My First Tour Memory

I thought I’d share story about how music made me the person I am. I’m a person who listens to a real wide range of music, and here is where it all started.

When I had just turned 14, I auditioned to become a member of a local drum corps. They were called the Santa Clara Vanguard, and they did a couple of tours during the summer every year.

So my first tour memory wasn’t necessarily on tour but rather a trip we took to Stockton, California for the first show I ever performed in. (From my point of view, it involved all the trappings of going on tour: getting all our gear on the equipment truck, getting onto the bus, driving to a show, getting out of the buses to warm up and do the show, and then back on the bus to go back home afterwards, late at night.)

The thing I remember most about this was the bus trip. I was on bus two, which was the drummers bus, and the folks in the back of the bus had installed a really nice sound system.

My big memory from that bus trip was the music we played going home from Stockton that night. It was quiet, and a few people were sleeping. The music was an album by Frank Zappa, “Live: Roxy and Elsewhere”.

This was my first introduction to the music of Frank Zappa, and throughout that first summer I got introduced to lots of music that I had never heard of, but came to love. Bands like Genesis, Return to Forever, and many others. I should note that the folks in the back of the bus were both older and hipper than me (and I aspired to both of those traits 😉 so that was part of the appeal as well, but the music was still great.

My experience that summer totally broadened my pallet in terms of the types of music that I would listen to. I went from listening to bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Grand Funk Railroad to listening to Genesis, Return To Forever, and Frank Zappa. That’s a big leap.

The music that I love the most is what I call “power – twang”. This is heavy pop music with the country edge to it (i.e. Sheryl Crow, The Pretenders, Ryan Adams, REM, etc.). However, what also defines me is that I listen to everything under the sun, and that got started back on that first tour with the Vanguard.

…and that’s my first tour memory…

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