To borrow from the title of the late, great Cozy Powell‘s 1992 album, “The Drums Are Back”!
In my youth I played the drums in a Salvation Army brass band, and with a few mates in informal jam sessions (with vague aspirations of rock stardom) and playing along to various rock albums via my Sony Walkman!
At the time I was able to use the drum kit that belonged to the Salvation Army band, which was a beautiful black 7 piece Pearl kit. However, when I started to move away from the religious side of things, it followed that, no longer having access to the kit, or the funds (or space) to get my own, I decided to give it up in the early 90s with the intention of learning to play the electric guitar.
Well, here we are, 20 years down the line. I have been through a pale blue Strat copy, a cherry sunburst Gibson Epiphone Les Paul (inspired by Luke Morley of Thunder and the much missed Gary Moore amongst others), and, most recently a butterscotch blonde Fender Squier Affinity Telecaster (Bruce Springsteen). However, in all that time I never managed to get to grips with the instrument further than a few open chords, and strumming along to my music library using barre chords.
When our youngest came home from school one day a few weeks before Xmas with the weekly newsletter, as some of the children were taking drum lessons after school, there was mention that one of the parents was selling an electronic drum kit. Around the same time, said child – although not wanting to take drum lessons at school – was expressing an interest in learning to play, and added a drum kit to his wish list for Santa.
From this small seed, the desire to play again began to grow within me, and after much soul searching and deliberation, the aforementioned Telecaster was sold off to part fund a drum kit – for all the family to use, should they wish to – for Xmas.
We live in a small cottage in a small, quiet village, and so the space saving and volume considerations pointed us very much in the direction of an electronic kit.
So it was, on Xmas eve, I found myself unboxing and putting together a Roland TD-11K drum kit, whilst the family were at a carol singalong, in preparation for Xmas morning.
The children were all suitably wowed, and each had several goes on the day – whilst us grown ups were much too busy sorting out Xmas lunch etc.!
I got my chance on Boxing Day, and spent a few hours sitting, headphones on, with the music library connected to the kit, banging away to a selection of songs that I could vaguely remember having played along to all those years ago.
Although the pre-set kit sounds need a bit on tinkering with (some of the 25 kits already set are somewhat on the novelty side) it didn’t take long to get a workable representation of a decent acoustic kit to be able to play to your heart’s content – and with barely any noise for the rest of the family to have to suffer. Oh how my parents would have loved something like this when I was learning in my youth and using a small – but noisy – kit in my bedroom, directly above the kitchen / dining room!
Granted, the electronic kits don’t have the same visual appeal as their acoustic cousins, but for our needs they are perfect.
I have now managed two several hour long sessions on the kit – and have three fingers taped up on my right hand due to the rather sore blisters that I have obtained as a result! It’s going to take a while to get my chops back, so to speak. I may not be in the same league as Cozy (or Neil Peart of Rush, Led Zeppelin‘s John Bonham, or any one of hundreds of brilliant drummers that I could bore you with a list of), but my wife is already amazed by what she’s heard and I am certainly going to enjoy this musical journey!