticking it out.

Robonzo 33:32
Thank you. I can’t even remember what we did do. I think we did 1, 50 and 75 together and then we just kind of kept trying. And this is the maybe the first one we’ve done since 75. I think, but I’ll look it up

Mike Dawson 33:44
Wild. Wild.

Robonzo 33:46
I know. Your my, You know, I know you laughed about it once. I think you’re like my most popular one on Spotify. I’m just funny to look at the stats on these things like wow, nobody listens to any of the other ones on Spotify, but for some reason he’s huge on Spotify.

Mike Dawson 34:00
Weird, weird, who knows?

Robonzo 34:03
Totally. Well, man. It is really nice to catch up. And so interesting to hear about all the stuff you’re doing. And yeah, maybe 300. We’ll

Mike Dawson 34:12
I mean, I’m serious. If you want to get your kit back to, I mean we could make it a podcast episode.

Robonzo 34:17
That, Hey, that gives me a wonderful excuse. I think that would be so much fun.

Mike Dawson 34:21
All right.

Robonzo 34:22
All right. I’ll start I’ll start putting together the photographs. You can go oh my god. All right, dude, thanks. It was great talking to you.

Mike Dawson 34:28

Robonzo 34:30
Are you a musician or creator looking to get your ideas out to a new audience? Have you been wanting to create a podcast but a little lost as to where to start? Check out Podcast Startup powered by the Unstarving Musician. It’s a course I’ve designed to give you the know-how, tools and resources to create and market a sustainable podcast like the Unstarving Musician. Podcasting has opened many channels for my own creativity and I’d love for you to experience the same. To learn more, go to UnstarvingMusician.com forward slash PodcastStartup, or the Show Notes for this episode.

Robonzo 35:02
Thanks again for listening. If you loved this episode, please follow the podcast on your favorite audio platform. It will help you stay on top of the latest episodes and help other indie musicians and indie music fans, find the podcast. And if you have feedback, please go to Unstarving musician.com to get all my contact info, you can text me, call me, email me, leave a voice message right there on that page, just go down to the bottom of the page and you’ll find everything you need to know. I really would love to hear any of your comments, suggestions, questions, whatever you’ve got. And you can find links to just about everything talked about in this episode at UnstarvingMusician.com forward slash podcast. All right, I’m peacing out. Thank you for listening and sharing with your musician friends and fellow indie music, bands. Peace, gratitude and a whole lotta love.

Support the Podcast

The Unstarving Musician exists solely through the generosity of its listeners, readers, and viewers.

Visit our Crowd Sponsor page to learn how you can offer your support.

Podcast Startup Powered By The Unstarving Musician

Are you a musician or creator looking to get your ideas out to a new audience? Have you been wanting to create a podcast but a little lost as to where to start? Check out Podcast Startup powered by the Unstarving Musician. It’s a course I’ve designed to give you the know-how, tools and resources to create and market a sustainable podcast like the Unstarving Musician. Podcasting has opened many channels for my own creativity and I’d love for you to experience the same.

To learn more, go to UnstarvingMusician.com/PodcastStartup.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen On iHeartRadio
Listen on Google Play Music badge
YouTube badge
Listen on Sticher badge
Listen on Sticher badge


Visit my Resources page for more musician resources.

Pardon the Interruption (Disclosure) 
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means I make a small commission, at no extra charge to you, if you purchase using those links. Thanks for your support!

Bandzoogle - Musician Websites that Work

This episode is brought to you by Bandzoogle.

From garage bands to Grammy winners, Bandzoogle powers the websites for thousands of musicians around the world.

Plans start at just $8.29/month, which includes hosting and your own free custom domain name. Go to Bandzoogle.com to start your 30 day free trial. Use promo code “robonzo” to get 15% off the first year of any subscription.