BP: That was a band that was a working band for five or six years. We had five or six‚ at least‚ European tours under our belt‚ we had a West Coast tour under our belt‚ two records. That group was already a real kind of working machine.
DC: There was a unity to it that obviously doesn't come from just reading the sheet music‚ that's for sure.
BP: Oh‚ no‚ not at all. The sheet music only gets you so far. Music is not some dots on a page‚ obviously. That's the furthest thing. You know‚ drums kick my butt every night. Every night I come off the band stand‚ and I think‚ "Jeez‚ God‚ it's exhilarating but it is really damn hard to play these things."
DC: Well‚ yeah‚ it certainly is. I always marvel at the stamina it takes for a drummer to play a show‚ no matter who it is. At the Groundtruther show you did in June here with Charlie‚ I happened to be at an angle at the stage where you were right in my sight line‚ and I was watching how hard you were working‚ and I was going‚ "Now how does he prepare? How does he condition himself to do this?" Is it just the drumming itself that does it‚ or do you do physical conditioning to build up your stamina?
BP: I'll answer that question‚ but just as a clarification‚ I'm actually not talking about the physical part of playing the drums‚ but just trying to play music‚ which is very difficult. The physical part of the drums is also obviously a challenge. I don't really do any conditioning other than play the drums. I do work out. I'm pretty healthy. I do a lot of things. But what I found is that if you want to be an Olympic swimmer‚ running isn't going to do it for you‚ as far as stamina is. Stamina and those kind of things are very specific to activity I've found. I think I could work up my stamina in one area‚ and then I could go play the drums and I could be exhausted if I haven't played the drums in a while. So I think just doing what it is you want to build up is the best way to build up.
DC: I'm sure when you're playing music‚ and this goes back to your comment a minute ago‚ a positive side effect of the mental exertion would be to elevate your physical performance. You don't realize how hard or how long you're playing because you're so deeply in concentration in the music.
BP: Exactly. Try to just sit there without any sticks or music and just move your arms for an hour or two hours constantly and see how exhausted you are. You couldn't do that for two minutes. (laughs) That's the difference.
DC: How are you going to prepare for the tour with the Coalition in terms of rehearsals?
BP: We'll rehearse‚ and we'll rehearse‚ and then we'll rehearse some more on the bandstand‚ because we'll explore and we'll throw some things away‚ add some things as we go along. The tour is a living organism. You get different things at a date in the beginning of the tour than you do a date that's at the end of the tour. That's the way that goes.
DC: To what extent do you put together a repertoire for this tour?
BP: Oh‚ I put together a repertoire‚ definitely. We'll have a certain number of tunes and then we'll play them. Not all of the tunes every night‚ but we'll play them for sure.
DC: You must encourage the other guys in the band to give you suggestions on a song that will fit well with something you suggested I presume.
BP: You mean like…
DC: Like Skerik will go‚ "Oh‚ I've got a tune that will sound good with that. Why don't we try this?"
BP: No‚ they don't do that.
DC: They don't?!
BP: No‚ they don't because it's not that kind of a band. It's really my band. It is really all my music. And I think just like if I was in their band‚ you know‚ I would be thankful not to be doing my own music‚ because sometimes I get sick of my own music.
DC: I was just thinking about that‚ whether there's a certain comfort level for Charlie and Robert and Skerik to go‚ "This is Bobby's gig‚ and this is my role."
BP: Yeah‚ exactly. But within that they have tremendous power because the music is open. The band could get to that point someday‚ but at the moment it's not. I'm open to that‚ but first you have to play enough and have a steady enough group so that people really are inside the music enough so its not just a question of‚ "Oh‚ I have a tune that will go with that." It is more a question of‚ "I just wrote this tune for us." That's the difference.