I mean, I know they said "Press Release," but I heard...
No, down here…
Yep, that’s me. I’m Kristen’s practice pad. You might not know it, but she and I have been in a pretty serious, long term, on-again off-again relationship for over 20 years now. I know, such gossip! We never made it “Facebook official,” and I’m not even sure she’s ever shared our #bestnine on Insta - after all, I was the behind the scenes grit for her shiny snare drum to enjoy the stage spotlight come concert time; but I say “enough’s enough!” I know so much about all of you - she’s told me all about her amazing mentors, teachers, colleagues, and friends throughout the years during our early morning warm-up sessions. She’s talked out her goals to me under her breath as we’d run through “Chester New Breed” drills late at night, and how she’s inspired by you all - still to this very day. Oh boy do I know how highly she thinks of you, as we’d warm up backstage before a concert, trying to take a portion of each and every one of you onto the stage in her playing. I know how grateful she is that you’ve enriched her life as she strives forward into her next set of ambitions. I also know she sends out a little update every few years to all of you that have had an impact on her life, thanking you for your kind support and love, but I think now it’s finally time that I’m the one to say “hello!"
Ahem, allow me to introduce myself...
The six-inch HQ RealFeel hexagon. Black no-slide rubber-grip bottomed, durable light-tanned rubber top, even a place for small mount stand screw-in. I know. I’m the real deal. She knows it, too.
I’m the one that helped her through middle school flams, paradiddles, and even the dreaded soft buzz roll in Upstate New York. I’m the one that got her into Conservatory, through juries, and into post-grad gig life in Cleveland. I’m the one that kept her practice record honest in between music business internship hours in Indianapolis...heck, I even extended my services to her coffee mug during those long nights of grad school arts admin research papers down in Florida. Now you listen here, those papers may have passed the panel’s defense with flying colors, but I still can’t get those dang coffee ring tattoos off my thick skin, and I think my edges melted a bit from the Talla-sassy heat. I’m told these marks are a “right of passage” for a good practice pad - and my age is showing with some cracks here and there, but she still loves me. She’ll try out other practice pads, younger ones, bigger ones with brighter pitch responses, takes them on a date or two to a rehearsal, but always comes back to me. We’ve got history. ;)
I’ve traveled to every city with her, puffed up my chest to give her the best support for rebound that a double stroke could ever ask for, and yes, even been the reciprocal of many a curse word when the sticks don’t behave at top tempo (but hey, that’s on you, sticks! I’m holding up my side of the bargain...). I’ve been there when she launched BEAR out in LA and needed to think out concert designs and get creative with budget build outs...we got real good at odd-metered groovy accent patterns on loop, let me tell you. I’ve been the woodshed warrior, rhythm honesty-tracker, and cheerleader for her throughout the years, whispering, “you’re getting there, let’s do it two clicks faster, don’t give up yet.”
Which is why I’m thrilled to share with you, we’ve headed up to Canada-! Kristen is officially the newest member of athletic percussion group, “Scrap Arts Music,” based in Victoria, British Columbia and represented by IMG Artists. She found out she won the last spot in a brand new production called, “Children of Metropolis,” after an international search this past fall. Since then, we’ve gone head first into intense polyrhythm studies, Moeller technique, and learning everything with a right hand lead. Good grief, Kristen is a COMPLETE lefty - this might be her biggest challenge yet! One day, she went beast mode on me and flipped her sticks over. We’ve been playing everything heavier, louder, and faster ever since. Sometimes I get a bit jealous of the pillow, but she can only play on that fluffy wimp for so long before she comes back to me. She may be her own version of “Whiplash” to some, but I make sure she takes breaks to stretch her forearms, and we watch the videos of her rehearsals slowly as she takes down points for improvement, resting her notebook on me. Her tiny loft can get pretty chilly in BC and so sometimes she practices on me while wearing gloves...with only the inner knuckle portions cut out for her thumbs and pointer fingers; I tell her she’s a drum nerd, wearing a blanket like a Snuggie, but she doesn’t care. She tells me we’ve got work to do. I just hope my light rubber cracks don’t creek further in these frigid temperatures (especially when she tosses me in her backpack as we head to rehearsal on her bike), but I hear we go on tour in a few months, so I’m holding out for warmer days!
There are many more things I could share with you about Kristen’s next adventure, but we’ve got to dive back into rehearsals, for our theater residency is only two months away - her manager tells us there are costumes, lighting designs, projections, and new instruments being built just for this show - but hey, as long as there’s a place for me to sit backstage, I’ll keep her grooving.
Friends! Tickets for the Spring 2018 Tour are now on sale! Click HERE for more info.
Bring K to your city?! Scrap Arts Music is represented in the Americas by IMG Artists. Reach out to them, they're super rad!