Calvin Rodgers is best known for his solid foundation behind a who’s who list of Gospel artists like Ricky Dillard, New G., Ramsey Lewis, Urban Knights, and John P.Keee as well as multiple studio projects. During one of these studio projects Rodgers landed the coveted gig with R&B powerhouse R. Kelly. After touring for years with R. Kelly, Calvin decided to focus all of his efforts on his Gospel career and is currently touring as the Music Director for Grammy Award-winner Fred Hammond and producing records for numerous artists.
Calvin Rodgers answers:
- How do you practice playing creatively?
- What sort of things are you working on these days to improve your overall musicianship?
- What is your take on the issues of paying drummers and/or musicians in the church?
- A lot of what you do sounds improvised and orchestrated at the same time. Do you work out specific fills for specific points in a song before recording? Songs like Byron Cage’s Faithful to Believe and your solo at the end of Marvin Sapp’s More Than a Conqueror.
- Have you experienced playing live with electronic drums and hybrid kits?
- I wanted to get your opinion on smaller drum or cymbal companies that are using the word “endorsement” to actually sell their products. It seems like some of these companies are using this as a sales tactic and then make it seem like they will endorse anyone with this tactic. Is it a good idea to always go with your gut feeling when it comes to endorsing a product?
- Correct me if I’m wrong but I read somewhere that you played on “The Power of One” by Israel Houghton, what was the thought process behind the groove on the song Everywhere That I Go?
- Down here in Australia we are well away from the US gospel scene. My question is what’s with the “gospel chops” phenomenon we see on YouTube. How did it come about and does it actually have any relevance to the music or is it just drummers showing off and putting as many 32nd and 64th notes in?
- Who are some young drummers in the industry that influence you today?
- Can you talk about how the attack that broke your arm and left you with a detached retina has changed your mindset and bettered you as a musician?
Main actions / takeaways:
- When it comes to endorsements, use your gut and play what you love. Don’t seek after endorsements just for the sake of getting endorsements.
- Serve the song and not your ego • Before anyone believes in you, you need to believe in yourself. You have to have “faith” that you can do it. Learn the importance of self-talk.
- Being gifted is the beginning but you constantly need to continue to work on your skills.
- Mental practice can be as important as physical practice
- You have two ways you can deal with adversity – deny it or learn from it to make yourself better
- Learn how to seize the moments in life and be present in the moment.
- Start slow and be patience…patience is key.
Resources / Links mentioned:
Calvin Rodgers plays:
- Sabian Cymbals
- Pearl Drums
- Promark Drumsticks
- Remo Drumheads
- 1964 Ears
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