Shea Briggs is the drummer for The Just Luckies, based in Chicago.
Women are underrepresented in the percussion world. Our weekly series, Women Crush Wednesday (#WCW), aims to recognize, celebrate, and inspire female percussionists of all stripes. Each Wednesday we’ll feature a profile of a drummer, who will share tips, advice, and videos.
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What is your city, country, and age?
Chicago, Illinois. Age 25.
What kind of gear do you use?
Gretsch 4-piece Catalina Club with Meinl cymbals.
What bands do you perform with, if any?
I currently perform with The Just Luckies. KC Weldon and I started this project about four years ago. We had played together in other bands but had creative differences with our band members. When one of them didn’t show up for a show, we decided to create our own project, thus The Just Luckies were born. We really clicked with Noam [Greene] in Winter of 2015 and their partner Lucy [Diavolo] joined in April of 2016. They have been solid musicians to work with and challenge me every practice and show.
What led you to your instrument? What’s your origin story?
I had always been fascinated with the drums growing up and played around on my godfather’s kit when I was five years old. I started taking lessons through school concert band when I was 11. I remember they had us go into the cafeteria to try all the instruments out. I knew drums were my calling.
Who is your favorite drummer and why?
The drummer I look up to most would be my drum teacher, Tim Brookshire. I’ve spent countless hours with him to learn the skill. Also any other lady drummer out there is on my list. Other drummers I appreciate are Sandy West (The Runaways), Jess Bowen (The Summer Set), Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney), and Rachel Blumberg (The Decemberists).
How do you practice? Do you have a routine?
If I am practicing by myself, I’ll put on some music and practice rudiments on a drum pad. My band and I usually practice at our studio space once or twice a week.
Are there any specific playing tips or techniques, or advice, exercises, or discoveries you would like to share with Drum readers?
I think the best thing is to put on music and really work on rudiments and keeping tempo. Find a good pair of sticks that you feel comfortable with and play what you enjoy. Drumming and music should be a fun experience.
What’s something you believe about drumming or music that other people think is crazy?
I believe the theory that drummers’ brains work differently than other people. Either you have it or you don’t!
As artists, the goal post for “success” is always moving. There’s not one “I made it!” point. How do you think about and define success?
I think it is important to constantly set goals for yourself as a musician or project goals. Each accomplishment is a success. Success is pushing your limits and seeing what you can achieve.
Do you have any quotes or sayings that you live by?
Through music, you can achieve many things! Get out there to meet other musicians. It will help you learn more about music and what it can do for you.
When you sit down to make music and are starting with a blank canvas, what’s your process like?
With The Just Luckies, we usually start with a riff or some chords we like. When we have that, we start to jam around with it and see what we come up with. We will make some tweaks or switch some things around to see what we like or sounds good to us.
How important is failure in making music/performing?
To me, failing is a part of succeeding. If you fail at a show or performance, you can take notes and make adjustments for the next time. It only makes you a stronger musician to experience that.
Women are underrepresented in drumming. Any advice for girls contemplating getting started and making it in this arena?
I was taught never to be scared to try new things or to go after the things I want. I would give that same advice to women everywhere. Just because you are told not to do something, doesn’t mean you should follow that. Anyone who is successful didn’t reach that point because they sat back and watched. Be strong and follow your passion! Don’t look back on your life and say, “I should have done that.”
If you had to put together a school or resources for would-be drummers, what would the training include?
I think being able to understand the basics of music theory will help you immensely. Study up on that and take drum lessons as well. Once you get the basics, you can start to push yourself with harder rudiments and fills.
Where to find Shea
Spotify: The Just Luckies