Drumming, an Uncivilizing Reverberation
At 17, when Colt 4 broke up, I immediately joined a second band. We were disorganized and unpopular, but our singer had a teenage superpower – access to his grandmother’s remote cabin in the woods – and after high school basketball games, classmates drove into the country and trudged through the snowy woods to the cabin with party plans.
They grabbed beers from cases half-buried in the snow and stepped inside a small cabin. As the freezing cabin warmed and ice melted from boots and beers, our crappy band played loud while classmates danced in stocking hats and sweaters.
Pounding drums, I heated up and removed layers down to my T-shirt. Steam rose from my sweaty back, but I kept an eye on my Buckhorn Beer, perched on top of the wood-burning stove; I watched golden liquid thaw and bubble up from the brown bottle and then drip down the side of the glowing, red, hot stove. The loud hiiiisssssss of steaming beer meant the party was on.
And when the cabin started rocking on its pine log foundations, I worried that we’d tip it over and slide downhill like a wayward toboggan into the river. I imagined the headline on Saturday morning’s Eau Claire Leader-Telegram front page “20 Menomonie High School Seniors Drown in the Red Cedar River.”
At 17, I was a living volcano and existed to smash cymbals and snare. The loud retorts distracted me from self-recrimination and unhappiness. Everything was a drum, including my brothers, and I hit all of it with force.… read more...