Can’t March To The Beat Of That Drum

, , , , , , , | Friendly | November 30, 2017

(I go by myself to a rock show at a well-known venue, and I am having what seems to be a friendly conversation with strangers before it starts.)

Stranger #1: “Do you play anything?”

Me: “Guitar and piano, a bit.”

Stranger #1: “Always wanted to learn those ones. I just did saxophone in high school.”

Stranger #2: *butting in, but it’s cool* “I did drums in high school then came back to it in my 20s. Been in love with it for years, now.”

Stranger #1: “That’s awesome! What made you pick it back up again?”

Stranger #2: “My love for John Bonham! John Bonham was the best drummer that ever lived; I can’t get enough of listening to him and he inspires me so much!”

Me: “Bonham, eh? I’ve heard so many people rave about him; since you’re clearly a big fan, and a drummer, can I ask a question about him that I’ve had burning for years?”

Stranger #2: “Okay.”

Me: *being so careful to be polite and respectful* “Can you explain to me what it was about Bonham’s drumming that grabs you? Can you specify the things he did that stand out? I only ask because I’ve listened to Zeppelin a lot and, while he’s good, of course, my untrained ear can’t really figure out what it is about his playing that sets him apart. I’m no slouch musically, but I’m also not a drummer.”

Stranger #2: *angry silence, glowering at me*

Me: “I’m asking completely seriously, because I want to understand! I know I’m missing something when I listen to him, and I’m just asking you, since you seem to be someone who gets it.”

Stranger #2: *still silence, clearly offended*

Me: “Please, I’m really not trying to argue or anything; I’m asking completely seriously.”

Stranger #2: *argumentatively* “He’d start playing for hours before their concerts, and then afterwards the other guys would go party, and he’d keep playing for hours!”

Me: “Well… That’s dedication to his craft, which is good. But I mean more like technique, etc.”

Stranger #2: *angrier still, storms off with her couple friends*

Stranger #1: *awkwardly moves away from me and doesn’t interact with me the rest of the night*

(I’ve since found other drummers and online sources that do a good job of explaining rock drums prior to Bonham and how his style changed rock drums for pretty much everyone afterwards. No one else I talked to was offended that I asked.)

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