“I play drums and sometimes make silly videos. Join me on my musical adventure!”
Have you watched professional drummer and touring musician Dru Marshall’s behind the scenes Vlog series Dru’s Drumlife on YouTube?
A press release for 28-year-old’s series proclaims, “The self-proclaimed “massive cowbell fan” manages to explain music industry lingo while providing comical commentary and experiences from his life on the road. He breaks down the construction of the drum set, explaining the names of each part while covering topics like early morning wake up calls, sub-par hotels, and post-show traditions.” How can you not be intrigued by a massive cowbell fan?
The most recent episode is all about the ‘flydate,’ or a one-off single show. Fly to show and back home – same or next day. A downside is the limitation of gear you can carry on, and what is available at the venue. With a Nashville home studio that includes a microphone, a keyboard, and $20 Walmart speakers, the Florida native is used to improvising.
You can watch the latest episode HERE.
When did you start in music – and what were your early passions and influences?
“Remember that band Hanson from the 90’s? When I was 8, I heard that song ‘MMMbop‘ and had one of those ‘a-ha!’ moments where I just knew I wanted to play drums. And I have no shame about that. Haha. At that age, I was drumming to everything – my dad’s classic rock cassettes, that Hanson CD, and I even had a 2Pac cassette that I used to play along with!”
How would you describe your own development as a drummer and the transition towards your own voice?
“You know, it’s a funny thing. I grew up in a very active music scene in South Florida and there was always friendly competition between drummers. I wanted to be the best, the fastest, the most unique, etc. I was really inspired by drummers like Travis Barker & Joey Jordison, who have really strong identities as drummers. I loved those guys because not only could they play blazingly fast, they were coming up with really cool beats that would make me ask ‘how did they think of that?!’ So that was always my mindset: ‘How can I stand out right now?’
Everything changed when I signed a record deal in 2014. I was in a rock band and we were in the studio with Dave Darling, a killer producer out of LA. He whipped me into shape REAL quick. He basically took my playing and cut it in half – then cut it in half again. He taught me that it wasn’t about me. It was about serving the song. I had to completely take my ego out of it. And I still apply that approach today. I actually don’t want my drumming to stand out – I just want it to be perfect for the song. I still love playing crazy and coming up with cool ideas, I just don’t use them in professional situations. (Unless they ask for it!)”
What are currently some of the most important tools and instruments you’re using?
“My two hands and two feet! I also have a MacBook at my side to run backing tracks with. These days it’s pretty rare for an artist or band NOT to run tracks, so being able to do that is crucial.”
What are some of the areas where you currently see the greatest potential for originality and who are some of the artists and communities that you find inspiring in this regard?
“Drum covers on YouTube for sure. Making a drum cover gives you the opportunity to completely re-imagine a song and put your own spin on it. There are no rules and no boundaries. The only limitation is in your creativity. It’s really exciting.
I’m really inspired by drummers like Luke Holland and Matt McGuire. Those guys got their start by making drum covers on YouTube and have become really successful in their own right – playing with big artists, releasing their own merchandise, etc.”
Your move to Nashville – what’s your approach to getting gigs and networking? How has your behind the scenes Vlog series helped?
“I’m super new to Nashville. I only moved here about two months ago, so I’m really looking forward to meeting and playing with new people! Surprisingly, Craigslist is still a huge gig finder for me. I got my first tour off of Craigslist in 2011 and ever since it’s been my go-to when I’m looking for gigs. Besides that, it’s simply word of mouth. Making friends, going to shows, etc. And YouTube is a great tool for musicians to showcase their abilities if a potential gig is on the line.
I’m actually not using the Vlog to land new gigs per se. I just wanted to give people an inside look at the life of a touring drummer and inspire other drummers & musicians to keep chasing the dream!”
Currently, you are set to tour with Joshua Micah. The pop artist himself began as a drummer, but it’s his voice now that soars on songs like “Parachute” and “Who Says.” Micah draws on his faith, having overcome a serious illness at age 8.
How did you connect with Micah for his “Revival” tour, starting April 17th in Memphis?
“I met Josh a few years ago in Los Angeles. I had been living there a few years and was working at Starbucks when he walked in and ordered a coffee.
I remember asking him ‘hey man, are you a musician?’ That fateful conversation led to us becoming friends and eventually moving in together. As soon as I heard his song ‘Parachute‘ I knew I HAD to play with him! It was similar to that feeling when I first heard Hanson and knew I wanted to play drums. I was like ‘Yes, let’s do this!’ So in June of 2017 we played our first show together. I was really nervous because it was my first time playing to backing tracks and Josh hadn’t played a show as a solo artist in years. But the show was awesome! So after that, we played a handful of shows all over the place – a show in Texas, a show in Wisconsin, a show in Orlando. Super random stuff until he booked this tour which I am STOKED about!”
What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to your musicality; in essence, a hobby that you turn to in order to rejuvenate your creativity.
“I try to meditate every day. It chills me out and helps me stay in the moment, which is beneficial on AND off stage.”
And do you march to the beat of your own drum in life?
“Always! And I hope that the Vlog series reflects that”