At the age of five, my elementary school gave an assembly that introduced the younger students to different instruments. My father played bass and guitar, and I had always been taken by those, but at the assembly my mind was altered completely. All I could feel was the steady boom of the kick drum; how every third beat in 3/4 tempo began by ripping the breathe from my lungs and ended with a resounding thump that started in my chest and ended in my groin. It was then that I knew I wanted what few others did: not the frills of the saxophone or the beauty of the flute, but the steady and insistent drive of the drums.
When I was nine my parents finally allowed me to begin drum lessons. I gave up my beloved gymnastics — a sport of strength but also one of very structured beauty — to give myself over to the driving force of rhythm. Most band jokes revolve around the drummer: the stupidity of a neanderthal beating on some skins with a pair of sticks, the lack of skill or talent, how Ringo was never a great drummer, how there are no great drummers, how the only reason drummers are necessary in non-electronic music is because it is almost always the drummer who provides the practice space. Drummers are the women of musicians, and woman is the nigger of the world.
Eventually, I gave up playing drums. I miss it tremendously. The very act of playing is like dancing, is like fucking, is like the agony of birth, and yet it is very much the spinal cord that holds the band in place. What is the rawk show without the beat that you can dance to? The kids on American Bandstand knew the deal.
A friend of mine once told me there are three kinds of music: that which you tap the beat with your toes (jazz-y), that which you tap the beat with your heels (funk-y), and that which you nod the beat with your head (intellectually pleasing but nothing to snap the fingers to). For me, I contend that there are only two kinds of music: that which doesn\’t draw me into the beat, and that which makes me want to be the beat.
Oh, neanderthals though us drummers may be, I think of myself as more of a hentai character. If I had my way, a giant penis would slide out of my vag and would have such incredible muscular control as to be able to smack up and down on command for an entire three hour set. Out of my panties it would pop (I don\’t need no stinking harness and strap-on), and that, my darlings, would be my rhythm stick. I don\’t need my hole filled with anything but the driving force of the beat that I myself will keep, and which a room full of pogoing kids will follow. Literally being able to feel every beat in me, on me, and around me. My skin and my stick as one. Aw, yeah.
Well, a girl can dream, right?
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I\’m off to the \’burbs for my grandfather\’s 91st birthday party. Cigars, brandy, and pie are the only things on the menu. All his presents are books. If I live to be that old, that\’s how I\’m gonna live.