During soundcheck at Purdue the other day I approached my percussion kit and noticed there were blood stains on the tumba drum head. A few drops in the middle and a little red constellation on the outside by the rim.
But like a fry cook at Wendy’s checking to make sure all his digits were in tact (and not in the chili), I examined my hands and found they were in great shape. Barely a blemish after a week of touring. And just as I was about to order a CSI-style investigation, Sean walked up to me with a stigmata-stemming band aid over his palm. While setting up and soundchecking my drums, he bled all over them. Now that is dedication. Now that is someone who aims to soundcheck a drum the right way, because both he and soundman Paul Tozer know my soundcheck volume isn’t even close to my game-time volume. I promised him I’d clean the blood off the tumba, because he’d cleaned up mine so many times before. That is The Deal. You don’t have to wipe your own blood off the drums.
The Elliott Music Hall at Purdue University is the largest theater for live music in the country, supposedly. People at Purdue are quick to point out that it has like one seat more than Radio City Music Hall. After soundcheck we played wiffle ball home run derby off the stage into the seats of the Elliott Music Hall. Guster vs. The Zambonis. None of us could reach the upper deck, though special guest strobe light button-pusher Michael “Pasty” Corcoran reached row J and Peter Katis of the Zambonis (who you might know better as the guy who produced “We Gotta Be Clean” & “Donde Esta Santa Claus” & both Interpol records at his house in Bridgeport CT) — Peter hit row L. While chasing down wiffle balls in the seats of the theater, I realized that all the student volunteer ushers and security guards — while sitting in the back of the theater being lectured on their responsibilities — every last one of them was watching us play wiffle ball.