Archie Gamble; that is a name that is not unfamiliar with local musicians in and around the London area. Well known as a charismatic and friendly character that loves Van Halen, KISS and Led Zeppelin to name a few. This is a man that has spent most of his life playing the drums to put food on the table and a roof over his head. A hardworking musician that adapts to his situations in order to continue his pursuit of what he loves; being the driving force behind a band. The engine. I spent some time with my good friend Glen "Archie" Gamble to discuss some new projects he is working on and reflect on what makes him the player he is today.
By all means and intent, Archie is a rock and roll drummer. A walking metronome who knows his role in the band and commits to his purpose on the drum set. Showmanship, when necessary, is at the forefront of Archie's performance with an unshakable level of consistency and it is his vast experience that shapes his responsible approach to the drum set. Going back to where it all began, Archie remembers playing drums for the first time at the age of 10 years old. It was clearly obvious that he was compelled by the instrument due to the constant banging and tapping on objects. For most players, at a young age you know right away that the drum set is your calling. This became apparent to Archie very early on, as he turned pro at the age of 15 and never looked back. Playing with the likes of Helix, Buffalo Brothers and The Joys, Archie has played some 4000 shows in his career. He is always finding new ways to keep himself busy as a session/gigging drummer and we will be taking a look at what he has been up to lately and what is to come.
36 Ontario Street in Stratford, ON is a place where drummers, regardless of experience or talent, will want to be. Long and McQuade is hosting Archie's drum clinic where he is going to discuss the industry from a working musicians' point of view and bring a lot of reality to light. Archie will demonstrate grooves on the kit that will get you hired. It will be a lesson in being disciplined in serving the music instead of serving yourself. As we discussed in our interview, it is perhaps AS important to be a likeable person as it is to be a good player in this industry. Building relationships with the right people has a lot to do with your people skills and Archie will be touching on these topics as well in his clinic. Archie is a long time Sabian artist, since 1994, and also has relationships with Yamaha Drums, Remo Drumheads and Regal Tip Drumsticks. The date for Archie's drum clinic is May 28th, 2016.
In addition to the clinic, Archie has embarked on a brand new project, "GAMBLE." This project is a ship band. The members of GAMBLE are Phil and Sarah Carvalho, Joey Renaud and of course Glen "Archie" Gamble. Having spent all of his adult life playing music as a career, he has seen it all. Long touring with incredibly packed schedules with non stop shows, at times playing up to 50 weeks out of the year. Just enough time to pop in for Christmas and one other week of the year and then you are back out there. It can't be easy when you think about it. You have to really love it. I have known Archie for a good stretch of time and for me he is the epitome of a working musician. With a man that has many miles of experience on his odometer, there may come a time where you need to find what satisfies every aspect of your career as a musician. For Archie he discovered that ship work was his ideal gig. He really took to it well as he explains: "How can I be happy, and how can I make a living? Cruise ships for me is the best answer." Now I have never toured nor been on a ship, for any reason, so my frame of reference is slight but I would have to say that Archie is correct in thinking that about cruise ship work.
For nomadic types that want a steady gig and want to make good money playing, it is likely the best thing you can do. Prior to GAMBLE, Archie played with a Toronto based ship band named "Horizon." Archie played on 3 different ships with 3 different contracts with the band Horizon. He went on to say, "It wasn't quite what I wanted to do, so my intention was always to leave at some point and form my own band." After having played with Horizon and realizing the strengths of the cruise ship gig and what cons he had noticed with Horizon, he formed GAMBLE. Heading out on their first contract this September, Archie has confidence that GAMBLE can always exist as long as he wants it to. He explains that he called the project GAMBLE because "Ship band life is very transient. People come and go like crazy, so I called it GAMBLE because I know I will be the only stable factor in this over the years and that no one can take that from me. It's my band. It's my name." He had indicated to me that there are a lot of players that think that ship life is for them and give it a try only to discover that they are wanting to be back at home after a month or two. These musicians are referred to as "one and done" and it is common in the ship band life. However, Archie took to ship band life as he would quote, "like a fish to water", and he feels it is the most sustainable way to continue being a working musician. He will continue on traveling the world meeting new people and intends to "play until I drop."
To conclude, my discussion with Archie was a very enlightening one. His experience as a working musician has been a very dedicated journey and with the exception of taking a job at John Bellones' Music, Archie really hasn't worked many "day jobs." As many of us are warned about the trials of being a working musician, Archie has hurdled just about every obstacle that you may encounter and with enough experience he has found that his best option is ship work. After thinking about our conversation enough to write about it and having listened to the interview more than once, I find it very compelling that when Archie was a teenager and a young adult he had the "dream" of being a famous rock star and for a time I would say he was with Helix. Once that seed took root he never looked back and drums has been a major part of his life ever since. One of the most admiral things about Archie is he's still playing his heart out after over 30 years of solid touring and playing. This guy has the heart of a lion when it comes to longevity and staying true to what he is about, Rock and Roll. He has now found for himself that cruise ship work is where it is at for him and I am very happy for Archie that he has found a balance of personal enjoyment and stability of living while doing what he loves, playing the drums.