Sometimes, you are only limited by yourself

Many years ago, when I was still a teen, my brother was auditioning to be accepted into a musical school. He played bass. I say “played”, but in reality he made that instrument sing in ways that most people won’t understand, and I’m not about to try to explain it. My brother has more musical talent in his left nostril than most people have in their entire body. However, his ability isn’t the focus of this tale. I was a drummer, and he needed a drummer to accompany him on his audition tape.

I was in-between basic training and my first duty station. We were in Spokane, WA at the time. He asked if I would be willing to accompany him and his guitarist on the piece. It was Thelonious Monk’s “Well You Needn’t.” I protested that I didn’t have a drum set, or even a pair of drum sticks to use. He told me that he had what I needed at the recording studio. So I said yes.

When we got to the studio, what I had was a cardboard box and a pair of brushes. Not even a stool to sit on.

I played the hell out of that cardboard box. It’s amazing the sounds that you can get when you apply yourself. And in the end, when the studio guy played the recording, you couldn’t tell it was just a cardboard box. It sounded like a full drumset. Running the brushes over the box sounded like a ride cymbal. I made sure to add the pops and snaps when needed, to the point you couldn’t tell I didn’t have a snare and toms to play, and in the end my brother sent his audition tape off with me playing a cardboard box as accompaniment.

He got accepted. Unfortunately, his life choices ended up with that acceptation being withdrawn. That’s another story.

Sometimes in this life God asks you to do something. And you’re not prepared. You don’t have the right equipment, you haven’t taken the time to practice, you’re not in the right space. But God can and will give you what you need to succeed, you just have to use it, even if it’s not what you wanted or thought you needed.

I’ve been ruminating on that quite a bit recently.


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    • Nolan Parker on February 19, 2024 at 5:49 AM

    Hmm,the old Life Choices thing.. That can make a guy kikk himself for a while.
    I, too, am very musically inclined. Give me five minutes to warm up and I can play nearly any radio.

    • SteveF on February 19, 2024 at 2:11 PM

    Unfortunately, his life choices ended up with that acceptation being withdrawn.

    A musician (more broadly, an artistic type) being bitten by his life choices? Surely that’s never before happened in the history of the species!

    • SteveF on February 19, 2024 at 2:13 PM

    My 11th grade band teacher was pushing me to go to music school. (Saxophone, and all woodwinds generally.) I declined and went into engineering school. I wanted to eat every day.

    • Bill Fenn on February 19, 2024 at 4:14 PM

    Would love to hear that Demo.
    Bill – Treasure Valley

    1. Unfortunately, I doubt any copy of that demo still exists. I went on to my first duty station (Korea, 2ID) and my brother made a few more poor life choices before cleaning himself up and becoming a family man.

    • Original Grandpa on February 19, 2024 at 4:40 PM

    Dave, your last paragraph wins the internet for the year so far

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