Unlike a typical Saturday, I rummaged around my parents’ house looking for drumsticks. Good news: I found 7 sticks. Bad news: only 2 pairs were the same size and what happened to the others is beyond me. With only 10 minutes to spare and no time to recall why I purchased size 7A to 2B sticks, I took my ol’ snare drum from the claws of its stand and zipped it up in a cushy, soft shell case. Overwhelmed by the once familiar knobs, screws, and small turny-thingies, I impatiently yanked my precious Pearl pedal off of the huge bass drum.
Down to only 6 minutes left to drive and pick up the guitarist, I skipped down the stairs, exited through the side door and waddled to my car with an armful of drum gear I haven’t touched in 2 years. It was a typical, brutally humid, summer day but that “typical day” turned out to be my first band practice in nearly 3 years.
Now that I think about it, it’s strange that I never refer to myself as a drummer. I suppose my love for guitar drowned out my interest in drums but thankfully I have my friends to remind me that I, too, am a drummer.
My best friend dropped my name in the grapevine of “does anyone know a girl who can play drums?” Any musician will tell you experienced female drummers are hard to come by but I never identified myself as one! I was iffy when I received the invitation but then remembered the many frustrating years of attempting to form a band with flaky, non-committal musicians–I couldn’t pass up this opportunity!
In the past, I attempted to organize a band multiple times and it never came together no matter how many facebook messages I sent. No matter how many fliers I posted in the artsy side of town. No matter how many craiglist ad responses I received (mostly guys asking to be the “token male” in the band). This time around was different. Although I was the last person to join the band and let me tell ya… saying “yes” is a lot easier–it’s a nice change, you best believe.
It may have been 2 years since I actually jammed on a full drum kit but on Saturday I felt extremely comfortable, in control, and by the end of practice I began to remember my old tricks and favorite fills. It blows my mind how I forgot how much I love playing drums. After playing 6 instruments growing up, I finally understand why I had a bad habit of switching instruments! Each one is very intoxicating in its own way.
Shortly after being reunited with my former love, the natural explosiveness of my sticks attacking the drums then cymbals in one big, Tasmanian Devil, sweeping motion startled me–I forgot I had it in me. By the time I warmed up, my arms danced around the kit in a fluid motion without a single thought in my mind–I was engulfed in the intoxicating, powerful energy of drumming.
Frequently, the guitarists would stop to chatter about the root note, chords, harmonies… nothing that applied to my physical labor. So, I took that time to practice (as softly as reasonably possible) my drum roll and dramatic fills which distracted our lead guitarist who then exclaimed, “it’s nice to finally play with an real drummer.” In my eyes (or ears) I wasn’t playing anything special. I only have 2 years of drum lessons underneath my belt but her compliment made me realize that I AM a drummer and I should take pride in my ol’ tricks with sticks regardless of how rudimentary they seem to me.
When that spectacular afternoon came to an end, what I never imagined to happen did, in fact, happen: I was heart broken. I felt like a child whose parents arrived to a slumber party the following morning–I wasn’t ready to pack up and go home. Although I uphold the Arpeggio Vixen name, I vow to never abandon drums again because I am not only a guitarist, but a “real” drummer.