June 21, 2014

Drumming to Boredom

It's been awhile since I've posted anything. A lot that I've wanted to write, just haven't gotten around to doing it. SO much going on right now. Depression of sorts has set in. Job search is miserable. You know the drill. But this isn't about that. It's about being bored.

For sometime now, I've been wanting to get another drum kit. What some people don't know about me is, I'm kind of an all around musician. Mediocre at best. But none the less. Growing up, I played the guitar and drums. When I got to college, I started playing with the keyboard. Dabbled with the bass, trumpet and flute.

Though, throughout high school, I mainly played guitar in the bands I was in. I was never really that good. I took the role of rhythm guitarist. Even back then, I couldn't get my fingers to move as fast as most to play lead.  Even with all of the hours of practice, they wouldn't co-operate.

Once I bought my drum set, I knew I had something that fit me like a glove. Besides, growing up, I was always drumming to music instead of playing air guitar.  It was a $400 5 piece set, bought at the same music store I bought everything else. So the owner gave me a deal. First song I learned was You Give Love A Bad Name...





It only took me a few hours to pick it up and I was happy. Then I started branching into other music. Though Hard Rock and Metal were my first choice of music, even back then, I listened to everything. So I broke out some of my moms cassette tapes and started learning some of the classic 50's and 60's like Woloy Bully, Louie Louie, That'll Be The Day and many more. Even took to some country at the time like Randy Travis, Travis Tritt and more.

Though my mom would sometimes complain about me playing so loud, she actually enjoyed it. Not long after all of this, a cousin of mine sold me his drum set. Another 5 piece set. So I combined the two to make a 9 piece set. Double bass, four rack toms, two floor toms and the snare. Two crash cymbals and two different side ride cymbals rounded out what would be my stress reliever and love for the next few years. Until college.

Now that I had the double bass, some friends and I started some weekend jam sessions, that eventually turned into the band Xonthodus, which you may have seen in some of my mock album cover art. We played everything from Metallica, Anthrax, Iron Maiden and Megadeth to a lot of our own stuff. Thing is, we never played clubs or dances. We just jammed and wrote and played because we liked to. I switched from playing guitar to playing the drums. And things took off. None of us really wanted to be mega superstar musicians. Though we always like to pretend we were out favorite artists, it was all fun and games.

Anyway, When I went off to college, I took my guitar, amp and drum set with me. After all, I was going to school for Music and Video Business. And I got to spend A LOT of time in the sound studio.

I would have the occasional jam session in my apartment, which sometimes the neighbors bitched. But it was all good. Class mates would come over and we would play for a few hours. One of my roommates was a DJ. So a friend brought over an extra small amp and we started mixing hip hop with metal in jam sessions. Some amazing work came out of those days. Sadly, we had no recording stuff in the apartment so it was as it was.

Fast forward to a semester off. After earning a little money during that time away from school, I got a call that morning I was to head back to school. They told me, I had to pay "X" amount of money before I could start class again. After the ensuing argument about the loans, etc, I called the music shop where i bought the drum set from originally. After about a 30 minute call with the owner, I took the original set I bought over and he gave me the full $400 back.

As my mom and I walked into our house after this, I just caught the phone. The lady on the other end of the phone was from the school. It seemed they made a mistake and I in fact did not owe any extra money. The look on my moms face when I went off on that lady. My vocabulary was that of a well seasoned sailor. And I'm honestly surprised they let me come back after that phone call.

It wasn't the fact that I just sold half my drum kit. But prior to leaving school for the semester, I had a conversation with a representative from Mercury Records. A very good friend, and soon to be roommate were being very creative in the sound studio one weekend during graduation for previous groups. The rep who had picked up talent before from the school was standing in the studio booth while my friend and I were in the studio itself using the schools drum set, keyboard, my guitar and a portable 16 track recorder.

We did not know anyone was in the main room, as we left the lights in there off. He had been watching us apparently for about an hour. It wasn't until my friend went in to get something, I forget what it was, that the rep came into the studio with us.  He stated he was impressed with what we were doing.  To us, we were just messing around. The sound was more along the lines of Danzig meets NIN, with a lot of strings in the background for a heavy melodic gothic sound.

After about a 30 minute discussion and some input and re-recording of  a few sections, he had offered us an opportunity for what he called a developmental contract. Basically it was to record a few songs that he could pitch as filler music in clubs. The amount wasn't a lot, but as college kids, you're always broke as hell. We had never heard of anything like this, especially since our teachers had worked in the music industry for years. And our one teacher was the current manager of the band Rusted Root, which he eventual sold the contract to Mercury Records.

According to the rep, there was a thing that Mercury had with some of it's artist. When they played gig's or events, sometimes they would take other label artists and play their music between sets, prior to the show or after the show. And he thought that the two of us were doing something amazing.

However, with me taking the upcoming semester off, we did not want to agree to anything until I came back. Much less sign anything. And I am soooo glad we did that.

Seeing how I had sold the drum kit, It really left me with a hole in my heart. When I got back to school, my friend and new roommate showed up the next day, I had told him what had happened. He was a little pissed. Not because of what we we're going to loose out on. But because of the mistake by the school.

It was that time, that I lost my love of playing music. Shortly after, I ended up selling off my amp stack, both my guitars, my effects and the other half of the drum kit. I just couldn't play anymore.

Fast forward to now. I so want another kit. I find myself everyday, drumming the beats to all my music. I want the feel of pounding the skins again. The feel of loosing myself in fluid movement. The escape of the everyday stress.

But no money, no space, ugh!!!! Was looking at electronic kits. But those seems to be more expensive than an analog kit. But in the end, one day, I am hoping to once again own a 9-10 piece Pearl White drum kit with full rack.




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