Mark Mondesir: No Fear of Failure

SKF NOTE: I penciled a bracket and made a note around this story in the left margin of my Ed Soph interview transcript. The note is: “Good story. Include elsewhere.” It’s Ed telling me 30-years ago about a 12-13 year old drummer. To this day, I had never heard of Mark Mondesir, but I discovered — also today — he is, as Ed Soph predicted, tearing it up and doing very well both as a pro drummer and as a Yamaha clinician.

Mark Mondesir

Mark Mondesir

Ed Soph: Not everyone who picks up a set of sticks is going to be a drummer. Just like, not everyone who picks up a wrench is going to be a plumber. He can try. Maybe a half-assed plumber. But, he’s not going to be a plumber other plumbers come to learn from. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

The idea is that people who are meant to play are going to play. I’ve seen so many kids come up through adversity and make it.

The last time I was in England I ran into this little kid who comes from one of those ghettos over there where they stick the West Indian folk. He’s so poor that he doesn’t even own a drumset. Can’t afford a teacher. He knows other kids who are taking lessons and he cops lesson sheets from them.

He’s poor. But, man, this kid is just going to tear it up. He and the instrument are the same. He has natural movements behind the instrument. And the most beautiful thing of all is that he has no fear of failure. No fear of making a mistake.

Ed Soph

Ed Soph

He’s playing in his combo and he tries to pull something off and he drops about six beats all over the floor. He just turns to me and gives me this great big smile, shrugs his shoulders and says, “Next time.” The next time comes — and he kills!

Mark Mondesir is his name. He’s 12- or 13-years old. His brother plays bass. Some big English rock star gave them scholarship money so that they could come to the clinics.

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