Back in my early teens I started my lifelong love affair with drums and percussion. And I remember getting a cool, metal flake blue, snare drum for Christmas. It came with instructions on how to do paradiddles, flams, rolls, and more. And I was hooked. Drumbeats have been playing in my head ever since.
As I took to drums and percussion my brother was mastering guitar.
Of course, it’s every parent’s most fervent dream to have sons learn rock guitar and drums and play loud music. Right? I mean what mom or dad hasn’t said, “I can’t wait for junior to plug into an amp and start rockin.”
Yeah, I’m being a little facetious. And the whole rock music “thing” was not exactly an acceptable “part of growing up” in my Dad’s house. So, my brother and I weren’t encouraged to give it our best. In fact, you might say we were rebelling if and when we played any top 40 music.
So, we practiced our instruments on the music we liked only when there were no adults around. And when they were around, we’d play music they liked to hear.
Good strategy, right?
But there was nowhere for me to set up a complete set of drums. So, I did all my practicing on my little snare.
But one summer, while my brother and I were visiting my mom, my uncle (who’s only a couple of years older than me) also visited. And he brought his whole set of drums with him.
I’ll never forget. Red metal flake with chrome rims.
Snare, two ride toms, floor tom, ride cymbal, crash cymbal, hi-hat, and kick. The full flash and sparkle.
And the best part? My uncle left after a couple of weeks. But he left his drums at my Mom’s house. And I got to play them the whole summer!
By that time, my brother had saved up and bought an electric guitar and amp. So, we’d practice, up in the bedroom, we shared with our other brother, in that Kansas country house.
Side note: it was an old house with no air conditioning. So, to say our practice sessions were warm is putting it mildly.
But we played anytime we could. And that mostly meant when no adults were around. My Mom didn’t discourage us from practicing. She just didn’t want to be around when we did. (Looking back on it now, maybe it wasn’t just volume.)
And I remember one song, in particular, my brother and I would play over and over. “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)” by Grand Funk Railroad. We didn’t have mics and a sound system. So, we’d just sing as loud as we could. And I loved playing all the triplets as I made the round trip through the drum kit.
It was a blast. And a memory I enjoy re-playing in my mind.
As time went on, I discovered even more joy and wonder in the magical power of a piano keyboard. And I also discovered how more people were willing to listen to me play a keyboard than the drums and percussion. Go figure.
Another side note: The lead singer for Grand Funk Railroad, Mark Farner, became a Christian sometime after his rock-n-roll fame. So, he now understands who the True Captain is…and how, every day, we’re a little “Closer to Home.”
Keepin’ the beat of a Heavenly song,
Tappin’ my fingers and hummin’ along,
Lovin’ the rhythm and lovin’ the rhyme
And lovin’ the One who paid for this time.
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Grab yourself a cool tee
Or how about some music for kids