Day Twenty-Six: A Song You Can Play on an Instrument

This will be one of those ‘Long Way Around the Bend’ posts. Bear with.

No one believed I could play drums.  Credit that to the whole ‘lack of an actual instrument’ thing, but drums are expensive, man!  You think I could convince my parents to drop $500 on a kit because their kid thought he knew how to play them without ever taking a lesson? Not likely.  But I had rhythm, and I have the sort of obsessive mind that will get inside every aspect of something if I want to learn about it.  Hip-hop made me love beats, whenever I watched any live musical performance I went straight to the drummer, deciphering what part of the kit made what sound, figuring out how the instrument worked [always accompany a cymbal stroke with a kick or snare, things like that] and then took to air drumming.

There’s no way to air drum without looking like a fool. Thankfully I was an only child and latchkey kid who had a lot of time to himself, so there was never anyone around to be embarrassed in front of.  I think the first time I ever stole a few minutes at an actual kit, I tried to play the beat from the Tom’s Diner remix [boom, boom-CHACK-boom, boom-CHACK] but was too intimidated by the other people around to play it as well as I could.  By the time I was in the 11th grade, my little crew of ruffians were coming together and a couple of them knew how to play guitar, so we figured why not start a band?  In those early days there was still no actual drums for me to play, and I think Dan and Mike and Jeff were just humouring me more than anything [though back then Jeff was even less of a musician than me]. Mainly Dan and Mike would play Zeppelin or Metallica covers and Jeff and I would watch.

Now, I don’t know where they came from.  I knew they belonged to a guy named Chris, they were missing cymbal stands and a kick pedal, and the second rack tom was missing its hardware.  But they were drums! Honest to God drums.  We set them up in Dan’s garage as best we could and tried to play ‘Territorial Pissings’ by Nirvana, and to the shock and amazement of my friends, I could keep a beat.

After that practice, someone decided I should take the drums back to my house. I was able to take them home, rig them up with some duct tape, and try to play along with songs.  And I would do this for hours.  My parents would be out of the house by nine, with my mom coming home around 1.45 in the afternoon, so that gave me almost five hours to play around, and I did every chance I got, playing all the grunge acts of the day. And that was when I really learned how to play. To this day, I’ve never had a lesson, and really, I’d like to have one just so I can learn names for all the things I know how to do.

Now, I won’t bore you all with the history of my various bands.  Point being, by the time Ictus was playing regularly, I was a pretty decent drummer.  And the thing that Ictus quickly became known for was a cover of this song.

And we did it good. Something about a girl singing about the shit, blood and come on her hands seemed to resonate with the gothy kids of Windsor, Ontario.

Now, Ictus’ home venue was a place called the Avalon Front in Windsor. For some reason the owner loved us, and given how small it was, even we could usually fill the place pretty well if all of our friends came out at once.  Plus, one of the co-owners was a graphic designer who did pitch perfect show posters, many of which Greg and Sarah still have framed in their home.

So at one of these shows, maybe our CD release now that I think of it, my friend Glenn was there, like he usually was.  Glenn was the fifth Ictus if anyone was, the go-to guy for everything from transport assists to photography to CD design.  Glenn probably sat through more of our sets than any of our girlfriends.  At one of these sets, Glenn brought a friend.  And Glenn’s friend brought Joy.

This weekend, Glenn and Joy are getting married, and I’ll be standing in his wedding party.

I already talked about my best friend back on Day Five,  but Glenn is my best bad influence friend.  For as much fun as Jeff and I would have, our fun was of a more ‘sit around the house’ variety.  Glenn was the one I hit the bar with, the one I got smashed with, the one I tried to get laid with, the one I vandalized parked cars with [only once].  He was my wingman, as well as the guy who always volunteered for whatever lame thing I needed.

I don’t get to make a speech this weekend, but if I did, I would say this:  I would not have my life if not for Glenn.  The happiness I found, he is responsible for in a lot of ways.  If he didn’t car pool me to the paper, I couldn’t have kept that job.  If I hadn’t had that job, I might not have met the Lady, and if I hadn’t met The Lady,we would not have started dating, I may not have left Windsor, which would have deprived me of the chance to become the person I was most comfortable being, including author of this blog.

Yes, you can thank Glenn for PFG as well.  We didn’t always make good decisions, but we made the bad ones together, and we both turned out all right. Best to him and his new wife, and may they get all the happiness they can grasp.

It was a different time.



  1. Technically, I think I was singing about the ‘shhhh, bluhhh, and gum on my hands’. But they got the idea 😉

  2. Which Mike are we talking here, Lucas? He’d always play blues covers, as I recall. And the real question: Did you ever learn the Tom’s Diner groove?

    1. I did. That first kit was in the barn/shed/shanty at your parents’ place. Oh the Byrnes’ continued legacy on Amherstburg’s youth.

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