“Do you wanna come on the road with us? The drummers got to leave” – Paul Simmons | #TilYouMakeIt

Today, we are back at Blackbird Studios to speak with the studios’ former operations manager and resident drum tech, Paul Simmons, as he reflects favorably on his experience touring with various heavy hitters in the American rock scene. 

From landing his first gig at the age of twenty with American Southern rockers Black Oak Arkansas to traveling the world with Petra, and spending six years touring with Cinderella’s lead songwriter Thomas Keifer, Paul’s dedication and precision playing behind the kit would eventually lead him to accepting the role of Blackbird Studios’ operations manager, and of course presiding over its enviable Alladin’s Cave of drum kits.

#TilYouMakeIt is a collection of stories capturing wisdom from the game’s most esteemed producers, mixers and engineers. 



When I first got a gig, I was twenty, I went out with a band called Black Oak Arkansas, and they were really huge in the seventies.

And I get this call, “Hey, do you want to come on the road with us? The drummer’s got to leave” and I’m like, yes, let’s go.

So I’m out on the road. I’m twenty years old. I’m playing with Black Oak, Arkansas, and it was a blast, did that for a while. And then I got the bug. I ended up getting a gig with a band called the Reverend Horton Heat and also played with the band Petra.

Which was incredible. We went all over the world. Those guys are great musicians and they had just released a really heavy rock album. So I was gung ho. That was great.

Then I ended up doing some session stuff for a while. And I went out with Tom Keifer from Cinderella for a while, which was great. One year turned into six, cause it just kept going and it was cool.

When the opportunity came up to be the operations manager here at Blackbird Studios, I jumped at it. That’s a cool opportunity.