Peace – Love – Ringo

You’re never too old to do the things you enjoyed when you were younger. You never outgrow the things you love.

My dad raised me on the music of The Beatles. And when I was about ten years old, he bought an old drum set at a garage sale and taught me how to play. Thus, Ringo Starr became my favorite member of The Beatles, and I became a drummer. I play several instruments somewhat proficiently, but the drums would be the only instrument at which I excel. Granted, I’m not as good of a drummer as I am a writer, but hey, I’m pretty good – or, at least, I used to be. Years ago.

ringobandFor Father’s Day this year, I took my dad to Hartman Arena in Wichita to see Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band. My dad and I have a bit of a tradition of going to see classic rock bands and artists. We’ve seen Jerry Lee Lewis; we’ve seen Elton John & Billy Joel; we’ve seen and met Arlo Guthrie; we’ve seen and met Peter Noone, and we even had on-stage seats to see the Rolling Stones when they were in town in October of 2006. So taking him to see Ringo Starr was a no-brainer; there was no way I was going to pass-up the chance to see one of The Beatles, and the only person I wanted to take was my dad. And it was a great show! It greatly surpassed my expectations and I was very pleasantly surprised. I knew the show would be good, but this show was really good!

During the show, members of Ringo’s band, who were also members of other major bands like Toto, Santana, and Mr. Mister sang songs from their group’s hit catalog as well. And when they did, Ringo went up and played the drums. I actually got to see Ringo Starr play the drums, live and in-person. At one point, while he was playing, my dad leaned over to me and said, “Does it make you want to get the old drums out and start playing again?” I smiled at him and nodded; but the truth was, I was thinking exactly that. I’ve seen so many bands, locally and nationally, but essentially, Ringo Starr was the first drummer who I ever liked as a drummer. He was the drummer who made me love the drums. So getting to see him play somehow reignited my love of the instrument.

Only one problem: My drums were stacked away, covered in dust, stashed in the upstairs storage room at dad’s house. I hadn’t sat behind a drum set in – years. My most recent regular drumming gig was in the Newton Christian Church praise band back in 2011. In fact, I’m reasonably certain that 2011 was the last time I played. And I missed it, a lot. When I was ten, eleven, twelve-years-old, I had a record player that I’d crank up as loud as I could and play along with old 45rmp records of The Beatles, Elton John, the Rolling Stones, and – of course – Guns N’ Roses. In high school, I was in a band called “Acid Reign” and we regularly played the keg party circuit, doing music ranging from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Nirvana to The Beatles, and our own original music. We even recorded a CD.

Today, I went to my dad’s house and loaded my drum set into my convertible Mustang and drove across town with the top down, blaring Guns N’ Roses with a drum set towering out of my back seat. On the way, I stopped at a music store and bought drum sticks. I even remembered what size I played with – 5A. (Why do I remember that? Because 5A is also Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment number.)

I haven’t played the drums in years. But when I did, I loved it. Whether I was playing hard rock, heavy metal, or Christian praise music, I’ve always loved playing the drums. And I think, at some point, I thought to myself, “I’m just too old for that anymore.” But seriously, I’m not.

You never outgrow the things you love – you never outgrow the things that make you happy and give you peace. Ringo Starr is 72 years old. Seriously. And he’s still running around on stage and rocking out behind his drum set. I suppose he just figures, it’s what he loves, it’s what gives him peace, so that’s exactly what he’s going to do. You don’t have to be great at something to enjoy it. Ringo Starr isn’t a great drummer – neither am I – but that doesn’t matter. What matters is how much we both enjoy the drums. Ringo Starr is the drummer who inspired me to be a drummer. And when my dad asked me during the concert if it made me want to play my drums again, I may have merely smiled at him, but in my mind, I was in complete and absolute agreement – not simply because I love playing the drums, but because playing the drums is something I love. And thanks to Ringo Starr – thanks to being able to see him play, in-person, at a concert with my dad – I’ve gotten my drums out, dusted them off, and have once again twirled drum sticks between my fingers and let loose the therapeutic power of music. It’s something I love; it’s something that gives me peace.

You never outgrow the things you love…