There are podcasts in the DrumGAB library that are resourceful, others are purely conversational entertainment and somehow Episode 29 with Stan Bicknell lies somewhere in the middle. I don’t really think that it was intended to become an episode where people could learn anything, besides the life of Stan Bicknell of course, but it unfolded in such a way that reveals a strong underlying message. You see, I draw a strong parallel between myself and Stan. We are both family men that are self-employed and drumming is a big part of us but it is no longer the forefront of our existence. While life presents new responsibilities and obligations, it begins to determine what is most important to us as people and how some things in life may take on a significant value that we couldn’t possibly understand in our younger years.
It is widely understood on the Instagram medium that Stan is easily one of the most popular drumming figures on social media currently. What he holds is something that many of us would, for lack of better words, give a testicle or two as a trade for the kind of success Stan’s Instagram profile bears. However, even given the tremendous growth and rise of popularity, Stan does not ignore the life he lives in the flesh for this digital circus of likes, comments, and shares that he so regularly receives. Instead, he sets time aside when his family is sleeping to produce his content and share his thoughts with his followers through blogging in his captions. He very responsibly restricts his use of Instagram to be present in the moment with his family, friends and business partners. In short, he consumes the Instagram drug with a great deal of caution and regulates his intake.
So what was the reason for Stan creating an Instagram account you may ask? Well, he had stopped touring with a band named Kimbra due to this little thing called, your self-consciousness, and felt that it was only going to get deeper and deeper and so he passed off the sticks to another player and quit the band. He continued playing drum set in his coffee warehouse, Rumble Coffee Roasters, but it just wasn’t satisfying enough playing to no audience. So he began using Instagram and all he was trying to do was keep a low profile but it obviously hasn’t worked out to plan as his acquisition rate for followers has been well over 1,000 per week over a course of over 52 weeks.
So, what do 112 thousand followers in 15 months do to a person? Well, that all depends on the person. I would imagine for most people it would improve a persons’ self-esteem, and depending on your ego, it could turn someone into a complete arsehole. For Stan, it seems that what he enjoys most about having so much rapid growth is that it opens up a very wide audience to make a positive impact upon. For example, Stan receives many messages from fans all over the world who thank him for being the reason they are getting back into drumming. These kinds of comments are a highlight for Stan and is definitely a contributing factor to his continuation on social media.
However, he is clear about his love/hate relationship with social media. It would be tiresome to keep up appearances and respond to every single message, in fact, you wouldn’t even have a life to speak of when you have that many followers. So Stan had made a reference to “Good Will Hunting” where he exclaims, “What if I deleted my account one day and didn’t tell anyone about it?” And it’s not that Stan is unappreciative, I think he’s just accessing, hypothetically, how much he really needs social media.
In the interview, we discuss the fact that Stan will never leave his family and business partners to become a star and seek fame and fortune. He takes great pleasure in his day to day life and at the end of it all….he still gets to play his drums. And simply, that is what's important. Not the where or the who or for how much. He just wants to hear the crack of his snare.
This puts a great deal of perspective in this conversation. A person who is at the forefront of popularity on Instagram and the drumming community at large is a simple man who knows what he needs and why he is needed. It is truly amazing someone who holds this in his hands has complete control over what his destiny is and that it hasn’t corrupted him with temptation. That is exemplary and it is the reason why this is such an interesting listen. A conversation captured at the apex of where a healthy perspective is absolutely paramount. I believe Stan could become an A-list drummer for a very major act and it could all have been seeded in Instafame. I wouldn’t put it past Stan, that if this all becomes too much and he has to decide what to do, he may do as Matt Damon did, and just not be there one day.