My best friend once said ‘My parents are going to kill me when they find out I’ve accidentally agreed to a free one month trial of an office water-cooler.’ We all make bad decisions in life. When we’re unloading the tour-bus (ok, Punto), I often start to think that mine was choosing to be a drummer. Guitarists have it easy. Guitar. Amp. Lead. Pedal.
My instrument comes in thirty pieces: thirty pieces that weigh a lot, and have to be loaded into a car, unloaded, set up, dismantled, loaded into a car and unloaded every time we do a headline gig. At a headline gig the drummer from the headlining band provides the drum kit for all the bands to share. All the other drummers have to do is bring their own ‘breakables’, which means bass drum pedal, snare drum and their own cymbals (see, these articles are even going to be a bit educational…) Oh and sticks, of course.
This is where one of the curses of always being asked to headline comes into play. We’ve done about ten gigs in the last fifteen weeks, and out of those, I think two were supporting other bands. I’m not sure what it is about us that makes people want to have us headlining, rather than supporting other bands, but I’m beginning to suspect maybe it has something to do with our never saying ‘no’ when asked to bring a drum kit, even when we have to take it all the way to Bournemouth. When you’ve spent forty minutes travelling to Bournemouth in a Punto filled with drum kit, with a drum balanced on your lap and cymbals between your legs, you really start to see the appeal of vans.
Despite the hassle it’s still worth it. There’s something about drums: maybe it’s the resonance, maybe it’s the fact that your whole body is involved, maybe it’s that they’re really loud. Drums are just so much fun. Yes they’re big and cumbersome, but I like to think in the same way as an Xbox, or a space-station, might be. Yes they can be awkward, but come on, they’re cool.
And besides, the whole point of being in a small-time band is that you’re working towards something. For the other members of the band, that something may be fame, recognition, the joy and pride of seeing our album in HMV, or of walking out in front of thousands of screaming fans who are desperate to hear songs we’ve conceived. For me, making it big means only one thing; having other people to carry my drum kit around for me.