May 2016
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Spring break advice from SMPD



“I’m not a real drummer. I’m no good.” My fourteen year old student complained. I’ll never be able to play the drum part for “Free Bird” in my high school band recital. I’m just a drummer in a garage.”

I really don’t get upset at remarks like this anymore. I understand.

“Skynyrd practiced in their garage in high school in Jacksonville. And they SUCKED! But they stayed with it and they worked and got better. You know why they got better? Because they were poor. Very Poor. That is a great motivator.”

Cars come out on Easter Weekend in Santa Monica, parked in front of Seasons on Montana


cancun frolic

Cancun Birthday 67

kayakbuddycathyCancunjunglehangbuddySeventy five foot zip line then swim 200 yards in minnow infested crystal clear water. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it…




Happy Birthday to me!


Julian Blues Fest drumming with Boscoe France

Buddy Helm JulianBluesfest Boscoe France

Soundtrack for Renan

Yoga with a good beat

Jimmy Page said, “We broke the first cardinal rule of music, which is, ‘Don’t Speed Up!’
Stairway to Heaven was playing softly on the turntable.
“It was all planned out. We sped up intentionally to match the passion of the times.”

I personally had to break the second commandment of music which might be, ‘Don’t Slow Down.’
The process of slowing a groove down, gradually, takes the drummer’s awareness into a deeper relaxation and meditation, like yoga; breathing into the posture, witnessing the release of tension in the body and the mind. This happens in drumming with downbeat reductions in tempo so subtle that you might not even notice it. But each time the person feels that simple ‘laying back’ of the groove, they experience similar deepening of awareness and well being like yoga. But this groove meditation seems to be a different form of energy than yoga. After all, rhythm is dance. Meditation drumming is popular in yoga classes. Yoga with a good beat. Stairway indeed.

drumming and potassium

For the last six months I have been deaf. It started with me working out at the Y, getting in shape, dropping weight, feeling pretty good, running for a few miles. But then my ears started shutting down and there was no one who could help.

The acupuncturist treated me with Chinese herbs, UCLA put me on antibiotics which made it worse. Nothing helped. It was getting worse. To the point where I could only watch mouths moving and not get any voice.

The irony was that I could still carry on the drumming meditation groups. It was loud enough to get through. The mystery deepened and also my depression. Randy, one curious fellow who dropped in for a demo of the drum healing returned many times with his partner Cecily. They were getting a lot of personal energetic benefits from our drumming meditations. Randy, a chiropractor, explained that it was probably my Eustachian tubes blocked, or infected. Another round with herbalists. Nothing. But Randy’s mention of eustachian tubes was a clue. I googled, nothing of consequence. Wacked out operations on eustachian tubes.

All I could do was sit silently and watch movies that I had checked out at Santa Monica Public Library. “Redwood Highway” sounded like a movie at least nice to look at. I read the dialogue at the bottom of the screen. A grandmother did not approve of her granddaughter’s marriage to a drummer. But in the end she hiked across the Redwood Highway, 80 miles, to the wedding. In the woods, she met Tom Skerrit, who was the owner of a Redwood burl crafts store. He looked a the old woman’s feet and said,

“If you are going to walk  the Redwood Highway, you are going to need a lot of potassium. Fish, bananas…” When I read the word potassium, it lit up like a neon sign on the television screen.

I googled, “Eustachian tubes clearing with potassium.” And I got a wikipedia hit. I had just donated ten dollars to wikipedia the month before.

PET is a new condition. Eustachian tubes are not clogged, they are jammed in the open position, because they are dried out from caffeine, stress, heavy exercise and losing weight. Wikipedia explained all the symptoms; Head in a barrel, hearing internal body sounds and not able to hear outside sounds. The condition has no known cure, Wiki explained, and most people are so depressed they commit suicide. But some people have tried a potassium saturate to “induce edema”. That meant potassium could maybe put moisture back into the dried out mucous valves in the Eustachian tubes.

I had my doubts. Then Cecily came in with a bag full of ripe bananas. They occasionally bring us fruit from the Buddhist temple after it has been blessed on the alter. She apologized.

“I’m sorry but all we haver are bananas this time.”

I took that as an endorsement from the Universe, “Eat the friggin bananas!”

I went to the Co-op and bought a bottle of potassium capsules, took two hundred milligrams every few hours. I went to the drumming therapy and half way through my ears opened up. What had been a dull distant thudding for the last six months suddenly became a loud group of drummers having a great time. The open ears shut right down again, thank goodness. It was really loud.

I continued my dosage of bananas and potassium and my ears opened up and stayed open, as long as I take potassium. The wikipedia site also had a link to a Japanese firm who put together a concoction of about twenty herbs. They work too.

The Wikipedia entry on Patulous Eustachian Tube also stated that this condition is always misdiagnosed. I had to learn for myself what was happening in my own body.