Mike Dawson, Modern Drummer Magazine & Modern Drummer Podcast

This “rewind” episode features Mike Dawson from his first appearance on the the Unstarving Musician, which was episode 1 of the podcast. Mike has also been featured in episodes 25, 50 and the “best of” episode 100. He is Managing Editor of Modern Drummer Magazine, a pro drummer, co-host of The Modern Drummer Podcast, and a music educator.

This remains one of my favorite Unstarving Musician and is among the most popular episodes of the podcast. Our conversation covers Mike’s prolific hustle as a gigging and studio musician, family life, music education, his early music influences, business, marketing, YouTube and more.

Mentioned in this Episode

Robonzo 0:03
This is the Unstarving Musician podcast. I am your host Robonzo. This podcast features conversations with me, indie music artists and industry professionals. 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
Nailed it again. I’m getting kind of good at that. The pause, you know. So I’m calling this episode a rewind. It features Mike Dawson, who happens to be managing editor of Modern Drummer magazine. He also happens to be a hell of a drummer and co host of the Modern Drummer podcast. Mike’s been on the podcast a few times. Well three times I think, officially. And each conversation was great. I’ll place links to those other episodes in the show notes. But for those of you who are quick enough, you can also find him in episodes 25 and 5 0. I had good intention for him to be back on the podcast for a third, no a fourth interview by now, but we sort of let it fall by the wayside and I need to ping him. But you know, you could ping him for me if you really want him to come back for a conversation with me. Just let him know he’s overdue to book a date with Robonzo. So if you do that, Mike Dawson and I are mutually acquainted with music educator Mike Johnston, founder of MikesLessons.com. If you’re a drummer or want to be a drummer, you should definitely check out Mike’s Lessons. In this conversation with Mike Dawson, we cover his prolific hustle as a gigging in studio musician, family life, music education, his early music influences, business, marketing, YouTube, and much more. And by the way, Mike Dawson is actually quite an educator himself, you can find a lot of great drum education content on his YouTube channel and on his Patreon page, at Mike Dawson drums. I still love this interview today, and it’s among the most popular episodes of this podcast. So I think you’re gonna enjoy it. Okay, here is me and Mike Dawson.


Robonzo 2:24
I think the first thing I wanted to ask you a little bit about because you gig a lot, I hear from listening to the Modern Drummer podcast, which I’m a big fan of. I hear about your weeks when you guys start the show off. And inevitably, you’ve done two or three shows or you’ve done a recording session, if not six shows. And it sounds like a wide range of stuff. So but before we talk a lot about that I did want to ask you because I feel like it’s very relevant to where you are not only as a journalist and the managing editor at Modern Drummer, but as a musician, but I wanted to know about your a little bit about your education. So I know that you went to the University of arts in Philadelphia, is that right?

Mike Dawson 3:12
Yeah, I got my master’s degree there. Yeah. Master’s in music performance.

Robonzo 3:16
Yep. And then I know there was some stuff between that in high school, but I’m guessing you I know you were in high school band too, because I’ve heard you talk about it, right.

Mike Dawson 3:24
Yeah, I did. I mean, from fifth grade through, you know, I did the school band all the way through marching band, Concert Band, jazz band, sometimes I played musical theater. For the school. I did, what else did I do? percussion ensemble pretty, much anything that was offered. It wasn’t a ton offered, but whatever was available. I was in it.

Robonzo 3:43
That’s great. So…

Mike Dawson 3:44
And we had like county events tol like all county band, all county percussion ensemble, all that stuff.

Robonzo 3:49
I’m sure it was great. I, I did not do these things in high school. I I had an older brother who was in music pretty young, and my parents got a little, I guess, disillusion is not the right word. But they didn’t want me to be in music. But despite that, my mom bought me my first drum set when I was probably 13. And she you know, well, let me bring the whole band over. But I didn’t do even high school band. I had a smattering of, of music courses in college. But what I wanted to ask you about all the education going, I mean, even with high school band, and then your masters at the University of the Arts. How do you feel that has impacted you and your ability to do the type of work you do in music?

Mike Dawson 4:30
I think I will never be able to quantify how important it was. Honestly. It’s like I could, on every gig I’m referencing subconsciously something that I learned as a as a teenager or a child playing with different ensembles. So I think it’s, I mean, it’s one thing it set me up technically, because playing in those ensembles, especially in high school when I got in the marching band, I mean it was I was trying to be the you know, the best rudimental drummer in the state. So, all that technique I practiced early, early, early, which was not just speed and power, but also control and precision, rudiments, all that stuff comes into play. Every time I play. Dynamics, I learned dynamics very, very young. I was nine years old playing snare drum with the concert band, and the snare drum was always too loud. So I learned how to play very, very quietly, you know, at a really young age. Playing a musical theater, I learned how to follow a conductor really well, even while I was playing drum set, like playing beats and stuff. Because those those songs, you have to follow the singer always. So if they want to go a little bit faster, we have to go with them. So I learned all these crucial musical techniques just by being involved and all this stuff. Sometimes trial by fire, sometimes just my natural instincts kind of guided me the right way. But when it comes into gigging these days, because I can read music really well, and I can transcribe music really well, I have no problem taking, you know, cover band gigs on 14 hours notice, I can just chart songs out and get through the gig. And I’ve studied all the different styles, so I don’t, I rarely come across a song, I have to learn for a gig that’s like a totally new beat, or a totally new style that I’ve never tried before. What else I mean, just the work ethic, I learned so much about worth, work ethic being in band, because it’s drums are not easy, and you sound really bad for several years. So just the, you know, learning to persevere through all of the frustrations. And I mean, there are definitely, you know, I punched holes in my wall as a teenager going through all the coordination issues of learning the drum set. See, it’s like I can’t, I can’t even begin to I, if I hadn’t done all of that. I don’t know that I would have started playing drums later. And I know, I definitely wouldn’t be able to do what I do now without having, you know, every day from age nine through 18, as part of my school, my regular schooling,

Robonzo 6:59
Do you meet many musicians that work at your level, Or that you work with that don’t have some sort of similar background? In terms of their education, their formal education?

Mike Dawson 7:12
Yeah, I would say, probably… It’s not 50/50, it probably weighs to the majority of people are more self-taught and and self instructed or, or, or never went through school just took lessons or something of that sort. It just depends on what level of a gig it is. What I found that when I get into or when I’m, you know, meeting people who are playing more high profile gigs, it tends to sway the other way, where they have more experience and more education and more, more like, most of them can read music like that, that becomes more of the case. In certain genres, I mean, they’re successful rock, rock bands that don’t know any of the chords are playing that. Like if you’re talking about jazz, or any of that kind of art form. The tends to go the other way, we’re probably the vast majority who are schooled or formally schooled. So in my life, I mean, there’s definitely in every gig there might be the bass player might have never taken a lesson in his life, the guitarist might have a master’s degree, you know, that kind of goes back and forth, but probably slightly favors the non school player for for, you know, the working musician who plays clubs on the weekends, and mostly top 40 type stuff. That seems to be the case.

Robonzo 8:32
Yeah. Well, that’s encouraging, in a way, and in other ways that tells me I have a lot of work to do personally.

Mike Dawson 8:38
Yeah, myself included.

Robonzo 8:40
Yeah, I mean, you know, I’ve thought a lot more recently about how, what would it take for someone like me who’s predominantly self taught and is later in life being more serious about expanding my skill sets and having a desire to learn styles that I’ve never known in the past; What would it take for someone like me to near these sort of high profile gigs or just something outside of the club, festival things. I mean, I’ve gotten some, you know, some invitations to do things that are different which reminds me you know, I want to tell you when I first learned dynamics was in, I don’t even know if they use the the term junior college anymore, but when I first started college, I went to junior college, which is one of those places they send you when your math skills or something else are lacking so you can catch up. I was in, I took a music class and they put me in with a Chamber Singers group. So there was basically singing and drums and maybe a French horn or something, and talk about somebody who had to learn quickly because I’ve been playing you know, basically just pounding them all the years prior to this but anyway, that’s amazing that you learned learned it so early, at such a young age.

Mike Dawson 9:53
And it was reinforced all throughout, like I remember very, I mean, had I not have studied classical music, which basically when I think of studying classical music, you’re learning touch and sensitivity and dynamics more than anything. Tt’s all about producing the right sound at the right dynamic at the right time. It’s very rarely about playing a difficult part. So anyway, I was in high school playing all the community theater gigs in my town. So every summer I’d be, that’s basically how I made money was playing community theater. And one summer we were doing, it was a small theater production in a black box style theater, which if you’re not familiar, it’s just a square room where the musicians and the actors are all like, on the floor together. And we were doing The Who’s Tommy, and no microphones, you know, everything was just open air. So I was having to play like Keith Moon, while playing the dynamic below the volume of the child singer because it was actually a youth musical. So you’ve got children, teenagers who don’t have a full voice yet singing The Who’s Tommy and I’m trying having to play like, a crazy Keith Moon in the back. So that was probably 17. You know, so it was just one another again, like, thing. Thankfully, I had learned to play very quietly as a as a young player, because I couldn’t have done that. How could you possibly play that music? at a, you know, inch off the drums and not have to sound silly. So yeah dynamics have been number one for me since the very beginning without even realizing it? I just knew it. I just had to. I couldn’t work if I couldn’t play quieter than a singer.

Robonzo 11:26
Yeah. Yeah. And I venture to say that you wouldn’t have even been invited to do it. Had you not been known for having that? You know, accumulate or acquired that skill set of dynamics already?

Mike Dawson 11:37
Yeah, possibly.Yeah, I mean, that’s that what I realized is, is a drummer who can play quietly, it’s hard to come by. It really is.

Robonzo 11:45
I just, I’ve seen this myself, too. Do you do much theater work these days?

Mike Dawson 11:53
I don’t, I kind of gave it up when I went away to college, because I just didn’t have time. I mean, I would still come back in the summers and play some of the dinner theaters, which would only run, you know, in the summertime, so I wouldn’t be committed throughout the school year. I did a couple in graduate school. But quite honestly, it really, it was just a job. I didn’t feel like real passion towards it. So I didn’t pursue it any further. I just know, it wasn’t really something that I, I mean I could do it if I wanted to. I’m sure I could have got on a sub list for various professional productions. But I just didn’t feel it in my heart that it was something I wanted to do. So I just kind of gave it up. Yeah, I haven’t done one. And since I got this job, so probably 15 years, 14 years.

Robonzo 12:41
Oh, wow. Well, I was about to go off on a in a different direction anyway, but something you just said made me want to ask you, so what what are you passionate about musically today that you have the opportunities to do or play or be involved in whether it’s playing or recording?

Mike Dawson 13:01
You know, I’ve, I’ve kind of enjoy everything that is at least has some sort of authenticity, or creativity or emotional element to it. So I’m always trying to hold on to stuff so I’m currently playing with a, like a really loud modern rock band, which kind of satisfies that aesthetic. I’m a 90s, I’m a 90s kid, you know, Nirvana was one of my favorite bands. So it kind of satisfies that. I’m just getting to just go and just let loose and sweat and all that. Yeah. I also play in a, an ensemble, it’s a trio that is electronic based. They call it, where do they call it? Folk Latin folkloric electronica. So as elements of Andean folkloric music, and then electronic music, so I’m playing, I’m triggering samples and loops, while also playing kind of tribally acoustic drums. [Wow.] So that kind of satisfies a certain like, you know, a chat like I’m, I’m always up for a challenge. And when I got that project I was like alright, I have to sound like a machine, but give it the feel of a full court percussionist. Okay, great. Let’s do it. You know, so that, you know, that is satisfying me on that realm of, like, I’m trying something that I’ve never done. No one is playing this stuff. You know, like, I’m playing it right now. Not that I’m doing anything different or revolutionary, but I kind of created my own thing with that band.

Robonzo 14:23
You may be, you never know.

Mike Dawson 14:25
Yeah. And then I have other projects that are you know, really professional projects where it’s, you know, we show up to the gig, nobody rehearsals or anything, you just show up and you play and it’s top notch, the sound is always great. But I’m just playing basic two and four all night, and it’s still very satisfying [Yeah.], because the music is just such a high level of professionalism, where it’s, it’s, it feels great to be in a band where you have to worry about anyone making mistakes, or any of that kind of thing. You just show up, play. People enjoy it. It’s, it’s awesome. You know, but and then I’ve found that I really, really love recording So that’s, that’s kind of been my primary outlet in the past eight years or so. I just love the art of recording. That’s… it kind of totally satisfies me on, all that stuff that I just talked about in the live world, I can then do in the studio, as well. Now, it’s always different type of tracks coming in, different artists, different styles. I’m always trying new setups and new mic techniques and their tunings and everything that can do to make that song unique.

Robonzo 15:27
Yeah, […that can.] your enthusiasm really shows for those who are listening or will listen, Mike puts a lot of great content on both Facebook and YouTube. And I guess Instagram now, you know, you can hear some of that stuff as well. And I’m always, the word I’m looking for, fascinated, and you know, and the different things that you’ll get into that one of the more recent ones, which caught me a little by surprise, but it’s so cool as the, where you’re bringing in the electronic sounds and playing over loops, and just, I don’t know, kind of grooving in it, or almost meditating in it. How to do, was that a gear thing that sort of got you started or what inspired you to do that?

Mike Dawson 16:12
As you know, that’s always been electronics and acoustic drums have always fascinated me like, I bought a drum machine as soon as I had enough money, and they were affordable enough for me to buy one. So I like the concept of programming drums and playing over top of it. It’s just, it’s always fascinated me, I think it might be because I’m also I kind of started playing drums right when hip hop hit the mainstream. So there was always that like element of James Brown, really organic sounding drum beat but then all this electronic handclaps and stuff happening, right. So my goal with with specially lately has been to take all this gear that I’ve amassed, which has a bunch of effects processors and drum pads and things and not not spend too much time pre conceiving an idea. So I go down in the studio, this is kind of like my morning meditation, quite honestly, I go down the studio to turn everything on, I just find some sounds and my electronics that inspire me, a pattern that kind of inspires me, I step on the loop pedal loop what I just did, and then I play the live drums over top of it, I record it, I edit it, and then I post it all within the same couple hours. So it’s all just like a one time thing. If you ask me to go back and reproduce any of those videos I’ve ever done, I have no idea exactly how I did it. It’s all pure inspiration, creative practice exploration. And getting used to the idea of, Can I, can I record something that I think sounds cool. And is creative without thinking too much about it, without practicing too much, without spending too much time mixing it or editing it or fixing it? Most of those things are one or two takes. I might do a couple, you know, passes if the looper doesn’t work perfectly, but that’s largely it. That is that’s kind of been my goal was to just be something creative, create something new that I’ve never done before, as often as possible, and then not stress out about it. But you know, but I it’s funny, because I’ve had some guitars and bass players like Dude, let’s make it let’s form a trio. But let’s do those things that you did. I’m like, sorry, they’re gone and had to do completely fresh ideas. Because those are those were expelled and they are gone.

Robonzo 18:18
Yeah, well, you know, when it shows and I mean that in a nice way that you are almost just down there jamming. And it’s wonderful to see that the confidence and the ability for you to do that make them sound and look cool to, on in those cases where you put out the video. So you said something that brought me to something, nothing related to music, really. But I wanted to know if you were a night owl or a morning person and you just said that this was kind of your morning meditation. So does, Are you kind of an early riser guy and do you get up is that you get out there and start doing some playing and recording right away or…?

Mike Dawson 18:52
Just because I have to because my job is nine to five. And then by the time I get home after you know working at the magazine all day, my brains usually fried and then you know I’ll have to spend time with my wife and dogs. And so it’s not, I don’t really get a ton of evening time, the evening time that I have to play music is usually spent on either recording tracks or someone that’s waiting for them or you know, because I have to deliver. [Yeah, yeah.] Or I’m just, you know, or I’m doing product demos for Modern Drummer, like my evening time in the studio and on the drums is usually not creative. It’s usually a job specific thing, or playing a gig or rehearsing. So my morning, I have basically a window between 7am to 830 or I try to sneak in some time on the drums. So I’m not a morning person at all. And I learned something kind of cool, which is good. I feel like if I can go down on the drum set, because normally what I do is I wake up, Chug a glass of water with some lemon and apple cider vinegar, have a cup of coffee, then go to the drumset and I found If I can go to the drum set on like that cold and still play at an acceptable level, when I go to the gig at night, I feel like I’m, you know, I’m on fire, like, it’s 10 times better, my body’s moving smoothly, and my brain is clear. So it’s been another challenge, like, Can I play well at 7:30? well enough to like deliver a track to somebody as, I know they’re gonna pay me for it.

Robonzo 20:23
You know, so that reminds me. [So little challenges.] Yeah, that reminds me I, up until we moved out of the Bay Area in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was playing with a quartet. And there was a couple, female singer and the bassist, and they both studied music at USC. And she was telling me, once upon a time that, as far as vocal warmups are concerned, you could do it any time of day, and you’re good. You’ve really done a lot for your ability to stay warmed up for the entire day. And I wonder if your morning has a similar effect. You go in there in the morning, and you can show up in the evening hours later, maybe not having set on a drum set, since you know, for since the morning time and have a similar type of warm up effect. And it sounds like that. Yeah, that’s what’s happening for you.

Mike Dawson 21:10
I think. So I think I think it’s a combination of, you know, just throughout the day, you’re moving your body more, so you’re looser, but it is. It’s also a confidence builder, which I think is really important. And I kind of picked that up from I listened to a lot of Tim Ferriss podcasts. And yeah, I believe he had, I think it was Stanley McChrystal, General McChrystal was on and he talked about, like, if you set yourself up first thing in the morning to achieve something, then you’re going to just feel good throughout the rest of the day. And he even broke it down as simple as like, get up and make your bed because then at least you accomplished something. Yeah, major bit, and then exercise first thing in the morning. So I kind of, you know, replace those acts with our eyes, get up and do something creative. Something on the drums. So then if you do nothing else for the rest of the day, you don’t feel like you lost the chance to become a better drummer.

Robonzo 21:58
Yeah, yep. I was gonna say I’m a big fan, too. It’s interesting. I’ve had, I started doing these interviews very recently. The first podcast, which I just finished recordings for is more of a narration format with a beginning and an end like a 12 episode thing, but I’m a already to hearing people with kind of these routines and rituals that reek of Tim Ferriss fandom or something simply, you know, we’re learning about these fun things. But so what about, you know, you have gigs and some of which I’m sure are a little late, you’ve got the family, you’ve got a Modern Drummer gig, and then you’re trying to get out in the morning. So what do you what are you doing these days to stay? You know, not only fit, but but feeling good and staying happy? What’s your secret? I guess?

Mike Dawson 22:50
I mean, the the boring answer is I really think eating well, exercising and being heavily hydrated throughout the day seems to be, I mean it’s I just started drinking water first thing in the morning, maybe a year or two ago. And it I thought it was like art, it’s a placebo effect, it’s not really going to do anything. But I literally do feel the cobwebs kind of clear away within 10 minutes of hydrating in the morning. So that kind of helps no matter what I mean, if I play late at night, if I’m playing in the city until midnight, I don’t get home until 130 or to kind of be at work at nine. When I it’s hard to get out of bed at 7am. But inevitably, after I have a glass of water, a cup of coffee with some coconut oil in it. I am I feel pretty close to full speed, so that, my diet has definitely been refined to be much more healthy, as opposed to when I was in my 20s. I exercise regularly so that kind of staves off any back pain and shoulder pain and stuff that can happen from just being exhausted and gigging. And that’s largely it and you know, I don’t drink alcohol very often anymore. Especially gigs. That used to be the thing that would just make the make the dehydration even worse. Yeah. So yes, nothing really for me, it’s nothing too too crazy other than I just try to take care of myself throughout the week. So when I have those one or two gigs, I’m going to be okay, I’m not, I’m not running on empty by the time I get to the gig. I’m kind of full steam ahead play the gig that might get me down to half a tank the next day. But I kind of recover pretty quickly at this point.

Mike Dawson 24:31
Yeah, that’s good. It’s good stuff. I was just thinking of a friend who was in the, you know, touring world started sometime in the 80s and doing the, you know, rock star thing and I I’m, I know at least he I didn’t really talk to the rest of the band a lot about these things, but nor did I asked him, but I I just sort of would hear him talk about physically that he was getting a little destroyed and just not like, uh, physically unhealthy, but he, you know, he was just doing things to sort of abuse his body. But I think people, it seems like people are getting wiser about, you know, hey, if you want to do this for a while, especially if you’re playing a physically demanding instrument, you better take care of yourself.

Mike Dawson 25:20
Yeah, I mean, it’s not it’s not exciting. It’s certainly not a rock star thing. But even when I was touring, I did a, you know, six weeks on the road, and it was pretty brutal, it was three of us jammed into an SUV with all of our gear, and we, we played like 35 dates, and those six weeks, so we had days off, basically, our days off our travel dates to get, you know, eight hours to the next city. So, at first I was like, I don’t know if my body’s gonna be able to handle it, because I do have kind of chronic lower back issues just from being slightly taller and having to get into small cars and airplanes and stuff. It always kind of aggravates it. But all of us were just so nerdy. I mean, we were in the gym in the morning. And now like, we weren’t out super late, you know, we would, we would play the gig and be out you know, soon as the the head because we were in the opening band since the headlining band was done at 11 we were in the car driving to the hotel, going to bed, like squeezing as much rest as we could. And I think that was pretty consistent with everyone that we crossed while we’re on the road. It’s like everyone just like yeah, I mean, if you’re going to do this, you know, six weeks on the road you can be you can be annihilated by the end mentally and physically. Sure. difficult.

Robonzo 26:32
I’m taking notes, longevity, no hookers and blow.

Mike Dawson 26:37
Yeah, I mean, there were some bands we played with it that that’s that they did it. They did the rock star thing. And I’m like, I don’t know how you guys can do this. Like, you’re out on the road for a year plus and, and and you haven’t changed clothes in two days?

Robonzo 26:51
Yeah, there was a there was a great Well, it was pretty good. It was a documentary on rush that I think is on Netflix. And there’s an interview with Gene Simmons talking about when Rush opened for Kiss and he couldn’t figure them out. Because you know, I guess Kiss notoriously partying all the time and Rush, the guys in Rush were like, in their hotel reading and not partying or you know, not when not women everywhere, any of that. And he does Yeah, it’s funny, couldn’t figure it out. I want to jump around again, if I may. I want to ask you who were what was your the the influence that sparked your interest to play music and maybe it was to play drums? Or maybe you were like me and thought for a moment? You might be a guitar lifelong guitar player. But what was what was the moment?

Mike Dawson 27:44
Your know I, people ask me this question often. And it’s, I can’t answer it. Because I’ll tell you just a brief story is when every, and I remember this every Christmas, every birthday, every occasion where I would get a gift as a child. I would tell my parents would say what do you want for Christmas this year? My answer was always a band. It didn’t really, I didn’t really care what, I just wanted a band. So I, one year I got a toy piano, one year I got a toy guitar, one year on toy drum set. So every holiday I would get my aunt and my brother and my mom and dad to pick up a instrument just make noise.

Robonzo 28:21
Oh, you created the band in the house with the family?

Robonzo 28:23
Yeah, we would just create a band. I mean, that was just what we did. I mean, my dad did play guitar and sing a little bit. So he would get together with his, you know, his old army buddies or whatever, and sing songs. But that really didn’t. That wasn’t what resonated. It was. It was MTV largely [Sure.] And just seeing it at the time seeing people play music. It just seemed like magic to me, and then go into like family reunions and there would be a band playing and I would just be mesmerized by the sound of the band, and especially the drums the bass drum. I was just fascinated by that sound. That would, you coulnt’d really hear it but you would feel it, like that kind of magical stuff. But I would say MTV and it was probably Eddie Van Halen. Originally just, that just grabbed me by the, you know, by the heart. Like I want to do that. But then it quickly turned into the drums. So Eddie Van Halen was probably the one, Michael Jackson, Eddie Van Halen. And then the one, I just the day I decide to be a drummer was when I saw Living Color on MTV. And I saw Will Calhoun. Like, alright, that that guy’s the coolest guy on Earth. I want to do that. That was it.

Robonzo 29:32
Those were amazing, amazing videos in both of those bands that you mentioned. I’m remember being young and I, I got the spark before you did. I’m pretty sure I’m a little older than you. But yeah, when I had already been listening to music for a bit when those two different bands came on, onto the scene at different times. Totally re inspired. Totally re inspired.

Mike Dawson 29:54
Yeah, I think so. I mean, it’s Yeah, so I can’t I can’t pinpoint it was just always there, but I think it just because I’m, I was always kind of surrounded by music, it was always a record player in the house. And I, Mr. Roboto became my favorite song, I had a little Fisher Price 45 player and I would listen to Mr. Roboto like 100 times a day and then I decided one day I was going to become a hip hop DJ. And I didn’t really understand that scratching a record didn’t mean actually taking the needle and scratching the record. So I did that a couple of times, ruined a couple of records. So it’s just, it was just music I was in I was indiscriminant. Just everything whatever was on Casey Kasem solid gold MTV Saturday live, if I could stay up whatever it was, I was watching it.

Robonzo 30:39
Oh, thank God, you reached back a little bit. I was gonna laugh, I’m gonna still gonna tell you but my. So people that know me know, I’m a huge fan of the Rolling Stones and my first sort of memory pre pre MTV. Now granted, I was very young, but I was probably about eight years old. And I don’t know if it was first round, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. But I remember being up at whatever 10 o’clock with one of my friends and this advert came on the TV for Don Kirshner’s rock concert, and the Rolling Stones were going to be on TV for the first time and I don’t know, a couple years or something. And, you know, in their full height of their glam glory, and I still I laugh. It’s so fun to go back and watch those on YouTube now. But those were the things you know that that got me going and I’m still still a big fan today. And then, you know, of course, I think that as far as rock and pop music goes, you and I sort of followed similar trajectories based on what you said about Van Halen, Living Color, I’ve heard you talk about John Bonham a lot. And…

Mike Dawson 31:34
Yeah, I did have an uncle who he’s, I think he’s maybe 13 years older than me. So the day I got a drum set, and he he’s kind of the Judas Priest, ACDC, Kiss, Led Zeppelin like that Black Sabbath. That’s, that’s his era. [Yeah.] So the day I got a drum set, he was teaching me how to spin my sticks. I do all the rock moves. And I and I literally was, I played in his bands, because he only lived a couple blocks for me. So I played in the band with him from time I was 10 years old until I was 18. It was so, we were doing all that stuff from Bad Company and all that stuff. And it was great. It was a great experience. So he kind of became my mentor, because he needed a drummer more than anything. The old like, every every Sunday, I’d go to his house and play music for two, three hours while he and his friends just you know, drank a bunch of beer had fun. And I was just the kid in the back playing.

Robonzo 32:31
Well you reminded me, I wanted, it was early I was thinking that is so cute that you had like had your family was when you’re a kid and now you’re playing with your uncle when you’re like a legitimate young drummer.

Mike Dawson 32:41
It was great. Yeah. And also remember, because you’re talking about seeing, seeing the Stones I remember every summer as far back as I can remember, I guess we’re talking, maybe not as far back as I know, whenever Arsenio Hall came on as a late night talk show host. [Yeah, yeah.] I remember every summer I got excited because that meant I could stay up and watch the band. Like I just wanted to watch the intro long enough to watch the intro to the original it was Terri Lynn Carrington. And then it was Chuck Morris. Because Arsenio was the first for, that I noticed, the first late night hosts who gave the band a lot of attention that was like, he would put the camera on Chuck Morris every night when he did some crazy drum thing. So that I mean, this is obviously pre YouTube when you can search for anything. I was like, I was just so hungry to see a drummer play that I would stay up every night in the summer just to watch those 10 seconds of drumming on Arsenio Hall’s show

Robonzo 33:31
I have got to look those up, because I, my memory is a little foggy for for that show. But I do remember it. Something that, someone that reminds me of him and I bet a lot of people don’t even know this, but Jon Stewart in his early days had a late night show and he really featured bands and but yeah, I’d love to go back and see those Arsenio Hall ones. And you know who else that I wish, I don’t think he does it anymore, but the Henry Rollins show?

Mike Dawson 34:00
Yeah, I remember that show.

Robonzo 34:02
Oh my god, he would just let turn the band’s loose for about 20 minutes or something on the show and it was it sort of formatted like they were in his living room or something but that was great stuff.

Mike Dawson 34:12
Yeah, they were kind of in like a basement Yeah, those shows like I was so hungry because for anything any I would go to the to the video store and rent any music video movie documentary they had, because I was just so hungry. I was 10 years old watching Pink Floyd live at Pompei. I had no I had no idea what I was watching, but it just anything. I mean, I was Sting live concerts, Peter Gabriel live concerts. Whatever I could find, Led Zeppelin Song Remains the Same became one of my favorites, because it just wasn’t much content and I came from a real small town so there was no, there’s no art or music scene that I could just walk to as a teenager.

Robonzo 34:52
This was in Maryland where you grew up?

Mike Dawson 34:55
Yeah, outside of Frederick, Maryland right on the Potomac River. And actually if you if you look at a map and see where Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia meet on the Potomac River, that’s basically where I was raised. I spent a lot of time at the river hanging out. So, very blue collar railroad town. And here’s this weirdo kid who, you know, I’m playing drums. And I was supposed to be, you know, an athlete, I played sports, but something just hit me like, Okay, I’m good at sports, but I’m not good at drums, but I want to be, so I’m gonna be good at drums now. I’m gonna figure it out.

Robonzo 35:32
I wonder if that’s an, maybe you can tell me it’s not. And I can’t think of a lot of people off the top of my head. But I read some quote or something from you, just this week that implied that you played a lot of sports. But one friend just came to mind. Do you think it’s very common that musicians who you know, later and the guys that end up playing pro at some level that they were in sports, or is it sort of 50/50? or?

Mike Dawson 36:02
Yeah, I don’t I think it’s probably a mix, because I think, I think a lot of guys, a certain percentage of guys weren’t good at sports, and music was their thing. You know, that was their way to find their thing. I think drums in particular is a more athletic instrument. I think that appealed to maybe more athletic kids. I’m completely guessing. But I do know for a fact in my situation and in my good friend Mark Giuliana’s situation. We are both from athletic families. We’re like, there’s like serious athletes in the family. Like my dad played semi professional baseball. My uncle was a scout for the Baltimore Orioles, like this is a baseball family. [Oh, wow.] But But I was one of the youngest kids. So I was always just getting beat every every weekend. We would play family games, sports, volleyball, basketball, baseball. No one took it easy on me. So I was always striking out, I was always being you know, just getting beat up.

Robonzo 36:57
It’s funny how ruthless kids are in sports like in baseball, and some young person comes up, and they’re like, I’m gonna strike you.

Mike Dawson 37:02
I mean, it’s just the way it was. I mean, it’s still I mean, I’m To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever beat my father at any kind of athletic thing. Like, he just wouldn’t. He just wouldn’t let us win even if it was, you know, we’re shooting, we’re playing pig on the basketball court. He just would never let us win. So and the same thing with Mark. He has older brothers who were division one baseball players.

Robonzo 37:25
And who’s Mark?

Mike Dawson 37:26
Mark Giuliana. Oh, amazing, amazing modern jazz drummer. [Yeah.] So and he and I think had similar like we were the young kids in the family. We were We were didn’t want to, we just couldn’t compete with the older kids and relatives. So we found our own thing. And drumming became our own thing. No one in my family could be a better drummer than me. Never beat me at drums.

Robonzo 37:47
Revenge game. So Are your parents both still alive?

Mike Dawson 37:51
Yeah, they are.

Robonzo 37:52
I was gonna say, your days coming. Your dad’s gonna get old and one day you’ll be able to beat him at some sport.

Mike Dawson 37:58
He can still beat me and ping pong. He can still beat me at darts, pool… Forget about it. I mean, it’s like every game. It’s so crazy.

Robonzo 38:06
So funny. Okay, I’m gonna shift gears again. I want to talk for a second about something that you have mentioned, I think on a couple of different Modern Drummer podcast episodes. And that is thumbs down on the YouTube videos. Who the hell does that? [Yeah.] And I was gonna say, just to put put you at ease that, I bet a lot of people that do that just do it accidentally, because I just don’t think there are that many shitty people out in the world.

Mike Dawson 38:30
I would like to believe you. But I think there are. [Probably, you probably know…] And I think I think the thing is, they’re they’re also cowards, because it’s easy to do that and run, you know, it’s like, it’s like poking the, you know, poking someone and then running and hiding because you don’t wanna get smacked. It’s not, you’re hiding behind a username. You know, and I’m open to criticism. I’ve had some comments on some views, I’ve had some criticism, I’m fine with that.

Robonzo 38:56
Yeah. I’m laughing because Mike Johnston is so funny when he talks about how people just randomly like, Yeah, dude, you suck.

Mike Dawson 39:05
Yeah, I mean, it’s like really doesn’t suck that bad. But for me, it’s always like, if you have some constructive criticism, cool, even though I didn’t ask for it. I mean, that’s fine. But it’s when it’s done, I’m like, Okay, well, then show me the right way. Like, I’m a big proponent of, Okay, if you’re gonna tell me I’m doing something wrong or telling someone they’re doing something wrong, point me in the direction of how to do it right. [Yeah.] Make it, either show it through your videos, Or show me an example of someone who’s doing it better, so that I can learn something rather than just flat out saying it’s terrible. It’s just a bad culture, you know, because you don’t have to like, you don’t have to personally like something for it to still be good.

Robonzo 39:43
I know, the internet is you know, growing up in such a pre internet world, and I’m sure you remember the days but like, it’s so funny that people behind the keyboard, it’s almost like the road rage behind the wheel of a car, you feel so… [Yeah. And then get out there.] Then you get out and it’s a different story. But so here’s another random thing. So I was watching a couple of your playlists on YouTube, this is just like randomly picking videos, And I saw one today, which by the way, I think could be categorized. I think you should categorize it in your, you’d have to do the whole thing, into your influences playlist, I think it is where you do covers of songs that you, I’m assuming were big for you. But you were, you have this one in the, I forgot what you call it, but it’s the one where you vamp or meditate on the groove for like five minutes straight. [Oh, yeah.] And it was it was Good Times, Bad Times. And I saw all I saw was Good Times. I’m like, oh my God that’s Good Times, Bad Times. So I went on there. And I’m watching you do that. Which by the way, that was so funny. All these years I played that that particular rapid bass note movement. I’m just kind of learning recently. But what I really wanted to tell you was I’ve been like, vexed for years over cowbell mounts and I’m like, how does he mount his cowbell over there like, and I’ve never have looked at any videos of John Bohnam’s and what, you have it on a cymbal stand, right?

Mike Dawson 41:10
I have to go back and look. I either had it on a cymbal stand, where I just took the felts off and mounted it to the to the threading or I had a like an attachment arm, probably from a another cymbal stand. l dont’ remember exactly what I did. But I have a few of those like cowbell style mounts. I think the one I have is by pearl. So it’s just like a, an L arm that attaches to a multi clamp. And I put I on another cymbal stand.

Robonzo 41:33
Ah, well, it even looked like you had just for the video, you dedicated a boom, stand and kind of set it parallel to the floor and had it there. And I’m like, Oh, that’s brilliant. It’s kind of a silly thing for me to be so perplexed over all these years. And like today, I have one that just mounts on my bass drum hoop and it’s just not in the right place sometimes.

Mike Dawson 41:50
Yeah, I don’t I can’t use those because they either are too like, if I use a 20 inch bass drum, the cowbell is way too low. And if I’m using the 22 inch bass drum, it there’s just not enough room to kind of get it in a spot where it makes sense. I’ve did that for years. But yeah, I can’t, I can’t put it there. [Yeah.] And also my knee ends up kind of maybe sometimes, you know, getting in the way. It just doesn’t work for me.

Robonzo 42:13
It’s funny. Anyway, thank you for randomly showing me an alternative. So what, what I also wanted to ask you what current or upcoming projects do you have going on that are, you’re really excited about, And they don’t have to be music, you have a couple of other different worlds I can think of at least, but what’s like super exciting on the horizon, or something you’re working on currently.

Mike Dawson 42:40
Super exciting? I mean, I just upgraded my recording studio setup. So I feel, I feel like I don’t have to apologize anymore for the quality, you know, so I’m excited. Like, I’ve been kind of hesitant to really try to market it and get more work because I’m like, it sounds good. But it’s not like I’m delivering major label quality recordings, like the just the quality, the fidelity of them. So I just upgraded that. So I’m like gung ho about right now I need to get some, some basically been recording for friends and friends of friends up till now. And I want to try to reach out and reach, you know, different people all around the world. So I’m developing a website to kind of help with that. And it also incorporate some educational content that that centers on recording drums. So that’s all in development, super excited about it.

Robonzo 43:29
Are you working with anyone on the development of the site for that. Or are you doing it all.

Mike Dawson 43:34
No I, that’s that, you know I’ve had this idea to do this for five, six years, and it’s been, I was like, yeah, I’m just gonna do it myself. But that’s been the hangup, because I just didn’t have the time or the skills. I mean, I didn’t have the skills to do it as quickly as I needed to do. And I didn’t have the time to sit around and waste waiting for myself to learn it. So actually, my cousin is a web developer. So she’s working on it for me.

Robonzo 43:58
Giving her cut of the action when that thing starts bringing in money, huh?

Mike Dawson 44:01
Yeah that’s the plan. I even asked her for a quote. I’m like, how much do you need to develop this? She’s like, you’re my cousin. I’ll do it for you. I’m like, Yeah, well, that ain’t gonna work. So when it does finally start turning a profit, I’m gonna cut her in.

Robonzo 44:13
I need a cousin that does that. That’s really cool. So what are the as far as upgrading your studio and then I want to talk for a second about the marketing outreach stuff that you’re planning on? Because I wanted to ask you about marketing anyway because I assume it’s relevant to your being so in demand, but as far as upgrading the studio, what were a couple of the key things that you did that brought it from this level where you feel like you don’t apologize anymore? Now you’re gonna market it for some more professional type work.

Mike Dawson 44:42
Yeah, well, the biggest thing was getting a newer computer. I was, I was still, I’ve just this had a, I mean, the first year that the Intel Dual Core processors came out I got one and I’ve been using it since like, I’ve just finally replaced it. So I feel like now because it with that machine. I was like I could record for maybe half hour before supposed to overheat. And I’ve got to shut it down. So I couldn’t bring people into the studio and work. It was just kind of not, you know, I couldn’t do that I couldn’t do an eight hour session on that machine. So get a new computer was number one. And then by getting a new computer that made all of my my interface and stuff outdated, so I had to upgrade. So I went from a decent consumer grade interface to I got the Universal Audio Apollo AP, which is cream of the crop as far as what they offer. So it has eight, you know, eight microphone preamps built into it, all of their world class plugins I have access to, and I ended up getting a second one, so I have 16 channels of Universal Audio microphone inputs. So that was the biggest thing, just upgrading the front end of the gear, because I have, I have professional microphones, I’ve got professional drums, my room sounds as good as I can get for it not being a huge studio. So just getting that front end to be more professional grade. So now if someone wants to come in and spend a day with me, I don’t have to be like, Alright we got to go outside for 45 minutes while my computer cools down.

Robonzo 46:05
That’s funny, that’s funny. Well, what? Whatever you’re putting together, if it’s going to provide education for recording, that that’s going to be really cool. I’m very excited for it. Do you have an idea of, what’s the goal as far as getting it out there to the public? Timewise.

Mike Dawson 46:26
Hopefully, hopefully, the basic site with just some some free content by you know, the end of the summer. I’m hoping.

Robonzo 46:33
All right, you heard it right here, folks. end of summer, Mike Dawson’s new edu… I’m just kidding.

Mike Dawson 46:37
If I can put the heat on my cousin to get it rolling.

Robonzo 46:41
Oh, that’s great. It’s gonna be very cool. I’m excited to hear that. Um, so you, you kind of started to answer this, and I think by virtue of that you’re putting together the platform to showcase content for recording and whatever else you have in mind. Now that you have this studio, that you’re feeling cocky about, Just kidding, that you’re feeling good about anyway, what, what what type of marketing do you plan to do? And I ask, because, you know, I want listeners to be able to get ideas from people like you. So what kind of things do you plan on doing? And are they different than the type of things that you do for other maybe other projects today?

Mike Dawson 47:23
I’ve, I’m really bad at self promotion. Like, I’m really bad at asking or like cold calling, and things like that. And I think we’re, thankfully we’re in a period in marketing, where that’s not the most effective way. So I think just organic growth and organic outreach via social media and emails and things is, is going to be the way so my honestly, my, my YouTube and my Instagram pages were created solely to build a core group of people who were interested in what I do. So then when I have something to offer, they’re already there. So all of these little videos I’m putting up on Instagram and the play alongs, the the influence of series on YouTube was partly to pay homage to the drummers who made me who I am, but also partly to showcase that I could get those drum sounds for anyone who would want them. So if you’re like, I want a song to sound like police. Well, here’s my version of a police song. And I matched the drum sound as closely as I could, here’s Josh Freese on A Perfect Circle or match the drums down as closely as I could. So that content I created partly to, for my own you know respect for my favorite drummers, but also partly to build a digital resume, like this is what I could do. So those are their Instagram things. Same thing I just wanted to get, find people who were just interested in what I already do, what I’m bringing to the table, and not try to sell them anything for a long time. Yeah. So I’m, you know, my goal was to get up to like the 10,000 number or something like that, before I even begin pitching idea of, Hey, if you’re interested in what I do, I have this other thing going on. And I did open it up to Skype lessons probably five months ago, and that was another strategically done thing to see, Okay these people are watching what I do. How many people will actually care enough to then take a lesson with me?

Robonzo 49:14
How’s that going? You’ve started doing that recently Skype lessons.

Mike Dawson 49:19
It’s going well, it’s it’s, um, I mean, I’m not I don’t have a ton, I’d have half a dozen or so. But it’s kind of the perfect, exactly what I was hoping it would be. It’s not, it’s not beginners. It’s not, It’s not children. It’s it’s largely professionals, either in drumming or professionals that aren’t drummers like lawyers or something who like to play drums for fun. But they’re all kind of serious about it and that that without even asking for that that’s kind of what I got. That’s exactly what I wanted was people who are more serious about the drums, maybe not to be a professional drummer, but just really serious about getting better at the drums. And that’s exactly what I have. And I think those would also be the same people that would be interested in the product of, you know, how can I record my drums better? Ultimately? Yeah. So…

Robonzo 50:13
You know, it just wanted to tell you something, it may sound contrary into the tactics that you’re looking at as far as getting the word out there. And you, I thought of it, because you said, You’re a good self promoter, although you think you’re positioning yourself to be able to do it quite nicely, and actually doing a good job while you’re just being yourself on on social media. But I don’t know, you know, who suggested it to me for the very first time, but I’ve recently heard, you know, successful authors who’ve had amazing, you know, book launch programs and things talk about sending a personal email to everybody on their list to let them know that, you know, they’re, they’re doing this thing, they’re rolling out this thing, they just published this thing. And even and I’ve, I’ve, I’ve done it to that degree, and I’ve even done it, this book publisher, I’m thinking of an author, rather, He even went to his list and asked them to support him and buy some books. But what I’ve experienced in my life, and, you know, different different times, for different reasons over the past 10 years, is sending literally sending a personal note. So I’m not using, you know, MailChimp or ConvertKit at this at this stage of it. But when someone moves out, and I let everyone know, it’s amazing. A you’ll find out what your relationships are like, but yeah, but B you know, your friends are always willing to help you. And the other really interesting thing is that people that you never thought might be able to throw a referral or some business or someone of interest at you will just surprise you. And so yeah, that’s something to think about.

Mike Dawson 51:49
Yeah, well, that. I mean, I, I’m kind of holding out on email campaigns personally, until if like, I have something to send an email about. But yeah, I mean, all of that, I think is I think when they cottoned on it for me when the time comes where I have a product that I feel like I can, I’m proud about and it doesn’t have to be a purchase thing. Like for me, if I get the website launched, and there’s just free content on there, then that’s when I will start like, Yeah, please share it. Like the Instagram stuff, I wanted to just be completely random. And that’s a lot of a test too, like I did a series of little one minute jazz lessons, probably six months or a year ago. It was a challenge. Like, can I teach a effective jazz lesson in one minute? That part that was partly in all the responses was like, I can’t believe you crammed all that information. And in 59 seconds, and I didn’t feel like I needed more like, okay, that didn’t worked. But that was that was part of it was just the test the platform like can you teach someone in one minute or at least inspire them to practice something in one minute? But the other side of that was? Are people interested in jazz drumming at all anymore? Because that was the one where, sadly, it’s not it. Those have not gotten the responses, as the crazy electronic stuff. You know? So I’ve, that was going to be another possible business venture like do I, because there really isn’t a jazz drumming educator online that I think’s really doing it right. I mean, Peters Erskine just started a few things. And of course, he’s great. But a year ago, there really wasn’t anyone that I felt like I trusted in a certain way that they were giving me the information firsthand, rather than recycled from other websites or whatever. Yeah, so I thought that was going to be a possible venture, but then doing this little test and the kind of, I don’t know if people really care that much about, because it’s such a niche genre. It’s such a demanding style of drumming. Now, I haven’t given up on it. But that was a test. I think I did, like 20 of them maybe over a couple months.

Robonzo 53:52
Speaking personally, I I think that it’s possible, you know, there’s people like me that are intimidated by it, or at least concerned by the amount of time, it would take to, to, to learn to, to acquire some new skills in the jazz realm to a satisfactory level. When when if you’re in sort of learning mode, and you have some other style that you’re really into, you might be able to amass some important skills, or skills that are important to you much more quickly, but that sort of, you know, I don’t know, you know, maybe marketing to that angle, but that’s me.

Mike Dawson 54:27
Yeah, well, that that was kind of gonna be my approach was I’m not I don’t want to teach you how to become a professional jazz drummer. That’s not my goal, because that’s that’s like trying to teach how to be a professional timpanist that just, there’s just so few of those, yeah, legit jobs, it was going to be more like, I don’t actually play jazz anymore. But everything that I do has been influenced by my years of practicing jazz. And so here’s how I’m using this jazz concept and how it affects the way I play a pop song or something of that sort, how I write parts how I how I interact With a band or in a solo section where the guitar soloing, that was going to be kind of my, my angle, like, I’m not a, I’m not a Bebop fanatic, as far as if you don’t play it the right way you’re playing it wrong. It’s more like, can you grab some of these things, the ideas of swinging, and touch and phrasing, and dynamics and interaction and then take all that stuff, and then filter it through whatever you’re interested in? I think is what makes what makes you a 10 times better drummer.

Robonzo 55:29
I think that in the also in that small bite, sort of format that you mentioned, like I can take away some skill in a, you know, with a minimal amount of sort of viewing time and then you leave me something to practice with and and show me like you said, how it applies to your pop gig or whatever, that that would be very cool. Well, I want to respect your time, and we’re almost at an hour and there are a couple of things I want to ask you really quick about business. As far as music goes, and for you that’s not only playing obviously, it’s recording and, and and perhaps even the gig with Modern Drummer, but over the years for being able to work in music as you have what business skills have you picked up that you found to be most helpful that that others, you know, might want to think about working on?

Mike Dawson 56:27
Yeah, I mean, maybe… I don’t have a lot of experience outside of the music industry. So I can’t really say what would or wouldn’t work in other worlds, but for my experience, and many other people have affirmed it with telling me the same story is to be successful in this industry. It’s it’s almost all word of mouth and reputation. So professionalism, just basic professionalism has been such a huge thing for me, like, I’ve had numerous gigs where, for instance, an artist was coming in from Australia, and her drummer couldn’t make the show. And it was like a big showcase show. And he had a prior commitment that he wasn’t gonna be able to fly in and time to get to the show. So I got called on Tuesday, Wednesday, and the show was that Saturday. And it wasn’t, it wasn’t like learn these, these cover songs. It was here’s 40 minutes of original music, all done to the click all done to sequences, there’s no breaks, there’s no stops, you have to play a note for note exactly. Like we’ve always been playing it. So for most people, like okay, I guess I’ll get through it. But I took that as like, Okay, I’m going to deliver it and I’m going to be, I’m going to be have the show so well, you know, under my grasp that she’s never one’s going to think that her regular drummers not there.

Robonzo 57:51
That’s inspiring too.

Mike Dawson 57:53
Yeah. And so and I was like, I’m gonna go beyond I’m gonna take it one step further. I want to make sure that I know the music so well, when I have everything mapped out i i charted everything out No, for note, just in case I needed, you know, to make little notes or changes ended up reading maybe 35% of the time, I was referencing the charts, but it was on an iPad, so you couldn’t really tell it had it. So it didn’t look like a substitute drummer on stage.

Robonzo 58:17
Everyone’s got an iPad in the band? Pretty much.

Mike Dawson 58:19
Yeah, I mean, it was electronic music to begin with, so everyone had computers and stuff. So it didn’t really, didn’t really matter. But that for me, and then, you know, she told me after the show, she’s like, I didn’t think about you once and like, Well, good. That was my, that was my plan. Like I didn’t want you to be like, worrying about queing and me to go to the course, like you just deliver your, your songs and I got you covered. And that’s, you know, it hasn’t turned into any extra work with her. But she stays in touch, you know, and she’s still, like, if the time comes, you know, I’m sure it’s still getting out. And that’s happened a few other times. So I think just in that, and all of those gigs have come from one person’s recommendation. So I got recommended for the tour that I did for six weeks from one guy. And because he heard I did well with that, he recommended me to this this for this pop gig. And then he was at that gig and he saw it went really well as the name recommended for some session work. So it just became and then all those people have, you know, good memories of what I did with them. So then they’re recommended me for other things. So it’s all for me it just been professionalism. It’s been, you know, if you say you’re going to do. Do it. [So… yeah.] Oh, and then just keeping those relationships alive without being pushy. Like I never I’m not asking him for more work or anything but I like to think that my name is probably one of five or six that he would, you know, think of first. So that’s kind of been the key is just been delivering what you’re asked to deliver and and being fun and professional to work with and you know, and not asking too much. You know, not not getting not asking for more money not asking for, you know more work not being a pain in the butt. Not being a nag. [A prima donna] You know. Yeah.

Robonzo 1:00:10
Well being that the boring advice kids is be nice to everyone you work with and know your stuff.

Mike Dawson 1:00:17
Yeah, well, you know, this is a lesson that my father taught me very early on. If you’re going to do something, do it 100% or don’t do it at all. Like that was just a thing. If you’re going to play soccer this year, even if you hate it, you’re going to play you’re going to play hard, and you’re going to finish the season, you’re not going to quit. But at the end of the year, you come to me and say I don’t play soccer anymore. Fine. So that just stuck with me with everything. Like if you’re going to you’re going to be in a band then be the best band you can be. If you’re going to go to school and study music then be the best music educator that you can possibly be. So that’s just in every way it’s stuck with me. Like I I try not to half ass anything.

Robonzo 1:00:56
It shows man. It shows.

Mike Dawson 1:00:58
There’s certainly times when I’ve had to underperform just because of deadlines or or being a little bit stretched in. But I think even then, in that case, because of those those certain work ethic that he instilled in me that even my less than 100% effort is still probably exceeding what is expected of me. I would hope. So yeah, that just stuck with me very early on. Like, you’re, you’re gonna play baseball, you’re gonna play, you’re gonna make the all star team and then you can quit this next year. It was just one of those mindsets that really is. At that time, I was like, Man, you’re kind of brutal here. But the great lesson like don’t quit and don’t do something that you can’t commit to.

Robonzo 1:01:38
Yeah, I heard someone today; It was probably on Tim Ferriss’ show or something. But it was something to the effect of, you know, as as something to the effect of as adults we seldom listen or think that our parents know what they’re talking about what we so often emulate them.

Mike Dawson 1:01:59
Yeah. The irony of live. [Yeah.] The irony of life, we’d we’d spend our youth trying to break away from my parents. And then as adults, we’re trying to understand what they had already taught us.

Robonzo 1:02:10
Imitating them the whole way through and repeating their good things on your kids. So well, Mike, it has been such a pleasure. Thank you for graciously agreeing to be on my podcast. And can you let people know where they can find you on social or where you would like them to find you. Moving forward? I’ll definitely have it in the show notes, but where can they find you online?

Mike Dawson 1:02:32
Yeah, I mean, the easiest. I’m, daily I check Instagram and Facebook, Twitter I’m not very active, so that’s not really the best. I mean, I basically just repost stuff to Twitter. So Instagram handle is Mike Dawson Drums and I believe Facebook is the same. My personal page is maxed out, but I do have another page that I monitor. It’s all the same Mike Dawson drums you’ll see a picture of a crazy guy playing drums on both pages.

Robonzo 1:03:00
And that’s the Instagram and Twitter if I remember right there Mike like microphone Mic Dawson drums. Is that right?

Unknown Speaker 1:03:08
Nope, it is and Mike. Okay…

Robonzo 1:03:14
Yep, you’re right. [Yep drums.] I was thinking of your Skype and oops.

Mike Dawson 1:03:19
Mike Dawson drums, That’s those are the best ways to reach me and I, you know, I, I answer any, I try to answer every question or whatever that comes that comes through. So…

Robonzo 1:03:27
And I can attest to that. You’ve been great as the podcast host and answering questions and having a few laughs with me on on Facebook. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mike check, do check him out on Instagram and Facebook and YouTube. He posts a lot of great stuff. Thanks again, Mike. I really, truly appreciate it.

Mike Dawson 1:03:46
Thank you. Good luck with the show. It’s been great.

Robonzo 1:03:48
Yeah, absolutely.

Robonzo 1:03:56
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Robonzo 1:03:56
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Robonzo 1:03:56
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