Dave Elitch — How to Get Out of Your Own Way (#348)

Photo by Dan Gillan

“Slow down. Do it again.” — Dave Elitch

Dave Elitch (IG: @daveelitch) first garnered attention with his band Daughters of Mara’s debut album I am Destroyer in 2007, but his time touring with the American progressive rock band The Mars Volta in 2009-2010 is what really put him on the map. He has since worked with Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake, M83, The 1975, Juliette Lewis, Big Black Delta, as well as many others.

Dave conducts master-class lectures worldwide and is a regular in the L.A. session scene, including performing on film scores for many major motion pictures. As an educator for the last 20 years, Dave has developed a reputation as the technique/body mechanic specialist who has helped many of the world’s top players and educators overcome physical and mental plateaus at his private studio in Los Angeles. His brand new online course, Getting Out of Your Own Way, is available now at DaveElitch.com (use the code FERRISS at checkout for a 25% off discount).

Please enjoy this episode with Dave Elitch!

Listen to the interview on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, or on your favorite podcast platform.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#348: Dave Elitch — How to Get Out of Your Own Way

Further curious about how drummers see the world? You’re not alone! — Make sure to listen to my conversation with Stewart Copeland, drummer for The Police and son of a bona fide CIA operative! (Stream below or right-click here to download):

#262: The CIA, The Police, and Other Adventures from Stewart Copeland

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…


Connect with Dave Elitch:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Book Recommendations by Dave’s Therapist:

Further Book Recommendations by Dave:


  • Who is Dave, and why is he in my house? [04:28]
  • “Slow down. Do it again.” [08:49]
  • How Dave quickly identified and alleviated one of my greatest sources of discomfort behind a drum kit. [10:48]
  • My first introduction to Dave and his capacity for monster drumming in The Mars Volta, and why he’s known as a bit of a mercenary cleaner on the music industry tour circuit. [13:13]
  • How does Dave prepare to tour with a band — often on last-minute notice? It’s actually not dissimilar to how I prepare for speeches. [18:55]
  • What does the day of the first show of a mercenary tour look like for Dave? What advice or rituals does he suggest to others who find themselves facing a similarly stressful trial — musical or otherwise? [31:21]
  • How mastering or understanding the inner workings of one discipline — whether it’s drumming, tennis, Zen Buddhism, or something else altogether — can extend to solving the problems posed by countless other disciplines. [39:03]
  • A book exchange that took place between Dave and his therapist. [48:40]
  • What Marshall McLuhan might have told us about the influence of Auto-Tune on modern music. [50:01]
  • Who really sculpted our world’s love affair with consumerism: Sigmund Freud’s nephew or Edward Bernays’ uncle? These Adam Curtis documentaries should shed some light on the answer (while blowing a few minds in the process). [55:24]
  • Visual art, coping with met expectations of success that lead to burnout, and microwave manifestation. [1:03:36]
  • Oblique Strategies: how Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt can help us reconsider perspective and possibly course correct. [1:17:00]
  • How has a failure set Dave up for later success — and how did he reframe this failure to recognize it as a runway to that success? [1:25:28]
  • What makes Dave doubt the choices that led him to where he is today? [1:32:10]
  • It’s been said by some of Dave’s most well-known students that he excels in teaching patience. Why might drums make this an easier feat than if he taught saxophone? [1:39:50]
  • What would Dave’s billboard say? [1:44:46]
  • If Bill Burr doesn’t approach comedy like Sam Kinison, why should he approach drumming like John Bonham? [1:48:11]
  • Does Dave have any unusual habits or love of weird things — Himalayan or otherwise? [1:50:29]
  • Dave didn’t begin therapy until he was in his thirties. What made him start, and what keeps him going? [1:52:31]
  • Dave has contributed to quite a few film scores. What does that process look like from his perspective? [2:02:38]
  • Book recommendations and final thoughts. [2:04:30]


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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18 Replies to “Dave Elitch — How to Get Out of Your Own Way (#348)”

  1. I’m extremely glad that this episode gave notice to Jimmy Chamberlin. The Jimmy Chamberlin Complex “”Life Begins Again” is still up there for my top albums so many years later.

  2. I was really enjoying this episode until I reached the end. With only 13 minutes left of the podcast, I lost all respect for both the interviewer and the interviewee.

    Please consider how insulting it is to the people who work hard for TSA to keep our flights safe when two people, Dave Elitch and Tim Ferris thoroughly insult them. Dave directly insults them with his words:

    “TSA employees drive me bananas. I travel a lot. A lot of them are totally incompetent. Going to anything where you have to deal with someone in that type of a job, you go wait, why would this person be competent. A competent person wouldn’t have this job in the first place so why am I expecting that to begin with, I’m setting myself up to get angry.”

    These words make Dave sound like an out-of-touch elitist. These people are working hard to pay their bills, buy food, and live their lives.

    Tim, you indirectly insult them by not editing this comment out of the podcast.

    These people work very hard to earn an honest living. I find it incredibly ignorant, especially for someone Tim calls “one of the most well-read people he knows” to degrade people who are working hard. I would HIGHLY recommend this so-called well-read guy to revisit The Four Agreements and to be a bit more impeccable with his word.

    The show notes include listings of every person mentioned. How was THIS comment that is so insulting left on the aired podcast?

    I would like to request that this part of the interview be removed from the show immediately.

    Thank you.

    1. great comment – agree 100 per cent. I was so shocked when Dave made the derogatory comments and very disappointed when Tim did not pull him up.

  3. Tim, Thank you so much for another amazing podcast! I feel you were very relaxed during this interview and it came through with your humour and the rapport you shared with Dave. I enjoyed this immensely, Thank you.

  4. I’m ashamed I had no clue who Dave was prior to this podcast. I am as far from a drummer as can be and this is exactly what I love about the show, Tim. 2 hours of listening in and learning from someone off the grid of my experience – loved it. Have just watched 52 mins of Dave drumming, cut & pasted the book recos to my Evernote list, and will re-read Open.

  5. Tim, in your discussion with Dave Elitch the films of Adam Curtis are discussed. I have copies of Adam’s complete film work that a friend at the BBC provided for me. If you like, I can provide you with a .zip file to download and view them. Eminently worth watching, and interesting views on society.

  6. My favorite interviews are the surprises when people I’ve admired for their talent completely (seemingly) unrelated to the podcast’s themes of personal development turn up and change my view of them for the better. Elitch’s contribution to the Mars Volta got me through tough times, and I had no idea you were involved with that scene in any way, Tim.

    Speaking of drum videos: [Moderator: very funny nyangostar 2017 drum video on YouTube removed.]

  7. This is one of my absolute favorite episodes. I loved all the great deep learning advice, the banter (as always), the book recommendations, and the obscure trivia. Thanks Tim and Dave!

  8. “Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve and from which he cannot escape.

  9. Here it is 4:30 in the morning and I’ve been up since 2 a.m. I listen to your entire talk with Dave and enjoyed it immensely while I worked on my guitar playing and did yoga and deep breathing. After the show I went through all the notes and the books and the people’s names that had been mentioned and I was really amazed at all the work that had been done and shared so freely with people like me!

    Oh, and I recommend the Natural Grocers location Guadalupe and 39th Street! See you there.

    Again, thanks for all you do, tribe of mentors, and everything else!

  10. The episode was great and pretty mind blowing. Thank you Dave for the recommendation of Edward Bernays. After reading Propaganda I read Crystallizing Public Opinion. Considered the decision passed down by the The Supreme Court’s Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling impacts on civil rights, and emphasis on free market it had me thinking. In your belief structure previously you relayed a concern about people being easily offended, and less resilient. I was interested based on Edward Bernays work if you have had any change in insight. It has been interesting in talking people who feel that strong in the free market ideals, but marginalize people who advocate LGBT, Minorities, Immigrants, Medical, or Psychological as easily offended, or snow flakes. Under the popular understanding of free market it seems like advocacy of allies is simply participation of the individuals values that they bring to the market. Marginalizing people as easily offended instead of participating in the discussion seems to be oppositional to a free market and those who prefer it over government regulation. Considering my current understanding of the reading and the political landscape I’ve just found this concept really interesting. It was a great episode and after all the works you have put out that I listened to or recommended I just really wanted to get your perspective. It’s been a very interest thought exercise to contribute to discussions I have had with people of opposing views.