This interview is going to be a little different from previous posts. Due to the nature of this interview, there was just too much to keep in one post. So enjoy this week’s entry and know that Part 2 will be coming to you on July 17th.
I was able to connect with Dre’ Energy while he was touring in Poland with Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam show production. Skype for the win!
How are you?
I’m doing well, how about yourself?
I’m doing well, can’t complain. Currently I’m in Poland right now.
That’s not something I hear every day
Yeah, I know right. So it’s my off week in poland, Sunday I head to Tel Aviv for a few weeks. Work, work, work, that’s how it goes. The thing about it is that even when I talk to big name musicians, they don’t work half as much as I do. We’re on tour 335 days out of the year
So, you know, i’m always on tour and i still have a family back home, and trying to do all this stuff. so it’s quite taxing and I’m going on my sixth year next year being on tour straight. So you know but it’s cool because it ends in February.
And then you’ll get a break?
Well I’m actually going home. I’m moving to Los Angeles, I’m going home and I’m buying a home as we speak right now and I’ll do the whole LA thing while keeping my presence here in europe
That sounds like it’s going to be a great adventure.
It sounds like it’s going to be something. I’ve been on this world tour for literally almost 6 years
Wow. So thank you for taking the time to do this. What I like to focus on with my site is creativity and inspiration and just the creative process, but before we get into that, could you tell me a little bit about yourself, how you got to where you are right now?
A little bit about myself, I’ve been a musician for 31 years now, i’m 33. I started when I was 2 years old, a prodigy, by the time I was 17, close to 18, I was going full time with music, playing around town and it was one of the best experiences that I encountered. I didn’t attend music college. I went to life college and it was really really cool. How I got to this point, my wife and I, at one point I was in my city making a lot of money, I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri, it’s my home town, and I was making a lot of money, I was the most in demand drummer and all of the sudden it just stopped, everything just vanished, and i got this call to do this audition for Cirque du Soleil.
I had money so my wife and I took our bank account and put in 600 dollars to buy our plane tickets and we walked around New York for 3 days, with our luggage, we didn’t have a hotel. I stayed in the airport, the LaGuardia airport, so we walked around and did that. When I actually got to my audition, it was crazy, when I got to the audition, when I did the audition, they said out of the 3 days they were in New York, I was their best audition and so it was a real, real capitivating moment for me. Usually, and they put me on their waiting list, what usually happens is when you go on the waiting list with Cirque, I’ve still got friends on the waiting list for 10 years
I think I waited for 2 months, I was called, I was called to come, I had picked up another tour working with another group called the Golden Gospel Singers and we toured all around Germany and I got a call to come do that while I was still out with them to come play Cirque du Soleil. Ever since then it has been amazing, I have tried to make myself experience a lot of different things in my career. This past year, I was voted as one of the top 10 best new drummers in the world, I did a photo shoot and a video shoot in the Royal Albert Hall, it’s crazy. And so I’ve been doing that, I just finished doing some clinics and workshops in Russia, Moscow and St. Petersburg and I finished one in Estonia. I have a clinic tour coming up in Israel, South Korea, China and Taiwan.
You’re kind of going all over the place now.
Yeah, yeah, yeah so I’m saying I’ve been on this tour for almost 6 years. It’s been really cool, I knew that I didn’t want to be just a local guy. I’m glad to do something out of the ordinary and push myself to do something different. So I did. I moved on to do Cirque, Cirque was one of the greatest launching pads thus far.
Alright, that’s amazing, the experiences that you’ve had so far. So why drumming? Why did you choose to stick with it and keep going? A lot of kids don’t stick with it, they’ll stick for 5, 10 years and not pursue it further.
Well to be honestly truthful, I really can’t answer that because I didn’t choose music, music chose me. So it’s one of those things, it was something that I couldn’t fight nor get away from. and it’s always been a great passion to me, it was never hard, it was never something my mother or anybody to make me do. It was something that I wanted to do, and it was that I had an older brother who was a professional drummer as well. So it helped. But I didn’t choose music, I didn’t choose music at all. I can remember going to kindergarten and playing drums for show and tell, you know, I didn’t have toys, I had drums. That was my toy. So all the video games and the robots and transformers, that wasn’t my thing. It was drumsticks and cymbals, that was my thing, it’s always been a great passion of mine. you know, I’ve always said if you can think it, you can do it. Not too many people from my city and the crazy part about it is that I grew up in Ferguson, MO, and there’s a couple people who have made it to the music biz from the city. Not all of us go famous, so to be there and to have those experiences and to get to where I am now, that’s a blessing.
what would a standard, average week look like?
So Sunday we play 2 shows in the city, the last 2 shows in the particular city that we’re in plus travel, which means we’re either going to do a charter flight or on a bus heading to the next city, usually Monday and Tuesday is all free. Wednesday through Sundays are show days and that can range anywhere from 6 shows a week to 10 shows a week as well as sound checks, so say like for instance Wednesday, we have one show on Wednesday, we’ll have a soundcheck on Wednesday. Thursday, one show plus sound check. Friday, two shows plus sound check. Saturday, two shows, maybe even 3 plus sound check. Sunday, two shows plus sound check, plus traveling.
This is the thing, I have a lot of my young fans and they want to tour so bad and man, it is not the glamour life. This thing that they paint in the music videos, everybody popping bottles, that’s not how this game works. It’s work. It’s work. My clinic tour in China is basically just me after I finish a leg of the tour in Seoul. I have to get up at 3 in the morning every day and travel to the next city. After I’ve just finished 3 months in Seoul, South Korea doing 10-11 shows a week. So, you know, it’s work. If you want it, you’re going to work it. If you have no intention of working, then this game is not for you.
Check back next Friday for the next portion of this interview.