I started playing the drums when I was in 2nd grade, so it is somewhat natural to me when I get around to it. It’s been a number of years since I picked it up again, although it still feels like I am returning from a LONG absence.
I play Jazz a lot and used to sit in on a local jam session, but I also like to play more popular forms. Some guys I know have put together a cover band, have been playing together for a few years and have gotten pretty good. After some time and much deliberation they have settled on the name Carlos Danger, and though I didn’t like the name at first, it has grown on me and I hope they never change it.
A founding member and the solid foundation of this band is their drummer, so no room for me on the traps, but I’ve jammed with them on a number of occasions crashing their rehearsals with my conga drum. They have been recruiting me to actually join the band, but because I always say, “yeah, I’d like to do it, sounds good, maybe so,” and never show up, they found some other caucasion.
But this other guy couldn’t make if for their gig yesterday at the pig roast (not kidding) and so they asked me if I would sub.
I did. They pulled me away from another party to rehearse with them for 4 hours Saturday night, on the other guy’s drums. As has been typical they had to twist my arm. “I haven’t been practicing,” I said.
“So practice at the rehearsal,” they said.
Turns out they were right about everything. I would not have practiced that hard at home. And though I really didn’t want to leave that party (everyone brought a growler full of beer), after we played a couple of tunes I was like, “who would rather be at a growler party? I mean, we’re making music.”
Plus this guy’s drums are better than the 35 year old skin I own and easier to play too. I smacked the shit out of them for 4 hours straight. And then with sore hands I had to play the gig the next day. I was worried about that, but, you know, play in pain. A little more beer helped.
I didn’t learn how to play hand drums in second grade, I started with sticks, began learning the drum set in seventh, and hand drums not until high school, and it still wasn’t my forte, but I learned from the best. And even though I don’t play all the time, their influence has stayed with me and I can call upon it when I need it. Thank you to Don Babatunde Eaton, Edwina Lee Tyler, Rudy Bird and Ivan Hampden, Jr.
I think I did damn well, and I’m usually pretty critical of myself (the band sounded good too). There’s always room to improve, and I took some risks for sure, but the crowd and the band’s feedback was positive. Now the only problem is they already have a conga player, but can a band really have too many percussionists? I don’t think so.