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Delaney: Rock Drummer Dreams

01/04/10 5:55PM By Dennis Delaney
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(HOST) Recently, commentator Dennis Delaney spent some time in New York City - a trip that inspired some deep thoughts about religion, life in general, and rock-and-roll drummers in particular.

(DELANEY) We New Englanders, also known as cranky Yankees, have seldom been accused of having a light touch. Proof of this is found in one of my favorite poems by Phyllis McKinley about the fearsome New England preacher Jonathan Edwards. I quote:

Whenever Mr. Edwards spake
in church about damnation
the very benches used to quake
for awful agitation.
The blood, the fires, the agonies
in store for frail or flighty
New Englanders who fail to please
a whimsical almighty!

But there's so much gloom and doom these days that I'd like to lighten things up a bit and do it with some rock music, even if that scary New England preacher would surely wag a hellfire and damnation finger at us.

My wife and I went to New York City a few weeks ago. We do this occasionally to catch a play or a good show. But first stop is lunch at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square.  The food is great.  The crowd is young and so full of youthful energy that my happy nerves just pop open. We always sit at one of the bars because just behind them are large flat screen televisions. No, not for sport, but for rock music.

I'm fascinated by the sights and sounds. Behind the musicians and vocalists on screen is usually a fast succession of disconnected images. They run like images on a kaleidoscope. Sure, some of them are a little racy, but they fit the music. I just can't explain how. There's always a singer who seems to be trying to swallow the mike, and I can't hear the words because the guitars and drums overwhelm the lyrics.  But I love every minute of it, and the burger and beer never tasted so good.

Please understand, I harken back to a time when pop singers were people like Rosemary Clooney. You never missed a syllable of her songs. My favorite was "C'mona my housa, my housa c'mon." With Rosie's sultry sexy voice there wasn't a red-blooded American male who didn't want to know the address of that house!  But this is the 21st century. Rock is here to stay, and I've developed a taste for it, too.

The guitars in the rock bands are nothing like the Hawaiian guitar I was forced to learn as a kid. Yet it's the drummers who mesmerize me most. I don't understand how those sticks can fly all over the place, yet produce a beat that even people of my vintage start tapping to. I used to wonder why no one at a rock concert sat down. Now I think it's got to be the drummers. No one could sit down with that beat.

I've been a professor, a senator and an advisor to an African parliament, but if there's such a thing as reincarnation - you know, where we come back in another life - I'm putting in my bid to return as a drummer in a rock band.

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