Drummer Wanted (Timing Optional)


Thought Experiment: Imagine another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind… (Just kidding. Let’s avoid the Twilight Zone and whatever sparkly vampires may be lurking there.)

Thought Experiment: Imagine – for real this time – that you are a musician. Maybe you play the guitar, or the piano. For the windier among us, perhaps the harmonica or saxomaphone. The instrument doesn’t matter; what matters is that you are a musician.

It is part of who you are, something you have loved and developed since childhood. You practice every day, you study other musicians, read histories of music, and broaden your knowledge as much as possible. Along the way, you find examples of greatness to emulate, and many more examples of not-so-greatness to serve as cautionary tales.

As a solo artist, life is good. Simply making beautiful music is fulfilling and enjoyable. But you also see and envy those truly great bands – The Beatles, The Who, the E-Street gang, and other bands that are more current than the ones I love because of my parents. Someday, you think, I’d love to be a part of something like that, too.

So now you have a choice. Two roads diverge, as they say. On the first path, you go for it; go make yourself a band. You put up flyers at local music stores and concert venues, you go to gigs to see what musicians are out there, introduce yourself left and right, and tell everyone that your proverbial drummer is indeed wanted.

This is a tried and true method of forming a band, and it will work. Every drummer within reach will audition for your band. Some will be terrible, some will be assholes, one might be Animal (if you’re lucky). A couple will probably be good, maybe even great, and that is who will end up in your band.

Will it make you Nirvana? It’s possible, but not likely. Maroon 5 is probably a more reasonable model to shoot for, and the odds are you will be just as good as that cool band we all knew in college. Which band? Exactly. Still, you will have your fun.

On the second path, you keep doing what you were doing all along, but turn your band-mate radar on. (Play-dar?) Practice, play, create, grow; attend shows, find new music, meet people. Do your thing, and all the while be ready for the McCartney to your Lennon to present himself. When someone’s music seems to work really well with yours, suggest a jam session, and explore.

Is it possible you never find that magical partnership? Sure. You could walk right past each other, or he could be serving 5-10 for murdering J.K. Simmons (topical reference to a current indie film almost no one will see), or you could find that ideal counterpart right away – but those scenarios are all outliers. At the very least, you will surely be inspired by several people along the way, and grow into a better artist in your own right.

Of course there IS a third path – doing nothing, while you sit around and mope about not being in a band. But that one is a clearly marked Dead End.

Which road do you choose? Neither is better, they just focus on different things. Is your goal to be part of a band, or to be prepared for great collaboration when the opportunity knocks?

We are each our own instrument. Life is our music. Some people seek their band, find it, and it’s good. Others hone their craft, watching for potential partners along the way, and have a fulfilling journey regardless.

The choice is personal. So stop asking me why I’m not on OK Cupid – but do remind me to look up from the music once in a while.

11 thoughts on “Drummer Wanted (Timing Optional)

  1. vladimir


    IMDb ratings have gone way up since it went public so it is not to be trusted (i mean movies that have more than 7.77 points like before).

    Next, Ok Cupid cannot be the best site on earth if they are racistical towards asexuals…


    And I think I missed your point. ¿Are you looking for a drummer?

  2. H. Dowding

    Yeah I have to admit I missed the metaphor on this one. Weren’t John Lennon and Paul McCartney part of a band…the Beatles?

    Also, isn’t OK Cupid just another vehicle to find connections? It’s not a philosophy, it’s a website. It’s a channel. If you were on OK Cupid (and don’t be, that’s fine, your choice) and someone happened to stumble upon your profile and take interest, isn’t that the same as meeting someone on the street through serendipity? You can both advertise “drummer wanted” and hope to find your partner at the same time. Not mutually exclusive. Doesn’t have to be one or the other.

    • Yes, Paul and John were in a band (the greatest band, I would say!) and my point is that they met – granted, while still very young – by happenstance as opposed to having grown up together (like Nirvana (the original members) and Maroon 5 did). And I’m not saying OK Cupid is a philosophy, but I would argue that being on there is an act of seeking a partner (rather, than, say, having a Facebook page). My point is that using a site like OK Cupid (or Match, or hiring a matchmaker, or going speed dating, or to singles mixers, etc) is putting up the “drummer wanted” flyer. I think *everyone* hopes to find their partner/band; the difference in philosophies is between actively searching for your band and letting it be stumbled upon in the course of pursuing other things. That’s all.

  3. Nice piece , and by the way what if the essence of life’s true happiness lies in the search of the perfect drummer rather than finding one, what if the journey is the essence and not the destination, or let me put it this way, what the magic truly lies in believing that a perfect drummer exists weather or not you find it is of tertiary importance.

    • Yes! I love this and completely agree. Isn’t there a quote from Siddartha along those lines? About how when we seek something specific we can’t see or find anything because all we are focused on is what we expect, but when we just remain open to the idea of finding, we come across many wonderful things – sometimes even the thing we wanted. (The above would be a *very loose* paraphrase, since I clearly don’t remember it all that well.) You may have just inspired the theme for an end-of-the-year post…so thanks!

      • Well I’m glad I helped. And I totally agree with the paraphrase, when your looking too you tend to exaggerate the skills of an ordinary drummer to an extra ordinary level. It’s like if your really hungry and looking for the best burger in the town, the first burger you eat shall become the best burger ever. But would it actually be the best burger ever, would you love it even when your not that hungry. Hence the burger metaphor further confuses the search for a drummer lol.

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