Me and the boys (Neil, Pat, Fred, and Jeff) got together today. We’ve sure had a hard time catching up with one another over the last year, but we finally managed to play a few tunes while the snow poured outside. I was surprised at how much we all remembered after not having played together for the past eight months or longer. It felt good. This is a view to the best office I ever had. I look forward to more days in this office.
“If we could look into each others hearts, and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care.” ~ Marvin J. Ashton
I knew it was going to be a great night when I walked in to find colleague, friend, and fellow drummers Kathryn Lybarger and her husband, Jack Schmidt (bottom photo), preparing to perform as part of the drum line performing the part of the Borneo Drummers from Joni Mitchell’s Hejira (I think that’s what they said, I didn’t catch all the details). Well known Lexington drummers David Farris, Tripp Bratton, and Dave Hamon were also part of the line (below). But it was Kathryn that inspired me. Every time I see a photo of her playing drums, usually as part of the March Madness Marching Band, she’s all smiles just like the photo above. Drummers who smile while they play bring a little something extra to the song, a certain joy that otherwise remains hidden. Omar Hakim, Simon Phillips, and Carter Beaufort all smile when they play and their tracks always sound extra joyful.
I’m really proud of Kathryn for taking up drumming. She’s never afraid of trying new things, in fact she loves trying new things, and she’s really taken to drumming like a duck to water. She and Jack have been playing for several years now and I hope they continue. Drumming in good for the soul and so are smiling drummers.
“Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house…Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.” ~ Mother Teresa
I’ve known Fred Sexton (seated) and Neil Sturgill for more than 20 years. We’ve played some good music over that time, and now we get to do it again. Our rehearsals have been sporadic, but every time we’ve managed to make it happen I’ve been tickled to be with them more than they’ll ever really know. I look forward to our Sunday rehearsals at Jeff’s (Yurkoski at the keys) even when we can’t all be there (not pictured are Pat and Travis…because they weren’t there). Their good humor and patient musicianship are like a balm to my soul. And some of the twangy, bluesy mad riffs they play just makes me smile way down deep like nothing else can. They couldn’t have walked into my life at a better time, and thanks to Jeff, I’ve got a kit ready for playing. I just have to walk in. How did I get so lucky?
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
I expected this to be the only office I would ever know. That’s not how it worked out, but any time I have the chance to go back to my first love, my first office, I take it. Those chances are few and far between these days. Scott McClatchy was upset to learn I wasn’t playing, and he made it his mission to make sure I had something to play; a McClatchy original for his upcoming release. I called my old friends Eric, Bree, and Johnny Chapman to help me get a drum track to him. The Von Chapman Family, as I used to call them decades ago when we were playing together, have a great studio perfect for the occasion. More than that, however, they have the compassion and patience needed to help a stale and stiff old drummer overcome a phobia and find her rhythm again. This day has been one of the best days ever and The Chapmans had everything to do with it.
“If you could kick the person in the seat of the pants responsible for most of your trouble,
you would not be able to sit down for a month.”
~ Teddy Roosevelt
You may recall that my folks gave me a cute red sparkle desktop drum set for Christmas (above right). Incidentally, my first drum set was red sparkle. At my birthday party, Lori-Lyn Hurley and Tracy Hawkins gave me a guitar made of chocolate. It’s too awesome to eat, but it looks great next to the drum set. Then, yesterday, I howled with laughter when I opened a package from Oklahoma. For my birthday, Pam and Gary Thurman, and Barbara Plested sent a white desktop drum set – with a kick drum! I get the hint: it’s time to play some music. The Universe and my people are working their magic. May it be so (and may my desk get bigger).
“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” ~ Seneca
Johnny Johnson is one of my oldest friends, and one of the best drummers to ever come out of Kentucky. We’ve known each other 25 or 30 years now. Johnny always believed in my playing even when I didn’t. It was, and is, a powerful thing to have somebody as gifted and kind as John in your camp when the ego is small, and the anxiety high, which is what the music business will do to you sometimes. Johnny helped me survive it. He’s been on me for years to start playing again. So, I finally called complaining that I’m horribly out of shape and could he please kick my ass back into it. Tonight, we started the journey of getting me reconnected with my first love. There’s nobody better suited to the job than Johnny. He’s funny, irreverent, clever, a heart as big as Texas, and eat up with talent. His jokes make me snort with laughter. I adore the ground he walks on, and I am so grateful that he’s still in my life. Just a couple of old friends rockin’ the years away.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
It was my third Burns Night soiree. My buddy Gordon Hogg, drummer for the William Sutherland Reid Pipe and Drum Band, makes sure I get tickets for my birthday. Isn’t that sweet? Gordon’s BFF Andy Werthman flew in from DC to play tenor drum again this year. He’s such a fine man. I always enjoy talking with him. They were joined by youngster Doug a-name-I-can’t-remember. You could tell the three of them had a good bond happening. I love a night of rhythm.
“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, despirited, or depressed, they would ask you one of four questions: When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?”
~ Gabrielle Roth
Maybe the Doo Wop truck has been around forever, but I didn’t see it until two weeks ago. I’ve wanted to stop ever since. I finally did. If this doesn’t make you want to be in a band, nothing will. Or maybe it’s just me. I’ll blame it on Foo Fighters and Cry of Love listening of late. If you haven’t heard of Cry of Love, and you love killer rock and roll, click the link and give them a listen. Then go buy Wasting Light by Foo Fighters. Both play serious rock and roll with melody – the way God intended.
“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” ~ C.S. Lewis
There’s a room in my house no one goes into, not even the cats. No one, that is, except me. It is my music/yoga/mediation space. Why instruments in an otherwise quiet space? No matter what I’ve done as a career, or creative avenue I’ve followed, music is, and always will be, my one true love. When I light my candles, say my prayers, and meditate among the sages, I am comforted and peaceful surrounded by drums and guitars. I am just me.