Arts Entrepreneurship Podcast: Making Art Work

#258: Vince Verderame (Drummer & Percussionist) (pt. 1 of 2)

January 22, 2024 Nick Petrella and Andy Heise // Vince Verderame
Arts Entrepreneurship Podcast: Making Art Work
#258: Vince Verderame (Drummer & Percussionist) (pt. 1 of 2)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This week on the podcast is part one of our interview with Vince Verderame.  He’s an extraordinary drummer and percussionist whose portfolio career spans 3 decades. He’s toured the world with numerous Latin pop artists such as Ricky Martin and Raul Di Blasio; was an accompanist/composer/educator for the Dance Dept at the New World School for the Arts in Miami; and toured with the acclaimed Jonathan Kreisberg Trio. Though he’s been with the Blue Man Group in Las Vegas for the past 22 years as a musician and music director, he is still busy subbing on numerous Vegas Shows such as Tom Jones and the Lion King. He recently wrapped up a year as drummer and music director for a project with Derek Hough of Dancin’ with the Stars. Everyone who wants to work in the arts should hear what he has to say about collaborations and putting the audience first!   

Las Vegas, with its dazzling stages and high stakes, sets the backdrop for a candid discussion about the ebbs and flows musicians face. The silence of a break from performing can be as profound as the music itself. Vince shares how these pauses can lead to personal renaissance and a deeper connection to one's own artistry. For those looking to strike it big in this city of dreams, Vince shares wisdom on building a stable life while chasing opportunities, all the while ensuring passion doesn't get lost during pragmatic career moves.

Our episode continues with an exploration of the harmonies and discord found in the relationships that define the music industry. Vince talks about the art of authentic networking, avoiding the false notes of desperation, and the dance of collaboration within the complex world of music and entrepreneurship. He shares how family ties can blend with business, creating a unique creative partnership. As we reflect on the pandemic, Vince's experiences underscore the enduring power of music to connect us, even in the most trying times.

Nick Petrella:

Hi everyone, nick Petrella here. This episode is sponsored by Steve Weiss Music, percussion specialist since 1961. If you're looking for a rare piece of sheet music, a specialty gong or anything percussion, steve Weiss Music will have it. Please visit SteveWeissMusic. com or click their link in the show notes. That's S-T-E-V-E-W-E-I-S-S Music. com. Our percussion series sponsor.

Announcer:

Welcome to the Arts Entrepreneurship Podcast. Making art work. We highlight how entrepreneurs align their artistry, passion and vision to create and pursue opportunities to capture value in the arts. The views expressed by guests on the Arts Entrepreneurship Podcast are solely their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the podcast or its hosts. The appearance of a guest on the podcast, the venture they represent or reference to any product or service is not an applied endorsement or recommendation by the podcast or its hosts. The content provided is for entertainment and informational purposes only and does not constitute business advice. Here are your hosts Andy Heise and Nick Petrella.

Andy Heise:

Welcome podcast listeners. My name is Andy Heise and I'm Nick Petrella.

Nick Petrella:

We're really happy to have Vince Verderame with us today. He's a drummer and percussionist whose career spans three decades. He's toured the world with numerous Latin pop artists, such as Ricky Martin and Raul de Blasio. While living in Miami, Vince was an accompanist, composer and educator for the dance department at the New World School of the Arts and has toured with the acclaimed Jonathan Kreisberg Trio. Though he's been with the Blue man Group in Las Vegas for the past 22 years as a musician and music director, he's still busy subbing on numerous Vegas shows, such as Tom Jones and the Lion King. At the time of this recording, he just wrapped up a year of playing drums and being the music director for a project with Derek Huff of Dancing with the Stars. Vince, it's great to have you on the podcast.

Vince Verderame:

Nice to be here, Nick.

Nick Petrella:

By any definition. You have a portfolio career and I know you are equally comfortable playing Latin, to jazz, to rock. How do you find time to stay on top of your game and still look after all of the details of managing your career?

Vince Verderame:

Wow, I'm going to say I don't. I never feel like I'm keeping up. I never feel like, yeah, it's hard, it's hard to keep up with everything and you've got to choose your time and whatever you're working with, working on and focus on it, and things always fall by the wayside. It's just a state of I think it's a state of existence. We have to accept that some things just aren't going to get attended to and you just make priorities and do that.

Nick Petrella:

Great.

Vince Verderame:

Yeah, lately my biggest kick is I'm actually just trying to get in better physical condition because I felt like it was affecting my playing. So I'm on a whole other kick where I'm working out most days and finally figuring out ways to do it where I don't hurt myself which I've done many times, where we all have You're like I got this new workout and you're like ah, so yeah, because I'm taking that into my playing from a relaxation standpoint and it's kind of my latest burn between that and building my new space in my house so I can work. Yeah, those are the two things I'm laying groundwork. Again, I feel like I'm starting over in some ways.

Nick Petrella:

Well, no, that's good. So we've had people come in and talk about staying healthy and fit, whether it's traveling or just in general. So I'm curious do you carve out time specifically, that is, 6 am, for instance or do you just catch it when you can?

Vince Verderame:

No, I mean, I know you have kids, nick. Yeah, both of you have kids, yes, so that takes my schedule right and I only have one. I can't imagine what you do, Nick, so I just try to carve it in. Like, I found this great rope skipping workout that I can literally do between soundcheck and a show, so instead of scrolling Facebook, I do that.

Nick Petrella:

Right.

Vince Verderame:

And then my wife and I were getting back into doing yoga. We used to own a yoga studio before the recession, way back in the day and then so we managed to carve that time out like a couple of times a week, because I think I said this to you before, nick I went from homeschooling my daughter, which my wife and I would tag team on and take her around to different classes that she was doing, and do a lot of work at home. So now she's in school, so she gets up at 5.30 in the morning, as do I, and I drive her to school and she takes the bus home. So that kind of. I just always look at it like, whatever the immovable parameters there are, that's what you got to work around it's like I don't know. It's the same as every creativity hey, I need you to fill in on this, I need you to fill in tonight, but we only have a kick and a snare and a hi-hat. Make it work, Okay, and you're going to play within, and you're just going to play within those parameters. I always think that's the lesson of creativity as it applies to life. So, there you go.

Andy Heise:

Yeah, and just exploring that first question a little bit further, when we think about the question was something about like, how do you stay on top of your game, while also addressing the details of managing a career? I mean, maybe we can assume what some of those things are that you need to do to stay on top of your game, but could you explain a little bit more about what that means for you?

Vince Verderame:

Well, for me it means it always means attending to my technique like drumming-wise because it's Blue man in and of itself is inherently like bad for my technique, but it's the best way to say it. That the show is so visual you just want to beat the hell out of the drums and you're often applauded for when you do that, literally and metaphorically, by my higher-ups. So I have to be able to manage being able to do it on a regular basis. I do seven, eight shows a week, right? So trying to manage that and that the show doesn't dictate my technique, so that I'm always present, and the nice part is with the show I've been doing it for so long is I can work on things while I'm doing the show. Does that make?

Announcer:

sense.

Vince Verderame:

I can be conscious of what this shoulder does or how I'm holding things and still play the show you know what I mean and still be attentive to the show. There's multiple levels of it, so there's that. And then there's all the other stuff, like trying to get in some work on the piano so that when I do get a writing job I don't end up with carpal tunnel because I haven't touched a piano in weeks. You know what I mean. It's all that stuff, and the more diversified you get, the harder it is to maintain. So for me often it's like I just try to. If I have a new thing that comes up, I try to make some time in the lead-up to attend to it. Like I just did a sound design thing and I hadn't built this desk yet, right. So I knew I needed a space, a better space to work and like. So my house is in a bit of transition. So the first thing I did was I knew I wanted an adjustable height desk, because I know that when I sit for too long I either fall asleep or my back starts to hurt, and it's always been that way. That's not even just age. I was like that in college, you know, and I finally had to come to terms with and accept that. And now that these things are much cheaper, I bought one and I swear I did the whole, I almost did the whole thing, and it was a whole theatrical show of the Odyssey and I had to write music for it and do all the sound effects and all that kind of stuff and I think I stood the whole time while I was working and I was so happy and so. But in the process of doing it I realized I got a little behind because I had to build a desk first, so that was kind of like practicing ahead of time, and then I had to dust off the barnacles of just running my doll right, Because I didn't have all my key commands, because I had been doing some other stuff in a different program you know, and you just got to it's like anything else. It's a technique, so often you know what the ideas are, but getting to them efficiently is the game right.

Andy Heise:

And as soon as you get to them and you think you're like, hey, I'm getting pretty good at this, it's on to the next thing, it's on to the next thing, and then I'm working and then, instead of logic, I'm working in Ableton.

Vince Verderame:

Or my buddy, my buddy who wants me to do more sound design work. He's like dude, you have to work in Pro Tools and I know my way around Pro Tools. But I don't think in Pro Tools. And you know, with all software you have to think like it in order to be creative. So my next project, I've determined that it's going to be in Pro Tools. So for me that's what it is and just being okay with the fact that every time something different comes up I have to give myself a little bit of lead time to just get back to basics with it and not overshoot myself in what I expect out of that. Because I think that's when you hurt yourself and that's when you kind of play beyond what you can do Sure.

Andy Heise:

So you said you're playing like six stage shows a week. What does a typical week look like for you?

Vince Verderame:

One of the interesting parts about my gig is the blue man runs seven days a week. Okay, the show runs seven days a week so we have two full casts and then we have subs, so and the show does two shows a day generally. Right now in the holidays we're doing three and four, yeah, but I'm still doing seven or eight shows. They try to keep it at that because they know that after a while it just builds up and just it's not good, it's like a fear of yours, it's not good for anything. So the nice part is my schedule varies every week. That can be good and bad, but I have a little bit of say in when that happens. And then the girl who does all my scheduling, the stage manager who does all my scheduling, who is a saint, we all kind of work together. And then the guys between us we can trade shows if something comes up. So that's the variable part. I go in if I go, if I'm doing two shows. I go in at 3.30 for soundcheck. We do a show at five, we do a show at eight. I'm home by 9.30 and of this past semester and then I'm up at 5.30 and I drive my daughter to work and then. So that's my timeframe now I think of my day is like time I get home from from taking her to school. I've got this time from then till about two, and then if I'm not working in the evening then that's like open time and you know, then I can hang with the kid, help her out with her homework, do whatever. So that's kind of typical. That's the framework within which I'm working.

Nick Petrella:

On four show days. You don't really need to exercise because that's your exercise.

Vince Verderame:

Well, I don't do four shows. They discourage even doing three shows a day. So yeah, so I have done it. They don't like people doing it, but I have done it. So when there's four shows, there'll be a cast for the first two and another cast for the second two.

Nick Petrella:

So Vince, during the COVID lockdown, nearly all musicians I know stop working Actually all musicians, I think, stop working.

Vince Verderame:

We pretty much stop working yeah.

Nick Petrella:

Yeah, you took that time and develop skills outside of music, such as video editing. How has that informed your thinking as a musician, and have you been able to combine video editing with music, or is it simply a hobby?

Vince Verderame:

Um, how do I put it? I think mentally it made me realize that I could do other things, that my skills were adaptable to other things, from even just an artistic level, visually, like being able to recognize those things, and to just being able to learn another piece of software, because every I don't think there's a job that exists anymore that doesn't involve learning some piece of software and interfacing with it and trying to make it effective. So I'm not actually doing any video editing anymore. The two people I was fortunate enough to do work for they've moved on to other things and it's just not happening anymore. That being said, like I said, what it did, it was opened up. It just opened up my mind that I can enjoy I can, should and I do enjoy doing other aspects of this kind of stuff that aren't just playing drums or composing music, like the other facets of media and things like that. So during COVID, it was that it was also a nice opportunity to just not play. Honestly, I gave my hands a rest, I gave my body a rest and even when I came back like the same things that I was talking about earlier of not overplaying and all that I was able to implement them much easier, cause I kind of started with a fresh piece of paper. You know what I mean. It was like there was a lot of things I had been trying to fix in my playing that I couldn't, because I was constantly working, so to kind of stop. And then I got a heads up that we were going back. I think I had about six weeks of prep and so I got out of practice pad and just did that and then and so that was good. But then, on the like I said back to the original question, it was as much of an emotional thing as like I wanted to know what life was like without playing drums. I actually did. I wanted to know what that felt like and how I felt as a human, because so often people are like well, what do you do? I'm a drummer. That's how I define myself. I've defined myself that way since fifth grade. You know what I mean, that's what I am, and really, when you get down to it, that's not what I am right, that's not what anybody is. It's a part of my person that I just love. And the nice part was when I came back with it. I came back to it with a healthier appreciation for what is beautiful about what I do, what's unique in that. I live in a unicorn world with the gig that I have, right, you know 20 some years on the same gig with a bunch of people that I actually like. You know what I mean and I gained an appreciation for the music and I also was able to develop a I'm not attached to it anymore. Does that make sense? I'm not attached in this sort of like. I have to do that. I think I could be happy doing other things, especially knowing that I've done this for a long time and I've done all right. So it was more about that. And then how those techniques like doing something else, and how I was able to do that successfully. I was like, oh, I could branch out and have some fun with this and it felt artistic. It was rewarding also and that's the other part of it that it didn't feel like drudgery. There's been so many things that have come across my radar over the years that like, hey, people are like you should do this too, and I'm like I don't wanna do that. I mean it's great for you and you look like you enjoy it and I know I could do it. I'm sure, I have the skills to apply, but God, I don't wanna deal with that. So, and I don't wanna call out anything in particular, but there's plenty of things that have been thrown at me that I was just like I don't wanna do that. So so there you go, great.

Andy Heise:

Have we? You're based in Las Vegas, right? I don't know if we've established that. Okay, yes, okay, great. And you know, as I was preparing to talk with you here on the interview, it occurred to me and I don't know why it had never occurred to me before, but there's probably a lot of performers, musicians, making a living as musicians in Las Vegas. How might a musician who wanted to kind of break into that scene do so, and is there, is there, opportunity to do that in a place like Las Vegas?

Vince Verderame:

I think there is. I will quote my friend Derek Jones. He's a bass player. He plays on the show Ca for Cirque du Soleil monster bass player. He used to play with Jeff Coffin, who I think you guys have had on here. Oh yeah, he also played with the Nickel Creek, also played with Pete Escovito. This guy's a monster. He makes me look like an infant when it comes to like being able to do various things. I called him to do a classic album side where we did Thriller and it was just. I just kept listening to him and going Jesus right. But what he said to me was one time because he moved here. I think he grew up in the Bay Area and then moved to Nashville and then got to Cirque Gig and moved here right and plays upright plays, fretless plays, everything right, has a good look, just the whole deal. And I remember we were talking about some guy who moved here and he was like, man, I don't understand what that guy's doing. I was like, well, what do you mean? He's like he's just trying to get gigs and I was like, well, what's wrong with that? He goes. When I moved to Nashville I got myself a day job and because the problem is and I have thought about this when you're networking and you're desperate to network, you're desperate and it's like I think it reeks on you. It smells, you know what I mean. Like you're and you don't know what to say, whereas, like when you moved to a new town, I think you wanna be able to do the hang, meet people, go out and see people you know you can connect. You can always find people on social media and stuff like that and connect with them that way, but I don't think it ever. I have very rarely heard of anybody getting a gig from just a video on social media. You know what I mean. There's always needs to be the next level. It's another business card, it's another introduction, it's a cassette somebody listened to 25 years ago. It's all that, because we all know that, like you can curate anything online, you can make it the one but if you're gonna play with somebody, that's a whole other thing, right, that's a whole other deal. So my advice to anybody moving to a town, especially this one, is you know, have something else in your pocket to make a living, to just cover the expenses, so that you can then just go out and meet people and hang and see all the good stuff and then follow your curiosity into what you associate with. I remember making that mistake of just trying to connect with people that I knew I didn't connect with because I was desperate for work you know, whereas, like the people who I connected with, whether it was in school, whether it was here, those relationships there are personal relationships and they persist.

Nick Petrella:

Yeah, they're stickier.

Vince Verderame:

Yeah, nick's a prime example. You know what I mean. There's three people from Penn State that I really keep in touch with, and it's I just. Oh, you, robin and Laura Flowers, laura Flowers Benson, laura Benson Flowers, and those were the, and we were all tight back then. Like you know, you and I were like first in the building, last leaves, you know, and we moved a lot of marimbas and a lot of gear together and but we got each other Like there was an like yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Nick Petrella:

You had a really good statement in there. It's one of the things I talk about as well. You said that it just reeks of desperation and that they're always, you know, trying to get a gig. When I was working in the music products industry, I wouldn't say it was that bad, but there was a difference between the young players who every time they saw you I mean in going to the restroom, going to the line, would you and this was even earlier when they actually had physical press packets just handing me stuff and I'm just like all right, and then you meet someone who's established and they want to talk about your family, they want to talk about restaurants, right?

Vince Verderame:

Totally different. What's about life? I remember I learned that I don't know if you knew who Martha Graham was. She was a modern dance teacher and choreographer, famous, famous. And I got to work with people who played in her, who danced in her company, and so I read the Agnes de Mille biography on her and one of the things that she she just even though she was like a maniac for you know, working people and all she insisted that they had other things, other parts of their life, right. And I remember Nick going to NAM the first time and just walking around because I could see it. I could see it and I just saw it in everybody's faces. I saw it in the guys like you, who were just like, who were just working right, and then I saw it in the other guys who were just trying to get some FaceTime, just trying to get anything, and I was just like, okay, this is, this is, this is weird, this is like a really bad dating show, you know what I mean Like with a really good looking person and then the other people who were just desperate for a relationship and so and I remember saying that and then like so, and then I talked to my friend Richard who, who, who has done both. He worked for Line Six for many years and now he works at Blue man right. And and he was like oh, no, man, the way you, the way you do NAM right. First of all there's great classes. You got to go to the classes, the classes are fantastic. And then you've got to like research and pick some gear that you are really actually interested in, like I want to know about that right. And then when you get there and you can ask real questions that aren't like, hey, man, can, can you guys give out free, free drum thrones, because I could really use a new. You know what I mean?

Nick Petrella:

It's just like oh yeah, I know what you mean.

Vince Verderame:

And just, and that's real man, like and and because we all forget that in our need to work and our need to make money, that everybody's just doing the same thing, just trying to make a living, and like in your cases. I remember realizing that how much business was being done at NAM that had nothing to do with musicians, it was schools, it was all this stuff, and I was like, oh, that's what they're doing here. And I was completely oblivious and I was like, oh, I got. I, these guys don't want to sit here and talk to me about like my gig, that I like everybody's. I was just like everybody's doing that, like whatever I say to them is going to be like yeah, exactly, exactly.

Nick Petrella:

And that's good for the young people listening to this, because now that particular show has changed over the years, but it's empathy. You know, if you see somebody busy it's not going to be sticky. Send them, you know an email or a card, for instance.

Vince Verderame:

Yeah, or you know, and it's those things. If not in a device, not in a, what's the right word? No, no language today, Like a duplicitous way, but you've seen somebody need some help to help them you know and and and if it turns into something, then the next time you meet them and you just it takes time to build up those relationships and I think in this, in any town where there's a lot of people, and this this town has become known for and it's slowly not becoming that anymore A town where you could have a lower cost of living and still work, yeah, and that's still I mean it still exists Like it's. It's always going to be cheaper than LA to live here. It's always going to be cheaper than LA. So there's always guys coming out here and girls, and you know just people coming out here and making, just trying to Trying to make a living. So and I've seen many people do it they put together a project that that is a different. There's a few guys from Australia who put together like a little pop thing and I know this guy does film scoring I haven't met him yet and I want to meet him because I heard he's a great musician but then he put together a trio that they're out on this place called Fremont Street, which is just a craziness of Vegas pop culture, and you know it's just cover bands they do, but they put up, they put together a nice little project where they even show up with their videos that go up on the just videos that go with the songs they do. And they took it to another level that a lot of the bands who'd been there for 15, 20 years hadn't done. And so and I only heard about this because I was subbing on one of those bands every once in a while and and all of a sudden they're like, yeah, we lost a Fremont gig I was like, oh, what happened? It was like, well, there's this other band and they're a trio and you know. But these guys came in. They had also had something to offer, and I think that's huge. I think you have to have something to offer people Like just you have, and whether it's having an opinion, whether it's just be yourself and bring something to the table, I think it's important and I know when I have failed at that. That's how I failed, yeah.

Andy Heise:

I, yeah, when I, when I talk with my students about quote unquote networking, right, I feel like they, they feel this pressure that they have to perform and I think that's something that they're expected to be, something other than what people, than what they are. You know and I was like well, that's that. That might be your preconceived notion of it, but but all the things that you've just said is is spot on.

Vince Verderame:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you know, and I think if you show up with a genuine curiosity for what's going on, I think that trumps everything. That will trump like like you know, your nerd now on something. We're all nerds and all of a sudden you you say, oh, I was watching. I was watching the Sonny and Cher show. I'm watching all the reruns of the Sonny and Cher show and some guy goes dude, I love that show. Do you know who played drums on that? And then you're like nerd now. And you're like oh you know, passions infectious.

Nick Petrella:

It really is.

Vince Verderame:

Right, I had that with the neat Morton. Who's who's neat plays on the voice.

Nick Petrella:

Okay.

Vince Verderame:

He's the drummer on the voice. I mean just fantastic drummer, right. And we still keep in touch and and I forget who connected us. But we just immediately had like a I forget what it was we were nerding about, but there was just something that we just went down this rabbit hole had nothing to do with drumming and it was. And it was just like, yeah, good guy. And so you know, now even to the point where he called me once when Britney Spears was doing a short residency, and he goes hey man, I got tickets to the show. And he goes. Don't judge me, I'm a huge Britney Spears fan, like giant, I don't care what she does. It doesn't matter and like and like Nate's the last guy, I would have expected to be a Britney Spears fan and, sure enough, when we went and it was a blast and it was great and it was just like things like that where you're like, yeah, man, people are just having trying to have a good time. You know, I think all the anybody coming up just needs to remember that. Yeah.

Nick Petrella:

The difference between have to and get to. I have to talk to that person or I get to talk to that person.

Vince Verderame:

Yeah, man, that's. That's a great way to put that, nick, that's a great way to put that.

Nick Petrella:

So a few years ago, you and your wife Maggie released a children's album. If there are listeners who are working with family, what advice would you give them when, say, working with spouses?

Vince Verderame:

This is recorded. No, it's great, Actually. Actually, we look back on that little period and it was. It was so much fun. I think that we learned a lot in that process because I learned what we learned that we have. We both have very different creative processes. I, you know my wife, didn't do training she. She did like musical theater in high school and stuff like that, but didn't didn't really like study. You know, she just she just grew up singing and Started writing music and that's just what she does and she doesn't like do it professionally. Now she does she, and we're talking about doing another project now because she's got a bunch of music but from a from. I think the same things apply to that as work as it is working with anyone else, and that's that's the key. You've got to work with them as if you were working with anyone else, because if you take those those things that we all take for granted, it's often with the people around us Like you, just you can't do things to them that you wouldn't do to anybody else, right? So I started. I realized, like we got into it and we started writing and I was trying to like, I was like so let's sit in the room and write and we got nothing done. And I was sitting in the room, what do you got, let's work. And we got nothing done and and and we were just kind of like and I finally said I thought about it and I was like I Wonder how? Like, if this was somebody else, what would I do? And so I said so, how do you want to do this? And she goes well, when you're in the room I don't have like the same creative thing and I had to not take that personally, right, and and and she's like I just have to like have it come out, like it just has to happen. And I was like, alright, well, go do that, and you let me know when you're ready. And Sure enough, that's how most of the stuff was written. She would just like she would go go in a room, do whatever it is that made her Createively Function. And the lesson I learned from that was, like I know often from a writing standpoint, if I sit in front of the gear, I can't write. I have to like walk around, I have to move, and that's the whole thing about standing to. Like we were talking about earlier that making this height adjustable desk is that I have to recognize my creative process and I think with a family member, I'm sure it can be even harder and like I'm dealing with that some even with my daughter, because now she's 14 and she's playing pretty good now and like there's things that I Think one of the things they did during the pandemic was we did piano duets because her teacher couldn't come here and play with her. She was playing piano and so we started doing piano duets because I suck at piano and she was just learning, and so it was kind of a perfect combination and and it was great because we got to play music together and I was bad enough at it that I couldn't be like, hey, stop Russian, hey, do this, because I was making just as many mistakes. So, put us on a level playing field and it forced both of us to acknowledge each other as you would anybody else. You know what I mean. Yeah, be an empathy, like you said, and have empathy for what that person is doing, and then discuss what didn't work and what worked. So so that's my, that's the thing. It If you can make it, not a different thing If you can make it not working. With your family, you can make it yeah, a professional thing. I think that's the, that's the key, because Both of you, that's that's what you want. You just happen to like this person even more and Hope, hopefully, that doesn't get in the way of it, or other things in life, don't get in the way of it.

Andy Heise:

Yeah, yeah as Nick mentioned in the intro, you've been with blue man for 22 years now. How has that, how has that gig evolved over those 22 years?

Vince Verderame:

Oh, In some ways it's evolved a lot. For me it's been interesting with different relationships. You know, since this is about arts and entrepreneurship, it's been interesting navigating the corporate hairball, as I like to call it, and figuring and being able to separate the corporate from the art. You know what I mean, trying not to let one really corrupt the other, like when there's been issues about money and stuff like that, to try to remember that what I love about the gig is the show. I still love the show. I still love playing with those people. I love playing with a bunch of people who actually care, and everybody does. We've been able to maintain a pretty high level without being negative. It's a positive environment, but not too touchy-feely. You know what I mean. It's like, hey man, like even just last night we were doing we made a transition from this one thing that we call groove A to another transition that's called groove B. I know those are very highly technical terms, but that's what developed 30 years ago when they wrote it and my buddy who was playing the zither, he was like, hey man, we got into groove B and I was like just holding on for dear life. I was like what do you mean? He was like, I mean, you were sitting back so hard on that. I was like, yeah, I didn't feel that and I'm sure I was, because I'm working on like this relaxation thing in my shoulder and I have to play a crash cymbal there with the left hand and so I'm trying to relax into it so immediately. I'm sure it just made me go like that. But we have the ability to have those conversations without it building up and being like I don't wanna play with that guy.

Nick Petrella:

No judgment.

Vince Verderame:

Yeah, I mean, and sometimes we get judgy you know what I mean.

Nick Petrella:

It was implied that they were, but it was implied they were dragging you along.

Vince Verderame:

Yeah, right, there was a little and it was just like he's like, yeah, man, that sat back a little hard and I was like, all right, cool, and I can go listen to it and say, hey, man, I went back and listened to that and like no, I didn't, you were rushing. You were rushing because you played the first show with a guy who's a sub, who doesn't play the show very often, so like, but we could have those conversations and I think and the company was built on that, and I've watched that ebb and flow in good and bad ways, depending on the people involved. You know what I mean. And even for myself, and I've learned a lot from that, and musically, just the I go back to, I did my first tour with this guy, alpuma, in Argentina, and it was a three month tour and by like midway through it I thought I was gonna kill myself, like it was just like why. Well, it was just like I had never done anything that many times in a row. You know I was 22, 21, something like that.

Nick Petrella:

Oh yeah.

Vince Verderame:

And yeah, we were playing not the best pop music in the world. It was a little cheesy. He was kind of like a Julio Iglesias imitation, you know, and he wasn't a very nice guy, but the band was good. Bass player was ridiculous. Still he's the top call guys in Miami and we and I remember, like reading an article, somebody was like, yeah, but there's a thing where you start getting inside the music and I didn't know what that meant at that age. I really didn't understand. You know, when you read like a modern drummer things, oh there's a million ways to play two and four. I didn't really understand that at 21. I somewhat understand that now.

Andy Heise:

Somewhat.

Vince Verderame:

And so the beauty of this gig still is that at one time we had four drum positions, now there's two, and I still get to listen to other people play the parts that I play, and that is a perspective that I don't think anybody gets on any gig you know anywhere where the next you play something and the next night somebody else is playing it and you go huh, huh, where's he putting that beat, where's he putting that groove? Or why is he leaning on that snare drum? Or like literally. I'm about to have a conversation with a buddy of mine who I think he's monitoring differently, and there's parts of the show where he's just pommeling the drums and it sounds like he's mad at me, like we played a couple of shows and I was like I'm gonna give it a few shows to see what's going on, because I've known him long enough that I know he's doing something. You know what I mean. There is intent behind what he's doing, so but he doesn't necessarily know how it's translating. I don't think. Or he needs to know how it's translating and then decide how what he's doing is affecting the other players on stage. So it's like that kind of stuff that really has. It makes the gig a constant evolution and kind of never ending, in a good and bad way. I'm still fascinated at the gig, I mean, and sometimes I'm like, oh my God, I'm doing this again. But for the most part I show up if I'm present in the space and I'm present for all to do whoever's different on stage that night because, like so we all kind of dovetail, there's not like one cast and another cast, it all like you show up and it's a different group of people, so it's a different energy and a different combination every night. It's a different feel and so that that in and of itself, to be able to do that six, seven times a week and still go home and hang out with my family and do other projects, it's, like I said, it's a unicorn. You know it's a unicorn. So, so, so, so.

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