My First Band Experience

My first instrument was drums (drum kit).  I had a friend who had a set he got for his bar mitzvah and was moving up in the world (buying a set of Ludwig’s…what everybody wanted after seeing Ringo Starr).  So he sold me his old set, probably for more than they were worth.  But I had some money to burn left over from my bar mitzvah.  I would play for hours in my basement, entirely to the songs I heard in my head…very convenient given that I had no other audio equipment to hear actual music.  I know that beats and rhythms were part of me from really early on…first of all listening to Motown in preference to anything else.  Secondly, I would hear music in my head all the time (e.g. walking home from school) and use my teeth to tap out beats…and eventually wear down the enamel considerably.

By the age of 16 I was decent.  I dropped out of high school and joined a bunch of similar kids forming our own ‘free’ school.  There were 32 of us.  Mostly I worked part time as a busboy and fooled around.  I met up with some black guys who had an R & B band and they needed a drummer.  They liked the way I played and they were serious.  Kind of scary serious.  They had rented practice space in an old warehouse in Toronto where they practiced covering old R & B stuff.  After a couple of months with them, I realized I’d gotten in over my head.  These guys wanted to ‘make it’.  I was just a confused wet-behind-the-ears kid who was incapable of making such a commitment.  So, I backed out and they were appropriately chagrined, shall we say.  My first band experience.


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