Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Lonster's Tale - The first 60 years. Part 1

I was born in 1955, just ten years and one week after the end of WWII. So it was that growing up, WWII became the reference point of many conversations. Things happened either “before the war,” “during the war,” or “just after the war.” It was sometime in one of these three time periods that my father had played guitar in a band with a number of his friends, most of whom he would remain in touch with until his death. One such man had a Music Room in his basement, where he kept a number of Musical instruments, a drumset included. On one of our visits, “Mr. L” took us down and showed us that room. I was immediately drawn to the Drums; a 4-piece kit in White Marine Pearl finish. (although I didn't know what the finish was called back then) At roughly the same time, a small group of students in our school had formed a band and played in our school gym for a “sock hop” every Friday at noon. Again, I was drawn to the drums, and eventually began asking many questions of the Drummer; “What's that for?” “What's that do?” “What do you call that?” “How did you DO that?” He was extremely patient and answered all my questions with his characteristic smile. That band even got to play on a TV show in the early 60s, and I felt special because I knew them!

A couple of years later, a neighbour of my cousin's returned from Germany where his father had been stationed in the Canadian Armed Forces. “W” had purchased a set of drums there, and I would often see him carrying them into or out of the house as he came and went to the various gigs he was playing in the area. I remember once his younger sister (who is my age) took me upstairs to the room where he kept his drums. I was in awe. Completely speechless!

It was during this time period The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and I saw Ringo Starr. Game over! A few of my friends can probably remember me before I got bitten by the Drum bug, but not many. To most of my friends, I have always been a drummer, or interested in drums.

My parents recognized my overwhelming desire to become a Drummer, but (as I can now understand) they were not in a financial position to make that happen. Besides, Dad had always dreamed of me following in his footsteps and learn to play guitar, but I was too undisciplined and the strings hurt my fingers. In 1967 they got me a toy drumset from the Sears catalogue.
I was grateful, but felt I was too old for them and a REAL set would have been more appropriate. Still, I played along with the radio every day after school and after I finished my homework in the evening. Once the fibre heads on those drums broke, I found various ways to patch them, and eventually replaced them with plastic Ice cream containers. (empty, of course)

Finally, on Christmas day, 1969, my first “real” drumset arrived. Again, from the Sears catalogue, it was a 3-piece set with the brand name “Saturn.” I was overwhelmed! The three pieces were a 14 X 20 Bass Drum, a 5 X 14 Snare Drum, and an 8 X 12 mounted Tom, all in blue sparkle. (still one of my favourite colours) There was a 12 inch Cymbal mounted on the Bass Drum, which although it didn't sound so great, it was functional.

I was a DRUMMER! The Lonster was born.

~Still Wandering...

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