This week I am talking with one of my oldest and best friends in Nashville, Jared Ribble. He is one of the best drummers I’ve ever known and worked with. He is owns a great recording studio and production company and is the drummer for the band Denver and the Mile High Orchestra. They have been on multiple tv shows and made it to the finale of the Next Great American Band. We discuss the “reality” (get it) of being on reality shows like American Idol, The Voice, AGT, etc., finding your peer group and helping each other out. Plus, diving in to what makes you unique.
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Talking Points –
*I started playing drums when I was a kid.
*My dad did concert promotion in Wisconsin and he would bring big bands to our area and I got to know the drummers.
*Will Denton who played drums for DC Talk and Steven Curtis Chapman would come to town and hang out with me and encourage me and I’ve tried to pay that forward as well.
*Be that person of encouragement to someone else.
*Reach out to your heroes on social media and see if they will give you advice.
*I went to Belmont University to be in the Belmont Big Band. I never got that position but ended up in a touring band called Denver and the Mile High Orchestra and have been the drummer for them for the past 20 years.
*I was never passionate about big band music even though I wanted to be in that Belmont big band. But, I was being prepared for something else.
*Through Denver’s band is how I ended up playing on different tv shows.
*Dive in to what makes you unique.
*When you understand what makes you unique, you get less offended when you don’t get a job or gig or when you get let go from a gig because someone else has the uniqueness they’re looking for and what makes you special is not what’s helping them.
*DMHO was on a show called The Next Great American Band which was put out by the same people as American Idol.
*All of those shows are scripted reality shows. They are writing a story for the whole season and finding ways to fit the performers into the story.
*We made it to the top 3 and I realized I loved playing on tv. I enjoyed the pressure and excitement of playing live.
*I have been the house band drummer for various award shows so when you play on tv you have to come in prepared, ready to go and get it right immediately.
*If you want to get on a tv show competition, go for it! But, watch those shows carefully. From the start of a season to the end of season ask yourself “what story were the producers trying to craft?” Because at this point you are an actor and a performer that is performing and acting out their story that they are trying to tell.
*If you have a unique story that tugs on the heartstrings of America, you have a better chance of getting on the show.
*It’s a lesson in “craft your story.” Figure out what your story is, craft it and tell it well because that is what those shows want, then they will infuse that into their bigger story they are trying to tell.
*That’s why some of the best singers on the show don’t go as far as they should, because their story isn’t as exciting and compelling to America.
*Reality tv is about drama so you have to remember they may craft some drama around you and you have to be willing to put up with what they are trying to put you in.
*Be aware that you are stepping into a bigger story.
*You sign a contract saying they can use your likeness anyway they want, positive or negative, for the show.
*All of that said, it does launch careers and if you want to do it, go for it!
*When it comes to me playing in house bands on award shows, etc., tv producers would see DMHO and think we would be a great house band and invite us to work on various shows. Once you get into that world, you continue to get hired for other similar shows.
*Then I got called to play in the show Nashville which you and I played on together.
*I got called by Sherrie Cunningham Gibson to play on the show because she knew the band Sixwire who were playing the band for another character on the show and they referred my to her when she was asking for more players.
*Playing on that type of tv show is very different because now you are actually an actor.
*We are playing along to music that is already recorded. We get the tracks maybe 24 hours before filming and have to learn and copy the parts exactly as the recording because if I hit a cymbal and there is no cymbal hit in the recording, it won’t match up and I won’t get called again.
*Because it is a show about music, they had a music director on set that would make sure we did everything correctly.
*The Musicians Union is who tracks shows with musicians on them to make sure we get paid.
*Not every tv show will run through the Union and if doesn’t you won’t get paid when re runs air.
*Starting a recording studio does not come overnight.
*Start with what you can afford and start making music.
*Take the tools you can get your hands on and don’t go into debt buy the fanciest gear.
*My partner and I started Advantage Music Production.
*I own 745 Recording Studio.
*Once you have done it for 20+ years touring becomes more about having new experiences than it does about the music.
*I started a record label called Reel Loud Records with my dad and DMHO was the first band we signed which actually generated 7 figures of revenue.
*Tons of exposure on tv doesn’t mean you are going to make a lot of money from downloads.
*If you want to be a professional musician, seek after your uniqueness, practice hard and be as good as you can be for that moment, find a group of people you mesh well with.
*You get jobs by running in a circle of people that are your friends that are already doing it and sticking with them as you all move up the ladder of the music industry. That is what will help grow your career.
*Stick with your peer group, be friends, help each other out.
Jared Ribble has drummed for 20+ Grammy, Dove, AMA, CMA, and other such award-winning artists, and has appeared drumming over 50 times on national television networks. He is co-owner of Advantage Music Production and operates his recording studio 745 Recording. Jared has engineered and mixed records for The Voice finalist Johnny Hayes, and iTunes best-selling jazz vocalist, Jaimee Paul. In addition to music, Jared spends time mentoring college students and young adults and is actively involved with adoption advocacy work. He lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three young boys. You can read more about Jared at his website www.JaredRibble.com.