This saddens me greatly

Concrete Pete

Senior Member
Hey Crew,

I talked to my parents this evening, and learned that my dad is giving up playing drums at gigs. He's 92, is pretty much a legend around San Diego for being the oldest (and probably best) Swing and Big Band drummer in the area. He's been playing (and gigging) on drums for.........................get this-----SEVENTY SIX YEARS!!!

He's quitting for two reasons-
1) He says it's too much work lifting and carrying the kit around- even though I suggested him getting a "cocktail" kit. (which he's not up for)

2) He says he's slowing down, and has to work harder to keep the beat and do riffs and fills. That considered, he wants to leave it behind while he has a good rep, and not be remembered as a "once good-but-lost-it" kinda drummer.

Well, it does sadden the hell outta me, but I see his point on reason #2. I would probably do the same.
I'll tell you one thing- San Diego might be losing the best damn Swing and Big Band drummer that ever hit that town, bar none.

I'm going to see if I can buy a second set for him--one that will "belong to the band", as in THEY set it up, THEY transport it, and THEY store it between gigs, so my Pop doesn't have to grunt that stuff around--might be a reason for him to stick it with for a while longer.

If anyone else has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate them.

Thanks Crew,
C. P.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
That's a hard one, Pete. On one hand it's better to wear out than rust out, but on the other hand there's point #2. My Dad stopped playing tennis - his biggest passion in life - in his 80s after a heart operation caused a big drop in his standards.

I think he should have continued regardless. Stopping tennis coincided with reduced happiness. Ego and one's rep is one thing but passion - the stuff of life - is another. I know what I think matters more. Quitting is only a good idea if he has a Plan B - an easier passion to indulge in.

Good on you for looking into getting him a set that the others can lug for him. He'll probably find playing easier if he's not stuffed after lugging gear around.

As I say, it's better to wear out than rust out.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Hey CP, at 92, I think your dad is astonishing! To still have the dexterity to play to that standard at his age is something I can only marvel at. I think you've got the best plan there. Get the band to keep & set up a kit for him so he just turns up & plays. Even if your dad does decide to stop playing live, you're a lucky guy indeed to have such an inspirational father. Keep us posted on how he makes out. We'd be honored to see a clip of his playing if you have one.
 

Thud

Senior Member
Dude, if there's one thing I have learnt on this planet it's that when it stops being fun then it is time to call it a day. Let your dad do his thing and celebrate that he's been able to do it for so long. I'd love to think I had another 30 years as a drummer!
 
F

Flam_Taps

Guest
Yeah, I know what you mean. My step-father just died last year at 96, just three months after finally deciding to retire from his 71 year long career as a brain surgeon.
 
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Flam_Taps

Guest
He did it for completely altruistic reasons. He said that it was time for him to step aside and make room for the young whippersnappers with their newfangled electric drills and lasers.
 

Bastardo

Member
Being able to stil play at that age is probably one of the biggest gifts you can get in life... Congrats to your dad(s) for such long career(s)! I hope that idea with another kit works out.

Will I even be able to remember my drums at that age...?
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
Please post any pics and/or recordings of your Dad. A career like his should be reviewed and appreciated by everyone.
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
I third that! Please post some recordings of him playing if you have them. It would be an honor indeed!!

That is absolutely amazing he is 92, still sharp enough to play and wants to retire. If I'm even alive at 92 and remember my own name I'll be happy!

I think that is a good plan you have there. At least it might keep him playing longer if he doesn't have to lug his kit around town. Maybe encourage him to keep at it if it's what he loves to do.

If he insists on retiring, throw him a kick-ass retirement party and invite all his friends, fellow musicians, etc. Maybe have him play live one last time with his band for posterity? People love to celebrate!

This is a very inspiring story!
 

Concrete Pete

Senior Member
Hey Crew,

Thanks to everyone for all the kind comments and support.

As I grow older, there's been nothing more difficult to deal with in my entire life than seeing my parents become "elderly". I know it's inevitable, but it's still the hardest burden I've ever had to face, and I know it will just get harder as time passes, as they grow even older with time.

I've had to deal with some extremely harsh challenges in my life- a broken back in 1983, the onset of mesothelioma in 1987, (been in complete remission without chemo/radiation since 1991) two (small caliber) gunshot wounds when I lived in L.A., a few near-fatal motorcycle accidents, probably more broken bones than anyone I know, to name a few...

All those challenges are flyspecks compared to currently seeing my parents approach the grave. Like I said- I know it's inevitable, but that doesn't lessen the pain. It's not just the inevitability, it's the frustration that there is absolutely nothing I can do, and just have to accept it. Such is life, coming full cycle.

All things considered, I have to thank God that my folks have lived this long, and are in uncommonly good health for their ages- most of my friends that are my age (52) lost their parents long ago.

So, on a positive note- here's a few pics of my Pop playing drums. The last pic is of me and him. May we all drum forever!

Cheers,
C. P.
 

Attachments

dairyairman

Platinum Member
whoa! that is pretty awesome! you must be very proud of your dad. i hope i'm half as spry as him when i reach that age, if i reach that age!
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Hey Crew,

I talked to my parents this evening, and learned that my dad is giving up playing drums at gigs. He's 92, is pretty much a legend around San Diego for being the oldest (and probably best) Swing and Big Band drummer in the area. He's been playing (and gigging) on drums for.........................get this-----SEVENTY SIX YEARS!!!

He's quitting for two reasons-
1) He says it's too much work lifting and carrying the kit around- even though I suggested him getting a "cocktail" kit. (which he's not up for)

2) He says he's slowing down, and has to work harder to keep the beat and do riffs and fills. That considered, he wants to leave it behind while he has a good rep, and not be remembered as a "once good-but-lost-it" kinda drummer.

Well, it does sadden the hell outta me, but I see his point on reason #2. I would probably do the same.
I'll tell you one thing- San Diego might be losing the best damn Swing and Big Band drummer that ever hit that town, bar none.

I'm going to see if I can buy a second set for him--one that will "belong to the band", as in THEY set it up, THEY transport it, and THEY store it between gigs, so my Pop doesn't have to grunt that stuff around--might be a reason for him to stick it with for a while longer.

If anyone else has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate them.

Thanks Crew,
C. P.
Holy cow, he's 92 and has all his marbles and is still in good enough shape to play the drums. I've never heard of that. Modern Drummer should do a story on him.

I would think by this time his grandkids or other family members would be moving all his drums around for him - especially if they wanted him to continue.
 

Michael McDanial

Senior Member
Hey Crew,

Thanks to everyone for all the kind comments and support.

As I grow older, there's been nothing more difficult to deal with in my entire life than seeing my parents become "elderly". I know it's inevitable, but it's still the hardest burden I've ever had to face, and I know it will just get harder as time passes, as they grow even older with time.

I've had to deal with some extremely harsh challenges in my life- a broken back in 1983, the onset of mesothelioma in 1987, (been in complete remission without chemo/radiation since 1991) two (small caliber) gunshot wounds when I lived in L.A., a few near-fatal motorcycle accidents, probably more broken bones than anyone I know, to name a few...

All those challenges are flyspecks compared to currently seeing my parents approach the grave. Like I said- I know it's inevitable, but that doesn't lessen the pain. It's not just the inevitability, it's the frustration that there is absolutely nothing I can do, and just have to accept it. Such is life, coming full cycle.

All things considered, I have to thank God that my folks have lived this long, and are in uncommonly good health for their ages- most of my friends that are my age (52) lost their parents long ago.

So, on a positive note- here's a few pics of my Pop playing drums. The last pic is of me and him. May we all drum forever!

Cheers,
C. P.
I totally understand how you feel. I recently had to watch my grandfather go through so much pain before he died. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's for years, then had a stroke and lost lost almost all movement in his body. It was terrible watching him suffer like that and when passed away it was more of a feeling of relief knowing that he was not suffering anymore. I was always very close to my grandparents, and I'll always be indebted to them for introducing me to jazz at such a young age, playing albums of Basie and Ellington and all the other greats all the time. Otherwise I certainly might not have had such an appreciation for it. It certainly helped me to explore other musical styles as well. So having to watch him go through that was the most difficult thing I've ever had to deal with.

All the best to you and your pops.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
92 is one of the most fabulous and inspirational 'knocks' I've ever heard of Pete. Hand him his sticks and say "Job well done", he's most certainly earned his rest mate.

Loved the photo's btw. And be sure to congratulate him on a fine drumming career for me too!! I'm sure he'll be chuffed to know he's impressed quite a few of us here on DW.
 

mikeg

Senior Member
Pete, Thanks for sharing your dad's story and pics. It's really cool that he's been able to play for so many years. I feel bad now complaining about my own sore muscles from shlepping gear this weekend. Guess I better wait another 40 years before complaining!
 
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Flam_Taps

Guest
At the risk of sounding callous and lacking in empathy, your father is 92 years old and you obviously haven't spent the last ten years wheeling him around to Parkinsons Disease clinics, 3x per week dialysis treatments, lifting him in and out of vehicles, dealing with an extreme senile dementia or Alzheimers that reduced him to the level of literally ripping the eyeglasses off your face in fits of rage or telephoning his lawyer to remove you from his will because he doesn't even know who you are.

So count your blessings. And count his blessings. He could have developed a severe case of digital arthritis and had to give up playing drums 20 years ago. There's always a sadness involved in the process of losing your parents, but it's far worse to lose them in a way in which the final 15 years of both their lives, and your life, seem totally destroyed by the process.
 
J

Jeff Gordon #24

Guest
God Bless 'em! Wishing him All The Best in his retirement. Well Done, dad! You're an inspiration to many. Absolutely in awe of him and his accomplishments. Way da go!


Thanks for sharing this wonderful story CP! Good on ya, man.


Oh...fantastic pics, too!
 
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