Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Drummer in the dark
Dear Marc, did you ever play an instrument? Did you ever play in a band? Perhaps you were a spoiled kid like I was. Perhaps you also had a trampoline, a knitting machine and a drumset in your room as a teenager? There was no reason to ever leave home.
But finally, I did and moved to Ohio. I left the trampoline and knitting machine behind, but brought my poor drumming skills with me. I loved playing the drums. So much fun and even better when nothing's fun. I know no better anger management than taking it out on the skins.
I was not a great drummer. No one ever told me there are muscles involved in drumming. To keep a steady bass drum beat, you need strong muscles on the back of your shin bones. I don't know the name of that muscle. I doubt I even have that muscle.
Back home in Stockholm, I had formed a band with my friends. We were The Femmes Pickadolls. We were 17 and dressed in wife beaters, our hair greased to perfection. Our singer, Mona Monroe, was a genius at writing lyrics. Too bad the drumming skills of Emi Gun made all our songs vary in tempo. As soon as lactic acid hit below the knee, our music began to drag.
I worked out to strengthen my poor muscles. I looked for a lady drum pedal. Nothing worked. In Ohio, I took drumming classes to improve my beats.
Aside from the muscle secret, there's another thing no one ever tells you about drumming. You look like an idiot when playing the drums. The double, yet individual motion of hands and feet has an interesting effect on the face. The eyes stare, nostrils flare and the mouth is left wide open. Sometimes, the holy drool of effort seeps out of the corner of your mouth. Meanwhile, sweat drips down all over your body, especially if you're on stage, where you're the only one who can't move away from the bright lights.
Back in Ohio, I kept drumming. And like college students often do, I fell in love. He was 20, and looked lovely with his dark hair, baggy pants and worn hat with white accents that may very well have been bird droppings. He was that kind of the lazy kind.
He heard about the drumming. He wanted to see it for himself. I was weak in the knees. Couldn't say no to his request, but at the same time, I found it impossible to let him see my cretinous look.
And this is how I know that two young people met up in a small rehearsal room in Ohio in early 1992. The girl then promised to play the drums for the boy if he turned out the lights. And he did and I played, cause I am the drummer in the dark.
Thinking back, this may very well be one of my life's most scary, nervous and romantic moments. Since it was so dark, I had no way of finding out if he shared my sentiment. Later on, it was obvious that he did not. But at least I knew that it wasn't my drum face that spoiled my chances.
It is my fate in life to woo the unwooable.
ps. That picture is from drumbum. They have greeting cards for all the drummers in your life.