Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Drum roll, please...

My best drum roll story: playing an 8 AM party on Christmas in Hong Kong for about a thousand Chinese children. The emcee let us know through a combination of broken English and strange hand gestures that they were going to need a drum roll at some point in the event, apparently for a drawing. Yes, of course- I'd be delighted. After leading us through literally two dozen choruses of Song For My Father, the pianist stops us in the middle as a bouffanted woman steps to the microphone and starts speaking in rapid-fire Cantonese. We get the sense that it's definitely time- probably- but no one's giving me a cue, and I don't understand what she's saying.

At some point our singer starts urgently signaling me to roll, which was surprising, because I knew for a fact she had less idea than I did of what the hell is going on- she always made a point of mentioning that the only Chinese she knew was "ho" ("good") and "ho ho" ("very good"). So now I have to try to detect some flicker of a cue from the speaker as well as mouth at the singer "LEAVE ME ALONE, YOU FREAK, I AM NOT GOING TO START PLAYING THE DRUMS AT RANDOM WHILE THIS WOMAN IS SPEAKING", or something to that effect. Then suddenly, it was all over- the drawing was done, and a child came to the stage to claim some impossible fruit basket. I defy anyone in that situation to figure out where the roll was supposed to go. The talk was totally seamless, with no detectable change in emotion to signal something was about to happen. No one so much as glanced in my direction, ever. After it was over they all seemed to feel that it came off splendidly, and we went on to play about a hundred choruses of Sugar until the end of the party.

With that, I'll announce the Stanton Moore DVD winner after the break:

So: the winner is Geoff G of Austin, Texas! Should Geoff be unable to fulfill the duties and obligations of this, ah, drawing (like if he forgets to send me his address, or if he writes me to say "what drawing, what are you talking about, I don't want no DVD."), I guess I'll draw a runner-up at an appropriate time.

For everyone else, thank you for becoming a follower of Cruise Ship Drummer!, and I hope you're enjoying the transcriptions, exercises, interviews, and the rest. I'll try to do promotions frequently in the coming months, so please stick around. Thanks! tb

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