Marching to the beat of any drum

by maddrunkgenius

I’m not a musician by any means. My ears have all the talent, and the best they can do is listen. But I got a pretty good mind for analyzation, and that’s where I really enjoy music.

I don’t mean that I can analyze, like, the number of beats in a meter or pitch or tone, or… well I don’t even know what I would analyze. All the musical training I ever had was a choir class in 7th grade, and I didn’t really pay attention.

So I listen to music and analyze it as far as its effect on myself or others. Usually myself because I don’t enjoy listening to music with other people. It’s not really a group activity for me.

Pardon me while my train of thought jumps the tracks for a moment.

I’ve only gone to a handful of live concerts and I never enjoyed them. Part of it is just that I like to be in control of the volume, what songs are played, etc. I’m a writer and natually I have a God-complex. But mostly it’s because if I’m surrounded by people, I spend my time just watching them and trying to figure out why they are reacting to the music the way that they are. The best example of this would be a Saliva/Dope concert (those are the names of the two bands, though I suppose it could describe the concert pretty well, too) out at Dos Amigos I went to a few years back. Tickets were like twenty five dollars I think, which isn’t a ton of money but it will put a dent in your pocket. But the craziest thing about that night was that everyone had to stand in line about forty-five minutes or half an hour to get in, then after a long time of the line going nowhere, the organizers told everyone to go to another spot to be let in. And everyone did. But they didn’t open the doors over there for another ten or fifteen minutes, so everyone waited.

Everyone did it. Despite some grumbling, everyone waited in line calmly, followed directions nicely, and then went inside and raged, and moshed, and rebelled against the conventions of milder society.

What the fuck?


I know people are supposed to be sheep, but how can you get treated like shit and take it, just to be able to go inside somewhere and listen to people tell you not to take any shit from anyone?

Now, I know what you’re saying. “But Insomniac, I bet you just stood there and then went inside did the same thing as everyone else.”

Well you’re wrong. I stood there and took it, yes, but I also shouted obscenities at the people who weren’t letting us inside. So I have plenty of anonymous courage. More imporantly, however, I didn’t go inside and yell and scream and mosh to fit in with all the other rugged individualists. I found an unused folding chair near the side of the stage and I sat down. I sat down during the show and nearly went to sleep.

If you’re saying now that that’s no way to enjoy a live rock show, you’re absolutely right. But I didn’t do it just to be different (trying to run counter to “the masses” is just silly, and fruitless, besides) . I wouldn’t have enjoyed the show anymore had I been jumping around with a bunch of people, either. Music doesn’t make me do that or have the urge to do that, so I definitely can’t do it with a bunch of people (watching). And of course to really analyze music and it’s effect on me, I need less distractions. I need to be by myself.

Hopefully I got that train back on the tracks again.

See, there are all different kinds of music and when they’re done well, I’ll listen to almost anything. Big classic rock and jazz fan, but country, blue grass, rap, reggae, orchestral, alternative -if it’s good, I’ll listen to it. But all of those things only affect me on a mental level. Or maybe an emotional level for the really good ones.

Drums though, drums affect me on an almost primal level. Maybe “primal” is a bad word, but it’s as if a really heavy drum stimulates me in a deeper place than all the rest. Stronger, too. Explaining it in words is difficult and I’ve got no real technical vocabulary anyway. But the drum solo of Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is one of those things that those primal things. There’s another song by them (“Are You Happy?” is the title, I think) that has a similar part. “Forest” by System of a Down does it once, too.

Drum beats are like pure rhythm. Maybe that’s it. They give a beat to life and body in a way other instruments can’t. For another diversion, guitars are wonderful, sexy instruments. I think Mick Jagger used to take a big, inflatable penis up on stage and play with it, but he really ought to have just picked up a guitar. It’s just an oversized phallus with strings.

Anyway, in pre-history, in religious rituals, in war, now in regular music, drums provide something that touches a deep part of the human spirit. The human spirit or the human flesh, I can’t really decide. But the percussion of it, the force -it’s wonderful, and I love marching to it.