On yesterday’s entry, I meant to say crash cymbals, not hi-hats.
If I knew my way around a drum kit, I would have known that, I imagine.
I feel a little ridiculous admitting this (maybe admitting it again, as I may have already mentioned this before) but I like drums. I mean, I really really like drums. And when I had to go take my piano lessons when I was six and seven, I really envied the kid who was learning how to play drums.
It was loud.
It was obnoxious.
It was big– somehow it seemed bigger than the piano.
No, no melody. No, no delicate hand-over-hand changes and no arpeggios and no way to hide your lack of dedication behind some really kick-ass-sounding scale exercises.
But oh, to be allowed to play the drums. I was envious. I wanted it.
And then, just as promptly, I guess I forgot about it– or I just never really thought that I could and that was it.
Why is it that the drummer’s stereotype seems to be this loser guy who doesn’t bathe and can’t keep a roof over his own head? Or maybe just the guy in the band who is not talented enough to do anything other than beating some primeval buckets taut with some animal skins and unleash his aggressions on them in the background–hopefully while the talented guitarist and the brooding bassist and the charismatic frontman drown him out.
After all, Animal was the drummer, wasn’t he?
It seems incongruous to me. The beat is, after all, the backbone of an orchestrated song– the glue that tells everyone when they should come in.
It’s also primitive, yes, but in the best sense possible: percussion is our first form of communication. Tapping hands and toes and clapping and banging things on things, it might be the realm of babies; but when it’s refined and practiced and honed to its finest expression it can be Neil Peart.
Percussion is natural, seductive, brilliant, violent– it’s like sex and laughter and walking and like brushing your teeth.
Why didn’t I realize that I needed more drums in my life sooner? I finally get it: it really is all about MORE COWBELL! COWBELL IS GOOD!
1. I’m thinking I need to learn how to play the drums. Maybe that will be my Weird-Ass Resolution For 2008.
2. My favorite carol is "Sleigh Ride"— even if most versions sound utterly cheesy. I tried finding a good version and couldn’t– and when the better version is the one by Alvin and the Chipmunks, you know you’ve hit rock bottom. But anyway: reason?
That sweet yet vaguely PG-13 whip, people. Find yourselves a good version and listen. And feel a little naughty around 1:07 (and 1:11, 1:24, and 1:28.. and 2:11… ooh… 2:12… and 2:47!) in the Boston Pops version I’m listening to right now.