Sippican Cottage

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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Don’t Miss The Groucho Marx Eyebrow Lift At 1:26

Here’s more of my two sons, AKA Unorganized Hancock, playing live at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture last month.

Some inside baseball: It rained like crazy all day that day; wetter than Noah’s shower curtain. We slogged it over to Skowhegan, about an hour and twenty minutes from where we live here in Rumford, Maine. There were a whole bunch of delays, as the closing ceremonies for the school were pushed back a couple of times. We sat in our van for an hour or two, and finally our waterlogged hostess came out and asked us if we wanted to leave and eat dinner, and then come back. She paid the boys in full right then, and whispered, “If you don’t come back, we’ll understand.”

Of course we came back. We dragged all their equipment through the downpours, not a soul in the  big barn where they were to perform. Five hours after they left the house, they started playing. The whole crowd came in en masse, and they did the usual double-take when they see the midget behind the drums making all that noise. The video above is after an hour and a half of playing, without a break. They were the nicest, most fun crowd you could ever find.

The Heir carries a lot of weight, but it doesn’t always show. He’s singing and playing a night’s worth of tunes with nothing but his little brother to help him. To play unaccompanied by any other instrument but drums is a tightrope act. If you ever stop playing or singing, there’s basically nothing. He’s already a lot better than I ever was. 

We’re careful not to put too much pressure on the Spare Heir. He’s precocious, but it’s not fair to expect any ten-year-old to work like an adult. But he really is a wonder, I think.

[Update: Many thanks to Kathleen M. in Connecticut for her generous support of my sons’ efforts, and this blog. Our world is better because you’re in it]

12 Responses

  1. You are teaching them so much more than music, you know. Things like how a man lives up to his commitments despite being relieved of them. How to have an inner standard of behavior that doesn't waver. Extremely important, and you're doing it right. The music is great too, and I have really enjoyed watching these guys progress – they are great in many ways!!!

  2. "Very bad, very bad."

    "Very bad, very bad."

    "What's very bad?"

    "Very bad, very bad because soon drums stop….. then….. bass solo…."

  3. And when things get tough on the drummer I again advise him to recall the single best drummer exchange in movies…. between Ringo and his grandfather in Hard Days Night:

    Ringo: Books are good.

    Grandfather: Paradin's better.

    Ringo: Paradin'?

    Grandfather: Paradin' the streets! Bowling along! Living!

    Ringo: Well, I am living.

    Grandfather: You? Living? When was the last time you gave a girl a pink-edged daisy? When did you last embarrass a sheila with your cool, appraising stare?

    Ringo: A bit old for that sort of chat, aren't you?

    Grandfather: Well, at least I've got a backlog of memories. All you've got is…that book.

    Ringo: Aw, stop picking on me, you're as bad as the rest of them.

    Grandfather: Ah, so you are a man after all!

    Ringo: What's that mean?

    Grandfather: Do you think I haven't noticed? Do you think I wasn't aware of the drift? You poor, unfortunate screwup. They've driven you into books with their cruel, unnatural treatment. Exploitin' your good nature!

    Ringo: I don't know…

    Grandfather: That lot's never happy unless they're jeerin' you. And where'd they be without the steady support of your drumbeat, that's what I'd like to know!

  4. Sipp, you've awakened some memories:

    My first band was in the early sixties, before the British poofter invasion. Two guitars, bass and drums. We did a lot of Lonnie Mack tunes, the one guitar player had great chops. Me on a Danelectro shorthorn bass through a Silvertone 2-12 amp. High school parties and dances mostly. Once we added a sax player (he was the only one could sing worth squat) we were in like Flynn.

    I traded up equipment as I worked in bands and went over to R & B, horn bands with a front man, soul covers of Otis, Wilson, etc. Mixed White/Black members, musicians are notoriously color-blind. Fender P basses mostly and one time through a Vox Westminster amp with two 18" speaker cabinets. I sure wish I had that Dano …

  5. Sipp, you've awakened some memories:

    My first band was in the early sixties, before the British poofter invasion. Two guitars, bass and drums. We did a lot of Lonnie Mack tunes, the one guitar player had great chops. Me on a Danelectro shorthorn bass through a Silvertone 2-12 amp. High school parties and dances mostly. Once we added a sax player (he was the only one could sing worth squat) we were in like Flynn.

    I traded up equipment as I worked in bands and went over to R & B, horn bands with a front man, soul covers of Otis, Wilson, etc. Mixed White/Black members, musicians are notoriously color-blind. Fender P basses mostly and one time through a Vox Westminster amp with two 18" speaker cabinets. I sure wish I had that Dano …

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