So the weirdest part of singing the national anthem at Fenway Park on Tuesday was standing out there behind home plate while the Red Sox line-up announcer introduced us… clearly someone had written a good hearty bio for him to read before the singing began, and the four of us listened while a voice with a lisp went on and on about how we “went to Tufts University” and have “enthralled audiences” with “evocative lyrics” and such… I was waiting for him to get to the point where we were voted “Best Local Live Act” in the 1997 Boston Phoenix Listener’s Poll, but he wrapped it up and then my bandmates kicked into the Oh Say Can You See Song.
I decided early on that I wouldn’t rally to be one of four vocalists at Fenway. Instead, we rented me a pair of marching cymbals and spent a week debating whether it was brilliantly anti-climactic to *hold them and never hit them* — or whether the set-up demanded a pay off. As it turned out, the guys arranged some nice harmonies, sang it strongly, and I clanged my brass together after “Home of the Brave.” We walked off the field by going through the stands above the dugout, and the Sox fans were generally receptive to us — nothing came closer to a heckling than “Nice job, Cymbal-Boy!” and I’ll take that. I did do a nice job hitting the cymbals together.
So we were feeling pretty good about our performance and then in the bottom of the first inning some guy with a thick Western Mass accent went up to Ryan and said “Yooz guys was good an’ all but ya drummah shoulda at least mouth’d da words or somethin’…. dey had him up on da Jumbotron da whole time… he looked pretty stoopid.”
And he was right. Just about every picture I’ve seen from that event features me on the giant screen in centerfield, looking like a jackass, eyes closed, mouth slightly open, holding cymbals that some camera-guy was sure I was *about to hit.* If only he knew how hard I’d rallied for the *hold them and never hit them* approach (It’s Kaufman-esque!)…
… and this wasn’t the dumbest I’d look that night. We didn’t get to stay for the game since we had a radio event to play for a station in Boston at 8pm. So we leave in the second inning with the Sox up 6-0 (which is good, we don’t want to have any hand in a sox loss) — get to the site of the radio station event, and kick into a stripped-down version of One Man Wrecking Machine. About half way through the song a gust of wind blew the Mix 98.5 FM banner up in the air, and it came down on the front side of my head. I suppose I could have ducked beneath it or moved it off my face, but I decided to be all zen and just play through it. I make a really ugly drummer face when I play anyway.
zen and the art of beat maintenance
ugly drummer face