L.A. Congress from a drummers point of view!
It would seem I am living the life of someone else. In the bathroom of the airstream on a normal Friday morning, I hear conversations coming from the kitchen, "Hey honey, can I cook some of these onions with dinner tonight?" Michael was asking his wife Michelle what all she wanted in the dish for the evening. "No, I wanted to save those for a ratatouille recipe," she answered back. Spit out my tooth paste, this is real life.
How often do you look back at the last week of your life and struggle to realize that it was not a dream? Well, that is how I have been feeling for the past month of my life. More specifically this last week and half.
It started on a Tuesday morning. I woke up like the start of every day, and made my bed, my bed however, is also the kitchen table. With this, center drops down and POOF the table is gone and I have a bed. Michelle made breakfast for the five kids and following that the adults ate. Michael and I needed to be on our way from the campground to L.A., CA... We had a bass player to pick up from LAX. We were on our way to play in front of 14,000 teens in Anaheim, CA.
The convention put us up in a nice hotel literally across the street from the Anaheim Convention Center (where we were to play on Thursday). Once we got checked into the hotel it was straight to the hot tub for me! Sam (the bass player) and Michael (the guitar player) wanted to rehearse the set as many times as possible to get Sam comfortable to play it in front of that many people. Why didn't I have to rehearse with them? Well I had been playing that set list about four nights a week over the past month all along the southern coast of the United States. Once Wednesday rolled around Sam was still a tad uneasy about the set. So they practiced more and I pretty much had free roam of Anaheim. Walk, see store, enter store, pleasant conversation, leave, repeat... that was how I spent my Wednesday free in California, all the while hearing the screaming cheers of kids on roller coasters, because in case you did not know the convention center is also right around the corner from the "happiest place on Earth"... Disneyland! Wednesday night at 6:00pm we had strict instructions to be in the venue for a sound check. This included things like setting up the sound system, working with the back line, and making sure our in ear monitors were all working properly. A back line is not always something that we get to work with, but it is nice to have. This includes all the big speakers you see hanging from the ceiling at concerts and paid sound guys who work the sound board and a bunch of things like that I really need not concern myself with. The only thing that concerns me about a back line is whether or not a drum set is provided by the sound team, which in this case… it was! So I walked up to stage and saw a beautiful green drum set (one that is way out of my price range and will be for quite a while, but boy did it sound nice!). What's this behind the drums? It's a giant 20ft projection screen that was to record a live feed of the show so everyone in the building can see us playing. I'm starting to get butterflies at this moment. Which only worsens when the camera guy needs to test his equipment and does so by getting a close up on my face! Seeing yourself on a 20ft projection screen playing drums... that will make your heart sink just a tad, but sound check was a success and it was back to the hotel room for a good nights sleep (but not before saying prayers and munching down on some Subway)!
It was now the morning of the show and I was much more calm then I thought I would be, to speak the truth ...it felt right, felt like I had been waiting to do this for years, not just months. Even though this is basically the show that we have been preparing for FOR months. Walking over to the convention center we all obviously felt like rock stars, but that was expected. When we got inside the place was still empty, everything was the way that we had left it the night before. We all picked up our necessary items (drum sticks, in ear monitors, etc.) and walked backstage to say a few prayers before everyone started pouring in. Well, in the middle of our quiet intentions they opened the doors and... and... TEENS! It was another heart sinking moment but I was ready to go.
We had an introduction with a count down from 10 to 1. We hit our first note from the backing tracks right when the countdown hit 1... like clockwork. The show was amazing, not to mention afterwards I had never signed so many autographs in my life!
It is unbelievably gratifying to be able to do something that you love while spreading a message that you love. All it takes is one kid coming up to you after a show and telling you that you have helped them find a way back to faith, or a new way to look at prayer, or a more modern outlook on music in the church to make it all worth it. Whatever the case be, God sends who he needs to send to each and every one of our shows, and I look forward to spreading His word in the future.