Say hello to King of Kick, the Prince of Paradiddles, the Goliath of Groove: Rene Emidih. A southern California native, Rene hopped on board the Lime train in 2014, and it’s taken him through contracts on Celebrity, Holland America, and for the past two years, Princess Cruises, where he’s made a name for himself as a standout performer in the fleet.
You can check out a medley of clips of Rene drumming here (and we highly recommend that you do): https://youtu.be/qEVtvylveXk.
We’re pumped as ever to represent him, and we hope you’ll enjoy his anecdotes and insights on ship life below.
Lime: What’s the weirdest / funniest story from your time on ships?
Rene: This is one of those stories that’s really only funny in retrospect. I was in South Korea last summer on the Diamond Princess and I walked into a shop with a bunch of really great watches. I looked around for about half an hour and found one that I liked, but not quite enough to justify the 2000 Korean Won (about 200 US dollars). I left the shop empty handed and perhaps that’s why I found myself in another watch shop a few days later in Kobe, Japan. Before I knew it, I had convinced myself I was about to spend that same 200 on this incredible timepiece. I made the purchase and, upon checking my credit card account that night, realized I had actually spent two THOUSAND dollars on that watch by accident. Commas, they are important. The story does have a happy ending though. I ended up reselling that watch for another thousand in profit!!! It only cost me a few months of time and a couple fistfuls of my hair.
L: Coolest activity you’ve done in a port?
R: Well, I was just lucky enough to get to do my first world cruise on the Pacific Princess and we had 3 days in Cape Town, South Africa. There were wine tastings, safaris, night club parties… but the most awesome thing I did was shark cage diving. It was the most terrifying, gut-wrenching, bowel-inducing experience of my life and I cannot wait to do it again. If you’re ever in South Africa, I would definitely say to stay as far away from that activity as possible. That is, unless you’re a little nuts, like me.
L: Do you see yourself continuing on ships, and if so, what makes you excited about future contracts?
R: I definitely see myself going on for at least a few more years. If you’re smart and you don’t drink away your entire check (like some people I’m sure we all know), then this is actually a pretty good way to save up a lot of money and have a good time doing it. While the money is good and the travel is great, the thing that excites me the most is the people. Every contract brings with it new people, new ideas, and new ways of seeing the same world. Sometimes you even end up with new lovers and/or new arch-nemeses. It’s like every contract is another season of the TV show that is your life. How cool is that?
L: Who was Rene before ships, and who is Rene after 5 years of ships?
R: Before I started ships, I was living and playing in LA, spending much of my time in my car on the way to or from a gig or student, but after food, gas, and rent, I wasn’t putting away much for savings. Now I can easily save two or three times as much because most of my overhead has been taken care of. Another way I’ve grown with the help of ships is in sheer musical knowledge. I’ve been exposed to so much different music. Classical, Broadway, folk music from various cultures, etc. All of it adds to my musical arsenal and helps to ensure I’m never ill equipped for any given style of music. I’m also a lot more confident as a person now after 5 years on ships. I think it’s something about trying to “reinvent” yourself for every contract. After a while, you start choosing fewer and fewer parts of yourself to change between contracts and it’s because you realize you like yourself more and more. At least that’s what happened to me.
L: What would you say to musicians who are on the fence about working on a cruise ship?
R: It likely depends on the reasons that are keeping this person on the fence. The most challenging parts for most people are missing family and friends, sharing a living space with someone else, inconsistent internet access, and the customer service aspect of the job. When weighed against literally being paid to travel, playing music every day, meeting hundreds or even thousands of new people every contract, and really cheap drinks in the bar, which one is heavier to you?
A big thanks to Rene for chatting with us. If you’d like to see what he’s up to on social media, you can check him out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/remidih.
And as always, thanks for reading!