I’ve been around music for as long as I can remember. My parents always insisted that I be involved at church (which was very good for my character all around) and my first memories of music are being a member of the children’s choir. We of course sang at every available opportunity, so often that I can hardly remember a single performance – just fleeting images and flashes of moments at practices and costumes and smiles. Oh, and I can recite the 50 states in alphabetical order – like lightning. It was a song we did. My grandmother was also a huge part of my young life and she could sing her ass off.
When I got a little older I took up the saxophone and played in both school and church. In high school I ended up falling into a $200 drum set and decided to start playing. Finally. As a child, I’d already damn near ruined my bed from beating it to death with anything I could find that even remotely resembled a drumstick. Mostly to Phil Collins (No Jacket Required), which is actually a point of pride. Even as a child I could distinguish a good drummer from the humdrum. For a time I was also caretaker of a very special piano and took lessons for some years.
As is the way of the world I went girl crazy from as early as twelve to _____ (future edit). Any drummer in any band will tell you that he really wants to be the guitar player. Why? Well, because after the show they talk to girls while you pack up your drums. So, eventually, I took that up too. Oh – and it worked, by the by. Girls eat that shit up*.
Once upon a time I frequented karaoke at a bar on the south-side with a regular group. I’d been going regularly for a few months and through some delightfully youthful twist of fate had managed to get friendly with this knockout girl through a friend of mine. On this particular evening, she was there with me for my birthday. It was early and the room was empty save a small gathering of my closest friends. I was on top of the world. As karaoke got started I decided that I’d finally try singing a song after many months of lurking in the audience. I sang “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Aside from an awkward beginning I think it went pretty well. When I got back to my seat, I asked this girl “How’d it go?” and she said “It was good – really good, actually”. That’s it, that was the whole compliment, but I’ll never ever forget it. It was honest and I could tell. I’d tell you why, but that’s another story. You’ll have to trust me.
SO.. now I was singing. That confidence boost was exactly what I needed, I guess. Soon enough I learned about my grandfather Robert and heard some ancient cassettes of his singing, then learned about his sons and how well they sing – one of which being my father – and now me. Life. Circles. Existentialism. Magic.
These days I find myself involved in almost too many musical endeavors to keep track of. I’ll never forget, though, where it all comes from. I have a third symphony left in me somewhere. I can’t wait.
* “Wow, what? Wait.. a footnote? Awesome!” Yeah man I think so too. Listen, I got into a serious aside earlier while I was writing this and decided that I really needed to get it out of the middle of the post. Conversely, though, I didn’t think I could let it go undocumented. ONE time – just ONCE in my whole life – I was packing up my drums after a show and this girl, my age, walked up to me. She got my attention and explained that her friend, who was too embarrassed to come up, thought I was “hot” and wanted me to come back and “say hello”. Of course I was seeing someone at the time, which is exactly what I had to tell the friend of the only girl I ever won over at a show, but still – it DOES happen for the drummer sometimes. One time. Sometimes.