The other day I was down on Flora Street in the Dallas Arts District wandering around, looking at the crowds by the food trucks when I noticed music coming from the direction of the Winspear Opera House. It sounded like some AC/DC – so I meandered in that general direction to find out what was going on.
It was a concert by the kids from the School of Rock and, sure enough they were hammering out some AC/DC. It wasn’t too bad. Of course, if you spend enough time working on one song you can get to play it pretty well, but it is what it is.
I stayed for a while as different groups climbed up on stage and played different classic rock songs. They were all pretty good at what they were doing. The vocals were the weakest part of the performance, but at that age wailing like Robert Plant isn’t the easiest thing to pull off.
It was pretty odd watching the thing. There were so many elements of a middle school band concert – the eager kids taking their turn at a moment in the sun, the smiling parents sitting around, focused on their spawn, their work, and the results of their cash. But it was different too – the hard rock, the skinny little girl playing a bass bigger than she is, the powerful amplifiers. And the enthusiasm was not as nerdy.
The kids were all pretty good – you could hear all of their hard work. But then this one guy gets up there and plays Misirlou – you know the old Dick Dale surf guitar riff that you probably remember from the opening of Pulp Fiction. He tore that thing up. He knew what he was doing around that guitar string.
I didn’t stay around too long – but I did get a kick out of it. The band launched into a Led Zeppelin instrumental… I think it was Moby Dick. The guitars took a rest and a tiny girl perched on the kit took over grinning, waved her sticks in the air, and launched into a long drum solo. The parents went nuts.
Oh, God, not that. I was born in 1957, so I was around for the whole thing. Music is important to me, all the music, a wide diversity. But, if I had my druthers, there is one thing… only one thing that I would have taken away from the decades of rock music… and that is the interminable drum solo. A good portion of my life has been wasted waiting for the things to end and the real music to start up again. I understand that the drum solo has an important purpose – for the rest of the band to go backstage, do a couple of lines and maybe a groupie or three – but that doesn’t mean the payin’ folks out in the crowd have to be subjected to that endless noise.
So, long live rock, teach your children well, but please, lets end the drum solos.
You rocked me all night long.
A rockin’ Misirlou.
A Zeppelin drum solo.