Ah Drummers......

   My Band has been looking for a competent drummer for about 4 or 5 years now.  It seems almost impossible to find a dude or lady that can "play for the song" like my good pal Ringo.  If you ever hear a drummer talking trash on Ringos skills, sit them on the ground with their legs spread (gym class stretching style) and smash the shit out of their nuts with their stupid double kick pedal.  Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to recap some of the whackos(just another synonym for "drummers") that my bandmates and I have encountered over the years.  Thank you Craigslist.

Barney, a 55 year old hippie with a long white pony tail and a voice exactly like Chong.  He is what is commonly referred to as a "burn out".  The secret to enjoying a band practice with Barney was to get super duper stoned.  As you can imagine, Barney loved to "jam".  No matter how a song started off, it would eventually evolve into some weird, disjointed Captain Beefhearty jazz-reggae skiffle.  I'm okay with that to a certain extent, but Barney did not know when to quit.  No matter how many signals you gave him(direct eye contact, yelling) he just did not understand that the song was over.  We would all put our instruments down and walk in to the kitchen to grab a beer and Barney would still be playing the same song.  When he would finally stop playing and join us in the kitchen, he would ask in his crazy Chong voice: "what key was that in, man?"  One night while enjoying some salsa and chips with the band, we noticed that Barney was spitting the corn kernels back into the salsa bowl.  "I don't like corn" Barney informed us.  I guess in whatever strange land that Barney is from, people don't mind eating foods that have been in the mouths of other weirdo hippies.  We soon decided that Barney was not a good fit for our little group, so we did what any other cowards in our situation would do.  We ignored his calls and hoped he would get the hint.  It took a long time for him to figure it out, but eventually the Barney bridge was burned.

Jenny was a 24 year old lady with a wonderful New Jersey accent and a penchant for saying "youz".  She was slightly mysterious.  She was never very specific with where she lived or where she worked, and she informed us that she had married a guy in England when she was 19 but was now divorced and living back in the states.  She also had some problems with hair loss.  I'm not making fun of that, I'm just painting a picture.  She "auditioned" for us on our little "band" drum kit(just a kick snare and high hat), and was actually pretty good.  Not too flashy and she could keep a beat.  When we asked her to come to another practice, she agreed and informed us "Next time I'll bring my electronic drum kit."  We politely tried to discourage this, but she insisted.  So Jenny showed up at the next practice with not one, but two disappointments.  Along with the electronic drum kit, Jenny decided to bring a friend.  I can't remember his name, but he looked like a criminal.  It turns out he was.  After some polite chatter he told us that he had recently been released from jail.  "Some theft bullshit..." he mumbled.  He didn't do it of course.  Anyway, the practice was very strange.  We plugged away at our songs with the annoying blips of the electronic drum set backing us as the ex-con sat on the couch and watched.  At this point I should mention that my other two band mates are married and we usually play at their house.  They tried their best to act like their wasn't a criminal in their living room checking out their laptop and television.  My favorite part of the practice was when Mr. Jailbird asked us for something to write on.  He furiously jotted into a notebook as we played and then handed us the results.  "As I was listening to youz play, these lyrics popped into my head...."  I can't even explain how awful and embarrassing those lyrics were.  The title was "Planet You".  "Yeah, maybe we'll use these some day"  I responded.  Our singer/guitar player Luke framed the lyrics and gave it to me for Christmas.  If I get the chance, I'll post "Planet You" on here for all to see.  The practice ended with Jenny showing us her drumming "routine" that she'd been working on with her electronic kit.  It was basically her playing along to some weird salsa sequence and us pretending like we were enjoying it.  Then she picked up my guitar and began playing "Glycerine" by Bush.  As you could have guessed, things didn't work out with drummer Jenny.  

James was a nice fella that I used to work with.  We used to talk about music and we liked some of the same stuff.  James' downfall was that he really liked "math rock" and "math metal" which to me translates to "annoying shit".  He was a guitar player, but he told me he "could keep a beat" on the drums.  James is a really fun dude to hang around with, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try him out on the drums.  Another huge disappointment.  It turns out James couldn't understand how to play in 4/4 time.  If you don't know what that means, just imagine any song you've ever heard that you could clap along to.  It's the simplest of rhythms.  THE BASIS OF ALL ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC!!!!!!   He kept trying to slip away into strange time signatures that had nothing to do with the songs.  All that shit ass "math rock" has fucked up his sense of rhythm.  Since James was working along side of me every day, I had to awkwardly tell him that he wasn't a good fit.  He's a nice guy, so he understood.

Matt was our most recent drummer.  Like most of the others, we found him on Craigslist.  This time, to weed out all of the people that would waste our time, we were very specific with our ad.  He liked most of the "influences" we put in our ad and he really liked the song samples we sent him.  In his email he wrote that his favorite drummers were Moe Tucker, Levon Helm and Charlie Watts.  All no-nonsense drummers, right up our alley.  Absolutely perfect.  Another guitar player that "can keep a beat", we gave him a try and he kind of stunk but he was keeping up with us, and he had a great sense of humor.  The personality was a big part of why we kept him around.  If you're gonna play music with people, you gotta get along with them and enjoy their company.  We figured that Matt would improve after awhile, but after 6 months he didn't get any better.  In fact, his drumming really started to annoy me.  He was always smashing the cymbals at innappropriate times and he could never take any criticisms.  "Can we try it like this?" I'd ask.  "Sure..." Matt would reply, and then proceed to play the song the exact same crappy way he'd played it before.  There was no "groove" in Matt's drumming.  In fact, he had none of the qualities of the drummers he had name checked in his email.  Matt became obsessed with getting us shows to play.  He would always ask "when are we gonna play our first show?".  No one had the heart to tell him that we couldn't play in front of people because he was a shitty drummer.  Not a shitty drummer in a charming Half Japanese or Beat Happening kind of way, just a flat out annoying headache inducing crap ass drummer.  He doesn't know he's out of the band yet, but we've avoided contact with him for several weeks now.  It's the noble thing to do.

Why is it so hard to find a like-minded, non-douche to man the skins?  Not sure, but we will continue our search, and some day, maybe we'll get to play our songs in front of an actual crowd. 

I will close with a few drummer jokes that I like:

• How do you tell if the stage is level?
    The drummer is drooling from both sides of his mouth.

 • How can you tell a drummer's at the door?
 The knocking speeds up.

 • What's the last thing a drummer says in a band?
 "Hey guys, why don't we try one of my songs?

 • What do you call a drummer that breaks up with his girlfriend?

What do Ginger Baker and black coffee have in common?
 They both suck without Cream.

 • How many drummers does it take to change a light bulb?
 Five: One to screw the bulb in, and four to talk about how much better
 Neil Peart coulda done it.


Mamma's B-Day

The pressure is on.  The wife's birthday is this Friday and I gotta do something special.  My mom has agreed to watch the small child.  Kate and I will have several hours of freedom, but I'm not sure how to spend it.  Should I make it swanky?  Maybe a restaurant that requires me to comb my hair and wear a shirt with buttons on it.  "I'll have the lemon-grass salmon....".  To be truthful, I'd kind of like to do the complete opposite of that.  I wanna eat chili dogs and then fornicate in the woods.  We need some serious unwinding time, and I don't think a wine list and bathroom attendant are gonna get the job done. 
  • Current Music
    Lee Hazlewood - Love and Other Crimes

Look at this Handsome Devil!!!!!

Mr. Walter Joseph Benedict finally graced us with his presence on April 20th.  The poor kid couldn't come on April 19th or 21st.  I don't know how many times I've been reminded by my dopey friends: "Dude, 4-20!!!".  Actually, the little fella didn't seem to want to come out of his mother's glorious uterus at all.  Kate labored for almost two whole days and the dude's head did not want to squeeze past her pelvic bone.  Kate decided to labor naturally with no drugs for pain(many of the drugs administered during births get into the babies system), so she was in a world of hurt, especially when they tried to pull my stubborn son out with the ol' vaccuum.  They call it a vaccuum, but to me it just looked like a suction cup with a string attached to it.  The vaccuum popped off of Walt's head no less than 5 times, spraying blood all over the doctor and myself.  Somewhere around the 3rd pop-off, the doctor decided to give Kate an episiotomy(if you don't know what that is, look it up, it is awful).  Kate was incredible throughout this whole frustrating and ridiculously painful ordeal.  She is Rambo!  Even though she was absolutely terrified, she held it together when they whisked her away for the dreaded C-Section!!!!!  That was a kick in the balls.  Kate and I had thoroughly researched and prepared for our natural birth.  We took 9 weeks of birthing classes. We knew all of the medical terminology and stages of labor.  We practiced the birthing positions and pain management techniques.  We knew what the doctors where going to say before they said it.  To see all of Kate's hard work lead to her laying on a cold operating table with her intestines removed really hit us both very hard.  I tried to stay strong as the "birthing coach", but I ended up bawling uncontrollably as they led me into the operating room.  My surgical mask filled with snot and tears.  I held my sweet darling's hand as they pulled Walter out.  I struggled to hold my digital camera still and snap a shot of his first breaths, but the shit-ass batteries were dead!!!  That's okay though, there's no way I will ever forget the first time I layed eyes on the kiddo.  I watched over Momma and the sweet little baby child as they recovered in the hospital for about 3 days.  The nurses were awesome, they let me sleep in the hospital bed next to Kate's.  It was like staying in a super-sterile hotel room with maids that come in throughout the night and give your wife medicine and bandages.  Walt stayed in the room with us, so we were able to kick-start our family life right away. 

We had a super-duper home coming.  It was great to be out of the hospital and our family and friends began stopping by to see the young lad.  Everyone is smitten!!!  We get calls all the time now: "uhh, you mind if I stop by for a little while?"  They can't stay away.  I don't blame them.  Best baby ever.  I don't know who I have to call about that, but I'm pretty sure it can be proven.  He's my current favorite comedian.  This kid makes me laugh with just his crazy faces.  He's like Jim Carey, if Jim Carey was funny.  His primitive comedy stylings are a breath of fresh air.  Anyway, this is getting a little long winded, so let me just say that my sweet wife went through the most traumatic event in her life for our little family and there is no better reward than Mr. Walter Benedict.  I suppose I should buy her a cadillac or something, but let's count Walter as the official reward for right now.  Love you Kay!
  • Current Music
    Tall Dwarfs- Weeville