Drew Shourd

Drew Shourd is just your normal forty-nine year old guy with a huge passion for life — a drummer, chef, writer, artist, world traveler and global free diver. While spending the last thirty-five years playing the drums, he has also had eighteen head-to-toe operations — ten surgeries on both feet, two on his lower back, both thumbs literally sewn back on, hernia surgery, reconstructive surgery on the left side of his face, and torn knee ligaments. Yet through it all, Drew continues to play the drums. 

Drew's first encounter with serious foot pain, caused by bunions, was at the age of ten while playing ice hockey. His family sought treatment for their son yet doctors told them he was too young to have surgery on his feet.

Drew started playing the drums at fourteen when his dad bought him an old Ludwig drumset. In 1982, at the age of sixteen, Drew joined the award winning marching band and drumline at Flint Northern High School (Flint, MI), playing in the snare line for three years.

After high school, Drew passed several auditions for The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, a.k.a. the "Presidents Marching Band". During bootcamp his feet just could not take the new boots which prompted his medical/honorable discharge from the Marines in 1985 as well as his first reconstructive surgery on both feet. After his recovery, Drew moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music, working with several bands, nevertheless his bunions came back, prompting a second reconstructive surgery in 1990.

While gigging in LA, Drew spent many years working as a chef — slicing open both thumbs and aggravating his feet to the point they became flat, prompting yet another surgery where doctors inserted large screws, like implants. His constant foot problems, coupled with a few serious slips and falls made his lower back pain progressively worse. In 2010, after numerous unsuccessful attempts to relieve his growing pain, Drew had an MRI done. The test revealed three broken, out of place discs (bone on bone with pinched nerves), leading him to undergo his first back surgery to fuse the vertebra. Through all of this Drew was playing in several bands, from large cover/wedding bands performing state-wide and in Mexico, to the original band, SWARM, who opened for The Romatics, Berlin and Cheap Trick.

Anyone who has had any type of major surgery knows that the recovery time is long and hard. It can negatively effect your entire body but you have to work through the pain. For Drew, all of his recoveries were tough; the pain in his feet and lower back became unbearable for him. After losing his job in 2010, Drew progressively got worse. He lost his health insurance, his studio, his drums, his cars and almost everything he worked so hard to obtain over the years. After being evicted in late 2012, Drew moved to the mountains, living in a tent for almost eight months. Although he was in southern California, he was camping at an elevation of 7000 feet. Winter came, forcing Drew to pack up his car, drive to Michigan, and move in with his mother. Having been denied Social Security Disability time after time, Drew was able to receive state assistance and free medical insurance in Michigan. In 2014, due to constant pain from his prior foot surgeries, he needed one of the screws taken out of his left foot and had titanium plates screwed down on both big toes to permanently fix the reoccurring bunions. That same year, another MRI on his back showed that both clamps in his back from the 2010 surgery had failed. Drew was forced to have yet another surgery on his lower back where doctors installed six, three inch titanium screws and rods.

Today, Drew is still in slow recovery; he continues to deal with a lot of pain and gets very little sleep. His friends at Pearl, Paiste and Vic Firth have donated materials for his "make shift studio" at his moms where he hopes to soon be teaching drum students, as well as ultimately finding another band to perform with.

Believe it or not, stories like Drew's are not that uncommon. I personally have quite a few friends and colleagues who have endured health and financial challenges throughout their music careers. Some experiences are far worse than what Drew has gone through.

At the end of the day it is about pressing on, moving forward, taking each day as it comes and making the best of it. Refusing to quit or give up no matter what life may throw at us, that is paramount. The perseverance and courage of people like Drew can strengthen and encourage us to move beyond our own obstacles — pressing on towards our passions and goals, which in this case is playing the drums!

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