NEWS

TCB

Posted on January 4, 2023 by Tom Van Schaik in NEWS

I once had a manager who told us, “there are 2 words in “show business”… and neither one is music”. Our passion for the music and performing is what has brought us all to this place and its importance IS imperative. But the words of that manager should also be a central part in every […]

I once had a manager who told us, “there are 2 words in show business… and neither one is music”. Our passion for the music and performing is what has brought us all to this place and its importance IS imperative. But the words of that manager should also be a central part in every aspect of one’s career. 

The “show” and the “business” side of being a musician is frequently forgotten by performing artists. Ignoring the “business” side can leave you open to all kinds of problems – i.e. singing shitty contracts, tax problems, getting stiffed on gigs, etc. – and ignoring the “show” aspect can leave your audience disengaged and, in some cases, have you come across as unprofessional. 

The most impressive thing that I observed during my years with Robert Earl Keen is that he ALWAYS approached his career as a business. He intently worked every day on the business end of his career. Musically, he knew that he ( and the band, and the show ) was the product he was selling, but without the solid business end of things, his career would not grow. I have no doubt that is what separated him from the rest of the industry and maintained his career for over 40 years. 

Elvis had the “TCB” logo plastered everywhere on his tours in the ’70’s and it was even the name of his band from 1969-77. The initials TCB stands for “Taking Care of Business”, a personal motto Presley adopted in the early 1970s. 

TCB is a reminder to take care of business on and off the stage! Let’s set a goal this new year to focus on the “business” and “show”, as much as we do the music!

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For more information, go to – http://tomvanschaik.com/performance-career-coaching/

I am currently booking dates for Shows, Tours & Sessions, as well as, Performance/Career Coaching sessions in 2023! 

Click on the CONTACT page if you have any questions or want to check availability.

“Ch…Ch…Ch…Ch…Changes”

Posted on December 31, 2022 by Tom Van Schaik in NEWS

Well, one more day left in 2022!!! This past year saw a LOT of changes and a LOT of challenges – physically, emotionally and mentally.  Most notably, the end of 25 years of touring with Robert Earl Keen, a broken elbow, and a demanding “farewell tour” – playing 89 shows in 111 days coast to […]

Well, one more day left in 2022!!! This past year saw a LOT of changes and a LOT of challenges – physically, emotionally and mentally.  Most notably, the end of 25 years of touring with Robert Earl Keen, a broken elbow, and a demanding “farewell tour” – playing 89 shows in 111 days coast to coast – ending with the final show at Floore’s on Sept 4th. The love and support of the REK fans and the amazing band and crew helped keep me going through the many obstacles faced during the tour…. yet, somehow, we all survived! 

I had a great time attending the 75th Anniversary of the Jazz Studies Program at University of North Texas in October and the Percussive Arts Society Convention in Indianapolis in November. They were both great opportunities to catch up with so many friends that I have made thought out the years.

In October, I also had an amazing experience playing the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame inductions of Sheryl Crow and Joe Ely (to be aired in early ’23). An unforgettable night of amazing performances! Be sure to catch these episodes on PBS! 

In ’23, I will be dividing my time between Austin and Nashville. So, please share my info and keep me in mind if you know of or hear of any opportunities for gigs, sessions or tours.  

Also, I will be starting some new projects this year – announcements coming soon!

Here’s to new gigs and new directions in ’23!

All the Best to All!

p.s. – check back here for an updated website early in the new year!  tomvanschaik.com

December Update:

Posted on December 24, 2022 by Tom Van Schaik in NEWS

I’ve been busy updating my website for my “new chapter” and gearing up for a trip to Nashville in mid-January into February. My website will be getting a facelift early next year, but I wanted to share some new items a.s.a.p. As a reminder, I am available for live gigs, sessions and tours starting in […]

I’ve been busy updating my website for my “new chapter” and gearing up for a trip to Nashville in mid-January into February. My website will be getting a facelift early next year, but I wanted to share some new items a.s.a.p.

  • There are now DEMO REELS on the Home Page and, a full DEMO page showcasing projects I have recorded over the years.
  • There is also a link on the HOME PAGE to Drum-Rx for drum repair, set up and vintage drum rehab.

As a reminder, I am available for live gigs, sessions and tours starting in January 2023. Please share this information and site with anyone you think might be interested.

Happy Holidays and wishing you all a great 2023!!

Top 3 cool things: Sheryl Crow and Brandi Carlisle

Posted on December 14, 2022 by Tom Van Schaik in NEWS

I recently had the opportunity to play with Sheryl and Brandi during the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame show. I had worked with both artists on other shows in the past, but teaming these two amazing artists was something else. So here is my list: The Songs – Both write incredible songs and it […]

I recently had the opportunity to play with Sheryl and Brandi during the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame show. I had worked with both artists on other shows in the past, but teaming these two amazing artists was something else. So here is my list:

The Songs – Both write incredible songs and it was a blast diving heavily into Sheryl’s writing while charting out the songs for the show. Great hooks, lyrics and GREAT chord progressions.

The Singing – No autotune needed with these two. So powerful, soulful and emotional. It was crazy hearing these two voices in my ears during rehearsals and the taping.

They Are the Nicest People – Both are so down to earth. They took the time to thank each member of the house band, acknowledged us during the show and were super gracious through out. Sheryl even remembered the two us talking at Willie Nelson’s birthday party at Luck Ranch.

Here is a YouTube “sneak peek” of “Every Day is a Winding Road” from the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Show inducting Sheryl Crow. The air date is set for January 7, 2023….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3kwsJNXGk4&t=313s

Here is a Rolling Stone article about it as well… https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-country/sheryl-crow-brandi-carlile-austin-city-limits-1234645051/?fbclid=IwAR05bH1b_BMLUoQZNLt2HcrHlB0e5j9uqV1dproXJAs-FYOhBanpft-lGY0

Well…. That’s a wrap!!!

Posted on October 2, 2022 by Tom Van Schaik in NEWS

After 25 years, 4 months and 26 days… it’s a wrap! I played my last public show with Robert Earl Keen on September 4th, 2022 at Floores in Helotes, TX. It felt weird packing my gear after the show, knowing it was the last time… the last time playing with these guys as a band, […]

After 25 years, 4 months and 26 days… it’s a wrap! I played my last public show with Robert Earl Keen on September 4th, 2022 at Floores in Helotes, TX. It felt weird packing my gear after the show, knowing it was the last time… the last time playing with these guys as a band, the last time playing these songs with Robert.

I am so appreciative of everything Robert has done for me (and the band) over the last quarter century… many amazing experiences, gigs, and venues. Getting us through the pandemic, the financial stability, the retirement account, the health insurance, and making sure we were taken care of on and off the road. Robert will continue producing his amazing Americana Podcast and will never stop songwriting and, I’m sure, we will continue to work together in the studio and on other projects he may have… just no more touring.  

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That being said, I am now officially “back on the market” and I’m casting my net far and wide. So, if you need an experienced drummer for a show, tour or session… or hear of any openings or auditions for tours… or just want more information not covered on this site, please let me know via the CONTACT page.

I am available for individual gigs, sub dates, sessions (live or remote) and tours. I am also looking for new opportunities to produce artists in the studio and, who knows, I may start teaching again.

Please check out the BIO section of this website for additional background information, projects and experience…. 

and in addition:

~  I was Robert’s Music Director for over 5 years – charged with communication between Robert and the band / rehearsing new material and arrangements / archiving tempos, keys, background vocals and arrangements / producing loops and tracks to be used in the live show and studio / being the point of contact for other MD’s on award shows and special performances regarding keys, tempos, arrangements, charts, etc / prepping and rehearsing the music for special performances and guests artists – (including Ricky Skaggs, Lyle Lovett, Tyler Childers, Lee Ann Womack, among others) / prepping and rehearsing material for tributes to Nanci Griffith, Van Morrison and John Prine, as well as, our annual “Merry Xmas from the Fam-o-lee” tours.

~  I have been singing background vocals with Robert (live and in the studio) and lead vocals on the Xmas Shows for over a decade, and recently arranged some of the background vocal parts on the soon to be released “Western Chill”.

~  My passport is up to date…. in the past, I have toured Europe, Japan and Canada.

~  Additionally, I have my CDL and have been the “relief driver” on Robert’s tours since 2018, with a completely safe, incident free driving record. ( I’m not looking to drive full time, but I am open to driving relief on a tour, if needed )

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I will be updating this website soon, and I promise to keep you all posted on where I land, since this long chapter with the Robert Earl Keen Band has come to an end.

Keep checking in here – tomvanschaik.com – and on my socials… Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram

All the Best,

Tom

THANK YOU!

Posted on February 22, 2015 by Tom Van Schaik in NEWS

One of the greatest things about playing with Robert and the band is that we have never really made the same record twice. Each one is a work unto itself, a place in time, and never formulaic. This makes it so much fun as a musician because we always get to create each record from a blank slate […]

One of the greatest things about playing with Robert and the band is that we have never really made the same record twice. Each one is a work unto itself, a place in time, and never formulaic. This makes it so much fun as a musician because we always get to create each record from a blank slate and simply allow ourselves to go where the songs and the music takes us without the worry of having to achieve any stylistic expectation.

That being said, I have to give a HUGE “thank you” to our fans for embracing our latest record, “Happy Prisoner”, and the ensuing shows with enthusiastic, open arms. The venues have been packed and the fans are so gracious and receptive to the bluegrass show, including the re-invented acoustic versions of “the hits” from Robert’s catalogue. To be honest, we were a little nervous about the possible reception we would get, but after playing the first song at the first show, those fears were dispelled.

Far too often, a performer’s fans will find it hard to accept a new artistic direction or experimentation, often leaving to follow the “next one” that sounds like the previous. But, Robert’s fans have consistently embraced every new record and each new direction we have gone. You keep your ears and minds open to his constantly evolving writing and artistic direction – truly an exception to the rule.

For a musician, it is the most amazing feeling that you all “get it” and are with us on this incredible journey. I truly hope this “road goes on forever” and I am happy we have such great people with us to go along for the ride.

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Keeley Case Pics

Posted on July 5, 2014 by Tom Van Schaik in NEWS

Thanks to Ivan from Keeley Cases for these awesome, lightweight and strong cases…. and for coming out to the show. Awesome guy making great cases!! Here’s few after show pics:  

Thanks to Ivan from Keeley Cases for these awesome, lightweight and strong cases…. and for coming out to the show.

Awesome guy making great cases!!

Here’s few after show pics:

 

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Keeley Custom Cases Endorsement

Posted on May 20, 2014 by Tom Van Schaik in NEWS

I am proud to announce that I am now endorsing Keeley Custom Cases. These cases are solid, sturdy, but very lightweight due to their innovative design and use of new materials. The cases don’t retain moisture, delaminate, have poorly cut corners, or expand with temperature and humidity changes as traditional cases can. They are up […]

I am proud to announce that I am now endorsing Keeley Custom Cases. These cases are solid, sturdy, but very lightweight due to their innovative design and use of new materials. The cases don’t retain moisture, delaminate, have poorly cut corners, or expand with temperature and humidity changes as traditional cases can. They are up to 1/3 the weight of traditional flight cases and, yet, twice as strong. Great cases for fly dates -especially with all the “over-weight” fees the airlines charge these days. You gotta check ’em out! Just click on the link above!

PLUS….. Keeley Cases are 100% green as each item used is completely recyclable and all scraps from the construction process are recycled.

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Gear Geek Questions Answered

Posted on April 3, 2014 by Tom Van Schaik in NEWS

I have had a lot of people ask me over the years about all the sticks, percussion and electronics that I use during a Robert Earl Keen show. I do use a lot of different types to create the right texture and sound for a particular song, as well as triggering loops and percussion tracks […]

I have had a lot of people ask me over the years about all the sticks, percussion and electronics that I use during a Robert Earl Keen show. I do use a lot of different types to create the right texture and sound for a particular song, as well as triggering loops and percussion tracks from the records. So, without further ado, here are a couple of pictures and descriptions of what is in them.IMG_0628

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This first picture shows my stick bag and percussion tray. In the bag, starting from the left, are a bunch on Promark 5A sticks with a round wood tip – pretty standard, but I like the cymbal sound of the round wood tips. The blue tipped stick are Promark Matt Savage “practice sticks” that have a rubber tip. I use them to get loose before and during soundcheck. They are also great to use when tuning the drums. Next are the Promark Hot Rods and Regal Tip Fat Cat nylon brushes. Moving along are spare Broom Sticks, brushes and a pair of Thunder Rods (just beefed up Hot Rods). In front of those, are a pair of Promark SD7 – a stick/mallet hybrid, some older prototype Promark timpani mallets and a pair of “shaker sticks”.

In the tray, from right to left, I have “hand” mallets I made. They are updated from the originals that I made in the studio while tracking “Feeling Good Again”. I wanted a hand drum sound, but with more “cut” (and to save my hands). So with an old pair of Blastics and some duct tape, I created these for that song. Next are Promark Broom Sticks followed by a pair of Flix Rods. These are GREAT! I use them all the time live and in the studio. They are like a pair of Blastics, but they have a nylon stick tip in the middle. This allows you to get a cymbal sound and also get a nice attack when crashing a cymbal. I use all of these, as well as different combinations during the shows – example…. sometimes having a Flix in one hand and a stick in the other (“Gringo Honeymoon”) or a shaker stick in the right hand and a mallet in the left for the backbeat (“Lay Down My Brother”).

Also in the tray, I have a Promark Rattler to get a sizzle on the ride cymbal on certain “acoustic” tunes. Next is a Swan Percussion shaker. These offer SO many sounds from one shaker – an amazing product. I also keep a roll of that spongy, flesh colored first-aid tape in case I start getting a blister during the show. It is also great substitute for Moon Gell if you get in a pinch. Next is my HiHat Shaker that I made from 4 LP One Shot Shakers that I mounted on an old HiHat Tambourine frame. This is a great alternative sound source for the left foot, adding a different texture to the HiHat. Underneath is the tempo list that I refer to from time to time (especially if we haven’t played the song in about a year). I remember most of them, but having a backup is always good the older you get.

To finish up the percussion part, there are a few items I keep on my left side that you can see in picture #2. On the far left is a Meinl HiHat tambourine. I have come to use my left foot a lot to add a little “drive” on certain sections of some tunes and this just adds to the available color palette. Leaning against the case are 2 important items. The first is what I call the “Cymbaline” – another creation of mine. It is a cracked, old, beat up 10” Sabian China Splash to which I riveted Tambourine jingles. I place this on the rack tom and it is the “up beat” sound that I use on “I Gotta Go”.  Lastly, there is a used 12” Aquarian RSP2 that I place on the snare drum (upside down) on a few tunes. Doing this deepens the sound of the snare and when I strike it with a mallet, I get this huge, FAT snare sound.

 

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Now to the monitor and electronics set up. I have been using in-ears for a LONG time now and they have saved my ears over the years. I can hear everything without having to crank up the volume. Also, they are essential for being able to hear and lock in to the loops that I run during Robert’s shows. The heart of this setup is a Mackie 1202VLZ mixer. The inputs: Ch#1 is a band/stage mix, Ch#2 is just REK’s guitar – allowing me control to turn it up when he starts a song “fingerpicking”. Ch#3 is my vocal and Ch#4 is a line from the Roland SPD-SX which triggers all the sounds, loops, etc. Ch#5 is the click. I have used the Tama Rhythm Watch for years. It’s easy, programable and very road worthy. Most of the time, I only use it for starting tempos, turning off the click within the first 8 bars of the song – once we are all “locked in”. This just makes the songs and the show more consistent from night to night. The only time I use a click throughout the song is if I am triggering a percussion loop on the chorus of a song so that I will be at the same tempo and locked in with the loop. Otherwise, we do not use a click throughout the songs while playing live – never have/never will. (more on that in a later blog)

Also in the picture are Shure E-315 ear buds, a Boss pedal for an on/off switch for the click, and of course, the Roland SPD-SX to store and trigger all the sounds, loops, percussion tracks, etc. Most of the loops and tracks that are used are the actual tracks off the records. A few are ones that I created in my studio as we “morph” and change up the tunes over the years (example – intro for “Dreadful Selfish Crime”) To Robert’s credit, he was one of the first Americana/Country artist to embrace using loops as far back as 2003 on “Farm Fresh Onions” (“Train Trek”) and I’ve been using the Roland SPD-S and SPD-SX live ever since.

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I hope this answers some of your questions. If you have any other specific questions, email me through the “contact” page of my website.

Modern Pop Music = Fast Food

Posted on May 13, 2013 by Tom Van Schaik in NEWS

I may sound like an old man (after a few glasses of wine) , but much of today’s “modern” popular music is the musical equivalent of fast food. It is the 1lb Taco Bell burrito that hails not as delicious, but as a “full pound of ‘ingredients’ to fill you up”. Much of the music […]

I may sound like an old man (after a few glasses of wine) , but much of today’s “modern” popular music is the musical equivalent of fast food. It is the 1lb Taco Bell burrito that hails not as delicious, but as a “full pound of ‘ingredients’ to fill you up”. Much of the music leaves my soul as emotionally empty as eating a Big Mac leaves my body nutritionally empty. There is very little available out there that makes you want to savor and enjoy every musical “bite”. —- When is the last time you “wore out the grooves” of a record (figuratively, I know) trying to absorb every drop of music, soul and artistry that you could? —-  Most music is now produced for quick consumption, merely to “wolf down” while occupied doing other things – later feeling more stuffed and miserable, than fulfilled and satisfied – causing the listener to fall into a “coma” rather than feeling light, inspired and energized.

Like the process of mixing overly processed “food”, chemicals and fillers to create any fast food, the over-use of technology to “fix it in the mix” has brought on a generation of “artists” with little or no musical ability, rewarding their style over their substance. Singers who can’t sing, players who can’t play and the deterioration of songwriting to the lowest common denominator is rampant in the music industry and has become the “norm” rather than the exception.  Granted, I may be a bit spoiled playing with an amazing songwriter for the last 16 years, but the problem is prevalent. The quality of the songwriting coming out of Nashville right now it atrocious and just plain dumb. The “over-processing/compression” causes songs to come across as a lump of squashed white noise instead of a group of instruments playing individual, integrated parts.

Just as I hate to use the word food in conjunction with fast food, I hate calling some of some these folks singers and musicians and their product music.