Drummer, singer, songwriter, and bandleader Lindsay Beaver discovered the blues in an unlikely place—her Canadian hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia. She began playing rock guitar and singing jazz, but hearing Billie Holiday led her to the blues, and there she found her musical home. The urging of her friend Jimmie Vaughan (who heard her leading her Canadian band, the 24th Street Wailers) led her to her adopted home town of Austin, Texas. There she formed her tough trio with Brad Stivers on guitar and Josh Williams on bass. Since then, she’s won fans among the city’s musical royalty and a regular gig at the famed Antone’s club, as well as multiple European tours.
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Where do you live?
What kind of gear do you use? What’s your setup?
I use a ’60s Rogers kit with a chrome over brass Ludwig Supraphonic pre-serial snare drum, 15″ hi-hats, Zildjan cymbals and a Zildjan Crash ride that’s 20″, both from the late ’60s/early ’70s.
What bands/groups do you perform with, if any?
I lead my own group singing and drumming. I’ve played with a number of people over the years but my main gig is my own. I just released a new record with Alligator records that I sing and drum on, called Tough As Love. I also wrote most of the material.
What led you to your instrument? What’s your origin story?
I had been a singer since I was young and had drums in my house for rehearsals for other people. When I was 19 I started playing them, and then shortly after I went off to jazz school to study drums. The rest is history.
Who is your favorite drummer and why?
Earl Palmer, hands down. He’s the original rock and roll drummer.
How do you practice? Do you have a routine?
I’m on tour seven months out of the year, and when I’m home I play 3-4 nights a week, so that doesn’t lend itself to having a lot of practice time. But in the beginning, it was a lot of the Ted Reed books, stick control, and listening to a variety of records and genres that helped me learn.
Are there any specific playing tips or techniques, or advice, exercises, or discoveries you’d like to share with Drum readers?
Stretch and strengthen your limbs often! Taking care of yourself will only help your playing be better.
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?
Playing the kind of music you love is my definition of success. I’m fortunate enough to get to lead my band and have done so for nearly a decade to make my living. That’s successful in my book.
When you sit down to make music and are starting with a blank canvas, what’s your process like?
I’ll apply my writing process to this. I usually get inspired by a string of words or a set of chord changes. I think about it and it makes me want to get it out and create something.
How important is failure in making music/performing?
I don’t see most problems as failures. Just a bump in the road to learn from.
Any advice for girls contemplating getting started and making it in this arena?
Be spectacular. Don’t be the best “girl drummer.” Be the best drummer. There is nothing physically that sets men and women apart as far as drumming is concerned, so by all means don’t play like there is.
If you had to put together a school or resources for would-be drummers, what would the training include?
How to play for the song. How to understand chord changes and how to play several different genres well. It’s important to remember that drummers make the world dance and hold the band together.