I’ve been a drummer forever — I’ve got the cliche story of pressing my face against the window of a music store lusting after the sparkle-covered drum set. I was obsessed. I ended up getting one piece of a drum set for each birthday and Christmas between 2nd grade and 5th grade until I had a full set. Like most kids I didn’t like practicing rudiments. What I loved most was putting on earphones and playing along with albums (yes the vinyl kind). I listened to a lot of players, but by far my favorite was early Chicago with Danny Seraphine on the drums. I’d play along to Chicago II for hours. I loved the fact that it was written as a sequential piece with each song transitioning to the next.
About 35 years later I got a notice that Danny and his band, California Transit Authority, would be playing in Natick — just one town over from where we live. I jumped at the chance to go see him live. This is a short video of one song from that performance: “I’m a Man” (an early Chicago classic). His drumming technique is still amazing, but even more impressive is the fact that he seemed to love every minute of it and had a great rapport with the audience.
I guess there’s one good thing about aging. Your idols become more approachable. Danny: you’re the man.