"Prepare to be underwhelmed", Perry said when I suggested we get together and play some music. The idea to play came when I was at his apartment several months back and noticed he had 16 guitars lined up on a rack. My dad was a musician for many years and never had more than 3 as far as I can remember. When I asked Perry why he had so many he said he got the urge to buy one every time he was deployed or changed assignments. I can remember the urge to compulsively buy drum equipment years back, but it has long since subsided, replaced more recently by the urge to buy camera gear. In fact, I had a new camera body I wanted to try out on this day.
When Perry agreed to bring some of his guitars over I knew I would have to climb into the rafters in the garage to retrieve the drum equipment that had been relegated in favor of maintaining space for the racket stringer and other things that are used more frequently. Well, except for my motorcycle which has stubbornly maintained its space on the garage floor, refusing to yield its spot because of the intense grip it has on my psyche. It whispers to me of younger times and although I know its day has passed, I humor it from time-to-time by promising to get it fixed one day. After 3 head bumps and 2 shin grinds, I had the drums down on the garage floor.
There's something magical about setting up drums. For a brief moment I am actually a musician, anticipating the things I'll do with the sticks and imaging, surely, how similar my playing will sound to John Bonham's. It used to take 15 minutes before I was convinced I was a level below the top players. Now, one 5 second trip around the skins killed the dream. All the coordination was gone and I had rigor mortis arms, not the fluid, calm muscles required to play at a high level. At least I still had the ability to press a button on the camera.
I knew Perry could play a little based on a couple videos he had posted and once he was set up and began noodling it was clear he was way past the basic stages of guitar competence. I indulged the ruse by insulting the drums for a few minutes and then I picked up the camera.
We talked and laughed about old times, a little about the future and enjoyed fleeting moments of greatness on our instruments. We agreed that the next time we play we will absolutely destroy "Just Got To Be" by the Black Keys. Whether we play well or not we will have met our goal.