I love Saturdays. In the basement of our house we were getting ready for another band rehearsal later in the afternoon, and there was no place I would rather be. However there were a few things that needed my attention in the morning. It was essential to watch my television shows; Programs like Underdog, The Flintstones, Spiderman, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and then American Bandstand. After all, I was only seven.
My brother and I would have some alphagetti for lunch. He would indulge in a piece of chocolate cake and a slice of processed cheese, which made me wince with disgust. After helping setup for practice, I would pay close attention to what needed to be done and try to learn better for the next time.
BROTHER: Whatever you do, don’t fart around with the gear. I’m serious …
ME: Don’t worry. I wouldn’t think of messing with everyone’s stuff.
BROTHER: Well the last time I left you alone you bit my guitar. I still have to look at those buck tooth marks every time I play.
ME: That was years ago … Besides it adds some character.
BROTHER: That type of character I can do without.
My brother had to leave for a while to get something that can only be left to the imagination. My parents were at work and my sisters were nowhere to be seen. No one thought much of leaving a kid alone for a few hours back then. Besides I could be trusted. So while he was doing what he had to do, I was left alone to gawk at all the gear. I would never think of actually sitting down by the drum kit … Well… maybe just a few snaps on the snare….
It sounded good to pound away at the drums. I would imagine I was Gene Krupa, and I continued to hammer away while pretending to play "Drum Boogie." How terrible I must have sounded, but boy it sure felt great … okay … Better see how that bass sounded. I sat down on the chair, plugged into the amp and turned it on. I plucked away at a few of the strings and decided to stop when a bit of plaster came off the ceiling and landed on the floor…. Hmmm... maybe I should clean that up.
I looked for my harmonica that I received last Hanukah and got lost in thought for a moment … I went to our Admiral Console player and found a 45 already placed on the turntable. It was a Checker Records single called "Key to the Highway" by Little Walter. I placed the stylus on the vinyl making a little bit of a pop as it slid into its groove. I grabbed the harmonica and stood close to the mike and played along. Who was this Little Walter I thought? He was amazing. I would amuse myself by playing along getting lost in my imagination. This guy was unlike any harp player I heard. He breathed life into an instrument that I only knew as a toy.