Rashid Williams, much like the last guest (Brian Frasier-Moore), is Philly raised and an absolute force to be reckoned with on the drums. He tours with John Legend and has had other gigs in the past including Eric Roberson, Goapele, N.E.R.D., Jill Scott, Diddy-Dirty Money, JCole and Alicia Keys. He has also started his own business called Little Fat Jimmy, where he spreads a message of positivity to kids in schools and the drumming community at large. Here is an excerpt from his website littlefatjimmy.com:
Little Fat Jimmy represents the part of us that chooses Love before Hate regardless of the circumstances. In a society where Hate has become almost standard, remembering the days before the world jaded us is so important. Understanding that we each hold a responsibility to be Kind to one another and Care for one another is the first step. LFJ’s brand is devoted to using the most simple yet powerful words as reminders to us all. Our world and Society are far from perfect but we CAN improve and create a better place to raise our children. Health, Wealth, Positivity and GodSpeed to you all. – Little Fat Jimmy
Rashid’s first name is actually Jimmy. When he was a little kid, as he explains in this interview, he would set up his drums in different corners of his garage while pretending they were different countries of the world. He would literally pack up his gear into the bags and move them across to a different part of the garage and then proceed to unpack and set up in a different part of the world.
Prior to getting his first kit, he would take clippings of drum sets and cymbals from drum magazines and put them into a binder, stowing them under his bed to look at while fantasizing about owning his very own drum set one day. This is what Little Fat Jimmy was all about. The wonderment of a child’s mind taking back the passion he once had with drumming as an adult. If he didn’t do this, it could have very well been the end of Rashid’s career. But not because he couldn’t play. If you just listen to two bars of this man’s playing you will surely understand that this was not the issue. Rather, it was because he didn’t love it anymore.
Rashid has a striking revelation during a tour with Jill Scott where he missed a cue in the music. He was then approached about it and was told that it was his job to play the music the way it was intended. “This is a business” they said. He proceeded to spend the night in tears realizing that the passion was gone. He was in the music biz. He had a job to do and he had to set his passion to one side and just do the job.
Rashid’s mother is his manager, or “momager” as he describes. Rashid talked about always wanting to give back. But how can a musician spread positivity when he/she hates the music business? He had to find a way to reignite the spark that he once had for this instrument, and thus spawned “Little Fat Jimmy”.
He managed to use his past to reignite the spark. He thinks back to that little boy tearing down and setting up in the garage and collecting scraps from magazines to become the person he wanted to be again. A person who is wanting to spread positivity into the world. This is what saved him from potentially never loving drums ever again.
Long before Rashid, there were drummers going through the motions of learning how this industry works. How do they get the gigs? How do I keep food on my table and my phone ringing?
Enter the blueprint.
Rashid talks in detail about the importance of following the blueprint. He shares his wisdom on how this road has been forged already and that all a player really needs to do is follow that road that has been laid ahead. Instead of becoming inventive and somewhat of a reprobate to the industry, if you wanna get in, you gotta follow the blueprint. You have to build a solid foundation. Create your brand on something that can withstand the load that you will place on it as you grow into your new opportunities. If you don’t use the blueprint, it is quite possible that you may have nothing in the end and your house of cards will crumble.
So what is the blueprint exactly? I am sure that you get the sense that it is something incredibly valuable and important by this point. Well, I asked Rashid this because I too wasn’t entirely sure. It turns out it all comes down to studying music. Learn who came before you. Seek the most authentic and accomplished artists in whatever genre of music you seek and learn from the greats. Understand the nuances of how the music moves, and this isn’t just about drumming either. This is about the music in its entirety. You can certainly find your own voice, but not before you know what is true to the music and what has been established. As Rashid explains, this is crucial to you getting the gigs and getting called back.
We all know as well, especially if you listened to Brian Frasier-Moore’s episode, that you have to be a professional in every sense of the word. Be on time (which means early). Be courteous. Be aware of yourself and others. Be respectable. Be dependable. Know your worth. Look into what those artists may be accustomed to and find a way to gel with that while still maintaining your own sense of identity on the instrument. Congratulate others. Be a good hang. This is all common sense, but as the old saying goes, “common sense ain’t so common”. I think this part of the episode will be very helpful for listeners.
Life can get us down and we can become jaded. It is a human condition that many of us will experience. Maybe it is the day-to-day grind that you wish you could either put down or stop altogether. Maybe it is the company that you keep that prevents you from moving forward. Maybe you have circumstances in your life that require your attention immediately but you are too afraid to engage with it. There are all kinds of things that clutter our lives and our minds. But every once in a while we arrive at a place that needs to be taken in completely and fully.
This can happen regularly without you noticing it. Other times it feels like it rarely happens, but it knocks you off your feet. Whatever comes across your path that demands your full attention…give it. Let the moment soak in and feel gratitude, man.
Your chances of even being alive are one in the trillions. You already won the damn lottery by being you. So what are you gonna do about that? Do you want your life to be a series of mundane events that hardly raise the brow of any person you meet? Or do you wanna be the person who has a life full of experience and wonder? I’d choose the latter any day of the week. And you deserve that too.
When Rashid and I sat down for the interview, it was in a room with a wonderful view that I had specifically chosen for my guests. The rolling hills, water, trees, and mountains of beautiful British Columbia was our view. During the interview, Rashid took a moment to look out of the window and said, “How did this happen?” I legitimately felt his realization to the moment he was in and what drumming has gifted him with. It took him from his parents’ garage to a drum festival, among his heroes, in Victoria, BC. It was a moment that I think he won’t forget, and that is what it’s all about folks.
You can be sure of only one thing in this life: the moment you are in is all that is guaranteed. Anything beyond that is a gift. If you treat it this way, your life will suddenly feel wonderful to your senses. Try to live in that space as often as you can.
In the words of Little Fat Jimmy…
Music used in this episode:
Rashid Williams – Rock Out, Yoshi 11
Drumeo performance drum solo
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