London native Jason Pierce is one of the most in-demand drummers in the world.
He’s currently touring with Our Lady Peace (OLP), and has worked with the likes of Dallas Green, Carly Rae Jepsen, Treble Charger, Neverending White Lights, Jessie Farrell, and some kid named Bieber.
On Saturday, Sept. 26, he’ll be live with OLP at Western University to put a jolt into Homecoming festivities, a home date he’s eager to play.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “I haven’t played London with Our Lady Peace yet. I haven’t played London in a while. I was born there and I moved away when I was 20 or 21. I still come back once or twice a year, whenever I can, but it becomes quite hectic to take time off and leave what is now my home base. It seems impossible most of the time.”
Hectic doesn’t quite accurately describe his schedule, actually.
“This month alone, I’m jumping between hard rock with Evans Blue, then I’m out with Our Lady Peace, then three days later I’m with Chantal Kreviazuk and then I come back and I’m with Our Lady Peace, then I’m back on tour with Treble Charger, so it’s like all over the place.”
Forget trying to remember which city he’s in, much less which band is which, the question is how does Pierce manage to adapt to such radically different styles of music, seemingly on the fly?
“It’s actually about the toughest challenge because each band has its own style of music, so you’re kind of jumping in between being a rock drummer and playing for various singer/songwriters. It completely builds a set of challenges, which makes the job all that more fun.”
The 30-year-old Pierce said he does get the odd day off, unless he has to learn new material. In that case, he allows himself a few hours of rest and relaxation.
Fortunately, he’s never on the road for any real extended period of time, which means the comforts of home are never too far away.
“I’m not touring for six months or a year at a time anymore at this stage of my career. We’ll go for a couple of weeks and then we’ll come home, so you end up having a personal life, as well as a professional life.”
Pierce hasn’t enjoyed a free ride up the rock and roll mountain. He said it takes years of grinding to build up a client list to where there’s always work to do. All that hard work paid off, though, as he’s now one of the best session musicians going.
“It’s all about personal drive, ambition and knowing what it is you want to do and not giving up that gets bands and people to where they want to go.”
Times do change, though, especially in the music industry. There was a day, not long ago, when an artist or band had to be “discovered” by someone in the business. Then radio play — and lots of it — had to be secured. Today, there’s something called YouTube.
“You no longer need a label to have people hear your songs, you no longer need radio support for people to hear your songs. At the end of the day, a good song is a good song and if someone in a small town writes a good song and gets it on the Internet it can happen. It does happen. Look at Bieber. He’s the biggest example of that I can think of.”
Our Lady Peace includes Raine Maida, Western alumnus Duncan Coutts and Steve Mazur. They’ve sold five million records worldwide.