The Rewards Of Being A Musician

Being creative is one of the most rewarding parts about being a musician. There are others, like getting paid to travel to different cities and countries.
I love what I do for a living, although being a professional musician definitely ain’t easy. There can be a lot more downs than ups.

I feel that when the creative juices are flowing, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. The next best thing is watching people react to the music I’ve created with other musicians.

Why I ever chose to be a banker, insurance salesman or get a degree in business in the past still baffles me. I was born a musician and will always be one. I might not play drums for a living forever (I have new passions I’m pursuing), but it is a major part of who I am.

I love music!

Diana’s Drums

These are some beautiful shells. I played them recentky at a reading for a new musical called “Diana.”

We spent a week creating parts for the show. It was intense at times but a lot of fun because I got to work with David Bryan again.  He not only wrote the music for the musical Memphis that I was in from 2009-2012, but he is also the keyboardist for Bon Jovi

He’s great to work for. I know what he is looking for when it comes to certain drum grooves. He appreciated the fact that when he references songs like “Rag Doll” by Aerosmith or “Paradise By The Dashboard Lights,” I totally understand what he wants and where he is going. If he talked about playing a song that has the feel of a song in Les Miserables, I’d be lost. Rock songs? Yeah, I’m all over it.

He also knows how to write catchy tunes. I was singing them all week long. It was a great show. I hope it eventually comes to broadway. We’ll see.

These drums? A breeze to play. I haven’t really looked into Tama, but I think I’ll have to check more of their products out.

The team behind the Tony-winning Best Musical Memphis has reunited. Nearly ten years after their first collaboration bowed at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre, book writer Joe DiPietro, composer-lyricist David Bryan, and director Christopher Ashley will premiere an early version of their new musical Diana this summer as part of the Reading Festival at Vassar & New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater.

Tucked away in upstate New York—and closed to critics—the trio will test the waters with the developmental reading. The story starts with a bit of Diana’s childhood before focusing on her 1981 marriage to Charles, Prince of Wales, and their subsequent separation. “Diana was 19 when she got married. Imagine yourself: 19 years old, most famous person in the world,” DiPietro tells Playbill. “She had this princess fantasy and when her fantasy came true, she realized fantasies don’t always play out the way you want.”

The majority of the show centers around Diana in her 20s, and DiPietro and Bryan emphasize they’re on the hunt for a new, young powerhouse actor. “Diana is a big role,” says DiPietro, “and there’s a lot of talented young people out there. We’ll find someone.”

http://www.playbill.com/article/what-we-know-about-the-broadway-bound-diana-musical

2018 – Looking Forward

I’m excited to begin this year for a few reasons. I’m going to be traveling to South Africa. I was asked to play drums for the Swarthmore College Alumni Gospel Choir. We have a South Africa Performance Tour in collaboration with First United Methodist Church of Germantown. We are  traveling to Johannesburg, Soweto, Bedfordview, Pilanesberg National Park, Langa Township, Table Mountain, Robben Island, Cape Point, and Cape Town. I’ve never been to any country in Africa and cant wait to see this one. I hear it’s beautiful. 

In March, I am performing with young performers from the Weill Music Institute’s program. I will share the stage with some talented young musicians in an event titled “A Time Like This: Music For Change” at Carnegie Hall on March 11th at 3PM. Kenny Seymour is the musical director and I am really looking forward to performing here.

In June and July I will be continuing what was started in California last fall. I will be traveling to Washington D.C. to be a part of the pre-Broadway run of the amazing musical “Ain’t Too Proud –  The Life And Times of The Temptations.” We will be in the Eisenhower Theater from Tuesday June 19th until Sunday July 22nd.  The show enjoyed its critically acclaimed, record-breaking world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where it became the highest-grossing production in the venue’s nearly 50-year history.

I had my first show subbing at Spongebob Squarepants last week and will be back subbing for an AMAZING drummer (Damien Bassman) from time to time there. It’s such a fun show to play and even more fun to watch from the audience. I saw it with my girlfriend and highly recommend it.

 

Clayton Craddock is a stay-at-home father of two children in New York City. He has a B.B.A from Howard University’s School of Business and is also a 18 year veteran of the fast paced New York City music scene. He has played drums with music legends such as Chuck Berry and The Stylistics and has played in a number of hit Broadway musicals including “tick…tick…BOOM, Memphis the Musical and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill with Audra McDonald. He has also worked on her a number of musicals; Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Bare, The First Wives Club, The Last Goodbye, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Evita, Cats, Spongebob Squarepants, and Avenue Q. Clayton is currently the drummer in a new Broadway bound musical titled Ain’t Too Proud.

Clayton has written for A Voice For Men, The Good Men Project and is writing a memoir about fatherhood.

Five Things You Need To Know About Playing Drums On A Broadway Show

If you are at all interested in finding work as a musician playing drums on a Broadway musical, I can certainly give a few tips. I’ve been fortunate to have played in several over the past 17 years and I’ve learned a  little from each one I’ve been in.

Each of the shows I’ve done have been different, but there are a few things that are similar with all of them. Here are a few things I’ve learned and would love to share:

1) Keep Your Eyes On The Conductor

It might be tough to have to read music, play the drums as well as watch the conductor, but it can be done. In fact, it must be done if you want to get a job and keep one in this business.

Whether you are subbing or if the gig is yours, you want to make the conductor happy. If you are a sub, the conductor wants to feel like not much has changed between you coming in and the regular drummer being out. No two drummers sound the same but if you do your homework, you will sound as close to the regular drummer as possible. On top of that, if you are constantly watching the conductor, they know that you are paying attention to them and in tune with every move they make. It makes them feel more at ease and will make the show better for everyone involved.

2) Be AbleTo Play With A Click Track

Almost every show today has a click track. Not only does it help to keep the choreographer happy by maintaining consistent tempos, it keeps the pace and timing of the show precise. It also eliminates the questioning of the music department when people feel things are too slow or too fast. The click never lies.

With that in mind you must not make the click a liar. You have to be in tune with the steady tempo and, as people say, bury it. Basically, you have to make sure no one hears the click because your playing right in alignment with it. It takes a while to get used to, but after you play with clicks, it can be great for your internal clock as years pass.

3) You Are The Driving Force In The Show

The drummer is the heartbeat of any musical. You are the engine. You are truly in the driver’s seat. Whoever is sitting on that throne must take command…but take all direction from the conductor.

While the drummer may be driving the train, the conductor is giving the directions. Remember, follow the conductor.

The dancers also rely on your drumming for the accents they need for dance moves, and certain cues for beginnings and endings of songs. The drums make a huge impact.

It can be a high pressure position to be the drummer on a Broadway show because there is little room for error. If you don’t play a certain drum fill correctly, it could cause dancers to not enter properly, light cues to not be triggered at the right time, and the main characters could be thrown off. You matter.

4) Be Consistent

Everyone involved in the business of musicals wants one thing; consistency. People travel from all over the world to see Broadway shows and they expect a certain product once they have shelled out their hard earned money. When you sit behind that drum kit, everyone around you expects high quality musicianship. When you play the first note, it should be the same first note that was played the previous night. It should remain consistent for the rest of the run as well. All of the notes must be played the same way every night because it is an entirely new set of audience members seeing the show.

What does that mean to you? Even though it is the same music you played yesterday and the day before or even the same music for the past three years, you have to give it your all and stay focused. It’s not easy to do because over time, people can get bored or burned out. The challenge of playing shows is to know how to channel your focused energy into that three hours you are at the theater.

5) It Is One Of The Best Gigs To Have In New York

The music business has changed over the years and is constantly in flux. Gigs seem to be paying the same as they did 25 years ago, there are fewer places to perform and certain opportunities for drummers no longer exist, or at least, there are fewer of them. The one thing I’ve noticed during my tenure in this business is that more and more musicians are doing whatever it takes to get a long running broadway show.

There are, on average, about 20-25 musicals running at any point on Broadway. If you are the drummer in one of these shows, that means out of the thousands of musicians who come to New York every year to be in the music business, you are one of about 20 drummers to be fortunate enough to have a steady gig. This is a gig that pays pretty well, but also provides health insurance and a pension on top. Plus, if you want to take off to play other gigs, you can take off up to 50% of the shows.

You can be in New York and not have to drag drums around to your gigs. The shows start on time every day and end on time as well. All you have to do is show up….and do 1-4 above…as well as many other things. It ain’t easy. It’s even harder to land one of these gigs.

When you do get the call to play a show, and if you follow these rules, you are on a track to be working pretty steadily.

If you have any other questions, shoot me an email: Clayton@claytoncraddock.com or send me a tweet @claytoncraddock

Clayton Craddock is a stay-at-home father of two children in New York City. He has a B.B.A from Howard University’s School of Business and is also a 25 year veteran of the fast paced New York City music scene. He has played drums in a number of hit Broadway musicals including “tick…tick…BOOM, Memphis the Musical and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill with Audra McDonald. He has worked on other musicals; Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Bare, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Evita, Cats, and Avenue Q and is currently the drummer in a new Broadway bound musical titled Ain’t Too Proud.
Clayton has written for A Voice For Men, The Good Men Project and is writing a memoir about fatherhood.

 

I Miss My Kids

 

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One thing I learned from being away from my kids since July 9th is that I’ll NEVER AGAIN take chances on future success.

Never again. NE-VER!

My days of “hoping things will work out” ended as of right now. I won’t do anything with the hope that things will get better in some unspecified time and place. No more investment now for the unknown future.

The “spec” days are for young folk, not for me.

It’s time for some stability, big payouts and living the next 49 years in the least stressful way as humanly possible.

I love my family more than anything and will be making every move, from now on, with them in mind. My mental and long-term physical health will also be front and center.

Maybe it’s just me, but as cool as things may seem on the surface, some things are just not worth it in the long term. With each passing day, I’m figuring out what really matters to me.

These two matter.

Fatherhood matters.

Raising two people who are going to be the next generation of citizens matters.

It’s time to get back to NYC and be the father I want to be…and have always been.

Nov 7th…I’ll see them again and I’m never leaving them.

 

Clayton Craddock is a stay-at-home father of two children in New York City. He has a B.B.A from Howard University’s School of Business and is also a 17 year veteran of the fast paced New York City music scene. He has played drums in a number of hit Broadway musicals including “tick…tick…BOOM, Memphis the Musical and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill with Audra McDonald.

He has worked on other musicals; Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Bare, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Evita, Cats, and Avenue Q and is currently the drummer in a new Broadway bound musical titled Ain’t Too Proud.

Clayton has written for A Voice For Men, The Good Men Project and is writing a memoir about fatherhood.

Sold Out!!


SOLD OUT!!

This show is something else.

It is the highest grossing production in the Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s nearly 50 year history. Box office recipts already exceeding $3.1 million and counting!

It’s so good.

Hopwfully, you all can see it when it transfers to Broadway in the future. I’ve had such s great time working on this show.

 

 

Clayton Craddock is a stay-at-home father of two children in New York City. He has a B.B.A from Howard University’s School of Business and is also a 17 year veteran of the fast paced New York City music scene. He has played drums in a number of hit Broadway musicals including “tick…tick…BOOM, Memphis the Musical and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill with Audra McDonald.

He has worked on other musicals; Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Bare, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Evita, Cats, and Avenue Q and is currently the drummer in a new Broadway bound musical titled Ain’t Too Proud.

Clayton has written for A Voice For Men, The Good Men Project and is writing a memoir about fatherhood.

AIN’T TOO PROUD TO BEG Breaks Berkeley Rep’s House Record

Berkeley Repertory Theatre announced that the world-premiere musical Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations is the highest-grossing production in its nearly 50- year history. With box office receipts already exceeding $3.1 million – and sales still not completed – Ain’t Too Proud has become a bona fide hit.

“We are thrilled with the success of this show,” says Managing Director Susan Medak, “and equally thrilled that its success will help us support so many other productions that are also wonderful but may not have as monumental a reach.”

The show, originally scheduled for a limited run, was extended an additional four weeks to meet demand, and must close on November 5.

https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/AINT-TOO-PROUD-TO-BEG-Breaks-Berkeley-Reps-House-Record-20171005