“I was in the right place at the right time and was able to give him what he needed.”

Gunnar Olsen is a New York-based musician who performs both live and in the studio. He has performed with The Exit, Big Data, Mother Feather, The Goo Goo Dolls, and even the boss, Mr. Bruce Springsteen. In this interview, you are going to hear all about how the Bruce Springsteen gig came to be. Gunnar has never been interviewed before, which still kinda blows me away. I highly recommend that people check out what Gunnar is up to because he is on the rise and I think his name will become more familiar as time goes on.

He represents C&C Drum Co., Zildjian Cymbals, Remo Drumheads, Vater Drumsticks, GoPro, Big Fat Snare Drum, Big Ear Pedals, Ableton and Reflexx.

In this episode:

  • We talk about how Dave Grohl may be one of the best drummers for new players to look up to.
  • Gunnar talks about his transition from being a drummer for a band (The Exit) to session musician.
  • Gunnar tells the story of his first hired studio gig where Steve Gadd was recording in the next room over, as well as the interaction they had.
  • For the first time ever, Gunnar publicly shares his amazing story about recording at Bruce Springsteen’s home studio for the Western Stars album.
  • We discuss why it is important for drummers to have a producer’s ear and intuition in any gig situation.
  • Gunnar shares his perspective on why he would rather be a producer/drummer than engineer/drummer.
  • We discuss Jim Black and how Jim’s creative approach to playing influenced Gunnar.


Why should you listen?

Well for starters, the Bruce Springsteen episode makes listening to this episode more than worth it. Gunnar has kept this story to himself for nearly five years and he has never publicly told this story before. His level of detail in talking about it is something you can literally play out in your mind.

Besides that amazing story, this episode has a lot of really interesting insights on how drummers should consider looking at the music rather than just the drumming. Gunnar shares his points of view on how to handle yourself in the studio, tips on what a producer will generally want to hear, creative sound choices vs. hi-fi perfection, and how a crumb trail of small victories can lead to something quite magnificent.

Music featured in this episode:
“When Will Today Be Tomorrow” – Gunnar Olsen
“Sundown” – Bruce Springsteen, Western Stars

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