Thursday, November 5, 2015
A Lonster's Tale - The first 60 years. Part 2
Before I began Drumming, before I even WANTED to play Drums, I was surrounded by Music; that's where many of my Guilty Pleasures come from.
We lived in a small community in a deep valley and the only radio station we could receive was in the nearest city. This station broadcast with 50,000 watts of output transmission which was HUGE! They played an eclectic blend of varying Musical styles, from the vocal Jazz of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Perry Como to Polkas, to Country and Western, to Elvis Presley and Little Richard. I didn't mind what was playing, I wanted to hear it! I remember being somewhat surprised when Mom heard a song on the radio that she liked, and Dad brought home the single for her. That rather changed my perception of Music; I could actually BUY it and have it forever! (Oh, so little did I know about vinyl records as a three-year-old)
After the Beatles landed on the Ed Sullivan Show, I was swayed toward the Rock 'N' Roll side of things, and started to pay a bit more attention to the other R 'N' R groups, but the styles I had previously enjoyed still appealed to me as well. I particularly enjoyed the Music that was on the radio on Saturday mornings: a blend of Polkas and what we knew as “Oom-pah” Music; played on accordions and often featuring Yodellers. I should make it clear that Saturday mornings were when Dad took me with him as he delivered furnace and stove oil.
Saturday afternoon was the Top 40 Hit parade, and during that time I heard the sounds of the New Christie Minstrels, The Seekers, Petula Clarke, Dusty Springfield, and later, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Byrds, and many, many more. Sunday mornings (and for a half hour after school) it was Gospel Music. Dad was a big fan of Country and Old-Time Gospel, so the Carter Family and others of that ilk were frequently heard on the “record player” and later the stereo. There were many songs I heard because one of my parents liked them, and many bring a tear to my eye if I hear them today.
I think if I could have stayed alive by eating Music, I would have, since I certainly devoured it in every other way.
As I grew older, between ages ten and fourteen, I heard a lot of “Bubblegum” Music on the radio, Andy Kim, The Archies, 1910 Fruitgum Company, ... and so that became part of my Musical lexicon as well. I remember one friend who came to visit after school one day remarking, “You don't like THAT shit do you?” I did.
Once I became a Drummer and was learning songs for a band, the Music I played, and to which I listened grew heavier. The Beatles and Stones were still there as were the Hollies, but so were Steppenwolf, Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, The Doors, Grand Funk Railroad, etc... I think I was the only Pink Floyd fan (as in owned their records) in the school until “Dark Side Of The Moon” came out. I KNOW I was the only one with the Blind Faith album.
When I was 15, some of Dad's friends asked me to play drums for them. They were all in their late thirties or forties, and I was a geeky kid with glasses, but JUMPED at the chance to play my Drums and earn money while doing it. Over the next three years, two of the men would leave and be replaced by guys my age, as well as the oldest daughter of the one remaining “older” chap came in to add a female voice. We weren't really great Musicians, but we were popular because we played a good cross section of what was being heard on the radio of that time. We covered the Music of Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Kris Kristofferson, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Lobo, and the like.
Those were good years, and I was making really good money for a kid in high school. Actually I was making more then than I did in many bands since that time.
Just before I turned nineteen, I left that band. Too much alcohol and too much ego resulted in a shoving match between myself and the girl singer's husband. I walked out and sold my Ludwigs. That was the first time I tried to leave Music behind.