I miss the banging.

I’ve played drums really since I was in like 7th grade, maybe earlier – my parents can confirm this. It’s been a long time none the less.

I haven’t had a drum kit in 10 years.

When I decided to move to Canada to be with my now wife, Lyn, I sold my kit in the States ’cause it seemed like too much work to try and ship/move it. I was kind of caught up in the whole ‘pack up and leave on a new adventure thing’ and I like to pack light.

I remember at the time thinking, ‘I’ll pick up a cheap used kit up there.’

Well, it’s 10 years down the road now (My God, has it really been that long?) and I’ve laid my hands on actual drums twice.

I played 2 songs with the band at my wedding (Rocky Mountain Way, by the Eagles, and Cocaine, by Eric Clapton) and everone was stunned, as most my family didn’t even know I played. Oh and damn, them are some romantic wedding type songs too, ain’t they?

One other time, I rented a kit and jammed one night with my boy Tyler in Nova Scotia. It was an awesome experience and he and I still talk to this day about recording togehter, though I don’t know when it will happen – more my problem, not his.

Life, kids, job, finances have all consipred to keep me from the kit. Not to say at all that I blame any of them, because please understand that I don’t at all, but from time to time I catch myself air drumming to something and realling missing that ‘feel’. It’s an amazing thing.

I miss banging on the drums. I miss the primalness of it. I miss making music.

I always said that I wanted my kids to grow up in a musical household and while I’ve done my best (Julia’s favorite records are currently Jack Johnson and James Blunt, but she also digs some David Bowie) there’s no musical intruments in the house at all. I’ve thought about taking up guitar from time to time as I’d like to be able to play an isntrument like that. Something you can write on. Something that when played unaccompanied, with just a vocal – can stop time and transcend it – right there, with no amplification no anything, simply bare. Chilling. I still come back to the drums though, as it’s what I’m already proficient at. I could start guitar, but I’d be starting at ground zero. With drums I’ve already got a start. I don’t really know if I’m a ‘good’ drummer or not. I understand the instrument. I’ve got good ‘feel’. I’ve been told I’m good.

Bottom line is, there’s been times when I’ve been with other musicians playing and we’ve ‘locked in’ – I know it sounds cliche, but the musicians out there will know what I’m talking about – it’s a transcendental moment.

I’ve worked with and for rock bands and partied with some fairly big one’s but it’s never really been my ambiiton to be a super star. What I really find amazing is playing in a small room to 50 people, and there’s that moment, when the whole band clicks, and the whole audience is in, and every one takes off on that trip. No one knows where it’s going, but it’s only good, and for that few minutes, only that room exists, and only that sound, and only that singluar conciousness.

I miss that.

And I miss banging on things and making a load of noise.

I miss the ‘pocket’.

The Groove.

Manufactured creativity.

You know, I’m white. I can’t dance. I admit it. Oh, I like to flail around when I am by myself, but not in public, people would probably call 911 or something for fear that I was having a seizure. What’s my point? None, really, other than that I can’t dance. I guess that I like to listen to music that maybe really wouldn’t be considered dance music. Some of it you might ‘sway’ to, or ‘rock’ to, or even ‘put your fist through a wall’ to. I like a lot of different styles of music from reggae to thrash metal, in fact I really hate to apply ‘genres’ to this music because I pretty much can find something of merit in it all. Most of it anyway.

I can appreciate an individual, or group of individuals making an effort to write a song and play it to the best of their ability and take enjoyment in sharing that song with other, usually like minded, individuals. That’s pretty much what it’s all about.

I know, I know, you’re asking about my point again. Well, let me say a few things. Backstreet Boys. N’Sync. Now, before you dismiss my little discourse here as a wanton berating of said groups, read on. I am simultaneously in awe and loathing of said fellas and their music. I mean, you have to respect that they work their asses of learning all these moves, keeping in shape, singing and keeping up the touring and appearance schedules that they do. I am in constant amazement of the finely oiled marketing machines at work behind these and other similar groups. If you give them nothing else, at least acknowledge that they are clocking much bank. I’m sure that they’re nice guys too, and that they love their moms and don’t drink anything much stronger than lime kool-aid. It’s a good image, it’s good for the kids. Well I wonder.

Are we trying to raise a bunch of mindless savants that only listen and enjoy what we as a society have fabricated and force fed them? I mean does it even matter what the real story is? Maybe all the Backstreet Boys are actually ex-cons that got a liberty pass if they agreed to keep their noses clean, learn to hit a high C note, electric slide and told kids to stay in school. Has anybody thought about who they really are? Does anybody really care? Now I know that some of them actually do play instruments (although I wonder with what proficiency), but do they write these hit songs they sing? Do they choreograph the moves they make? Do they determine which markets the cd will be available in on which dates and for how much? In short, do they do much more than anything other than do what they’re told?

I can see the backlash coming from supporters already. Sure they do, they write songs they play instruments, they are involved in the business side of the biz. Sure they are, NOW. Once it gives them credibility, but when they started, they were just punk kids, like all the others that wanted to be stars. Somebody somewhere (Big Brother Management Co.) took advantage of that and molded them into prepubescent winning lottery tickets. for the most part, when it all goes down, they sound alot to me like, well, pawns.

I don’t know if I really want my kids worshiping some older kid who is just out making an idiot of himself without so much of a though of what it all means. These guys aren’t musicians, they are entertainers. While it’s not a bad thing, let’s not lump them in with the likes of the people who actually put meaning into their music by writing and/or playing their songs because they are expressions of themselves. Songs and music that asks you to listen to it and think, form an opinion, be it a good one or bad one. Let’s remind ourselves that music originated as a way to entertain, yes, but also, and more importantly as a way to tell stories and evoke emotions. I think we should re-introduce people to the likes of jazz, blues, the roots of rock ‘n roll in all it’s forms – even classical music (egad!). Even the Backstreet Boys and the like have roots in all this. We cannot loose our taste for or willingness to share music that is actually played and composed as opposed to programmed and mass produced.

But hey, that’s just my opinion, and If you disagree, well, you’re wrong. I’m outta here. I gotta go get my new Jordan Knight record autographed at the Super-Huge-Mega-CD-Store-that-only-sells-albums-from-the-past-year-and-a-half. That’s it retailers, don’t take a risk and actually go out on a limb and stock some older stuff for kids to discover, or God forbid throw in a record that wasn’t distributed by a company that has less than 23 floors of office space.