The Forgotten Stick Bag

Posted on November 13th, 2011

Back in the mid nineties I was working with my full time band “Aquarium Rescue Unit”. I was also doing pick up jobs as they came in including a tuxedo gig for a formal party in a fancy upscale hotel in Buckhead Atlanta. I had arrived early,wanting to make a good impression, and set up in plenty of time to meet with the band and look over the music to be performed that evening. I searched for my stick bag, complete with brushes for the sensitive and quiet songs  and  mallets for dynamic cymbal swells etc..and  I realized that I had not packed it with the drum set!  Panicking, I dashed to the Car hoping that I still had that extra pair that I keep in there to practice on my shredded dash board . After a thorough search I only found one stick, a Vic Firth custom Buddy Rich. There was not enough time to go back home to fetch my stick bag and return in time to play the Job!!

I looked around the car parking lot and saw a young but climbable Bradford Pear tree. I thought to myself Who would see me if I climbed that tree to snap off a twig  roughly the size of my “legitimate ” drum stick? could I avoid the security cameras and guards? how would I explain that I’m working here…in my tuxedo… in the tree?

I decided that it was the only thing to do to get a good tone out of the drums. After all, it’s good enough for the master drummer Bob Moses!  So, up I went and perused the branches for just the right length,width and weight twig that could be used effectively. Found it. it only took a few minutes and a few twists to free it from the limb and me from being a one armed drummer that gig.

I kept the leaf that was sprouting from new stick as ornamentation and to my delight the new stick really sounded good!!  Especially on the snare drum! And it was great to have the clarity of the lacquered stick for the cymbals verses the round smooth tone of  ” the original”,  fresh tree limb stick.

The band finished the night and no one noticed any difference–which kind of bummed me out because the snare sounded so good on those cross stickings and those rim shots!  It produced a very warm and full tone. But then I cant expect everyone to be as nerdy as me about the tone of a drum…

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