Tuesday, October 03, 2006

This one time, at band camp...


I was thinking back to when I was a teenager and in my first band. I remember I got the spot as the drummer in my first band because my drum kit was bigger and cooler (and they say looks aren’t everything!). Back in the day (which was a Wednesday, by the way) we played cover songs by bands like AC/DC, Judas Priest, KISS, Eric Clapton, etc. We got our first gig at the Chowchilla fairgrounds for a 4th of July celebration. We learned ten songs and practiced our butts off. My parents bought us all matching T-shirts (because that’s what you did back then in the late 70’s) and we were all set. The day before our “gig” my bass drum pedal broke. I freaked! It was late on a Friday night, and there was no music store in town, so I had to wait until the next morning to get it fixed or get a new one. My dad had to work that day (even though it was the 4th of July) and I had to wait until the early afternoon for him to get done. We rushed to Merced around 4:00 p.m. and got there just before the music store closed. I don’t even remember the name of that store anymore, I was just glad to get there before it closed. We were able to buy the necessary part and then we jetted back to Chowchilla, packed my drums and were off to the fairgrounds. We wanted to be very theatrical like our rock heroes KISS so, we taped smoke bombs on the back of the guitars and lit them while the lead guitarist was playing a solo. We didn’t realize that it might get very hot (and smoky) while they were lit and the lead guitar player subsequently burned his new shirt! God that was funny. It sure looked cool from the front of the stage, though.
I’ve been playing for 30 years now and I still have mishaps from time to time. I broke my bass drum pedal during a performance two weeks ago and, you guessed it, I freaked! Right in the middle of “I Love Rock and Roll”, too! I told the guys I needed a few minutes and immediately commenced to melting down. I hate it when equipment fails. I pay a lot of money for my drums and accessories so, I usually freak out completely, and that night was no different. Luckily, drum technology has progressed and due to many a mishap, I carry a pretty extensive tool kit and spare parts. However, I didn’t have the part I needed that night, so I improvised. The pedal that I use has two chains, two sprockets, a master pedal and a slave pedal. This allows me to play “double-bass” licks with just a single bass drum. The chain for the main pedal had snapped in half. I had to take the pedal completely apart and then assemble it as a single pedal. It took me about 20 minutes to get it sorted out, and the whole time I’m cussin’ like a sailor. Once I got it “repaired” we got back to business. We ended the night and I still got paid.
So now, I close my eyes again and remember smoke bombs, burnt T-shirts and KISS cover songs. Ah….that was the life!

9 Comments:

Blogger Mckenzie said...

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1:03 PM  
Blogger _Dubz_ said...

Memories are a part of life that always bring smiles to anyone’s face, well if there happy memories. The story you presented was very amusing I could actually picture in my mind smoke trailing from the guitars. I can recall an awesome memory when I was performing with my high school band in the Christmas day parade in Pasadena and at the end of the run I hit my last note, and my “telephone pole” of a stick shredded in half. I felt proud, but I was also lucky that it was at the end of the performance when I didn’t need my sticks anymore. To me memories are a time to reflect and think about the “good ol’ days” where things were simple and trouble-free. Mr. Judd it seems like you had an awesome childhood growing up with a strong sense of music. And lets face it drummers do have all the fun, cause I know I still keep up tradition.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It’s true, even though you are good at something and you are a professional, it doesn’t mean that you won’t panic, that’s not true. You don’t always nail it right. In life, you never do know things. It’s takes you your whole life to even really know what you know. I’ve known people that still get nervous, after doing things for a long time, and then they sometime still forget.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Maria Ramirez said...

I think that it is good to know that everyone does silly things as kids. I used to play the violin and the flute but I enjoyed playing the violin the best. But after being in your marketing class I liked the drum lesson you gave us I found it to be pretty interesting and fun. I all can remember about playing was that a couple of the strings on the violin had snapped not in the middle of me playing anything it actually happened when I was trying to tune it I ended up going a little too far and snap

Maria Ramirez

1:20 PM  
Blogger Edgar Tamayo aka. "DA BOY PEPPER" said...

When things go wrong with music instruments and you don’t have much time to fix them, you do have to improvise. This story brings back memories when I was still in Elementary school and I was part of the percussion section of the marching band. A lot of time the drums sounded bad just before an important parade. Sometimes we had to fix the problems minutes before the parade started. For example, before the beginning of one parade, both bass drums sounded bad. We tried to tighten the screws around the drums, but that didn’t work. So we improvised. We cut two pieces of square foam, got tape, and taped them to the drums, one in each drum. The drums looked like crap, but they sounded good. Our band ended up winning first place that day, so it worked out good.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Mckenzie said...

I remember on time I was in a play called, “Everybody’s Groove”, and I played a old hippie hating lady. I had a part in the play when I had to run across the stage and scream the line “I hate hippies and dogs”. Well the costume required me to were a dress and a pair of high heels, which by chance had no treed on the bottom. So the moment came when I started my run across the stage and wham!!!! I slipped right on my a**, but despite the fact I kept screaming my line and ran even faster than practiced. I was mortified, but when I reached the other side I heard more laughter than kids at the circus. So I peeked my head around the corner and saw the audience laughing and I felt so much better, considering that wasn’t supposed to happen.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dean Judd, i am glad to hear from your stories! and very interesting ones by the way, I guess we can never know when something may go wrong;There for is good to know that you are prepare to come up with a plan B for our daily activities.

1:31 PM  
Blogger virgie said...

I think this story is nice and it looks like you had an adventure. I think you were scared about what was going to happen with because your drum peddle was broken. Your parents were so happy for you and your team that they bought you some new matching T shirts. It was good that you made it to the fairground. What would happen to you if you didn’t make it to the fairground? How old were you when you started to play the drum. So you freak out again and what did you do next. I like this story because you are always crazy man. Mr. Judd kick butts with music and he enjoys it too.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sucks that you keep on going through troubles that stress you out but I guess that’s just a part of life. What inspired you to play the drums? Was there some kind of influence that made you want to play drums? Problably just like you, I really want to learn how to the piano. Ever since I was really young the piano has always fascinated me. I know there are different kinds of pianos the one Im most interested in learning how to play is the grand piano. The incredible sound a piano like that is capable of making just drives me crazy and makes me want to learn to play even more. I really want to learn how to play it because it something that im really interested in that hasn’t faded one bit and also because I believe every one likes the sound of the piano especially when you play from the “heart”. The reason I love the piano is I remember hearing a 2Pac song being played on Soul Food and ever since then my passion for the piano has been growing.


Joey Quinonez

2:51 PM  

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