The summer before sophomore year started dismally. While my friends were happily wasting away in summer school, I was smashed against the window of my uncle’s Toyota blue van, counting passing cacti in attempt to survive the cross-country family trip. My only tie to the real world was the hotel’s computer, which I would check occasionally in hope of news from my friends. One day, when scouring my inbox, I came upon an insignificant message, a joke really, but it changed my perception of the world. They asked a simple question: “Do you want to be our Ringo Starr?” At that period in my life I couldn’t name you more than five Beatles songs and knew little about this mop-topped drummer. But, I would happily take the Beatle often brushed off as inept, with little more to distinguish himself than his big nose. The plan originally was to dress up as the Beatles for Halloween, but I soon realized that we were being sucked in by more than the Fab Four’s image. I had unknowingly stumbled into a new world of music.
After some time, I expanded into listening to more bands, other than the Beatles. The Who particularly peaked my interest. Having been accustomed to Ringo’s simple drum playing, I found Keith Moon’s technique to be breathtaking—I was overwhelmed by his mad stage presence and genius strokes. Keith Moon aroused my curiosity in drumming, which had long perplexed me. I was consumed with a need to move my hands, to hit things with sticks, with the idea of rhythm. I told my mom about my interest in drumming and she was shocked and not entirely pleased. Drumming, she held, was ridiculous, very manly, and not worth the effort. After much pleading, however, she finally conceded to let me give it a try. At first, drumming was frustrating, some days I simply couldn’t wrap my mind around the patterns and would sit on my stool and stare in exasperation. I loved it. From that moment two friends and I got together to play in my garage. We have been playing for about five months, and they have been the happiest of my life.
Throughout our lifetime, there are a handful of moments when we are truly happy. Last Friday’s practice, I realized, as we dodged our way through “A Little Help From My Friends”, was one of mine. The weather was pristine, warm despite it being the middle of winter, with a slight wind that flowed through the steadily reddening sky. We were bashing away, terrible, off key, off beat, our eyes closed as we howled: “Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends, mmm gonna try with a little help from my friends.” There was an aura around us that I wanted to continue forever. It was perfection.
Music gave me friends, obsessions, joys, and my drum set, but it primarily gave me happiness. I am still young with a long life ahead of me, but I know one thing: I want music there with me all along the way.
This I believe.