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A Rookies Rant

By Anthony Giampa -

Written in 1999! - Where are you now Anthony? Get in touch!

Foreword: As RMMP’s ‘resident newbie,’ Paul Marshall encouraged me to write this. I’m not sure if it will be mean much to the more experienced players; it’s mainly for ‘newbies’ like me.

Paul Writes:  I think that this is an extremely useful piece for people that are beginning to learn the drums, it shows the value of  perseverance and support and how valuable it is to have access to experienced players who understand that we all were 'progressing' drummers' at some point and that drumming is a never ending learning curve no matter what level you are at, at any given point in your playing career.

As a beginning drummer, I think I've passed the point of no return. That is, it would be hard for me to stop drumming now. I've had the drive to drum from around the time I was 13.  I bought pair of Zildjian sticks at that age that I still have today (but I've retired them from drums  and use them only for practice). What really got me into drumming though, was listening to music (obviously).   My first influence was Trey Sabatelli of the Gone Jackals and the Ultras. The drumming on those group's albums was incredible.

Lots of people I hear lose interest are usually younger kids. Their parents buy them an Export; they play it once, and put it on eBay. I don't get it! Personally I shudder at the thought of myself just "giving up." I'm too far along now.

Recently, I was concerned that my drums weren’t sounding like they were supposed to. Sure, they were loud, but I wasn’t sure if they were acceptable (I know drumming is 99% preferential, but I wanted them to sound like drums, not big trash cans) to a drummer’s ear. Dennis Dennison (a.k.a. DDSD, a.k.a. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) complemented the sound of my set when he stopped by my house on his way to L.A. He complimented my time keeping too... A tremendous boost!! An experienced drummer complemented me on two of the most important parts of being a drummer, and it meant a lot, especially when he said I play a lot better then others he'd seen who'd played just as long as me.

The second biggest issue is money: I like to buy stuff for my drumset!! My dad, of course complains sometimes... I usually spend my own money, but sometimes he or my mom will help out. He thinks that everything about drum sets is a gimmick. He thinks that the most expensive item is just as good as the cheapest, that any drumstick makes the same sound as the next, that "You don't need new heads!", and that buying the best is a waste because the most expensive is just a name they are selling, like Pearl, Tama, etc... I always remember to tell him "Are you the drummer here?"

But deep down I think he does like that I'm drumming.

1, it keeps me away from trouble, which I don't mind because I'm not that kind of guy; and

2, it's an instrument, and music is one of the best things a person can do with spare time.

Sometimes he willingly helps out when I buy stuff and one time he even said he'd help pay for a new drum set if I got half the money.

My mom always (I guess) encourages me though... As soon as I got my set, she wanted me to set it up. She hasn't complained about the noise (and she works at home!) either, and she always gets excited when I do something with my drum set, like when DDSD stopped by and when I tried out for this one band. She had tons of questions afterward.

Drumming also turned me on to a timeless American phenomenon: Jazz. 88.1 KLON is on my radio almost all the time, and I have a small jazz collection of about 15 CDs. Art Blakey, Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich... AWESOME. I don't know how a drummer can't be turned on to jazz at one point in time.

Another great thing about being a beginner: RMMP! I've learned sooooo much from the NG, net-met a lot of people, gotten a lot of ideas... It's a great place to have handy when you're starting out. I mostly lurked before I actually had room to set up my drum set. Once I got it set up... BOOM. I was in! I'm almost positive that if more beginners stopped by RMMP a few times before they quit they'd certainly think twice about it.

My advice to a beginner: If you have a drum set and you have the ability to play, do this: Listen to your favorite CD/ tape/ record ETC, and try to concentrate only on the drumming. Air-drum to the CD/ tape/ record while you listen... When you play, listen (through earphones) to the CD etc, and play with it... that's exactly what I did. Since I love surf music, I listened to my dad's Ventures: Surfing album on my record player (what my sister used to have in the 80's) and played to it... When I had more room and a better stereo system, I moved up to the more technical stuff, like Los Straitjackets.

Anthony G

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