KORN's RAY LUZIER: Why It's Important For Musicians To Learn Business Side Of Music Business
August 27, 2022
During a new appearance on "Drinks With Johnny", the Internet TV show hosted by AVENGED SEVENFOLD bassist Johnny Christ, KORN drummer Ray Luzier stressed that knowledge of the business is critical for new players that wish to succeed in the music market.
"I haven't been doing 'em since the pandemic, but I would do a lot of drum festivals all over the place — from the U.K. to Spain to wherever," he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "And it's really cool showing up with a bunch of drum geeks like myself.
"There's people that smoke me that are 10 on the Internet right now. And I don't look at it like that," he continued. "That's great for what people do. There's always gonna be someone better. But to me, I don't look at it as who's best and better. It's, like, I want longevity in a career. I wanted to do this till the day I die. Since when I was in early teens, if I was beating on buckets on the Santa Monica Pier, if I was playing stadiums, I'm gonna be doing this till the day I die. So if you take an oath like that, if you pledge an oath, it's a pretty big thing — to leave your family to do what we do on the road, even to this day.
"But every time I do a drum festival and I see a young kid, and [they tell me], 'I can play 64th notes at 132 bpms,' and I'm, like, 'That's great. I'm sure your girlfriend is really impressed.' … I used to be very safe with [what I would tell these kids] and go, 'Oh, well, that's cool.' Now I'm, like, 'Dude, just stop.' You've gotta be real, man. 'Cause as you know, the business side of it, it's a business side of it.
"When I moved to L.A., I locked myself in my drum lab at M.I. when I was a student there, and I would just shred for six hours a day, and I would go play with this band and I'd go play with that band," Luzier added. "I was just trying to be as best as I could on drums, and I didn't realize I should have been educating myself on the business. 'Cause I didn't realize how many bad contracts I was gonna sign and how many people that I trusted that I thought had my back didn't have my back. And I was getting my ass kicked left and right in my early 20s 'cause I was in some failed original bands that were, like… I wanted to be KISS and MÖTLEY CRÜE and Ozzy [Osbourne] and I didn't realize what was going on business-wise. So I try to educate people on, like, look at that perspective. Don't just there and play. Who cares how fast you can play sweeping licks on your guitar or whatever. Really try to embrace the whole business — if you wanna be in this. If you wanna do it on the weekends for fun, great. And you wanna have a [regular] job during the week — God bless America; do what you've gotta do. But if you really wanna be in this line of work, there's so many avenues and there's so many promises that might not happen. And there's no security in it — even band-wise. When I got this gig [with KORN] in '07, [KORN bassist] Fieldy told me we had a couple of years. Fifteen years later, we're stronger than ever. So you just never [know]. No one's got a crystal ball, last time I checked."
First-call touring and session drummer, Luzier is known for his high-profile gigs with David Lee Roth, Jake E. Lee and ARMY OF ANYONE. From movie soundtracks to rock and metal albums, Luzier's playing can currently be found on over 70 recordings. As an educator, he was a Musicians Institute instructor for over 10 years and author of a well-regarded, self-titled instructional DVD.
Two years ago, Luzier told the Philadelphia radio station 93.3 WMMR that he was working on a "rock book." He explained at the time: "It's not about, like, 'Oh, Mr. Rock Star guy.' It's about getting signed, getting dropped, getting this promised this and then me joining national bands. But 50 percent of my book is David Lee Roth, 'cause eight years with that guy, you can't make that stuff up. And I love him to death — he's the most amazing, one of the best entertainers ever. But there's a lot there — there's a lot of content.
"A lot of people don't realize out there, they think your favorite band, they just think, 'Oh, they got signed and they're huge and they're famous,'" he continued. "A lot of people don't have any idea what some of us go through," he continued. "I did the hard road. … People have no idea, so that's why I told myself I'm just gonna put a book together that's gonna be about the realism of getting promised all this stuff. Practicing and getting really good at your art is just one part of the whole equation."
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