“We have a piper down. I repeat – a piper is down!”

January 31, 2009

Well, not exactly a piper, but a drum major…

As further proof that everyone gets their fifteen minutes, John Coleman has popped up in headlines the last few days. Coleman has left the pipe and drum regiment of which he was a member because he waved to Barack Obama during the inaugural parade.

So, yeah, I suppose he violated the esprit de corps and broke ranks with his fellow pipers and drummers, but it’s an understandable, spontaneous lapse in decorum. It’s not like he molested a collie.

The article I read made me feel like this incident has left Coleman a broken man (“burned bridges” and “hurt feelings” are mentioned). Sure, it’s probably a bummer as he’s been with the band for 17 years and I suppose finding a pipe and drum band to join is probably in needle/haystack territory.

However, in the long run, I think he’s coming out ahead.

Thirty years from now, he’s retired and living in some condo enclave (though, he’s not entirely relaxed) in Florida (unless, due to a rise in the oceans, South Georgia is on the coast three decades from now).

Coleman will be the toast of the compound, though. He can regal them with embellished tales.

“Yeah, I was a drummer in a band…”

The women will swoon, their eyes glazing over (except for the ones who might once have dated a drummer), having spent decades married to bankers, plumbers, doctors, and others engaged in more mundane professions.

The men – most of who will have once aspired to be in a band – will take a jab to their egos (except for the ones who might once have had a drummer crash on their couch for more than a year).

The tale will conclude – each and every time – with him recounting getting kicked out of the band, how it was politically motivated by a controversial incident involving him and Barack Obama during his band’s gig on the day Obama was sworn in.

The chicks are going to dig John. I have no doubt.

He might even be able to put the band back together.

Todd Rundgren – Bang On The Drum All Day
Pound for pound, few artists over the past forty years have made as much wonderful music that has been as relatively ignored as Todd Rundgren. Sadly, Bang The Drum All Day, is probably one of his better-known songs as it seemed every radio station would play this song on Fridays.

The Beautiful South – You Play Glockenspiel, I’ll Play Drums
I can’t say I’m overly familiar with The Beautiful South (despite owning several albums), but what I have heard is consistently wonderful.

Peter Gabriel – A Different Drum
Peter Gabriel’s music for the movie The Last Temptation Of Christ is powerful stuff, drawing on Middle Eastern instrumentation. A Different Drum is certainly one of my favorite tracks from that album.

Bongwater – The Drum
Bongwater was a strange little duo (which is not surprising as they opted for the moniker Bongwater). Singer Ann Magnuson has popped up as an actress on a handful of mainstream movies and television shows, quite against type as Bongwater was as much avant garde performance art as music.