Our very own RichD contacted me and asked if it'd be alright to post the following as a comment on the Max Weinberg post. A very kind and respectful gesture, indeed. Personally, I thought it was worthy of a full post.
Hello all…no, please remain seated.
Ok…Max Weinberg, drums…this is a topic we can really sink our teeth into.
But first, full disclosure: I really have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to drumming.
Background: as a kid in Queens, New York, early seventies, there was a County Corkman’s Irish club across the street that had a, a, whaddyacallit…a pipe and drums band that would march in the NYC St. Patrick’s Day parade and other stuff in the neighborhood: Memorial Day, July 4th, whatever. They were willing to give free bagpipe and drum lessons to local kids in order to fluff out their ranks for the big parade, because there were really only a few guys in the club who actually knew how to play and they didn’t want to look like some rinky-dink neighborhood outfit on 5th avenue come the big day. Trust me, back then, the Saint Paddy’s Day parade was a really big deal for my peeps.
Anyway, my brother and I, hearing they were desperate for members, showed up at the club ready to become the next Buddy Rich. Or whatever the Irish equivalent of that would be. There, we met another kid with the same hopes. Big kid. Polish, not Irish (go figure). Same general age as me & my brother, about 12 or 13 years old. Like I said, he was big. Horizontally. He said that marching in the parade would be tons of fun, but my brother and I thought he was tons of lard and full of shit. So we called him “Tunza”. Nice kid, though, and I regret the middle-school cruelty to this day.
They gave us some drumsticks and a little angled rubber pad to practice on: exercises called para-diddles, or something like that. Week after week we would show up at the Corkman’s club on Thursday night to learn and practice with the rest of the drummers and pipers. Well, like all of us, I have my blind-spots and I have my moments of lucidity about myself and my abilities. Drumming fell into the latter case. It was crystal clear to me that I stink on drums. But my brother and Tunza stunk too so, perversely, that gave me some hope. You know the old joke about two guys camping in the woods and a bear comes out and starts charging at them? One guy says “Run for it!” Other guy says “we can’t outrun a bear!”. First guy says “I know. I only have to outrun you!”. Well that was me. I know I suck, but if I only suck a little less than my brother or Tunza I’ll get to march in the parade. Every man for himself, boy-o.
Oh, and if you think we drum kids were bad, you should have heard the kids trying to learn the bagpipes. The sound of the pipes is tough enough even if you know how to play them. Imagine seven kids sitting around a table trying to squeak out a major scale. It’s a wonder I’m not epileptic.
So. Late February, Thursday night. The Corkmen gather to announce the final cut. Who’s in, who’s out. First up, the bagpipers. With typical florid Irish style (well-lubricated, I’m sure), they announce that ALL of the kid pipers, except one really young kid – probably eight years old – could march in the parade. Except, most of the kids wouldn’t actually play any of the melodies. They would just march along and keep blowing up the bag and squeeze it under their arm to do that droning thing that bagpipes do. The grownups would play the melody on top. Okay, I’m encouraged. Sucks for the little kid but, hey… I may be a little shrimp myself, but I got 5 years on him.
Now for the drummers. Blather, blather, blather….WHAT????? All the drummers EXCEPT me and some other, like, seven year old kid can march in the fucking parade. My brother? In. Tunza? In. What the hell??? He sucks! He’s frickin’ Polish, for chrissake!!!! Ah, man…screw you ya buncha douchebags!!!
March 17th….watching the parade with my parents, little sister and oldest brother on a small black and white tv in our 3rd floor walk-up apartment. The announcer, Captain Jack McCarthy, putting on the brogue and progressively slurring his words as the parade marches on. Finally…hey, there they are. The County Corkmen! Camera zooms in a bit and, holy mackerel, I can actually make out my brother. In one of those Clancy Brothers white sweaters that my mom bought him. And there’s Tunza, in all his Polish glory. Also wearing a Clancy Brothers sweater and an Irish tam, looking like fucking Moby Dick, marching down the green line painted in the middle of 5th avenue. Sunza-(pause)-bitchez.
Well…anyway, a lotta water under the bridge, but that’s how I remember it. Not saying that I blame my subsequent dissolution on the Corkmen. No. Can’t diss my own tribe like that. But, drummers? Drummers??? Slowly I turn…step by step…. I couldn’t do a damn para-diddle to save my life and I don’t know what any of that shit in their drum kit is called, but it doesn’t stop me from acting like some professorial Gene Krupa expert on the old skins.
So. Sal. You ask me if Max Weinberg sucks. Hmmm…lemme think. Does Max Weinberg suck? Does Macksssss……Weinberrrrrrrg…………..suck.
YES HE SUCKS!!!! You bet your ass he sucks!!! He sucks fucking donkey-dirt in Macy’s goddamn window, right there where the parades go by. And every one of you drummer bastards suck along with him!!!! Hey Ringo, you got blisters on your fingers? Well come here and I’ll give you a fucking blister! Yo, Alex Van Halen…ooooo, you got two bass drums! Well I’ve got two words you can write on your bass drums: Fuck and You! Hey, Allman Brothers Band…two drummers and neither one of you yutzes can find the pocket!!! You play drums??? Well PARADIDDLE THIS!
What? What??…oh yeah.
Sal…cool topic. Max Weinberg? He’s ok, but I’m more of a Charlie Watts guys, myself.