Drumming in the South

I was lucky enough to grow up in Florida in the Sixties. I heard a lot of Cuban music. As a drummer, I can definitely say, it affected my curve ball.

“And the winner for the Most Talented of the senior class of nineteen sixty seven is Russell…uh Buddy Helm!” There was a cheer, I could hear it through the roaring in my head. I was frozen, I could not move. I was running backward and forward frantically on the audio tape that I had made for the soundtrack for the class awards in the full auditorium; five hundred and sixty two seniors. I sat behind the curtain, unable to get up and move to the front of the stage and accepted my award. I kept rerunning the audio tape, on my Roberts state of the art stereo recorder. I could hear it screaching and speeding up and down on the big speakers. It was a horrible sound like a Hitchcock soundtrack. Its what Frank Zappa was doing only I had never heard him. I didn’t want to be seen. I had been trained not to be seen by my mother and her unannounced fear. I was hiding.

I could hide behind a drumset too, it worked out; while I was making a big noise about my particular predicament. I was angry, and could not speak, but I could play really loud if I wanted to, If I needed to. It covered over the fear, the fear that was connected to something untold. But when the groove was there, I felt good. Everything was OK. I even smiled.


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