Episode 6: New Friends and Experiences (PT2): is about growing up skateboarding in the early 90’s and starting a punk band.
I knew a few kids in my school that played drums and my brother was always into drums. He air drummed a lot but I had never seen him play. He had these black lacker sticks that he used to spin and air drum with. Anyway there was a kid in my biology class that was a big Pantera fan and according to him and his electrical taped microphone he was the next Phil Anselmo.
He had an old drum set in parts and pieces around his house. I remember him telling me that he was using one of the drums as dirty clothes hamper. I told him I was looking for some drums and he told me he he would part with his clothes hamper.
This kit was an old 5 piece Ludwig kit that was pretty much the worst kit ever. There was no bottom hardware on the toms, a kick drum with no front head, a snare drum with 2 broken heads, no kick pedal, a hihat stand and warped hihats, an a ride stand with a cymbal that had been spray painted yellow.
We agreed that I would buy it for $80 and he would take payments. $20 bucks a month for the next 4 months.
I spent $80 on this kit and had no idea that this kit would change my life.
I think the day that I brought home Brandon had his guitar and little amp over at my house and we were trying to play Metallica covers. Which thinking back I didn’t have a full kit, I definitely didn’t know how to play and I am sure that it was the worst sounding thing ever.
We will talk in another episode about how playing the drums took a poor kid from Flint around the world to see things that most people only get to read about in books.
Bandon and I started playing music together over 25 years ago and I can still remember bringing home the my drums and the “music” that we tried to play that day. I remember not having a full set of drums and this super tiny amp that he had but we were crushing it anyways. Well we thought we were crushing it.
Our first band that ever played a show was called JIVE and we were pretty awful. We did have a few other band names before that but they were just as bad if not worse. Brandon seemed to me remember me teasing him about this band name that he came up with but I think it was really the kid that I bought the drums from that came up with this name. It was Rehabilitated Hamster. This is probably one of the worst band names ever but I think that’s what happens when you are 14. At one point the name Farmers Lung came into play. I think I was just looking through one of my Mom’s medical dictionaries just trying to come up with something that sounded cool. This name was also not the best.
Our friend Christ Roark was our original bass player. Chris the best best, he was definitely one of the funniest dudes around. He always had jokes and usually a pretty upbeat and out going outlook on things. It’s awesome if you liked something and he didn’t and you told him to try it again he would totally try it. If it was music or a food or whatever. It was pretty awesome. I feel like people now are pretty set in their ways and most people wouldn’t give a thing another shot but he would. If you told something that didn’t like pickles to try this new people most of the time they will say “I don’t like pickles” but with Chris he would go “really”, I’ll try it. Even if he didn’t like it he would try it. He didn’t want to miss out on anything in life and I think that’s so amazing and admirable.
Chris passed away well after the band stuff happened but we will never forget his smile and the impact that he had on us. Good dude an is and will forever be missed.
Brandon and I started these bands together and this is was a new and weird thing to us. As kids I don’t think that any of us really knew how to communicate very well as people let alone with instruments and convey to someone else what we liked or didn’t like and why. I think that it’s almost like jumping into a new career field you have to learn the language and all speak the common language to get ideas across. When we were kids we were all in different places as far as our understanding of music. It’s almost like communicating with people that kind of speak your language you are always putting bits and pieces together to create a full something.
I think when you add creativity to it along with putting effort into something it can get pretty sketchy. When someone puts a lot of work into something and then puts it out into the world you become vulnerable. I think that’s tough for anyone. Even in my career now I can working on a project for 20-30 hours and then present it and someone will say yeah that’s pretty good. You are putting something out there to be judged. Just because you put a lot of effort into something doesn’t make it awesome. It just means more or less that you worked on something and here it is.
Being in a band when you are young is like being on a sports team with no manager – Brandon Trammell
Looking back 25 years later we kind of equate it to the Metallica “Some Kind Of Monster” experience. A bunch of guys that were friends for years that had a lot of history together that were all on the some journey but on different paths.
So what did I learn from growing up and trying all these new things?
I learned that sometimes when you jump in with both feet it can really surprise you on where it could take you. Had I not taken a chance and jumped into playing drums I have no idea where my life would have taken me. I could have ended up working in the shop, working a dead end job or even dead.
I also learned that it’s much harder to come up with reasons not to do something opposed to just jumping in and doing it. The way I look at it is the only real question you should ask yourself is: Ok am I going to die. No, Ok lets give it a go. Take a chance.
I really that that the most valuable thing that I learned is that you should always be open to trying something new. It can make you more rounded, it can expose you to new places, friends and experiences. It can take you places that you would never imagine.