Today, I’m continuing my summer series of articles about songs that remind me of my past. In case you missed them, here are the previous articles:
Time: Summer 1992
Place: Ryan Morgan’s basement.
Setting: Playing the drums on a summer morning.
Guitar wasn’t my first elective instrument. Sure, I played clarinet in elementary and middle school, but that was more or less a requirement. Either clarinet or singing. Ugh, I’ll take clarinet please, thanks. And I did take piano for a few months, but the combination of the self-indulgent meanderings of my teacher and my child-sized attention span quickly put a stop to that.
The first instrument that I wanted to play for fun, as a hobby, was the drums. That’s right. Not guitar. The drums.
My best friend Ryan played the drums. He was amazing. Aside from being one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, Ryan loved to rock out on a drum set. And best yet: he actually owned a drum set!
In the summer of 1992 I’d walk over to Ryan’s house and we’d listen to music. At first, Ryan would play the drums and I’d just watch. After a lot of begging, I convinced Ryan to show me how to play. He taught me how to hit the bass drum on the first and third beats with my right foot, and hit the snare with my left hand on the twos and fours. Then he taught me how to play the hi-hat with my right hand on the eighth notes. Man that was hard! Kinda like patting your head and rubbing your tummy. It took a while, but I got it. Then, I was ready to play along with a song.
That song was “Symphony of Destruction” by Megadeth. Ryan chose it because he was a metal-head, it had a very simple drum pattern and it was a popular metal song that summer. “Symphony of Destruction” became the first and only song I ever learned on the drums.
Here’s the bombshell: if my parents’ rowhome could have accommodated the volume — both in terms of space and sound — I would probably be a drummer today. But like an adolescent summer romance, it came to an end. Once summer ended and school started, I couldn’t make those daily trips over to Ryan’s house and the passion faded. I later picked up the guitar and discovered that I have a passion for that too, but drums will always be my first love.
*Ryan created a conjecture in high school that was published in mathematics journals.
For more information about me and the guitar lessons that I give in and around Baltimore, visit www.ewguitar.com.