As time wore on, the temptation to pick up my sticks and wail on my leg grew stronger. Like a couple of starving lovers, my drum sticks yearned to be embraced by my hands.
One day, I heard Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell sing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” The song kept rolling over and over in my mind. I couldn’t resist the temptation to play along. I grabbed my sticks, played out the beats for a while on the side of my leg then gently put them away.
Man, it felt so good to be pounding out those rhythms on my leg once again!
After the Marvin and Tammy incident, I found myself walking around, playing with them for longer periods of time until one day I realized that the cold turkey I thought I had killed, had returned and sunk its claws into me once again.
Soon, I was back to playing drums against the side of my leg all of the time, in that crazy world of radamacues, flam taps single stroke rolls and the songs running through my head, all connected by those two pieces of wood I held in each hand.
If I was going to accept the fact that I could not control my impulse to play ‘phantom drums’ I had to make a pact with myself to give it the gravity it deserved. “I will grip my sticks tightly, avoid anything solid and most of all … pay attention to what I am doing!”
One day, James Brown singing “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” kept running through my head so naturally I was playing along.
I thought everything was o.k. But then, all of the sudden things weren’t.