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Beat it like you mean it!

Drums

If I remember right, it was 1993 and to this day I can still remember the first time I saw a real drummer play in a live band. The only live music I got at the time was when I went to church with my parents, but drums were never apart of the arrangement. I was around 13 years old at the time and had been playing piano for a good year or so before I was told by my mother I should attend church camp. I thought, “Great everyone there is going to be telling me how much Jesus loves me!” So I told her, “No Thanks!”
Being that I was forced by my mother to attend church every Sunday and some Wednesdays I found church to be a very unpleasant experience and wanted to seek out my own religious beliefs. However, that did not fly well with my mother and to make a long story short, I found myself on a bus headed towards church camp.
One afternoon, while attending camp on my way to the cafeteria I could hear live music playing. It was just guitars and maybe a keyboard playing but being that I had just started playing piano, in which I am still learning to this day, I thought I would stop by and check it out. After showing up it was maybe 15 to 20 minutes after being there that the band’s drummer showed up. Finally, I thought after all those nights of playing my keyboard to a drum beat that only came from my keyboard; this was going to be awesome!
I had been sitting at the drum kit acting as if I knew how to play when their drummer came up to me and said, “Move it kid, let me show you how it’s done.” At first he seemed kind of rude, but after he began to play with his band I was consumed with an emotion I had never felt before!
With guitar and piano there was such little movement, but with drums it was very different. I thought, he’s betting his drums to death and it still sounds great with everything else; incredible! Needless to say, I was blown away! Watching the cymbals being hit as they continued to move with intensity even after moving back to hitting the snare drum, to the hi-hat, and all at the same time, I could feel the bass drum hitting me in the chest! To say the least, it was magical for me at that time in my life and I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget the moment, when I knew right then and there I was going to be a drummer no matter what it took!
Once I returned home I began gathering boxes of different sizes and used lids from pans for cymbals. I would spend hours out in my garage hitting those boxes as if they were a real drum kit trying to relive that moment from church camp. I’m pretty sure at one point my grandmother started to think I might have been going crazy, but I was inspired and ready to take on the roll of being a drummer in a band. After a year or so, at the age of 15 I felt it was time to buy my own drum kit. Since my parents weren’t big on the idea of a noisy drum kit in the house I had to apply for a job to get my own kit and hope I would get hired.
I had no job skills and was only 15, but I just had to have a drum kit of my own. So, I filled out a ton of applications and walked all over town. Keep in mind this was 1995. Having the web to find a job was not much of an option at the time. You had to actually go out on foot and make it happen but, to make a long story short believe it or not, I was able to land a job as a dishwasher at a restaurant near my house which was, maybe about a 20 minute walk.
For the rest of that winter I washed dishes and showed up to work on time and yes, you heard right. A musician like myself showing up to a place on time! Can you believe it? Hard to imagine I know, but I did it until I could afford to buy my very own set of drums. The job sucked, but I knew it would be well worth it because all I could think about was jamming out in my garage on my new drum kit.
I’ll never forget the day I finally got it! It was a red CB700 and when I played it all I could think about was how much better it sounded than those boxes I had played on for the last year or so.
I played that kit so much one night my neighbor came over drunk, busted through my garage door, picked up my brand new set of drums as I’m playing them, and threw it across my garage! I just sat there in shock with my drums no longer in front of me looking at this mad man like, Wow this guy has totally lost it, looked over at my kit and believe it or not that kit held together ready to rock for another day.
After almost wetting my pants and being only like 15 at the time, this crazy big man was in a rage! After he threw my drum kit he started yelling at me going on about how he had to work in the morning, on and on and on…. After sometime he even started talking about his wife and all at the same time all I could think about was, praying to God, “please don’t let this big crazy over grown man try and kill me!” As he was yelling at me I started working up the nerve to make a run for my dad’s shotgun that he had left behind his tool box after cleaning it from a weekend of hunting duck. He always liked leaving it loaded with one in the chamber and the safety on and now I know why, but just a little FYI, if you have kids in your house that have never shot a gun and know nothing about them, I don’t recommend leaving a loaded gun in your house. For me growing up I was taught about guns at a very young age, and that if someone is to break into your house with the intent of causing you harm, you are to use lethal force with whatever means necessary.
I could feel the rush going through my body like water was rushing through my veins. I could almost hear that 12 gauge Remington calling out to me as if it knew I was in danger, and all I had to do was flip that safety off, aim, and fire. I had only shot it outdoors for practice and hunting, but never at a person. However, at the time this man was more of a monster, and I wasn’t about to let this guy come into my garage and have his way with me. Especially after picking up my brand new drum kit and throwing it across my garage! Ya know you just don’t mess with another man’s drum kit. That’s just something you don’t do! I was in love with that drum kit at the time and worked really hard for it, but for what it’s worth he finally left and thank God he did, and just for the record, looking back on all that I’m thankful no one got hurt.
Shortly after I ran inside my house and had my uncle call the cops. They never found the guy, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t going to be coming back. After I went over to his house with the local sheriff and explained to him what had happened. That night I realized if I am going to practice live music I need to have high quality soundboards on the walls to keep the sound from going out and in return, keep out big crazy over grown monsters from coming in that may in fact try to kill me!
This was the first time as a musician I had thought about just sound by itself and not just music, but the sound from music as a hole. I think this was also the first step I took into a world I now know called, audio engineering, which I’ll find myself doing years down the road in order to record my songs.
It wasn’t long after buying a drum kit of my own I had felt as if I had some kind of identity at school. Once discovering I had a true passion for playing drums, I found some friends that felt the same way I did in relation to playing live music. They had been looking at getting a band going for some time and needed a drummer. Being that I was their only option at the time and had my own PA and practice space, they felt I would be a good fit for their band.
I remember them having me listen to bands like Greenday, Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots, Live, Tool, Nirvana, Perl Jam, Soundgarden, and so many other bands form the 90’s and all I could think was how much better all of it sounded compared to all the folk church music I had been playing my drums to. Not that I don’t like folk music or anything. I just had never really heard rock music before and thought it was amazing! After about a year or so of being in the band I started to take an interest in songwriting and realized I would need to learn how to play guitar if I were to write songs of my own.
I was 16 at the time and the year was 1996. After listing to the album “Nirvana unplugged in New York”, I fell in love with music all over again. Shortly after hearing that album I found a common interest in the acoustic. I remember learning how to play “Come As You Are” by Nirvana and thinking how easy it was to play. Then I thought, ya know if Kurt Cobain can do it so can I. After all, I think I learned how to play that song in under an hour or so and on top of all that I loved Nirvana. To this day I still see them as one of the best acts coming out of the 90’s.
I remember getting home from school and all I could think about was going out to my garage to smoke weed and play guitar! It wasn’t long after until I found myself singing and playing guitar in the very same band I had been playing drums in. Did I suck as a writer you ask? You bet I did, but I didn’t care because I was having a blast and I could see the progress! Also, for once I had a little more say in the band in regards to what direction we would take.
We must have played together for a good seven years or so, kicking one another out of the band over and over only to get back together again until we all pretty much hated one another, but still nevertheless loved our music. Looking back I realize if it weren’t for those seven years, songwriting for me may not exist as of today. I guess after sometime you do it for so long that it really is all you ever think about and everything else you do in life is only there to support the next song.
In a way it’s somewhat sad considering the sacrifice that is involved. All for the next song in which I love, but at the same time I can honestly say your life becomes all about you and your music, leaving the ones you love to suffer. It kind of almost goes back to what I was just saying about everything relating to the next song. Ya see what I mean it just never ends. Sometimes I feel like a slave to music. Like a rat in a cage running on a wheel! ya know I should write a song about that!!! AAA YA SEE WHAT I MEAN HERE WE GO AGAIN! IT JUST NEVER ENDS!!!
Okay enough of that! Put on the brakes! EEEEERRRRRCK!!!
Fast forward to 2004 I had left my hometown, Yakima WA. Onward to Seattle WA It was a good starting point for me before moving to LA. I had the opportunity to play as a guitar player and singer for many underground bands. Mostly playing gigs at bars, coffee shops, and small venues before going into my own sole project which began as of 2012, but nevertheless, songwriting to this day is still a passion of mine and I don’t see myself giving it up anytime soon.
If anything the one most important lesson I’ve learned when writing music is that there is no control only focus, and the more we try and cage something as free as music the more your music will cage you as a human being.
I believe music is beyond all of us, even the songwriter. I think that’s why we find it to be so fascinating! If we could truly understand why music makes us feel the way it dose it would not mean near as much and inspiration as we know it would not exist!
I’d like to end this by saying, THANK YOU to all of you that believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. It’s moments like these when I realize inspiration is created from people like you because without you, I’m just some dude in a basement or a garage or a van for that matter writing music for myself, and I find that to be quite depressing. ):
If you’d like to hear the most recent milestone of this journey, click this link http://www.tonepoetmusic.com/open-communications to listen to my most recent album Open communications
Once again thank you for taking the time to read over a little bit about me, and for checking out my tunes!

https://https://https://http://www.tonepoetmusic.com/open-communications/

6 Comments

  • Nida says:

    This blog is really interesting. I have bookmarked it.
    Do you allow guest posting on your website ? I can provide high
    quality articles for you. Let me know.

  • First off I want to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question in which I’d
    like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear
    your head before writing. I’ve had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out.

    I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost simply just
    trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips?

    Thanks!

    • Tone Poet says:

      Hello thanks for reading.

      I think the first 15 minutes can be the hardest part of writing however, most of the writing I do is songwriting and blogs but for me what I like to do is just site there and try to let yourself understand what is really going on. It seems that everything around us is labeled to something. We are told what is what from the time of birth. Let yourself be in doubt of everything you see and just accept that we as humans have no idea what we are looking at. Let your mind brake away from rules and religion just for a few moments and believe we really have no idea how we got here and what happens when we leave. It is important that we embrace the unknown and not fear it. I hope this helps but if this dose not work for you remember, we all have our own why to creativity this is what makes your work different from everyone else Thanks again for reading my blog.

  • Anonymous says:

    Enjoyed reading this, very good stuff, thanks . “While thou livest keep a good tongue in thy head.” by William Shakespeare.

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