*** We Interrupt this Hurriquake…***

to bring you a special NEWS BULLETIN.

It’s our anniversary!

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One year ago today I married my drummer husband (yes on our back porch) and inherited my drummer step-son (he took this picture from the porch swing) and filled my house what else, drums! 

We met through a mutual friend who thought we would make good friends if nothing else! This was part of my response to his first email to me when he said he heard I was a music fan:

A big yes to the music fan part– love love love music–love to play, sing and go to concerts. Mostly into everything from bluegrass and gospel to country- classic and newer stuff, to southern rock, old school G’N’R & Metallica, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and a little alternative thrown in for good measure….

I play acoustic guitar and sing around with friends and at my church and I hear you play the drums….what kind of music are you into? Do you ever play out anywhere?

Little did I know that email would be the beginning of many many nights of conversations and a first date to a concert! Which led to many more concerts and open mics and stepmom-hood and becoming a marching band parent and having a house full of guitars, drums and best of all people!

I love you and Happy 365 day Anniversary!

 

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Shakin’, Rattlin’ and Rollin’ and How to be Prepared

First off let us recap this week- ’cause I’m sure y’all are dying to know all about it!

  • Monday: Back to school! We are now the proud owners (!?) of a 10th grader. But I refuse to talk about driver’s ed…Sold some drum goodies on eBay – snare parts and mounts and a little DW 8″ piccolo tom – and got held up at gunpoint by Paypal. (no, not really, they just have some random new “hold your money for no reason” policy even if you are an excellent eBayer and have been for years, but I digress…)

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(good-bye cute drum!)

  • Tuesday: EARTHQUAKE!! We were lucky- no damages to home, persons or drums. (A co-worker’s deer head in his office didn’t fair as well….I warned you we live in the sticks..) Kids got a nice afternoon of hanging on the football field when they evacuated school. I finally stopped shaking a few hours after the ground did. (Props to you California for living with this sorta event all.the.time. Yeah, we know, we’re wusses when it comes to the whole earth-shaking thing that’s why we chose to live way over here… but we can take your jokes! Some folks did have some significant damage though and we can now say that Central VA is responsible for cracking the Washington Monument…)

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(image borrowed from here)

  • Wednesday: More Earthquakes, well aftershocks, followed by blizzards (the ice cream kind!)
  • Thursday: MORE Earthquakes (aftershocks can end at any time now thank you!) and a helluva thunder-storm that I think may be a preview to the impending doom predicted for the east coast this weekend (aka Hurricane Irene…hopefully it won’t be this bad…)

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  • Friday: It’s early so I can’t say how the day will play out just yet. We should be preparing for this new disaster of biblical proportions I suppose, but we have no generator to buy gas for and the guys aren’t big on tuna or other non-cooked meals that one should have on hand to survive should the storm render us powerless. So we’ll just play drums and guitar in the dark, drink our bottled water and Coke, eat jalapeno potato chips and wait for the next big thing! Since we already had the fires last week (well just some overzealous boy scouts in the camp behind our house who weren’t familiar with operating dampers on the big cook stove they were using and in return smoked us out and made us think the woods were on fire) I figure the locusts and the plagues should be here about Thursday next week…. 

Now in the spirit of being prepared, I give you a list of things to know if you are soon to be living with, working with or dating a drummer:

  • They will carry drum keys everywhere they go {it’s like an unwritten rule or something…}
  • They will carry sticks most of the time too – these are used for beating on the dashboard in the car or the practice pad or whatever else they can beat on wherever they are

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 (“drumchucks” image by drumlove)

  • They have their own language meaning they will talk to each other in “drum” sounds -I would give you an example but I can’t speak it yet let alone type it correctly!  
  • They will use funny sounding musical terms like paradiddle and triplet
  • They will teach you that RLRR LRLL is not a texting abbreviation like ROTFL 
  • They will introduce you to tons of new music- this past year alone I’ve been privy to a whole new world of sounds including Slipknot, Shinedown, the White Stripes and marching band music (the last two by the way are phenomenal for getting stuck in my head all.day.long. And I keep telling the boy I can play drums as good as Meg if he’ll play Jack’s part, but he just shakes his head…)
  • They may not always hear you when you call to them from the other room…or sometimes in the same room…
  • They will be entertaining {have you ever met a drummer who wasn’t funny?}
  • They will make great husbands {hi hunny!} and step-sons {yo!}

So bring it Irene! We can take it! Batten down the hatches my friends and lock up what you still want to own and have a lovely disaster free weekend!


The Old Switcheroo

As a rule of thumb, things just can’t stay the same around here for long – furniture and cabinet contents are never guaranteed to be in the same place from month to month so why should drums be any different? Remember our little black beauty? And our bamboo surprise?

Well they got a little makeover and went from this

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and this

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to these!

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“How you doin’ ?” 

Not sure what prompted the revamping although a few weeks ago we were trying to sell the bamboo on eBay but it wasn’t garnering much interest. Maybe that was the catalyst for the makeover. {I know new jewelry and some mascara always make me feel more glamorous!}  Either way, that little bamboo number with the black hardware is now our collective favorite. The menfolk alone spent an hour talking about how cool it turned out. And all they did was switch up the hardware.

I do kinda miss the black on black action that used to be on the ebony satin oil snare though. It had that dark and dangerous feel like it belonged in a death metal band. But it does blend more with our DW black ice kit now that it has chrome hoops and lugs. The problem now is getting the boy to agree to sell the souped up bamboo snare with black hoops…. but if we give it a week or two I’m sure like everything else, that’ll change.


Marching to the Beat of a Different Drum

The season is upon us. You know that season filled with crisp clear nights, football games and drums! Well maybe I’m getting ahead of myself being as it’s still over 90 degrees here most days, but marching band practice has started and I can taste fall!

Here’s our pride and joy last year when he was paying his dues as a bass drummer.

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This year since he’s no longer a lowly freshman, he finally got a shot at the second snare drummer position! Of course he rocked it. And because we are the house that all drums and drummers gravitate to, the boy brought home not one but two marching snares the other week. Why two? Because one is the practice (no padding in the harness) and one is the performance one.

By the way- you definitely want as much padding in the harness as you can get. I tried it on and felt kinda bad that we had been subjecting our boy to such torture because that marching snare is heavy and not only do you have to wear it but also march in it and crab step and do all sorts drills and stuff in the hot humid Virginia summer. But it’s strange what a kid will go through for something he loves! Now if we ask him to go out and mow the lawn, that’s a different story! Absolutely no love there.

Here’s a shot of one of the new noise makers {the drum not the boy…silly}

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Fun fact alert– did you know the heads on a marching snare are made out of Kevlar– the same material used in bullet proof vests?? Is this why those little drummer boys march ahead of the army? Cool and scary all at the same time.

So now the real practice has begun. Practice pads just don’t have the same effect- the sticks just don’t react the same way. Nor are pads as loud as the real drum. And it’s important to be loud to annoy your pets and neighbors be able to be heard through the sound of a full band and lots of other drums. So we relegated him to the back porch to keep the cats (and us) from going insane. 

On the flip side cooking dinner, folding laundry and delivering punchlines are now proceeded by lots of fanfare and drumrolls – as they should be!


Drummer’s Paradise

So a few weekends ago we ventured over the river and through the woods and north on 95 and 15 to a quaint little (I use that word loosely – 2 levels encompassing 4,000 square feet maybe isn’t little, but it was a welcoming and homey place) drum shop that we had been wanting to visit. Well, my dear husband had been wanting to visit…and the boy went because we said the word drum and he knew the trip would end with a concert…and I’m the designated navigator so they needed me! haha! 

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Getting there was half the battle- hello people in Northern VA and MD why must you all drive so crazy at the same time in the same place???…one more reason we will live in the sticks forever! But the afternoon we spent browsing through the shop was well worth the traffic. And even I who came along only for the scenery and promise of seeing Tommy Lee at the end of  the weekend couldn’t resist the allure of allll the shiny pretty weapons of mass percussion!

Dale’s Drum Shop has been in business for almost as long as Crüe has been a band which is almost as long as I have been alive!It was opened in 1982 by Dale and Gail Wise in Harrisburg, PA after his 7 year stint as Buddy Rich’s drum tech. And it was like walking into our home away from home as soon as we stepped in the door. Unfortunately we didn’t get to meet Dale or Gail because they were both out that day, but everyone else there was very cool, helpful and friendly.

Come on in! If you’ve got any questions just give a shout. By all means go up stairs – there’s lots more to see. Take your time and look around. We really appreciate you coming such a long way to visit our place! Sure you can sleep here among all the DW’s.” (Well that last sentence isn’t quite true, but the boy did ask if he could stay there that night or maybe it was live there…)

There were racks and racks of cymbals…

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And enough snares to beat the band….

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And more DW’s than you could shake a stick at!

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Now I know this wasn’t a DW kit (sorry hunny!) But it was probably one of my favorites in the whole shop!

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We wanted t-shirts but they were all out so we settled for a drum key and wait for it…. something that makes noise! It’s called a thunder tube and it really does sound like thunder.

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So until our next trip, I leave you with parting pictures of drum heaven {upstairs fittingly!} in Dale’s:

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And thanks again to Dale’s for their wonderful customer service and for letting us wander around and snap pics of all their cool stuff!


Whirlwind Weekend

And just where have you been young lady??? Oh wait, that’s for me not you….

Ummm well we’ve been vacating or vacationing I guess would be more correctly termed. After a week teaching games to children under the age of 15 at a Baptist church vacation bible school one tends to want to vacate the premises!

So we headed north to see this place

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and this man

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and these guys

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and this dude!

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and buy firecrackers…

and trash 2 hotel rooms in one night (well not really….the first one had a broken AC and we had to be moved to another one….but it sounded more rock and roll to put it that way didn’t it!)

and get major sunburn…
Hey when we go, we go all out….!

Just ask us about the Massanutten trip that turned into a Luray Caverns visit and ended up in Niagara Falls….

Stay tuned for the scoop! And yes I missed y’all too!


Stacked

First of all, I tried a new cardio jam class at the Y the other night and the former army drill instructor nice lady fitness teacher tried to kill me, I think. I am still sore. It hurts to type. But if I keep this up through the summer by Labor Day I will be like the title of this post says. {haha…mabye}

But that’s a whole other topic that probably doesn’t belong on this blog. Let me instead turn your attention to these stacks…

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Yeah that’s more like it! Last summer the guys were collecting these. Yes in addition to drums and guitars, we also had a collection of amps and cabinets going on. Are we music hoarders? Is there a show for that? Anyway they aspired to the arrangement above but only made it to this:

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It was a noble attempt.

 (Again I apologize for the fuzzy picture- it’s not your eyes! Just another blurry cell phone pic…Note to self: Use real camera from now on…)

This summer, the bottom cabinet a JCM 1936 (2 x 12) is still in our possession but the top 2 micro stacks went on to new homes to make funding and room for this:

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A Marshall JCM900 50 watt tube head

If you thought this house was loud before you should hear it now…! {Gotta love living in the country and having older neighbors who don’t care probably ’cause they can’t hear the ruckus anyway!}

But you know with us enough is never enough! While the amp and cabinet we have now is great for the guitar we’re still looking for a good deal for a decent power amp and speakers for amplifying our SPD-20 electronic percussion pad. The guys currently use it as a drum module to sample sounds but can only hear the result through headphones. And if we had a power amp we could set that up with our triggers again….

What’s a trigger you ask? Well, besides being Roy Rogers horse, it’s also a device that clips on the drum and makes your acoustic kit sound like an electric kit.

Here’s a pic of the kind of triggers we have:

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{Not our drums, but you get a better idea of what they are and how they mount to the hoop.}

Triggers get you get a tighter ‘bigger’ sound ala Tommy Lee, Frank Beard and Joey Jordison and when hooked into a drum module you can even assign different sounds and patches to play when you hit certain drums. So your rock DW kit equipped with triggers could sound like a tympani or steel drums with the right patch. It’s a very cool setup that gives you endless ways to play and annoy your pets and neighbors!

And that is my rambling story about working out, amps, triggers and drums for today. I’m off to pick up the boy from camp {yay!} and apologize to the neighbors that can hear ’cause it’s about to get loud again.