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The author, circa 1986, and (inset) Motley Crue's Tommy Lee.
Can you give WCPO arts reporter Matt Peiken a reason to haul his drums up from his basement?
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Available: Drummer for an original rock band. Upbeat with a strong downbeat. Straight-ahead player who packs a punch, musicality and dynamics, in the vein of Phil Rudd, Dave Grohl and a mashup of every Pearl Jam drummer.
I play a double-bass set designed to look like the one Tommy Lee played on Motley Crue’s “Theatre of Pain” tour. During Tommy’s solo, the floor beneath him would rise and tilt on one side, on a hydraulic lift, until Tommy and his drums were perpendicular to the floor. I’d cut out a photo from a magazine showing off Tommy mid-solo. I had to have that kit.
I bought mine with my last student loan, leaving $700 for me to live on for the final eight months of the school year. I did the financially responsible thing, dropping down from bottles of Lowenbrau to cans of Bud to 12-packs of Lucky Lager to, ultimately, the nastiest of the nasty, Black Label. I still have the drums. Best student loan expenditure ever.
I’ve played in a carousel of hard rock and metal bands, and an Iron Maiden tribute band. One of my bands once opened for Y&T, a San Francisco band that opened for everybody. I’ve stayed humble.
Twice, I sat in with country bands who needed drummers because their regular guys lost wrestling matches with rotary saws. Two different guys, same injury. I wondered whether this was something, like a gang initiation, that happened to every country music drummer at some point in their careers.
Back then, every band—rock, country, whatever—played in smoky bars. There were no other other kind. I couldn’t do that now. I’d like to find band mates who don’t smoke. In the last band I played with, which, admittedly, was more than a few years ago, tobacco was so embedded into the carpeted floor and walls of the band room, I had to incinerate my clothes after every rehearsal. I eventually quit, promising myself to never again drive home without clothes.
More than once, I’ve considered selling my drums, especially just before and after my moves to California and to Minnesota and, just six months ago, to Ohio. I thought my playing days were behind me. And who needs to haul all that nonsense around?
But then I reconsidered, realizing once I sell them, it’s over. There’s no going back. It would mean releasing the helium of hope to the lead weight of time. I stay young, in no small part, because I know I have a double-bass drum set in my basement. And now that I've discovered the vibrancy of Cincinnati's indie music scene, I'm Jonesing to be part of it.
I’ve danced around this age thing, but let’s just get it out there. I’d love to find musicians whose goals include afternoon sets at Bunbury or MidPoint and all-ages club shows that start no later than, say, 7 p.m. Concerts in the park would be nice. The very thought of closing down a night at MOTR exhausts me. And I can only rehearse, like, one night a week. Unless we get famous. I can make time for that.
Also, if you don’t know who Phil Rudd or Ian Paice are or the bands they played in, chances are I’m your father.
Now, there’s no need to rush out for a DNA test. Let’s just say things were crazy back in the day, this was rock ‘n’ roll and anything was possible. But hey—a few years back, Eddie Van Halen brought his son, Wolfgang, into the fold.
It’s a new era and a new year. Let’s start fresh and make music together.