BR Newsletter: One-Year Anniversary Reflections

by Bobby Rock

To Begin Again

“Never say Never,” I say. Being consistent with a newsletter is something that, until now, has completely eluded me. I can recall several times through the years when I vowed to communicate regularly with my various lists, but to no avail. After an issue or two, I would fall off the wagon. This pattern began back in the mid-90s when I was trying to do a hard-copy newsletter that I would either hand out at live shows or mail to folks. Obviously, there was a lot more involved with producing such a newsletter, including elaborate formatting, printing, and postage.  (Thank you, David Snowden, for being my one-man production team on that thing!) 

One of the original BR Newsletters, circa 1996 - 8 1/2” x 11” and 8 pages long!

But still, after a few issues that were spread out over a small eternity, I just never got back around to it.  And such has been the pattern through the years, even as things shifted over to e-mail format exclusively.  This is why I was skeptical about trying again in 2021. (In fact, the name of Issue #1 this time around was “To Begin Again.”) But it just goes to show ya, there’s always a chance you can get it right on the next try. Life can be funny that way. We just have to leave a little room for hope. As long as we’re still breathing, there’s always a chance to take another shot and get it right… no matter what may have happened on previous attempts.

And by the way, how have I defined “getting it right” on this Newsletter thing this time around? Publishing consistently for at least one year. So far, so good! 

Here’s to another year, huh?

To sign up for the Newsletter—and/or to scroll through a shit-ton of back-issues—go here:


A Few Behind-the-Scenes Newsletter Musings

Here are a few behind-the-scenes tidbits about the Newsletter I figured I would share on this hallowed occasion:

1. The Issue of Length
: I struggled quite a bit this year with finding a sweet spot in terms of Newsletter length. It seemed like shit was always running too long. I had a hell of a time trying to edit sections down so, for a while, we tried to preserve that longer format, but do a shorter Newsletter every other week. Problem was, I felt like those “in-between” emails didn’t have much value in them, so we never numbered or archived them—hence our 44 “official” issues as opposed to 52. (Actually, I intentionally skipped Christmas week, so I believe we technically did 51 this year. ANYWAY…)

2. Social Media… Second!
Regarding social media, you might have noticed that certain posts on my social platforms are essentially recycled from various Newsletter issues. This is by design. To make the Newsletter a sort of top-priority platform, I always try to publish key posts (book excerpts, blogs or articles, new drum vids, etc. ) in the Newsletter first, before going to social with them. In some cases, it could be months down the road before a Newsletter piece "makes it to the masses" on social. Again, just trying to give you guys the best shit first.

3. Working in Threes—Again
: I like to work in threes in virtually every aspect of my life. This is why there are always three main things covered in each issue, listed at the top with three bullet points. Every issue. Additionally, virtually all of the Newsletter subject matter can be loosely categorized in one of three main areas: Mind, Body, or Spirit. 

  • Mind has to do with a lot of the “heady” stuff we cover about the mind, creativity, philosophical shit, musings, observations, cool quotes, book/podcast recommendations, “self-help”-type stuff, etc. 

  • Body is all about health and wellness, from Dragon Dirt posts, to nutrition, exercise, and mind/body material like meditation, mindfulness, sleep/recovery, etc.

  • Spirit (in the Artist realm) covers all of the music, drumming, and writing material, from show announcements and project updates, to the Drum Vid Vault, to book previews and excerpts and pretty much anything related to what I do as a musician or writer. 

Virtually every one of the roughly 132 Newsletter items we’ve featured this year consciously falls into one of the above three categories. And in many issues (not this one, ironically), I will have one item from each category (Mind, Body, Spirit). It’s just the way things have organically evolved… and another thing for me to obsess over each week! 

To assist the process, I’ve created a color-coding system I use in Scrivener, which is a special writer’s software that I use for all my books, plus this Newsletter. This enables me to plan and organize all of these issues so I can keep tabs on the variety and frequency of the material we cover.  Scope out that multi-colored column on the left.

Of course, this is just a guide for me to keep up with what we’ve covered in past issues, and also to archive various ideas I might cover moving forward. In reality, though, much of the actual writing usually gets done kind of last-minute, and I don’t always know what’s going to be in the final edition until the day we publish! (This is also part of my “process.”)

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I could go on with more musings, but hey: we just covered THREE items, one of which featured THREE bullet points. Let’s move on to section THREE and wrap this bitch up!


Scope Those Beautiful Archives... and Killer Collaborators

Knowing how difficult it is for everyone to read every issue each week, we decided out of the gate to archive every Newsletter for easy access and reference. 

The issues are organized chronologically with all original formatting intact, just as they were emailed. How much material is actually there? By way of sheer word count, enough to fill a fairly thick book! For real. But I feel good about the quality, as well. We’ve really tried to make this thing worth your time.

So… take a peek!  Lots of good stuff in there…

Important Note
: To access the archives, you might have to take a moment and sign into the site if you haven’t already. Name/email/password—Just takes a second.

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Honorable Mention

Almost everything good in life happens in collaboration, as opposed to isolation. Such is the case with this Newsletter. Here’s a tip of the cap to my Mega-Positive, Mindful Ass-Kicker of an assistant (and friend), Andrea Volpp. She is always the first to peruse each issue before it gets published. And she also takes great care each week in formatting and archiving the latest Newsletter in our ever-expanding collection (in addition to handling all order fulfillment at and taking care of many other things in BR Land). Many thanks!

Here’s Andrea and me at a family gathering this past Thanksgiving,
about to dive into some world-class vegan grub! 

Andrea, along with a shortlist of Inner-Circle “consultants”—including Andrea’s dad, my long-time bro, Steven Volpp, who co-founded the Reward Music platform that facilitates the Newsletter—all help to keep the wheels on the track of this pursuit. Mucho love and appreciation to all!

To sign up for the Newsletter—and/or to scroll through a shit-ton of back-issues—go here:

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