Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Learning mode

I'm currently on a quest.
Well, I'm always on this particular quest, however, lately it seems to be more highly intensified.
The quest? To learn more about my craft; to explore new ideas, new approaches, and new uses for old ideas and learning materials; to learn more about technique and how to utilize my abilities to their fullest potential. It's a quest to become the best drummer that I can be and for no reason other than because I demand it of myself.

It's almost as if I've been called to complete a never-ending mission. I will never finish learning. I doubt that I will ever tire of learning...especially about the world and art of drumming.

Every now and again, I find myself close to mastering a few concepts (the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel), but just when I think I have it completely under my belt and at my disposal, I will become inspired again and the process begins all over again. It's like seeing the light glowing just a tiny bit brighter at the end of the proverbial tunnel and realizing that I'm never getting any closer to it.

In my recent exploring, I happened to check out Tommy Igoe's "Great Hands for a Lifetime". Talk about inspiring!! I now have a newfound love for some of my favorite exercises...RUDIMENTS. His "Lifetime Warm-up" has been quite a challenge and treat to learn, and I hope to incorporate some of my own warm-up rituals into Tommy's concept. Thank you Tommy Igoe for showing the drumming world this fantastic tool!!
For those of you who aren't drummers, rudiments are the basic learning tools and exercises that drummers learn to develop their ability and their drumming vocabulary. Where horns and pianos have scales...drummers have rudiments. Oddly enough, they never cease to be a challenge to play correctly.

Also in my recent exploring, I have picked up some dvds of past Modern Drummer Festivals. So many players, so many different styles, and so much inspiring material to draw from and be motivated by. I'm so excited!!
Again, for the non-drummer, there is a festival every year that is put on by Modern Drummer Magazine. Yes, there is such a magazine. To a drummer, Modern Drummer Festival seems to be one of the hippest and most interesting things in the world. For those non-drummers who happen to have an aversion to the sounds of drums...STAY AWAY!! IT WILL ONLY SOUND LIKE NOISE TO YOU!!
The same goes for PASIC.

I guess at the end of it all, what I'm really trying to say is this...
I am inspired. I have had my drive re-invigorated. Whatever way that inspiration presents itself to me, I am grateful to receive it, and I hope I can use it to its fullest potential so that I may one day begin to reach mine.

I can only hope that Holly and the girls don't want to throttle me about the neck for all of the racket I've been making!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Well, my fine friends and acquaintances, today is Father's Day. The "sub-holiday" that celebrates fatherhood by awarding proud poppas everywhere with a new tie, coffee mug, set of tools, or a simply a free pass to play an extra round of golf without getting bitched at. In spite of the retailer's sales specials and the greeting card industry's sentimentally-driven fleecing of our wallets, Father's Day is not quite as celebrated in most regards as Mother's Day. How could it be? I mean, Mom should get extra attention and kudos if for no other reason than she actually had to endure the pains of childbirth. Regardless, daddies still get their own day of recognition too (probably due to the numerous times they have to stop watching their favorite televised sporting event and open up their wallets to pay for gum, video games, shopping sprees, or any other form of entertainment their children wish to engage in).

In case you haven't figured it out already from previous blog posts, I am married, and I have two daughters. Step-daughters, actually. I love them dearly. I want to protect them from the perils of the world. They have brought out of me an ability to love that I never knew I was capable of, and I am so thankful for them to have been placed in my life. To a great degree, I am their dad, in spite of not ever being referred to as such. On days like today, however, I am painfully reminded that I am not their father, and I don't need a segment on Maury and a quickly processed DNA test to know it.

At this very moment as I am writing this, the girls, my girls, are out to hang with their dad in celebration of Father's Day. I envy him. Don't misunderstand me, I am exuberantly happy that they are there with him, and ecstatic that they can further cultivate their relationship with him. When their parents divorced and their dad remarried, the father-daughter relationship was crushed and strained at best. It makes me so happy to know that they are rebuilding that relationship. I want nothing more for them than their happiness. My love for them makes me want to take a back-seat and take the leftovers of fatherhood. A role, I couldn't be more blessed to have.

Still, I envy him greatly. Not because I'm jealous over the girls. Rather because he knows what it means to have someone, a child, a piece of himself love him unconditionally, and without end. He knows what it means to called "daddy". Maybe Holly and I will have one of our own...hopefully we will be blessed with that.
Until then, I am content to be whatever I need to be for my girls, be it a protector, a friend, a financier, or the occasional daddy-type of guy.

True, today is a bittersweet day for me... perhaps because I miss my own father so much. Maybe it is because of recent events that have put me in this kind of mood. Recently, I enjoyed the great opportunity to be onstage with Willie Nelson. My own father was huge fan of Willie. HUGE. Actually, "HUGE" would be an understatement. Making music with Willie, onstage and televised, was by far one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of. A true gem in a lifetime of cool experiences. Willie is iconic. His guitar, "Trigger", will probably end up in the Smithsonian. And as cool and endearing as the experience was for me, it was equally as bittersweet and painful. When Willie turned and smiled at me during the performance, I was almost brought to tears because all I could think was, "I wish Pop were here to see this." I sincerely wish that he could have lived long enough to have seen one of his kids be onstage with his musical idol, the Red Headed Stranger whom he held in his heart to be one the greatest and most talented songwriters and musicians to have ever lived. Had he still been with us, I would have seen to it that my dad met Willie, which would have probably been equally as cool for me as making music with Willie.
I know, I know...you sentimental ones out there are thinking to yourselves, "Don't be sad, he saw it. He was watching." A beautiful and heartfelt sentiment, and also not much comfort. But thank you.

Happy Father's Day, Pop. I love you. I miss you. Thank you for inspiring me to become a musician, and for teaching me the love of music. I hope you got to see me with Willie. I hope I have made you proud. ~your loving son.