Chapter 10The leader sets the tone

What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend? Homeless.

How do you know when a drummer is knocking on your front door? The knocking slows down.

Drummers. Poor bastards. They get whacked around the head with jokes like these, but in all seriousness, where would U2, Coldplay and Red Hot Chilli Peppers be without their drummers?

It's a fact. All great bands have a great drummer. The guy who bangs the drum, keeps the beat and sets the tone. Without that regular drum beat, they'd each march to the beat of their own drum, lose their way and play out of tune. The result? Chaos.

I was a drummer once — not a very good one, but a drummer nonetheless. I played in the school band. There was a note on the pinboard: ‘Players wanted’. I applied instantly. I couldn't play any instrument, but that didn't stop me from applying. I would have done anything to get out of the classroom.

They gave me the timpani, which is a big kettle drum. It's a deceptively tricky instrument. On the surface, the rhythms are generally easy and you only play two notes, but there is an awful lot of technique involved in playing these drums properly.

Having had my own business for 20 years, I've realised that being a drummer in a band is a lot like being a leader of a team. You keep the members in sync, on time and on song. Most importantly, you set the tone.

Don't bring your shit home

My dad was a very calm man. He didn't get riled up about much, and he rarely blamed anyone ...

Get How to Build a Business Others Want to Buy now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.