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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Control Your Drummer!

I sat down to write my blog recently – I know it’s been a while. I wasn’t interested in any particular “food for thought” ideas – not in the mood. I was struggling to think of something relevant and powerful, but nothing came to mind. Then a couple of funny thoughts, seemingly out of nowhere, entered into my head. I was off and running. So, this is a very short collection of some funny things that I remembered from some of my gigs and tours – nothing earth shattering –just fun. Hope you enjoy them.

“All right, we have three hotel rooms for the band.” Grab a key and pair up.”

That’s what I heard in the lobby of the Gaylord Hotel in Nashville as we arrived for a concert at the Grand Ole Opry.  I thought to myself, wait a minute here. We have 12 people in the band and a female to boot. I didn’t want to tell my wife that I was crashing with a chick – not cool. I’m sure that the female musician felt the same about me. I was the old guy in the band and she probably thought that I was old enough to be her father! I let things unfold naturally and everything was fine. I scored my own bed and shared a room with three dudes.

“Everybody move back – Here comes a drummer sault!”

Picture about 10 people (band, cast and crew) all packed into a small rural motel room on the St. Lawrence River in upstate NY. It’s pitch black outside, cold and getting late. The drummer stands up and announces that he’s going to do a drummer sault.  He needs a running start, so the room door swings open, it’s 10 degrees or colder outside, but that doesn’t seem to bother our drummer. I think he was out there smoking for a bit because I remember the excitement building in the room as we waited with curiosity and wonderment. After all, none of use had ever experienced, or even heard of a drummer sault.   

A drummer sault consists of the drummer taking a running start from outside the hotel room, throwing himself at the floor head first, and executing summer saults until he hits the side of the bed, a dresser, or a group of people, whichever comes first.

Upon the completion of this event, the cast and band members looked at me and said “Dave - Control Your Drummer!” – like I had something to do with it. I thought it was hilarious and voted for more drummer saults. BTW - that phrase “Control Your Drummer” was repeated many times throughout the remainder of that tour.  

“Find a comfortable chair on the bus because that’s your bed.” That’s what I heard on an east coast leg of the Jingle Bell Rock tour. We played a show in Stowe, Vermont on Friday night, we were in Winder, Pa for a show on Saturday night, and upstate New York on Sunday night. I was lucky enough to have my own row (yeah, I scored seats on both sides of the bus) so I stretched my legs out and extended them across the aisle and rested them on top of the opposing armrest. I had a pillow, a blanket and a glass of wine. It was a wonderful thing to watch the gently covered snow capped mountains go by the window as I fell asleep eagerly awaiting another town full of excited people, and children waiting to see our Santa Claus. It was actually a blast. Pity the people that had to navigate over countless sets of legs in the middle of the night to use the restroom. I was in the back of the bus with the band. This would have been a different story had that bus trip lasted more then a few nights. It certainly gave me a new found appreciation for hotel rooms.

“You must be nuts! I’m not going into that bar – it doesn’t have any windows!” I broke that rule once when I played pool with a big band in between shows. I stumbled onto a streak of good luck and won several games. There were no bar fights and everything was perfectly fine. But, as a general rule I stay out of bars without windows.

“I don’t celebrate Christmas – I’m Jewish.” That was from someone who came out to see our Jingle Bell Rock show in West Palm Beach Florida. 

Until next time - Surf it Mellow Brothers and Sisters - the MD