Monday, March 17, 2014

My Massive Musical Success

On Saturday night, the band I am in was just about set-up and ready to play in a bar/restaurant in a relatively affluent New Jersey town. It was a good night. We might have been able to fit three more people into the place if we were lucky -- six, if they had been leprechauns. Lots of people were out to get in an early celebration of St. Paddy's day.

The band at work. 
But a good-sized crowd is not enough. They have to be "into it." And they were. There was a lot of energy. In some ways, we played well. In some ways we did not. Each of us made his mistakes, here and there. I made some doozies. (As a drummer, every mistake I make is a doozy. A guitar player drops a chord or two and it fades into the background. When I make a mistake, the entire crowd turns around to stare at the stupid oaf behind the drum kit.) But we had fun.


You want to know what the best part of the night was, though? No, we didn't get swarmed by legions of beautiful women after the show. (I mean, like, we usually do, just...you know...not that night for some reason.) No, we didn't get spotted by a record label and offered a recording contract. No, the bar manager did not double the night's pay because our music moved him so much. In fact, no one even bought us drinks.  The best part was this:

There was a young couple there who had just finished up dinner. They had a little girl -- a cute little thing, maybe two or three years old, all in pink, with brown hair and a ponytail. Her mom was letting her stand and check out the equipment as we were finishing with the set-up. After a while, our lead singer, Jeff, asked the little girl if she wanted to play the drums and he lead her around to me. I handed her a stick and she tentatively hit some cymbals and toms. I clapped enthusiastically for her performance and she went back to her mom, proclaiming exuberantly to Jeff that she "hit the drums like a piñata."

We laughed and she scampered away. As I was doing other stuff (tuning the drums and checking mic's) I saw the little girl standing with the keyboard player. She was shaking a tambourine and the parents were smiling and the keyboard player (also named Jeff) was paying her the same accolades that I had.

The band at home. (Annual Christmas party.
 [The thing I am playing is called a cajon.
Sounds like a bass drum and snare])
After everything was done, I was standing outside to cool off, and the family came out, talking among themselves. The father, a bald, humble-looking young guy in jeans and a hooded sweatshirt, said to his wife: "Those guys were super nice." Then they looked up and saw me (don't think they knew I had heard them) and they smiled and we wished each other a good night and I waved goodbye to our little friend who thanked me again for the chance to play the drums.

It warmed my heart. Corny but true. People being nice to other good people is a life-affirming thing, for lack of a less dramatic way to put it.

And, if you are a musician, please don't be jealous of my overwhelming success... Wait? What do you mean you're more successful than I am? You make more money than I do and you are an international pop star who sells out massive football stadiums? Dude -- don't you get it? I have been in the same band since the mid-nineties and no one in it does drugs and we are all friends and we all have close-knit families and...well...we're "super nice guys." What are you talking about?

The extended band family: Musical success.

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