[Your blog host 1986]
Today’s post isn’t the usual here at Off Beat. It is not a historical piece, or an exercise, or a video. It is a declaration, from the heart, about why I love this instrument that has had such an impact on my life. I am posting this in hopes that you will be able to relate and share your own experiences in the Comments section of my blog below. The goal is to share our collective stories. I first took up the drums in junior high school. After a year of drum lessons I got my first kit, a gorgeous white Pearl Export series that I wish I had kept to this very day.
Soon after I got involved in my school’s music program and over the years played drums in the choir, symphonic, stage, drum line, and percussion ensemble. I also played in a couple garage bands and competed in Nashville TN with the marching band. This was followed by performing at the Mellon Jazz Festival and with the PITT Panther college drum line. I was also named co-captain my senior year of high school. As I grew into adult hood I became a writer for two major drum magazines, penned a best-selling instructional drum book and became friends with many drummers at every level. I share these accomplishments not to brag but to explain how drums have affected my life in such a positive way.
I love everything about the drums. From cleaning and setting up my gear in a series of never-ending configurations – to tuning and experimenting with different heads and accoutrements. I pride myself on maintaining my equipment and having a set-up that is original. “Traditional” doesn’t work for me so my drums are oddly arranged. I love the fact that I have a custom wrap that makes my drum’s appearance unlike any other’s and am grateful to work with endorsement companies who believe in me just as much as I believe in them. Having my own signature stick is a blessing beyond compare. I am also thankful for all of the drummers, professional and amateur, who have inspired me to become better.
Playing-wise, I love performing, practicing and shooting videos (albeit phone quality) which have resulted in both good and bad feedback. I love my practice pad. I love rudiments, my favorite being the paradiddle, and the challenges that come with learning sticking techniques. My strive to become the best drummer that I can be, not the unrealistic and ego-driven desire to be THE best, has enabled me to maintain the fun of the instrument. As it is not my full-time vocation I have the luxury of walking away for a while if I become frustrated or uninspired. The instrument waits for me to return and is always there. There is no feeling better to a drummer than to lock into the pocket and become one with their instrument. I for one will never stop seeking that feeling and looking for the next groove.