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01/13/2004 Entry: "Cocktails for Gina, who went all weekend without a post"

So much to say, and so little time to post!

First, something funny happened on my way to my Mac Economy gig on Saturday. I don't think I've mentioned it here, but Mac is putting together a Christian blues/funk/rock band, which is yet unnamed. We were playing in Old Orchard Beach at a Christian surf ministry called House of David Surfriders. I was driving south on Rt 1, and came to the on-ramp for I-295. The ramp starts off as two lanes, then merges into one. So I'm in the right lane, and a smaller car is coming up behind me in the left lane. He pulls up beside me, and hangs there. The merge is coming up fast, so I speed up. So does he! I'm getting annoyed now, so I look over to see who this jerk is. Turns out it's homeboy guitar player Greg McGowan! He recognized the brhythm plates, and wanted to give me a playful hello. I would never have expected to see him there--I barely see him around home!

Remember the Gretsch drum kit I traded for a Roland electric drum set? Well, I sold them. And I've been saving my drum lesson money, and stuff like that, so I've got a tidy little sum in the old bank account. I think what I'd like to do is hang on to the bulk of it, and use some to buy a cocktail drum.

What's a cocktail drum? Well, it was used back in the 50s as a stand-up drum. The original versions used just the one main drum, mostly. The bottom head acted as the bass drum, and the top head had a snare mechanism underneath to act as a snare drum. There's some good history of cocktail drums here. I contacted a custom maker of cocktails, Phattie Drums. He's got one on special wrapped in Green Onyx. Onyx wrap was popular back in the 60s and 70s, most notably on Rogers drums. Several months ago, a company did a limited run on reissue onyx wrap. It's mostly gone now, and it was mostly done in red, blue, and black onyx--the most popular colors. Apparently, the story goes, the company made two sheets of green onyx, a color never before available. Dennis of Phattie bought the two sheets, and used it in this cocktail kit. So, if the story is true, these are the only drums with green onyx wrap in existence.

And just where, pray tell, am I going to play this cocktail kit? Well, I'm working with the members of the Uptown Rhythm Kings to put a new band together: 3 Finger Deluxe. Here's the poop on that: the three of us play jump swing blues tunes, all of us playing vintage style instruments, all the while wearing zoot suits. And we're going to concentrate on putting on a show, too. You see, I realize that people will pay good money to see a band play bland music if they put on a good stage show. Play great music but don't hoot and holler, and the turn-out isn't so hot. So we're going to do both. We're good musicians, playing some tunes that swing, and putting on a show. If we really do bite the bullet and do it, it will turn out real cool. A real gas, baby--a clam bake! Ring a ding-ding.

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