Monday, March 12, 2012

Shotgun Stories
Blurry remembrances of a musically misspent youth

I’m a shaggy and unkempt 17-year old part-time shoe salesman who spent my days pushing Two-Shot rubberized cushion soles and my evenings doing the dating thing with my first girlfriend. Life was simple then and I really don’t remember wanting for much more. I had just attended my first keg party via my girlfriend’s older brothers (and more importantly, her out-of-town parents), I was driving cars instead of pedaling 10-speeds and I had more dispensable income than I had materialistic wants.

All that was about to be flopped on its ear that summer day in which two musical acquaintances walked into my shoe shop.

I had played drums since 4th grade, taking the traditional path of pounding out rudiments on a rubberized practice pad, evolving into mastering drum rolls on a shiny silver snare drum, then finally graduating to the 4-piece “gently used” drum set. But on my 16th birthday, my parents saw fit to finally up the ante to a big boy drum kit. Since I had been so dogged in my drumming interests, they saw this as an investment to get me to the next level...whatever that level may be. So instead of releasing my teen angst on a small set of crummy Ludwigs, I was now keeping the neighbors awake with a pristine and polished set of Pearls. And not just 4 drums...we’re talking SEVEN! I made good use of that new drum set, playing healthy amounts of Triumph, Dio and KISS...any band who’s music allotted for long, flowing, extended drum fills around copious amounts of tom toms.

That summer, a local nightclub was getting ready to host a Battle of the Bands. This 200 person capacity nightclub was THE venue to see any of the up and coming glam/hard rock bands that were all over MTV at the time. Keel played there. White Lion played there. Helix played there. Black N’ Blue played there. Not household names, but bands that could easily have been supporting legit headliners on arena tours.

Unbeknownst to me the two friends that entered my place of business were busy putting together a group to vie for first place honors in that contest. They were among the elite players in our local high school. One a monster drummer with an enormous, if relatively beat up set of drums and cymbals. What he lacked in gear he more than made up for in loudness and ability. Plus, he was a legitimate vocalist. The other was a guitarist I used to practice with on and off and I felt was head and shoulders above where any of the local players were at at that time. Combining those two talents right there was a great foundation for any hard rock band and I’m sure that’s exactly what they were counting on.

What they weren’t counting on was the drummer slipping at his restaurant cook job and severely spraining his wrist.

Which brings me.

(to be continued)

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