To me, the drum or percussion is the basis of all music. I believe that the drum has to have been the original instrument played by our earliest forefathers on this earth. All they needed was a stick and some (preferably hollow) object to bang out a rhythm on. In fact, they didn't even need that when they had their mouths to make percussive sounds with, a la Biz Markie.
In fact, I would bet money that at the beginning of human life on this earth -- long, long, long before hip-hop was born in the Boogie Down Bronx there were some cavemen in a circle (who couldn't even articulate words to communicate with one another) making music with their mouths, primitive beat-boxing.
And to this day there is some distinctive quality about the drum that is automatically universally communicative, not to mention healing. Everyone understands and feels the drum, even if they don't speak each others' language. That is why, I believe, house or electronic music, which is typically vocal-less and based on rhythm, is the most popular (even over hip-hop) on a global scale. People of all races and backgrounds can readily relate to the hypnotic, tribal feel of the drum. For proof, go sit in or nearby a drum circle in any place in the world.
So for this fifth installment in the ongoing In Celebration of the Drum Amoeblog series, I say let the drummer get wicked, well wicked -- in the form of these three great video clips including the French beatboxer Joseph, the Japanese drummers whose formal attire should not fool you into thinking they can't get funky, and the wonderful American marching band, hip-hop drummers in the clip on top of this Amoeblog.
It was 1982. I was on a school bus with my classmates, coming back from a field trip. We went to one of those historical Spanish ranches that were built when California was still Mexico (or Aztlán, if you swing that way). I was in a haze, staring out the window when my classmate, Krystal, yells out to me, “Hey, have you heard the new Prince yet?” She threw me her cassette Walkman and I pressed play.
“Don’t worry, I won't hurt you. I only want you to have some fun…”
I knew "Little Red Corvette;" it was all over the radio. But by the time I got to "Lady Cab Driver" I was a full-blown fan and 1999 was my Sgt. Pepper. It took me months to figure out that this was the same Vato that sang "Wanna Be Your Lover" a few years back.
Orale! I always thought it was a woman who sang that song!
A few weeks later, my cousin Diana had a party in Buena Park. She had a pretty big record collection. I managed to ignore all the other records and went straight to 1999. As soon as the needle hit the wax, Diana’s boyfriend, Larry, was like, “Aw hell no, Prince again?’ At that moment I remember hating Larry. Like most kids, I held every discovery sacred and I thought I knew more than everyone. Larry looked at me like he knew what I was thinking. “You want to hear where Prince got all that from?’ He went to the record collection and pulled out Funkadelic’s One Nation Under A Groove and Uncle Jam Wants You. He played each album consecutively, side a, side b, side a, side b. All those songs, "Who Says A Funk Band Can't Play Rock?!," "Cholly (Funk Gettin' Ready To Roll), "One Nation Under A Groove," "(Not Just) Knee Deep Pt.1," "Freak Of The Week." I stood staring at the speakers, digesting every song, every note, every deep bass note, every keyboard bend, every guitar solo and vocal harmony. It was as if I was trippin', way before I knew how that felt.
This is Job, emerging, not only from the illness you last read about, but also a grueling work week. I had a deadline for a TV project. I’ve alluded to this in the past, though only vaguely, which is how it must remain until things are (if they are) finalized. Sufficed to say that this blog is not my only writing project, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t suffering in attention as a result of the other.
Someday, when you’re older, your mommy and I will sit you down and explain everything.
In my last entry, I wanted to list some songs that were guilty pleasures. I'm gonna go ahead with that now, much to the dismay of the part of my ego in charge of making sure people like me.
My criteria has met the following stipulations:
1) I must be able to find a YouTube clip for you, so you can actually hear/see the song for yourself.
2) I must be GENUINELY EMBARRASSED that I like the song. No typical, cop-out Madonna songs and no hits by Boston or Journey (you know the ones) - that is, no things that are ridiculous, yet everyone loves. It must be a song that I enjoy when I'm alone and no one's looking, and I have second thoughts about posting on my blog.
Why am I doing this? I don't know. I think I'm being kind of mean to myself, frankly, but I can't afford a therapist to help me figure out why. Maybe I was really, really good in a past life and this is my way of correcting things.
I'll post one song every day until... well, until I stop.
Please, don't judge me. Or if you do judge me, wait until my back is turned. When we're face-to-face, pretend that you respect me - I'm naïve and will probably never catch on. Plus, that way you keep me as a viable option for borrowing money from, if the need should arise later.