snapshots of an idle mind

August 28, 2007



some of you know that i play a drum. an african drum to be specific, called a djembe. currently i’m playing with stick on side during all along the watchtower at band practise and i’m feeling inspired. (hitting the side of your drum with a wooden drumstick [never the head of the drum!] to make a staccato rhythm.)

i’m feeling inspired because i went to two festivals in three weeks and at the first one i was immersed, drowned, submerged, nay bathed in music and peace and good vibes and all the joy that hillside brings and at the second? at the second i was bathed in musicians instead.

that came out dirtier than i meant it…

anyway, summerfolk is a smaller festival and i’m not really an audience kind of girl when i work somewhere. i always hang out backstage or in the volunteer camping area or where my volunteer job is or whatever. backstage at hillside is chaos and madness and a thousand volunteers and a whole lot of performers.

backstage at summerfolk is quiet and mellow and always the same people. it’s just smaller. and because there are fewer people overall there you also run into the musicians in the beer tent or at a craft booth or whatever and i don’t know about you but i always prefer the behind the scenes to the onstage or out front part of anything and summerfolk is sort of like that all over the place.

it’s like if i played in a rock band, i would want to be the bass player. still there but in the back. when i worked in television i edited and didn’t enjoy being on camera really at all. okay so.

i spent the weekend partying with people who make their living making music and i came home inspired. i’m singing out more and articulating better and having more fun with my drum than i have for a while and getting the other drummer in our band cheering me on.

been a while since that was true.

i think it’s because i decided to take up a new musical discipline. more on that later.

i also came home challenged to get my agoraphobic band to leave the basement. never going to happen.

but i did get something else. i saw people who are struggling every day to make it in this music business, people who have been practising since they were babes in arms and honing their craft for well like ever. people who take genuine joy in the making of music and who would give up nearly anything to do it and who can’t stop making music unless they’re unconscious.

people, in short, who feel about music the way i feel about pilates.

and i know something else, that i’m not one of those people. i don’t have it in me to give up my cushy apartment and my awesome life and my cats to go on the road and try to make it as a musician. i don’t *want* it that way.

i want to make music for the rest of my life, i want to listen to music both real and memorex for as long as i can hear and i will dance until my body forgets how to move and then i’ll dance in my head. music will move me and inspire me and change my life again and again but i?

i am not one of those people.

i just don’t care enough. i was sitting in the back of the group during the finale at summerfolk (there may be a video of said finale there by now) and looking out at the audience while we sang good night irene with ken whiteley and stan rogers along with nathan rogers and i was grooving on the singing with all these great people i had been spending the weekend with.

i was NOT grooving on the several thousand people watching me. just didn’t care. didn’t mind, but didn’t care. felt weird walking out as a performer so i didn’t even lift my head and watch them as we walked off the stage. i just took up the rear and grooved on the moment.

and if you tell nathan rogers that you don’t care about having an audience? he’ll tell you he lives for it.

but that doesn’t make me any less inspired and it doesn’t make band practise any less awesome, it just makes me one of the people who doesn’t want it that much. a hobbyist if you will. it takes the people who have spent years on end honing their skills and crafting their writing and practising again and again and then some more to inspire the rest of us.

without them we wouldn’t make music in our backyards and sing along at campfires because there wouldn’t be songs to sing and dances to bliss out on. perhaps they need us too, perhaps they need to hear us singing their songs when we don’t know they’re there so that they keep wanting to make new ones.

i don’t know what it is but i thank them for the push nonetheless because my singing voice took off again and drumming was fun once more. if you can believe that drumming ever isn’t fun… because that’s impossible, but it was less… sublime for a while.

to all of you out there that practise into the wee hours over and over? and those of you that crave the audience? and those with gifts they choose to hone? and most especially to the songsmiths among you?




  1. lovely post, sass.

    i feel the same way about music. it moves me, soothes me, inspires me…

    but can i make it? hell, no. and i’m okay with that.

    Comment by terry — August 28, 2007 @ 7:11 pm | Reply

  2. That’s a lot of bliss to follow!

    Last week my neighbor came up to me while I was working in my yard and wanted to make me aware that they wanted to play their african drums in their back yard. I said it was fine. I wished that I had asked them if I could stop by and listen, but I didn’t think about it until a few minutes later.

    It sounded nice coming over the fence.

    Was your band doing the Hendrix variation, or more of a traditional Dylanesque Watchtower?


    Comment by balloonpirate — August 28, 2007 @ 8:18 pm | Reply

  3. terry: thank you, i really did feel quite moved by the experience.

    i can make it, in an amateur and fun sort of way… but one of them? i will never be… and that’s okay.

    Comment by sassinak — August 28, 2007 @ 11:08 pm | Reply

  4. p.s. that was awfully wonderful of you to reassure my young friend that things would get better. thank you!

    Comment by terry — August 29, 2007 @ 12:16 am | Reply

  5. pirate: your comment got caught as spam, imagine that.

    it was pretty amazing pirate, i’m having a good month.

    generally when people are having a drum circle they welcome everyone, especially the neighbour who isn’t complaining. next time go, brin a shaker or spoons or something :)

    it’s very nice to drum and the distant drumming feels great in your chest or when you’re going to sleep (like at hillside)

    i think we’re more hendrixy but we don’t have a drum kit so it’s always a little odd and weird… and then we play it for long enough that it gets changed a little.


    terry: and it’s even true!

    welcome of course

    Comment by sassinak — August 29, 2007 @ 11:26 am | Reply

  6. The Agoraphobes. How’s that for a band name? I agree that we need to find a gig for ourselves instead of playing for the mold spores in our geetarist’s basement. The spores like the tunes, but they aren’t a very responsive audience.

    Comment by othercat — August 31, 2007 @ 9:25 am | Reply

  7. othercat: The Agoraphobes? The Agoraphobes?

    i lurve it!

    i love playing for the mold spores and the gorgeous pink carpet, i just think we need to get some balls and go out and play. now here’s the thing, how do we get everyone else to come out and play?

    Comment by sassinak — August 31, 2007 @ 12:39 pm | Reply

  8. The paperguy agrees that the name is apt. It looks like we have a consensus building to get the band out of the basement and onto the stage. Our public awaits. I don’t think S will complain if we conjure up a gig, so that just leaves EM and LL.

    Comment by othercat — August 31, 2007 @ 4:16 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: