Well folks, it's not time for my long winded, happy, sad, depressing, glad, meaningful to some, going to get me deleted by others, wrap of my life in 2015. Feel free to pass by this post if you're not interested, I admit myself it will be a bit of a Facebook level saga. For those that are new friends of mine, this should be a pretty good look at my mindset of my life. Some will laugh, some may tear up, many will not care one bit, others will think I'm a whiny bitch and disown knowing me. For the most part, I'm going to leave names out of this, where possible. Also the story is not linear so you'll have to bear with me. Think of it as Pulp Fiction. Whatever happens, happens, I guess we'll see.
This year has been one of the most up and down years of my life. Not quite like 2013 when my life was almost over either by the mysterious stomach ailment that still gets to me to this day or by my own hands 2 years ago tomorrow night when I thought all was lost. But an eventful one for the best and for the worst none the less. Forgive me, but the story will have to go a bit back to 13 months ago to full grasp the situation of 2015. So bear with me.
November of last year I lost my band of 4 years, Planet Smasher due to different thoughts in the band. I wanted to go Route A, they went Route B. I fought it tooth and nail, but sometimes you can't fight the inevitable. From what I gathered, the band went through a new transformation without me, changed a lot of things up and are under the new name of Graves I Dig. They've played at least a few shows and even got on the local radio show Loud and Local on 93X a couple times. Kudos! Would that have happened if I was still in the band? It's entirely possible, but it was a sure thing with the direction they are now doing. Best of luck to them in their future endeavors!
What made that hard as well as I did lose one of the best friends I ever had, which honestly, still bothers me to this day. But it didn't happen that day in November 2014. It happened well before that when I got sick in 2013. In the summer of 2014 I saw the direction the band and our friendship was going and I snapped and let him have it. And at the end of the "discussion" he even admitted it. When I got sick he (and others in my life who are no longer there) did not know what to do when I got sick and rather than be my side, kinda just left me there to either make it or die. Some thought that if they stayed out of the picture, they wouldn't feel responsible if something happened to me. Others stopped caring about me because, hey, if I can't take care of myself, why do they need to be around? Others (apparently a lot more than I thought) Thought that I was faking it the whole time and abandoned me when that idea started spreading around the Minnesota area. It does kind of show that you never really know who in life truly cares about you until you get sick. Some will abandon you for various reasons stated above. Some will love you even more. Some will be the same before/during/after you get sick. I guess that's why it hurts that even in 2015, I lost not only one of the best friends I ever had, but many others as well from Pre-August 2013. But that really is life isn't it? You never stay around the same group of people throughout your whole life. Things always change! The last time I talked to him was when I was moving out from his old place. He did wish me well and apologized once for the way things went down in our friendship. Part of me believes it, part of me thinks it was just a way for him to look like a better person to save face. Regardless, I appreciate the sentiment. I haven't talked to any of the other guys from Planet Smasher since November 2014 and him since June of this year. Is it for the best? Honestly, yes! Never take your life for granted the way it is, because things always change. It can be a band you're in, it can be your job, it can be a relationship, it can be anything. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed to any of us. So make the most of what you have and prepare for any situation that can happen so you can do your best to be ok when something does happen.
For the band I'm in now, Beauty Of Decay. Well, I hope things work out. We did 4 shows this year and wrote almost an entire album's worth of material. If things keep going, we just need another song or two and we would be ready to record for a 2016 release. Will it happen? I wanna say yes, but I said the same thing this time last year and here I am again at the end of 2015. As with any band, there is pros and cons. This year had plenty of both. None of which I will go into, but if you're in a band, you know the struggles that come with it. All I can say is if things work out, I'm prepared. If they don't work out, I'm prepared as well. Right now, it's a wait and see situation.
For my personal relationship life, it's the best year I've ever had. My girlfriend and I finally moved in together back in June. Even though we've been together 2 and a half years now, moving in together can always make or break a relationship. For us, I think it made us stronger. We really need each other. I know I need her for moral support as much as she needs me for moral support. We get each other, we really do. It's not one of those things you see on social media where you constantly have to tell each other you love each other online because you are forcing yourselves to believe it. We do. With that, we don't need to tell each other online because we say it to each other. We both actually feel the love we have. Honestly, I think keeping things offline makes for a stronger relationship because it's keeping one side of your life out of the public of those who know you and creates so much less drama overall. Even with all of that, I am still scared of living here. It has nothing to do with living with her, it has to do with where I live. For the first time in my 27 years of life, I live in a city. As someone who grew in a small farm town for 23 and a half years, then in a small college town for the next 3 years and now here in a city. Within 10 square miles of me, I'm surrounded by several malls including Mall Of America. I'm 15 minutes away from 95% of all shows I will attend in 2016. Essentially every store I'd ever want to go to is down the street. It is such an odd feeling. It's even odder because now that I'm here, I love the idea of never leaving the apartment. Even though I'm closer to everything, the idea of going anywhere isn't nearly as fun. I'll always go to shows because A.) It's my job and B.) I love it. But anything else gets less and less appealing to me. Maybe because none of my friends live near me it makes it less appealing, it's hard to say.
I've also started doing something that used to be so near and dear to my heart that I haven't done until I got to move in with my girlfriend.....GAMING! For my birthday, my girlfriend and I have invested in a PS4 and in the holiday season, we picked up a ton of games. It helps having a 50" 1080P LED TV to play it on as well. this time last year I still had a big box 20" TV that I would use and with my vision, I couldn't read a thing. NOW that's no longer the case. My username is ThatDrummerGuy1, so feel free to add me!
Now on to more positive stuff....
For That Drummer Guy, this has been the most successful year of That Drummer Guy to date! 54 interviews this year (3 of them I'm holding off on till the beginning of January that are in written form) from across the board. From musicians who record in their bedrooms who will become legendary musicians, to the ultra mega superstars of Rock and Metal. Some of my biggest heroes I got to interview this year. Even one famous band came to Minnesota on a mini-tour just to hang out with me. That's a pretty damn cool sentiment. As I am writing this I have 805 Likes on Facebook, 1,193 Followers on Twitter, 646 Followers on Instagram and 129 Subscribers on YouTube. For the website? I am roughly getting 10-12 thousand hits a month. I got to go to Maryland Deathfest for the first time and interview some heroes of mine and interview some new friends. I got to go to ProgPower USA for the first time and interview a band for their last ever in person interview and make some new friends. Now as some people will obviously say. From my point of view, I've been at this for 4 and a half years. I am 100% a one man operation. Everything is run by me and me alone. The radio show is completely made by me. The interviews, reviews, content, etc is all from me. And not paying one penny to social media sites to "boost" and "promote" something that used to be free. So to be able to say that I achieved all of that just by myself is pretty damn outstanding to me! It's only going to be getting bigger and better from here.
Every week, I question everything I do as That Drummer Guy. I have this week and every week before that And I know going into January of 2016, I'll be doing the same. But eventually, every time I do, I look at all of the accomplishments I made these last 4 and a half years and I take a look and realize that I have done this much and it is such a quite a series of accomplishments. There is an old proverb that if you ever doubt yourself, it is because you know you can do better. I want 2016 to be that year will doubting myself will be at a minimum and all of this hard work over the last 4 and a half years will be worth it. It is now, but the bigger it gets the more worth it it becomes.
That's not to say that with all the friends I've made, interviews I've done and all the hard work I've made happen that I haven't made enemies (one sided enemies I should say) along the way, especially this year. This year showed me that pretty much every local promoter in the Twin Cities hates my guts. Some keep it to themselves, others have made it public and spread rumors about me that I'm not going to acknowledge for their falsehood. I just wanna list a couple things that I believe regarding these situations:
1.) No band, local, touring, national or international, should have to pay a promoter to play show. If you are a band and ever thought about it. DON'T DO IT!!! You are there to be the entertainment for the night, not be the audience who gets to go on stage for 20 minutes but pay even more money than the audience. If a promoter has to do this beyond shady work, they clearly suck at promoting and either need to get their act together or get in a new business if they have any morals and ethics at all. Sure, as a Rock and Metal musician without radio promotion, you are going to get poorly paid, if at all. But no additional money should have to come out of your pocket outside of gas, transportation, merch, gear, somewhere to sleep *if you can't find anyone to hold you up for the night* and food. Promoters like this are like the sleazeball managers who say they will promote you, but only 10% of your income every month and "say" they promote you. This is 2015, you are already spending more money than you have to on EVERYTHING. Paying to play a show should not be one of them. Don't expect money to go in your pocket, but don't take any out. Don't worship false local promoter idols!
2.) People like me that's sole purpose is to promote bands (play them on the radio, review their albums, interview them, etc) and local promoters need to be friends or at least acquaintances enough to be civil. How do you get people interested in a band? By showing off the band! Whether you are in that band yourself, you have my job, you are hosting the band, or you are a fan. You obviously wanna help those bands out so they can keep making the music they wanna write. If you aren't doing that, the band becomes less known. IF you are a promoter and you want people to go to the show you are hosting, how do you get people to go? By making people aware of the show and promoting it! Put on the best show possible, and promote the hell out of it! When you are not capable of it, you're going to lose money unless you do what I mentioned before by adding local bands who have to pay to play that show and receive no money back and only "exposure". So how does that correlate to someone like me? Well, I want to see as many bands I care about to keep playing as much as possible. Making albums and touring the hell out of them! By doing what I do, I'm helping people know about said bands and those bands wanna tour. Not every venue is hosted by the venue, hence local promoters. Some local promoters are awesome some are...not. But their jobs are still to bring people into the shows so they can get paid and bring more shows to town while I'm there to help bring people to those shows. We gotta get along, if you don't it creates tension, tension creates drama, drama makes people distance themselves. We don't need that in life anymore than their already is.
Sorry for the extensive rant, let me finish this all off here...
If you are reading this post, you obviously care enough about what I do as That Drummer Guy to see how I look at things. Maybe you are a friends I get to see when you come to the Twin Cities, maybe you're family I don't get to see often anymore, maybe you're someone who caught my radio show or a review or saw an interview on Blabbermouth that I've done and enjoyed it and you've kept up. And to all of you I say, I couldn't appreciate it enough! I love you guys and love that you guys are here in support of what I do and it gives me the fuel in the fire inside me to keep going. So again, from the bottom of my heart. THANK YOU!
I hope you guys stick around for what I have in store for 2016. I'm far from finished!
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)