Love, The Music Weirdos

We’ve been called out…by a fifth grader. It happened back at either Christmas or Thanksgiving before everyone was about to dig into the mountains of food that my sister-in-law prepared. Her son had something he wanted to read that he had worked very hard on the day before. I’m still not sure if it was a school assignment or if he just got a wild hair being away from school but he stood up and started reading his 2 page document. I can’t remember the point of it all or if he even had one, because I was laughing so hard, but he wrote about everyone in the family – maybe it was why he was thankful for them – I dunno, but when he got to us we were lovingly referred to as the music weirdos. The child knows us well!

What other house could he go to and find cymbals in the living room chairs, guitar cases everywhere, drum parts on the coffee table,  and boxes of records piled in the floor from the boys latest conquest? (the records are what I came home to yesterday- and they were nice enough to warn me at least! And there was actually a really cool Edison Diamond Disc record in there from the 1920’s so for now the boy can stay!)

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If you’ve never seen one of these up close, they’re really very cool. They’re about 1/4″ thick but it’s not vinyl like we know it today. The early material inside was actually a wood “flour” core with an asphalt binder and later changed to add more china clay and less wood flour. Each side was then coated with a condensite varnish and the whole thing was laminated together. Produced from 1912 until the demise of the company in 1929, they were the third best-selling brand behind Victor and Decca but they were more expensive and only meant to be played on Edison Phonographs which used a diamond stylus that ran in the grooves and produced the sound. Any other kind of player with steel needles would damage the record and then they were only good for hot plates. Unfortunately the records were also expensive for the times and coupled with the fact that the music selection wasn’t as diverse as some of the other labels people lost interest and the technology didn’t last long. Kinda like a Beta tape versus a VHS. Please tell me you remember BETA tapes so I don’t feel so old.

Of course in order to get the really cool Edison record there were also about a hundred other records ranging from opera to Elvis to classical to the Statler Brothers and a whole pile of Sinatra 33’s. And we don’t even own a record player. So what’s a girl to do with all this vinyl?? Decorate with it? Play it? Make stuff out of it? Sell it? I’m leaning towards decorate and sell (don’t tell the menfolk!) How cool would a whole wall of records look? Kind like this but with more records….
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Did I mention we already had another stack of records stashed before the current ones came in? We better do something quick before they multiply again!

P.S. In other sorta related news: When something new comes into the house, something old should go out so to try to play by those rules, there’s a new “Shop” heading up at the top of the blog for you to check out what we’re clearing out. Sometimes the need arises to sell stuff in order to acquire other cool stuff like drums….or cymbals …..or food…..! Extra parts, cool cymbals, unique drums and other gear related items some from our own personal well-loved collection.  And there may even be some records on there soon….! So click on over and check back often. You never know what us music weirdos might be looking to sell to a loving home.


Teach Your Step Mom to Play 7 Nation Army on Drums in 7 Easy Steps

1. Introduce your step-mom to the drums. Mom meet drums. Drums meet mom. Teach her how to hold the sticks and work the pedals. Teach her simple beats. Boom tap boom tap boom boom tap boom tap, etc. (there is a whole drummer language at work here trust me I just haven’t learned to speak it all yet.)

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2. Next, take over the radio in the car whenever y’all are going somewhere together and play her every White Stripes song on your iPod that you like. Repeat as needed but focus on the songs you like the most ingraining them into her psyche so that random riffs play through her head while she’s sitting at her desk at work. Eventually she will become the one playing you her favorite White Stripes songs. (Remember moms and dads there is no rule that says if you like bluegrass you can’t like Jack White- in fact I think he may even like bluegrass a little too…..give your kids music a chance ’cause sometimes it’s not just noise… unless maybe it’s the Beiber then I’m so sorry, I’ll pray for you…)
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3. Casually mention to your step-mom how easy the drum parts are in most of those songs – how they’re mostly quarter note beats and one day, if you’re really lucky, she will say hey if Meg can do it I bet I can too. [editor note: this happened about a week ago…. Look out world this chick has some sticks and she’s not afraid to use them!]

4. Work out your solo for 7 Nation Army on the guitar and then invite your step ma into the music room and have her play the part of the drummer. (black clothing and wristbands are optional)

5. Break down the parts of the song for her and tell her what to hit and when. Smile as she starts hammering away on the wrong drums. Gently correct her attack of the ride to sound more “tappy” and not so “crashy”. Remind her this is Meg White not Metallica.

6. Start to play, nod at her when to come in and listen as she gets lost halfway through the song and says, “man I need to write this stuff down so I know what to hit and when.” Cue light bulb moment when you excuse yourself from the room and return with sheet music. (Just because she only reads guitar chords doesn’t mean she can’t be taught drum score. There are a few old dogs and cats who can still learn some new tricks)

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7. Watch her light bulb moment happen when she puts it all together and realizes what all the dots and x’s mean after you explain them and then executes them in a semi-pleasing way while you rock on the guitar, even if they are just all quarter notes with one eighth note thrown in for grins.

Your work here is done!

P.S. For some more odd pairings (as if a step mom playing White Stripes on the drums wasn’t odd enough!) you can catch Jack White and the picker people (as we refer to them), Frank and Mike together tonight- Monday Jan. 9th on the History Channel in a new episode of American Pickers. And yes we are big fans of this show ’cause you know how we love a good deal on cool stuff around here!


What We Got for Christmas a.k.a Cymbal Love

Happy New Year and Hallelujah! Finally, I can talk about our new pretty shiny thing! (All cymbals to me were previously known as pretty shiny things and I really had no idea that there were different types that produced various sounds! Now I have been schooled. You pick up things – literally and figuratively when you live with drummers…!)

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[random pretty shiny things pic from Dale’s Drum Shop last summer]

So this pretty girl- yes I’ve decided it’s a girl because she’s curvy- is an 18″ Paiste 2002 series Novo China.
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This was the boy’s big gift for Christmas. We’re still not sure if he knew it was coming or not being as we’ve had it since last April…and he may or may not have noticed the big Paiste box that randomly appeared and disappeared and ultimately ended up hiding in plain sight in our bedroom and who knows if he is a curious kid or not- I’m sure he’d never tell if he happened to sneak a peek in the box… But we got such a good deal on it, it was hard to pass up at the time and we knew it would make a great addition to the kit and if we saved it for Christmas we could kill two birds with one stone. And sometimes as parents we do manage to plan ahead and this is beneficial because no one wants to really wants to be running into their second Target of the day on Christmas Eve 10 minutes before they close needing to buy 6 more gifts for people on their list….ahem…

But back to the bling.

She’s really unique for a couple of reasons. Most 2002’s are traditional finish and most 2002’s have red logos but she’s a rebel because she has a reflector finish and black logos- this isn’t uncommon, just much harder to come by. Apparently older 2002’s from around the ’70’s had black logos but I don’t think this one is that old so maybe it was somebody’s custom ordered homage that era.  She sounds like, as my dad put it quite simply, China. Never one to mince words, my father. Others described her sound as exotic and bright and sometimes slightly trashy. But I don’t hold that against her. I think she sounds pretty. And as an added bonus she has an inverted bell that can be played as an accent for even more versatility which isn’t an option on a traditional china.

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We tried and tried to come up with a clever way like what we did last year to present it to the boy but he headed us off at the pass with “Hey remember that treasure hunt thing “Santa” had me do last year where I had to solve the clues in order to get to my iPod touch??- please don’t do that to me again.” SO we resorted to Christmas Story methods– when Ralphie has opened all his gifts and his Dad says hey what’s that over there behind the desk?? And Ralphie looks and finds his beloved Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time. Only we don’t have a desk so we hid it behind the cushion of the chair in the living room and after the destruction had occurred [see below]

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we asked him to straighten up the cushion in the chair and thus he found his pretty new shiny thing. Of course we couldn’t resist taunting him with the original box first thing that morning- we wrapped a tambourine in it just for kicks. Because what fun are kids if you can’t mess with them from time to time?


Merry Belated Christmas Y’all!

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What we’ve been up to….

This….

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And this…

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And a lot of this…

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We partied hard for Christmas with breakfast that lasted all day- the amount of food not the length of the meal…in fact we never really ate dinner that night. We got lots of cool music related gifts… the boy and I actually received a lot of the same kinds of gifts….guitar strings, guitar tuners, cds, bracelets….. hmmm…. is it weird for the kid and the parent to get the same kind of stuff? Maybe I really am a 15-year-old boy in the body of a 30-something female…

Before the holiday frenzy we played football through Turkey Day (another day when we ate way toooo much…..!) right up til December 10th! Which really means the band played stand tunes at every playoff game every Friday night forever. Well not really forever…it just felt like it would never end some weeks! Sadly our team came in 2nd in the state title- but it wasn’t due to lack of trying or support from the community and the band. And we ‘paraded’ again this year meaning the boy played tenors in the annual Christmas Parade. He can also be seen above rocking the tympani as a reindeer at the winter concert. {yep, another profile shot….my fave apparently…}

I should have remembered from last year that Fall and Winter tend to be busy for us…but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel- I can see it! Or….wait is that a train?? Back to bringing you more music mayhem in the following days!


I’m No Stranger to the Rain

Dear Keith Whitley …could you please put in a good word up there above and get the powers that be to hold off on the whole water thing this week so the kiddos can get one football game in where the marching band can actually perform by marching on the field rather than standing in front of it….it is marching band after all….ok thanks for your consideration….

Fall is here. Football is here. And the RAIN is here. It’s like living in Oregon but strangely only on the weeks when we have a home game. So far the band has only gotten to play one scheduled Friday night game but the field was still so wet from the rain all week and they couldn’t march. (Apparently marching in wet grass and mushy ground is like marching in peanut butter…there’s no rolling that heel when your foot is mired in mud and muck apparently) They were still awesome standing still but could’ve been so much more awesome doing their thing like this:
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But we’ll take any opportunity to play - standing, marching, laying down, upside down (*cough*cough* Tommy Lee!!!) or whatever.

The next home game got called off on account of – you guessed it – rain and the band had to play from the stands on a Monday night because they didn’t have enough people to do a full marching show.

I just want my Friday night football game french fry fix and to see my kid march in uniform on a dry field for a halftime show at least once this year. And this week is their Homecoming game to add insult to injury.

So say a tiny prayer with me folks. The weatherman says it’s gonna be cloudy with a 70 % chance of rain today, heavy rain tomorrow and showers again on Thursday. Maybe, just maybe, it will be dry enough come Friday….but just in case, I think I’m gonna recommend at the next school board meeting that the field should have a dome over it….Amen


Shirt, Shoes, Problem?

Ok class lets review:

Good: Wearing the band’s t-shirt to their own concert

Bad: Wearing a Justin Bieber t-shirt to a Metallica concert

Good: Wearing any type of music equipment related clothing to a hard rock concert

Bad: Wearing pink anything to a hard rock concert

Good: Wearing comfy shoes to a concert where you’ll be standing a lot

Bad: Wearing flip-flops to any concert anywhere anytime

Now I admit I have been there and done that in almost all cases of the above rights and wrongs. See here and here if you want to see the ugly truth…

However I have not yet entered the realm of Christmas sweater vests. Hi Mom!
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That’s the woman who gave me life right there with her favorite TSO band member Chris Caffery. They have lights and lasers and smoke a guys with long hair and guitars! What’s not to love? Yes my mom is a Trans Siberian Orchestra fan. And she has seen them 9 times. And she has gotten autographs from each of them 9 times. Thank goodness she didn’t wear the poinsettia sweater vest all 9 times.

I know it was almost Christmas but I’ll forgive her if you can. She really is cool. Don’t let the vest fool you. Back in the day she saw Elvis. And Neil Diamond (ok maybe not so cool.) And there was the trip to see Kenny Rogers downtown which involved my four-foot something aunt sitting on telephone books to see over the steering wheel of our Ford LTD because she was the only not scared of driving in the city. And mom even took me to see Garth Brooks when I was 15.

And let us not forget Alabama. From 1980 until the 90’s when they finally retired she faithfully attended their concerts every time they came to town and even finally learned to maneuver downtown so she could make the pilgrimage to the coliseum to see them when the aunt couldn’t go. Rain nor snow nor event staff confiscating her video camera tape in 1988 and letting her off easy by having her return the camcorder to the car and letting her back in couldn’t keep her from her favorite band. (hey it was her first camcorder and she didn’t know you weren’t allowed to take “moving” pictures at a show…) By the way that was my first concert and we’re lucky I continued to go after that because when security folks whisk your mother away from her seat and you’re left with your aunt and no keys to the car you could possibly be scarred for life….but she came back, all was good and we continued to return faithfully to their shows through the next 10 or so years but we left the video camera at home.

So you see I get this concert thing honest because of my mother (although I’m a little more subdued about it). She on the other hand is a die-hard fan and once she loves you and your music, that’s it. She’ll have your t-shirts, your albums, your autograph, your pictures, your fan club membership, your website message board saved on her favorites, your email and your telephone number (well not really the last 2 things although if she could find a way, she would and you’d get lovely little encouraging cards and messages…)

Concerts – it’s just what we do. And thankfully it’s what my husband and step-son do too. So you will see us all together – mom, dad, me, the husband and the boy in Section 2L seats 1-5  in November when TSO blows through town. We will not however be wearing Christmas flower vests.
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{mom and TSO drummer Jeff Plate – I guess I get the drummer thing honest too!}

We’ll leave that to mom.


Consistently Inconsistent

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If by technical difficulties you mean the writer of this blog can’t seem to post anything in a consistent fashion around here, then yes we are having difficulties of the technical fashion. Speaking of fashion my concert wear post seems to be the top viewed thing which is very cool by the way! Thanks to everyone who’s looked at it…or to that one person who’s looked at it 42 times! And because I care about spreading the concert fashion etiquette rules to you good people as I know them and see them, I hope to be back soon with another helping. I’ll give you a hint – it involves a knitted Christmas poinsettia sweater vest. Yeah I know, you can’t wait!

So, things I wish I could say we’ve been up to the last 3 weeks:

  • rockin’ out at some cool concerts like Jack White and The Ranconteurs or ZBB {there was much begging and pleading over Mr. White’s event, but the closest they were coming was Nashville…and it was a school night…and we live 9 hours and 6 minutes from that city in Tennessee….) 
  • rollin’ in the dough from selling drums parts and holding down really cool jobs
  • drinkin’ margaritas by the pool

What has really transpired:

  • We survived Hurriquake 2011! Hurray! And a first anniversary! Awww!
  • We are doing mega amounts of homework (well the boy is, not me per say, but i do my part by asking what do you have for homework? Have you finished your homework? and When are you going to finish your homework? Ya know, helpful stuff like that}
  • We (me) had our butts kicked by 20/20/20 class and the new elliptical at the gym
  • We journeyed into the land of plumbing (again) with the fixing of the drippy copper pipe under the house and by fixing I mean replacing as much of it as we could with something other than copper.
  • We (the husband) had a run in with a black snake. Yes Dad they do keep the mice/moles/voles/varmints away but they are still snaky and when they come up the steps to your porch WHILE you are sitting on it, they can cause slight heart attacks….{in case you couldn’t tell we are not a fan of anything that slithers by the way, but to each his own}
  • We had our first home marching band gig of the season (there was a football game involved but really who goes to watch that?) Too bad the field was still too wet to march on : ( But there’s always next week!
  • We woke up to fall weather! Overnight! Complete with a 20 degree temperature drop! Bring it!! I’m sooo ready!

What I would like to work on:

  • Make the drumroom more presentable. Right now it looks as if an earthquake happened in there. Oh wait…no really it’s not that bad but could use some organization, actually a bigger room would probably help a lot, but the boys have not fully convinced me to turn the living room into the drum room just yet!
  • Take more pictures so I have more fodder for ye ol’ blog. Picture me at the first football game last week, the one mother figure there without a camera. I know I’m failing as a parent…. but the man of the house says that we live with the boy and see him everyday so it was no big deal I forgot the camera! Grandma came to the rescue though- in her bag of tricks she had both the camera and the camcorder {I wonder sometimes am I really her offspring since I so frequently forget the camera or to even take pictures when I do remember it?}

 
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{yes that is the side of his head ….I never claimed to take good pictures….and why is he holding cymbals and not a snare I don’t know…and why did I not take any pictures of the band on the field??? Failing….}

  • Be more consistently consistent in the writing department. Yes I’ve been a slacker here for the past 3 weeks. The first step is admitting you have a problem right?
  • Pick apples and make pies. Yep I’m that easily entertained. I also enjoy letting the boy deejay songs on the iPod whenever we’re in the car. It’s the simple things.

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{one more side shot for ya from our apple foray of last year….is anyone else sensing a pattern in my picture taking poses?… Maybe I’m just trying to be sneaky by taking shots when they’re not looking so they don’t realize I’m taking their picture….and by the way it’s really amazing what one year living in the country will do to a kid- ours gained about 6 inches in height and lost about 6 inches of hair…}

Happy Fall Y’all! I’m off to produce more posts, practice proper picture-taking techniques,  procure apples and prepare pies. Peace!


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