Drums in the Deep

One of my good friends is a drummer and every year he likes to go to the annual Drum Off, which is typically held by Guitar Center. At least I think they’re the ones who hold it every year. I don’t follow drummers, so I couldn’t tell you. Anyway, this year Brian’s man-date for the evening couldn’t make for personal reasons so I stepped in to take advantage of the free ticket. This was Friday night.

The Drum Off was held at the Wiltern theater, which is near Korea Town in Los Angeles on the corner of Wilshire and Western. Brian put two and two together for me and guessed that that was how the theater got its name: Wilshire and Western. Ingenious!

We stood in line from 4:30 p.m. to roughly a little after 7 p.m., which was alright since it afforded us positions near the front of the line. We passed the time scrutinizing this emo-looking, frail drummer that was part of the warm-up group playing outside, trying to discern if it was a man or a woman. When it finally took off its coat later in the evening we discovered it was a woman – and we became strangely attracted to her. Also, there was some poor woman with her young son, begging for tickets. They had apparently driven all the way from Sacramento, thinking they could buy tickets at the door. I felt marginally bad for her when she was reduced to holding up a sign, explaining her situation and walking up and down the line for any takers. The sympathy passed when I remembered that I detest people who don’t plan ahead. Anyway, our waiting was all for naught, because we got screwed at the last minute when the event organizers started accepting guests in a totally different area, creating a stampede of people. Nevertheless, we got in relatively ahead of the crowd and were able to secure upfront positions. The only people who were closer were VIPs.

“Wouldn’t it be funny if we saw Sacramento (the lady with the sign) walking around the VIP section?” I joked with Brian. Then sure enough there was Sacramento, cocktail in hand, strolling the VIP section with her son. Oh, the wonders of begging.

Another noteworthy incident was when some moron to my left – he couldn’t have been older than 20 – got into a pissing contest with some other young dude behind him. “Step up! Step up!” the moron kept saying. To which the dude would reply, “Let’s go!”

So it was a back and forth of:

“Step up!”

“Let’s go!”

“Step up! Step up!”

“I’m about to step up!” I grumbled to Brian.

Then the moron impressed us with, “I’ve been to prison!” I didn’t know people actually talked like that outside of movies. Furthermore, the moron didn’t look like the scary ex-con who passed his six-year sentence bodybuilding and getting tattoos. He looked more like the scared White kid who gets busted for selling weed and then gets rented out to different prison gangs once he’s on the inside. So unless you have the scary prison look to back it up, telling people that you’ve been to prison is typically more laughable than intimidating.

Anyway, Brian nabbed a passing security guard and the situation was handled.

Getting back to the show, I don’t really have the ear to appreciate the musicianship at the same level as a musician, but I will say that overall I had a good time. It’s also interesting to see that even professionals like Tommy Lee can make really bad judgments when it comes to putting on a show. Note to Tommy: The little person is a poor distraction during set changes.

In the end, however, everyone who went got more than their money’s worth. General admission cost $15 a pop and the show went from 8 p.m. to midnight. We took off before the concert ended and refueled at a local Denny’s. I didn’t get home until 2:30 a.m. Unfortunately, my morning internal clock wouldn’t let me sleep past 8:30 a.m. so I actually got a lot done today.

I’ve asked Brian to write a little something about the event. I’ll post it up soon.