Monday, September 9, 2013

A Brotherhood of Rivals?

"Group mentality" and my distaste for it has been a recurring theme on this blog. I sometimes fear that regular readers might be sick of hearing it...

But, I don't hate groups, as a rule. For instance, I think it is cool when those with common interests get together to enjoy those interests. I'm even considering going to see Gavin Harrison give a drum clinic this fall. It's just that I won't be wearing a Zildjian T-shirt or a baseball cap with "Pearl" emblazoned on it. I don't like externalizing interests for the sake of others. Never have.

In short, it is cool to talk (or, even, to write about) drums, but I'm not a fan of broadcasting my interests superficially.

The drummer-cam; pre-first set.
This weekend, the band I am in played a group gathering in Wildwood, NJ. It was a biker weekend. The streets were glutted with Harleys, Ducatis, Hondas, custom bikes and even a few classic Indians. You'd think it would have been an environment of joviality; mass celebration -- a jamboree of jolly proportions.

Not really.

There wasn't a lot of smiling going on. If you watched the unending parade of motorcycles passing behind our stage, you saw expressions that looked more like a challenge than a metaphorical high-five among two-wheeled brothers. The atmosphere was one of subdued, communal anger; or, at least, challenge.

And the trappings! The vests and the bandannas and the leather pants and the other various shmagiggies...

I just don't get it. Or maybe I do. Maybe it is like Halloween; the kind of fun people find in getting into costume. I have the feeling that many of these people work behind desks and like to let their inner rebel out on the weekend. I kind of do this when I sit behind the drums on a Saturday night, I suppose. Except, I don't wear spandex and play rock star. I just play the drums.

My counterpart would be my father-in-law when it comes to this. He is a Harley rider from way back. But the guy just rides. Sure, he owns a few Harley T-shirts and he did have dog named Harley (may he rest in peace, the poor little fellow) but he never seems to play the part. He is a rider. He doesn't just play one on TV (or on "biker weekend"). In fact, he chose not to attend this particular bike weekend. That says a lot.

Again, it comes down to sincerity. Do you go to a group function because you love the mutual
Despite the sign, walking was not encouraged.
interest or because you think it is a chance to prove you are a better enthusiast than the rest? Everything doesn't have to be a challenge...

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