This post was originally published at Drummer Anatomy and is reposted here with kind permission.
My brothers will never let me live down Christmas 1986, the year Santa delivered an enormous Barbie dream house. A dream house! Not the RV (my Barbie and Ken were already driving a silver Corvette), not a condo, a DREAM HOUSE!
The Dream House was abandoned after 2 weeks of extensive use in my family’s living room.
The family devoted the rest of Christmas evening 1986 to construction of the DREAM HOUSE. I was responsible for assembling the groceries (itsy-bitsy stickers placed on choke-hazardous plastic pieces, aka Barbie’s TV dinners) while mom assigned the major duties to my brothers. Assembly took many hours and flooded into the subsequent days of Christmas vacation (much to my brothers’ chagrin). Alas, we made good headway and construction was complete well before the New Year and Barbie and Ken moved in to the Dream House as happy newlyweds.
It ended in an annulment as Ken fell for Skipper down the street. The Dream House was abandoned after two weeks of extensive use in my family’s living room. Soon thereafter, the Dream House was relegated to the garage—the graveyard of unused, unwanted, space-consuming articles and objects. The Dream House stood, but ultimately became a remnant of the emotional foreclosure of lost love and broken dreams and a testament to the low-attention span of an ungrateful 11 year old.
Fast forward to Summer 1989, when I arrived home in my oversized Van Halen T-shirt to find a CB Percussion five-piece drum set purchased and assembled by my ever-handy brother. There it shined in the very living room where the Dream House stood just three years prior. It was my first drum set after years of banging away on coffee tables, books and homemade traps constructed from boxes and duct tape.
On most weekends thereafter, I could be found carefully disassembling my drum set. Hoops and heads were removed, any stainless steel surface in sight polished with Windex, and each drum shell lovingly dusted. I inhaled the fumes and absorbed the grit of cymbal cleaner through my fingertips. I tuned the drumheads, problem solving and experimenting with tensions to zero in on the appropriate sound for stadium hair metal play alongs. I hand-shredded pieces of newspaper to stuff in my kick drum for the optimal fear-inducing thud.
I tirelessly played with that drum set, not only from sitting on the throne with sticks banging away, but exploring every nook and cranny of the instrument with screwdrivers, drum keys and WD-40 in hand.
These days when I change a drumhead, I flashback to those weekend mornings of play. You know what you love. You know it from the earliest of ages.
Still, with all that said and done and hindsight being 20/20, deepest apologies to mom and brothers for the Dream House fiasco and for my lack of grace/gratitude demonstrated Christmas 1986.