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Sunday. Drums, Bass, and Dreams

Today, drummer Tom describes a dream and takes us through Sunday's recording session . . .

How easy was it to cross over the bridge last night in my dream. She was waiting there with open arms. Her flowing dress in white glistened in the foreground of the grey stone of mortar from the castle.

It was not an embrace, though. Her open arms wanted nothing more than the touch of both our hands. She comes in kindness and acceptance. Her loving smile continues to hold on to me, engulfed in an eternity of compassion.

I know she is a symbol, but of what my mind still wonders, wanders.

What I can’t let go of is the ease. Every time before it is always blocked in some fashion: the bridge crumbling, the road gone or filled with potholes caving in, constant falling as the bridge opens up to an abyss. Today, no. The simplicity today is of no struggle. My steps across needed no guidance, no stumbling, no barriers of any kind to throw me off course. I could see one step after another over the bridge and feel the wind going in the same direction.

My perspective, vision is what I won’t forget, either. I was looking straight ahead. I did not have to look up at the castle or up at the bridge. I was equal with everything I encountered. I looked down at the bridge when I crossed over, watching my every step, then parallel to her. I looked down at our hands as she grasped mine, the warmth of our hands together, then parallel into her eyes of comfort.

After the togetherness of hands on the other side, that was it. The scene was over; the goal accomplished. Nothing more has to be said or done to show its completeness.

But what is it that was achieved? What is it that not could be achieved?

The interpretation of the dream through the crossing over to her is crucial, but what is more is the hands touching and holding. The castle fades into the distance; the bridge is behind me. The close-up is on our hands, her smiling face, our hands. Then all is gone and I awake. What stays is the comforting feeling.


Yesterday we were working on a couple songs to get the drum tracks and bass down. The first one was “Dank Mississippi.” It is one of my favorite songs so far. I play what has become, I think, my signature. It actually comes from the previous, original band I was in before The JAB. It is adding the floor-tom into my hi-hat, snare drum beat. It is a favorite of mine because it gives the beat more power, more bass, more attack, more. But it has to be used sparingly. I am left-handed, but when I was 12, my drum instructor was too lazy to switch the set around for me, so he decided to teach me to play right-handed. His laziness eventually turned out to be to my benefit, because much of what my right hand can play, my left hand can as well, where many drummers are right-hand dominant. If you notice when I play, my left hand is always doing something, mostly ghost notes on the hi-hats or snare to stay equal. But in this configuration, floor-tom and snare are equal.

“Dank Mississippi” is a slammin’ tune, so the floor-tom and hi-hats are equal in sound and dynamics, too. The slamming goes well with the guitars that Jam and Ryan play. The guitars are the heart of the song, but the drums support them and give it the added energy they need to drive the song forward.

That energy needed to be captured in the studio yesterday or the song falls short of what it can accomplish in the listener. My mindset had to be on stage playing for people who I want to feel what we set out to accomplish for the song. I think we did that yesterday.

We all played the song together, even though Duane was only recording me and Alex on the bass. The energy from all of us in the room was needed for the feel to be there. Alex has some deep bass lines that fit well with the floor-tom slamming hard. The guitars layered in creates a movement that I think is very special and is the reason why it is one of my favorite songs as of now.

I know I have not mentioned Terry yet in the song. I thought to leave it a secret for when the song comes out, but he is too crucial. On this song, he plays harmonica and piano. His harmonica trills and echoes are that final layer that makes the final product stand out. And it accomplishes the original idea of the song’s southern flavor. I can’t wait to hear it all pieced together by the brilliance of Duane.

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