How were you exposed to drums?


"Uncle Larry"
Inspired by Bermuda's cool story about how he recorded with the entire Wrecking Crew when he was 9 and got paid like a thousand dollars or something...

Other than listening, what got you hooked? Like were there drums in your house? A friend's? A close cousin's house? No one's house, you just had to have them? Let's hear all about it.

I knew I liked drums from my diaper rash days. I saw Ringo on Sullivan but I wasn't completely transformed until I had my first encounter with an actual drumset.
It was my older cousin's Ringo kit, in about 1967.
It probably could have been any kit, but it happened to be a Ringo kit.
My cousin lived in a great big house, had the coolest stuff, and I loved going over there.

I remember thinking the drums looked like they had a thin layer of glass over the black oyster pearl wrap, they were so perfect looking.
Shiny Zildjain cymbals too, which put it waaay over the top for me. Shiny cymbals hypnotize me.
Of course I thought my cousin was a great drummer too, so the whole experience...was pivotal.

The next year for Christmas I got a set of gold sparkle Stewarts, which I had no input on the decision (I was 10, and I'm still pissed off about that!)

The first set I got on my own in 1976, was a big old set of blue oyster pearl Ludwigs. 12/13/16/18/24.

The set came with a 14 x 5 Supra, 2 atlas cymbal stands, a Ludwig hi hat stand, and a Ludwig cowbell! Oh and a Speed King pedal. And a snare stand. For 835 dollars! I think it even had sticks and brushes lol.

Looking back I guess they were a sort of homage to my cousin's set, because I was imprinted with the oyster pearl look.

My cuz still has those drums and plays jazz with them occasionally.

Thanks Mark.

I wish you would have played Rogers though man, I really didn't like my vintage Luds in 76, and I still don't like the ones I have now lol.


Platinum Member
When I was six I shared a room with my two brothers and we had a snare drum in that room. My brother would show me what rudiments of sorts that he knew and had me do them.

I really wanted to learn how to play drums. I took trumpet lessons for a while, but I didn't care for it.

Third grade I went to the band teacher and asked her if I could learn drums. She told me that she didn't want to teach me drums because I took trumpet and didn't stick with it. She wanted me to prove to her that I wanted to learn drums, so she asked me to sing the Star Spangled Banner national anthem.

I sang it until she stopped me and said she would teach me drums.

She was the president of the Daughters of the American Revolution. If I didn't know the words to the national anthem she would have told me NO.

She showed me how to explosively slam into a buzz roll. I never forgot how she wanted drums to have power!

I got my first set at 12 and I never stopped thinking about it after that. The end!


Platinum Member
When I was little, maybe 4 or 5, my mom used to take me over to someone's house, where they had a drum set and they would let bang on it. It probably only happened 2 or 3 times, maybe more, maybe not. Hard to say.

Years and years later, as a teen, I had become a Rush fan. I really took a liking to the rhythm that begins Cygnus X-1, and kept banging that rhythm on my knees and everything else. So my mom signed me up for drum lessons.

Many more years later, after my mother passed away, I found out the guy who's drum set I had banged on as a small kid was actually my biological father. And my mom had signed me up for drum lessons because she knew drums were in my blood. But I was completely unaware of any connection.

I thought a was being totally rebellious and going against the grain in being a drummer, only to find out I was following in the footsteps of someone I didn't know.


Silver Member
In Junior High band I was trying to decide between playing drums or playing the trumpet, my dad made a deal with me that if I stuck with drums for two years he'd buy me a drum kit and I was hooked from day one!

I remember seeing Dave Grohl playing in Nirvana on MTV with those HUGE Tama drums and thinking he looked so cool, obviously back then I didn't know who Dave Grohl was or what Tama was.

Twenty years later I'm still playing drums and recently started teaching drum lessons which is really awesome, I need to call my dad and thank him for making that deal with me in 1995!


Platinum Member
My standard tale was in Jr high (basically a pediatric psych ward) ,I noticed that if you were in the band, you got to hang out in the band room away from the non medicated knuckle draggers during lunch periods.(I literally went to school with future killers, murderers and rapists)

Let's not forget about the Deliverance classmates either.

I had a friend that said they needed bodies to play tenor drum and it just so happens that the drum section leader was Vince Colaiuta.

I wasn't very good ,but you hang out long enough with VC and an osmosis effect takes place.

I became very good and traveled to a lot of places that as a kid ,I would never have dreamed of.

Thunder 42

Silver Member
My older brothers, and exposure to music and many genres and styles at a very early age (Blues, Funk, Jazz, Rock) being immersed in their music for hours on end- Tom Scott and the LA Express "Tom Cat", George Duke "Reach For It", Frank Zappa "Sheik Yerbouti", Cream "White Room", Rickie Lee Jones "Chuck E's In Love", Billy Cobham "Magic" to name a few. Mom agreeing to rent-to-own '74 Acro and lessons starting in 5th grade. Jams with the big bro's, drumline and summer music, pep band in HS. Playing drums was my passion re-found passion a few years ago.


Gold Member
I was 8 or so, heard the lads, saw my sisters screaming at the T.V. "IwantPaul, IwantPaul" and that was totally weird; in fact if you look at old Beatle concert footage, check out the dudes checking out the girls totally freaking out and those WTF looks on guys faces. Needless to say I became a Kinks and Stones listener. Later on I was floored at 11 when my High School mentor dude threw Dylan's Bringing All Back Home on the record changer... and said "check this out." Not exactly life changing but wow, that was cool.

But at 9 I started in a very local marching outfit that was small but well organized and the criteria was that if you played drums you had to take lessons... enter my High School drum "teacher" Garth, who was actually quite good and got us all through some drum book successfully. I joined the Junior drum team and then by shear size I was promoted to the big league to hump the bass around during competitions and parades. Great fun, saw a lot of Washington State and a bit of Canada, and we did pretty good in the junior divisions.

Lot's of pad work tho' even if I was stuck on the bass I got lots of rudiment training. And the bass parts were very active and dynamic.


Silver Member
Middle school lessons (5th & 6th grade). I was probably 14 when I got my first kit. A Lido Supreme, red sparkle 5 piece. I quickly turned them into a 7 piece by adding two snare shells that I used as mid-toms. Big kits were the fad back then.

I really, really, wish I still had that kit. I even tracked down the dude I sold it to but he since resold it back in the 90's. I keep checking CL in hopes of finding it.

My little high school band played Zeppelin, Rush, ZZ Top, Genesis, Black Sabbath and other similar 70's rock. We actually weren't bad but always lacked a good singer, though we had plenty of volunteers. The summer after graduation was our last big hurrah and in the fall we all went out separate ways, vowing to get back together but that didn't work out. In fact, it wasn't until just a few years ago one of the guitarist and I ever got together and jammed again despite being best of friends(his music career took a different path as he toured the world, actually making it in the business).


Senior Member
I love reading/hearing stories from drummers about how they first started playing. It's always so inspiring and heart-warming.

My family was always musical, and I grew up listening to my dad play piano and guitar with my mom singing or playing the flute. There were always other musicians around, and impromptu jam sessions were common place around my house when my brothers and I were growing up.

When I was nearly 13 years old, a folk band set up their gear and played at my parent's house, and I remember being completely transfixed by the drums and the drummer. I was more into rock music at the time, but this drummer realized my interest and let me sit behind the kit and I think he tried to teach me some stuff... I don't really remember much about it, but all I could think about for weeks was playing the drums. Then I read a book called "Who is Bugs Potter?" by Gordon Korman, and my fate was sealed. I had to be the next Bugs Potter.

A few months later, for my 13th birthday, my dad took me to Steve's in Toronto, and we walked out with a brand new shiny black 5 piece Pearl kit, a set of Sabian cymbals, some drum sticks, and a HUGE smile on my face.


Staff member
My very first exposure was playing snare with another boy on piano. We put together some 30 second instrumental pieces and were encouraged to perform to open school assembly. I was 9 years old. Strangely, I can still remember those pieces today :)

Matt Bo Eder

I consider myself very lucky. Mom & Dad always said I was banging on pots and pans as a toddler and by age 4, they bought me a little kids drumset from Sears, which I broke, but I kept banging on things and by first grade I had a Japanese stencil snare drum to play, then we added a hi-hat stand with actual Zildjian New Beats, and then I got my first Slingerland kit when I was 8.

But throughout my childhood, we were always listening to music. The parents had an extensive record collection and dad always made sure he had a suitable stereo system to listen to, so I was exposed to jazz at a very early age. I remember the first groups I ever got to see were people like Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson whenever the came through Disneyland. I did like the Beatles, but oddly enough I never got to see rock shows. We were always going to Disneyland to see the jazzers, so I grew up partially a jazz snob because I didn't think Ringo or Charlie played enough notes. Which I soon grew out of, I think.

Captain Bash

Silver Member
My early years drumming story goes like this.

My older brothers punk band had a bright yellow 7 piece Premier kit set-up for weekend rehearsals. I (the younger brother) decided I could teach myself drumming by cycling home from school every lunch time and getting a quick 20 minutes kit time on week days. Just. Jammed along to Blonde, Clash etc. So after mastering a few basic beats, older brothers band is in trouble in that their drummer is a farmer and its lambing season (I kid you not). So one thing leads to another and I end up playing my first gigs at various London venues (now mostly gone) aged a tender 15 yrs.

I then save up my paper round money (paid a massive £5.00) per week and buy myself a Gold Hayman 20/12/16 for a massive £100. Then formed my own band with my mates.....


Platinum Member
Aged about 9, in 1961, I was told a boy in our street had a drum kit, and we could go and have a look.

It was a red sparkle Olympic, I remember it like it was yesterday, I was hooked. It looked stunning to my young eyes. He gave me a stick and let me hit the drums, they were so loud and responsive they felt almost alive.

That was it, I had to eventually play the drums, and they had to be red. I had to wait years before i could afford to buy a kit but I played on everything else. I played guitar in a band,but I was just a drummer playing guitar.

I bought a new Yamaha kit last year.......and it still had to be red.


Platinum Member
Larry, you start the best threads. And they usually start with a great question. I'm enjoying reading the responses.

My uncle played the drums when he was younger, but I never got to sit behind his drums. They were always stacked in a closet at his house. So I think there was a curiosity that started there. I remember being fascinated by how drums worked. Like, how did the pedal make the hi-hat cymbals make that "shoop" sound? And how did the wires give a snare drum that sound?

I was surrounded by musically-hip kids in school, and they started talking about musicians, what was good, some cool thing a drummer played. This got me noticing the drums even more. Then I watched my classmates go crazy when some kids in the band room started playing. The loudest cheers were for the drummer. FYI, some of my classmates were girls. Are you getting the picture yet??

The final straw that got me to seriously start playing was meeting some guys from drum corps in high school. One became a good friend and he hipped me to rudimental drumming, jazz, fusion and a lot of other cool stuff. I eventually started taking lessons with his former drum set teacher. I was all-in by then and never stopped.


"Uncle Larry"
Thanks Lar. The longer I'm on these boards, the more personal I like to get with the members here. These stories mean more to me than a hundred threads about which kit to get. The drummers themselves, and their varied stories, are the real meat and potatoes for me here.

Like the imprint phenomenon. milel had to have a red drumset. I had to have an oyster pearl set. Imprinting is huge. Tip for new parents: Play classical or jazz for your toddlers. Get them some quality music inside their brain before the media poisons it with crap.


Platinum Member
Thanks Lar. The longer I'm on these boards, the more personal I like to get with the members here. These stories mean more to me than a hundred threads about which kit to get. The drummers themselves, and their varied stories, are the real meat and potatoes for me here.

Like the imprint phenomenon. milel had to have a red drumset. I had to have an oyster pearl set. Imprinting is huge. Tip for new parents: Play classical or jazz for your toddlers. Get them some quality music inside their brain before the media poisons it with crap.

Well that's one point of view, but what is quality and what is crap is purely subjective. Thats the beauty of music. All music.

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
When I was really young, I would sit in a big bean bag with headphones on and play Deep Purple's Made In Japan album and just marvel at the way Ian Paice played on that album. I think Space Trucking was my favorite song back then.

I also grew up watching my uncle play drums. I'd sit close by and just watch what he was doing. I have a lot of musicians in my family, but the drums are what I really took a shine too.


Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
As a youth before going to school, there was a radio program called March Around the Breakfast Table. Lots of Sousa etc, and my mom and I would march, me more than her. Then 2nd grade piano, 6th grade saxophone, and 8th grade drums. I was hooked on the drums remembering the marching sound when 4 or 5.

Matt Bo Eder

Thanks Lar. The longer I'm on these boards, the more personal I like to get with the members here. These stories mean more to me than a hundred threads about which kit to get. The drummers themselves, and their varied stories, are the real meat and potatoes for me here.

Like the imprint phenomenon. milel had to have a red drumset. I had to have an oyster pearl set. Imprinting is huge. Tip for new parents: Play classical or jazz for your toddlers. Get them some quality music inside their brain before the media poisons it with crap.
Wait a minute. So which kit should I get?

Beam Me Up Scotty

Silver Member
In grade 7 and 8, we had to pick an instrument to learn in school. For financial reasons, my parents made me play the flute, because it was the cheapest instrument to rent. I was always transfixed my the drum kit player though, and as soon as Rock Band came out, I was banging away on that fake little kit all the time. My parents always said "No!" to me getting a kit because of how loud it would be though.

Lo and behold, I come home one day, and my mom has gotten me a dinky little no-name gold sparkle kit. I played that kit to death, jamming with friends every week, learning rudiments and just trying to keep good time.

Some of my best memories of drumming are when I was learning new things behind that crappy gold sparkle kit...