Videos by Craig Hlavaty
Any drummer jokes, say the one about Ginger Baker and coffee both sucking without Cream, pretty much have to go out the window when you enter an expansive warehouse that includes over 100 boys and girls, and men and women, pounding on their respective kits. Sometimes in tandem, and other times to the same beat. Jesus, we didn't think this blog was going to be so rife with double entendres.
On Sunday afternoon, Rocks Off ventured to a hangar near Bush Intercontinental Airport, and the 2009 Texas Big Beat
. This event helps raise money for the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation
and Cherish Our Children
. Both charities aim to bring music to underprivileged children in schools, giving them another outlet besides the drugs and the street life they may see at home or in their communities. Wow, drummers are good for something besides delivering pizza and scaring away hot chicks.
All kidding aside, this collection of drummers was an amazing group, raising thousands of dollars in their own right for such worthy causes. The ages of the skinsfolk ranged from the tiniest pre-schoolers with aluminum sets banging away like mini-John Bonhams, to experienced session guys with kits baring enough cymbals to make a scrap yard salivate.
Professional drummers Chris Layton, Herman Matthews and Rick Latham set up shop on a stage in the front of the room to have a few short clinics, and to also jam out with each other for an impromptu seven-minute jam. Layton formerly did time with Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Latham holds the beat for the Edgar Winter Group.
Matthews is a Houston cat. He was born and raised here, moving out Los Angeles in 1988 where he began a prodigious session and band career with Tower Of Power, Stevie Wonder, and Kirk Whalum. Matthews is currently touring behind Tom Jones and did some recording work with him as well.
Amazingly it wasn't hard to hear anyone talk next to you, and we didn't walk out if the hangar wanting to strangle the next person we saw in a Zildjian shirt. In fact, the sound of all those drummers was music to Rocks Off's heart. All the assembled drummers seem to be in the same brotherhood, and looked to be having a blast. It's probably to late for us to buy a kit and learn, so it's kind of bittersweet. That and we have opposable thumbs. We kid. Honestly.