Samera Entertainment and The Chloe Chronicles catch up with Musician/Drummer, Actor, Motivational Speaker, and Author,
Q & A By ~ Chloe Brown
Rich discusses his acting, how he came to be a musician, tour life, and what he has learned about life and art through his over-two decade-spanning career.
Q: Rich, it is so great to get the chance to speak with you! As many people know, you are a successful,professional drummer who has worked with the likes of Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Florida Georgia Line, Kelly Clarkson, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Bob Seger, and Bryan Adams, just to name a few. How did you first find your passion for music and drumming specifically, and when did you know you wanted to pursue it as a career?
A: Great to chat with you! The drums found me. I truly believe it’s my purpose in life. It’s a calling. I really fell in love with it when The Police released Synchronicity in 1983, I was hooked! I knew what I wanted to do with my life and I feel SO fortunate to have found my passion at such a young age
Q: You have been described as having, “classical training mixed with street-smarts musicianship” what do you make of this assessment and how do you think the way you play differentiates you from other percussion instrumentalists?
A: The mix of academic training and playing music in the “real world” is a very powerful combination. Many drummers have just one, but not both. The training allows you to go in any direction and be ready to respond instantly to any opportunities. Playing in the “real world” outside the halls of academia allows you to mature very quickly and know what musicians, producers, artists, and songwriters expect from you. That being said, it has always been my goal to exceed expectations with a smile on my face.
Q: Rich, you have been playing the drums since you were 8 years old, what is the first song you remember learning or playing on the drums? And do you ever revisit that song now?
A: Great question! I played along with the KISS Double-Platinum record. I loved Peter Criss. And, if I had to pick two records to bring to a desert island they would be....John Mellencamp’s Scarecrow and The Lonesome Jubilee. John’s music was way ahead of its time. He told the story of Americans in the Heartland set it to an aggressive rock beat. The drummer Kenny Aronoff was a great showman. I used to play along to those records constantly. Songs like “Pink Houses'', “Lonely Ol’ Night” and “Small Town”were epic anthems that I used to love to rock out to.
Q: As a musician who started from a very young age did you have any mentors or teachers you really learned from or looked up to, and do you think this inspiration for The Arts from a young age inspired you to release FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids Ages 5-10?
A: I always had great teachers. My first teacher was Jack Burky at The Milford Percussion and Guitar Workshop. And when I moved to El Paso, Texas I studied with Byron Mutnick, Larry White, Ricky Malachi, and Jim Hargrove. They were great guys that covered all the bases and truly inspired me. In college, I studied with Alan Shinn, Robert Schietroma, Ron Fink, Henry Okstel, and Ed Soph. All of which were amazing and truly impactful as well. I think I was inspired to write the children’s drumming book because there weren't a lot of great books for students ages 5-10. We met a need in the market and it is FUN! Lots of wonderful teachers are using the book and it feels great to make a difference!
Q: Through your music, those of the acts you were/are working with, and your Motivational Book CRASH Course For Success: 5 Ways To Supercharge Your Personal and Professional Life, you have toured quite a lot and all over the world. What would you say was a favorite memory from a tour or one that was most memorable for you?
A: They are ALL so memorable! I get to play every night with my best friends in the world! We finish each other’s sentences. We have really been through so much together: girlfriends, wives, divorces,surgeries...lots! We are really a family and we see each other more than our blood relatives. I’ve seen camels in Cairo, eaten sushi in Japan, fresh salmon in Newfoundland, eaten fish and chips in London...and it goes on and on. So, I’m very happy to have been able to play sold-out shows in venues like the Hollywood Bowl, Madison Square Garden, Red Rocks, The Gorge, and many NFL Stadiums with my friends.
Q: Speaking of your Motivational Speaking, what led you to develop this offering, and how did the out pouring of positive response surprise you? Is there any chance you will be making another Special or variation of a similar stage show in the future?
A: My motivational speeches for Fortune 500 Companies and schools are completely customizable. I address the key components of my philosophy: (CRASH) Commitment-Relationships-Attitude-Skill and Hunger. However, I also incorporate the companies' cultural philosophies and quarterly goals. Every CRASH keynote speech is completely unique. And, it’s definitely not your father’s keynote speech either!It’s a great mashup of drumming, motivation, key takeaways, interaction, storytelling, and humor. If Animal from The Muppets was blended with Jerry Lewis and Tony Robbins...that is my speech!
Q: On a more serious note, Rich, you were playing with Jason Aldean during the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in 2017 can you talk to us about how that event affected you and how you have overcome that? #VegasStrong
A: I am humbled and grateful for my life, my family, my friends, the love in my life, and the talent I have to make a difference in people’s lives. With music, I have the ability to affect people in a positive way and change lives. That’s my purpose in life. It was truly a horrible day in human history and I have no intention of taking my gift of life for granted. I’m going to keep working to entertain people, teach people,inspire people, and affect them positively.
Q: How do major events like that influence you as an artist, both creatively and as a songwriter?
A: Humility and Gratitude are paramount in my life. I’m an entertainer and that's a huge calling in life. I love my life and I love my craft. I’m creative every day in all I do.
Q: Drums and writing don't seem to be all you do. You also are an actor who has appeared in various films and television series. How did you realize that acting was another passion of yours and what was that transition like from music to film?
A: Yes! Thanks for noticing! I have always been attracted to acting, the dramatic arts, and Hollywood.The first show that inspired me and peaked my interest in acting was John Ritter playing the role of Jack Tripper in Three’s Company. What a genius!
Q: What differences and similarities do you find between the music industry and the film industry? Does this affect your creative process/approach?
A: They are both creative crafts! They require great diligence and methodical practice. It takes years tog et good at these pursuits. That has never intimidated me. It’s just the way it is. I have thousands of hours invested in my musical skills. I approach my acting as a serious job and I put that level of time in as well.I am always positive and always prepared. I approach my crafts with extreme professionalism. It takes time to develop a reputation for sure but showing up early, staying positive, being over prepared, and exceeding expectations is a great way to get ahead and get noticed faster.
Q: Your first feature film role was in 2018 in the Netflix Horror/Thriller All Light Will End playing the role of Chris Issac, what was your experience working on that film and with that set? And, what did you gain or learn from that experience?
A: I loved it! I walked in, drank an iced coffee, reviewed my sides, got some makeup, met the crew and fellow actors and we were off to the races. It was so addictive! I’m ready to do this again and again. The part was right in my wheelhouse, playing an over-caffeinated Casey Kasem type radio DJ. That guy is somewhere in me for sure!
Q: Currently, you have four films in Pre-Production for this upcoming year including, Fox and the Bounty, Want Love..., Seven Figures, and 24/7 what can you tell us about the roles you will be playing and what we can expect from you this year acting-wise, or if you have any acting advice you’ve learned thus far?
A: I used some downtime during the Pandemic to pitch myself to films that were already in production or soon to be in production. This was great advice that was given to me by Sharry Flaherty of Samera Entertainment. She is awesome! It works! No one is ever going to champion you as much as YOU! So, I would say everyone needs to learn how to sell themselves. You have to have that “elevator pitch” ready to go at all times. You have to confidently be a fan of yourself. Not in an arrogant way, but in a confident way. You have to know that you can do the job. Someone is going to get the job, so why not you?
Q: Rich, besides your extensive and impressive resume, you are also living many new performer’s dream of playing at important events like The Grammys, Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel, GMA, The Today Show, and the CMT Awards just to name a few. How were those experiences and performances,and what piece of advice would you give to the next generation of performers?
A: My advice is this: “Play from the heart. It will set you apart.” You have to always include your heart in a performance. You have to know everything so well that you can just release yourself in the moment.The heart is truly everything. I love playing those shows. It’s always the same camera operators, makeup artists, and stage managers on those shows. Every time we play is like a family reunion.
Q: And, finally, Rich, what can you tease our Samera Audience with what is coming up next for you and where we can keep ourselves posted on all your work? Thanks so much!
A: Thanks for having me! I am recording new music in Nashville with people like Jason Aldean, RascalFlatts, American Idol’s Laine Hardy, Tim Montana, and many others. Schools and companies can hire me for high-energy keynotes as well. Of course, people can check out my pics and reels for acting at www.richredmond.com. I also host a podcast on all Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and YouTube called The Rich Redmond Show. There are 75 episodes of me interviewing actors, comedians, musicians, and creatives of all types. On all social platforms, I’m @richredmond