The Ralph Nader Blog
The month was January in the year 2007. The Blue Devils are holding their callback audition to set the drumline. The only snare returnees from 2006 were John McClean, Dave Natal, and myself. There was 1 individual who showed up that could not attend the first audition. His name was Ralph Nader and he is now the most famous snare drummer in our activity.
Ralph is best known for his amazing drumming abilities through his BYOS videos. Many people forget he started from humble beginnings and marched 3 years with the Blue Devils a decade ago. He is rare breed of performer who mastered BOTH elite level rudimental drumming AND the most innovative tricks in industry today. And that is why we are writing about him.
If you are a young rudimental drummer with big goals, the world is literally at your fingertips with the technology we have. You can watch your favorite players daily on IG or Facebook, learn music through various discussion boards, and study drumline books on YouTube. There is a lot of content out there and like most drummers, you probably want to show off your drum chops as well. We cannot stress enough that you must have BALANCE within your drumming journey. For each Hi-Mom mastered, make sure you are also mastering your tap balance within your flam rudiments or roll modulations. The players who display “the full package” make it to the top in our activity.
From a personal perspective, within the last 5 years I have seen an increase in auditionees for groups I work with that have a more limited vocabulary and sound compared to their stick trick arsenal. Often times this does not turn out well for the auditionee and they go back home wondering what they could have done better. The answer is balance. We all like to have fun and dive into the trick techniques, but never forget the rudimental platform it’s built on. I encourage looking up to Ralph, who John and I had the pleasure drumming with at the beginning of his drumming career. Just remember to admire and replicate the full package. Let’s drum smart.
Author: Matt Regua