The Paradiddler – Origins, Part 1

by Omar on May 2, 2009

in Drummers

Welcome to a little history lesson on TheParadiddler.com about, who else - me, The Paradiddler!

It all started way back when in December of 1968 when my parents -severe record scratching- now c'mon!  You didn't think I was going back that far, did you?  Gads.

Ok, fast forward a few years (thank goodness!), to when I was a wee little lad, oh about, well, not even ten years old.  My favorite band at the time was Kiss.  It was convenient for a few reasons.  Number one, whatever my older brother liked, I liked.  Number two, we were four boys, so each one of us was a different member of the band (ok, I was Gene Simmons, if you have to know, but secretly, I wanted to be someone else).  Number three, I had no money, so even if I heard something on the radio that I liked, I couldn't get it, so refer back to number one.

As mentioned before, I was Gene Simmons.  Who wouldn't want to be the God of Thunder and Rock and Roll?  However, I found bass guitar a little boring.  Paul Stanley's guitar-playing was uninspiring to me (no disrespect!).  Ace Frehley to me was the best guitarist around.  Even after maturing a little bit and learning about other guitarists during Ace's time with Kiss, I still think he was one of the greatest guitarists of the 70's, and somewhat underrated.  As for me, I never saw myself playing like that (my older brother was the guitar guy anyway), so that idea was out.

That left Peter Criss, and he was most intriguing to me.  I thought what he did on the drums was really cool, and no one could tell me anyone was better than him (just remember how young I was).  A relative, who was a drummer himself, tried to convince me that Buddy Rich was the best, but I would have none of it.

Anyway, sometime during that time Kiss Alive II came out.  To this day I think the drumming on that recording is fantastic, regardless of how much some say post-production doctored it up.  I especially liked the drum solo from "God of Thunder", and the drumming on "I Want You", "King of the Night Time World" (KotNTW), and others.  This is when I started my 'air drumming' career, per se.  I had no sticks, so I tried to figure out by listening how Criss played KotNTW, for example.  What I first thought were 'triplets' on the snare turned out to be just an accented single stroke roll.  I was stoked when I figured this out!

Sometime later, I came across a couple of drumsticks.  This was way too cool!  Now I could bang on, well, pillows, but that was good enough for me at the time!

Soon came the time when Band was offered in elementary school for those students interested.  Now, we were not a family of many means - modest means at best.  Of course, I wanted to play the drums.  The Band curriculum would teach snare drum to the students, but, alas, it was not to be.  All of the other instruments were available for free to the students except, of course, the drums!  Those the parents had to rent.  Instead of just asking them, I decided out of consideration for them I would take on a free instrument.  I don't know, something very similar to the snare drum, like, say, the clarinet!  That would do.  I just wanted to play something.

It's not that I didn't like it.  I had lots of fun.  But in the back of my mind I yearned for the drums.  While I was playing the clarinet I still air drummed (and pillow-drummed) to all the tunes I liked, mostly Kiss tunes.  I really didn't know any better!  But it was still fun.

Along the way again my brother obtains Cheap Trick at Budokan on 8-track (that's right I said it, 8-track!). I loved it!  I loved the drumming!  Mr. Bun E. Carlos became one of my favorite drummers practically overnight.  I heard that 8-track (that's right I said it again, 8-track!) over and over again.  My favorite by far on that recording was "Ain't That a Shame", where Mr. Carlos jams both at the beginning and end of the song (hmm, maybe I'll cover that tune sometime - any requests?).  On one occasion, from beginning to end I pillow-drummed the whole concert on my bed, sweating like crazy, Mr. Bun E. Carlos Alvarado on the drums.  Right when it finished my older brother walks in and notices the sweat and redness of my face.  "You drummed to the whole thing?", he asked.

"Yes I did!", I said most proudly.

"That's awesome!  Good job!", he said.  Ok, it wasn't those exact words.  But I don't think he knows how much that little exchange inspired me (well, until he reads this post - the gig's up) to pursue learning more about what I liked the most - playing drums!

So any time I watched drumming on TV, or heard a song I liked on the radio, I paid very close attention to the drumming, because I figured that when I actually had a kit, I would automatically know how to play (of course, I was in for a rude awakening, but it was fun to dream).

So a little more time passed.  Peter Criss was still my favorite drummer.  I just thought he was the best.  Then one day one of my older brother's best friends gets to talking to me about what band I liked listening to.  I told him, "Kiss, of course!"

He laughed a little, and said, "Here.  Play this cassette.  Then let me know what you think."  What happened next would change my taste in drumming permanently and profoundly. Find out what happens next in part two of "The Paradiddler - Origins", coming soon.


Part 2

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