Last night was the School of the Arts' beginning-of-the-year party. I went around asking people about themselves. They all immediately asked me which division I was in, and I had to explain that I wasn't exactly in the SotA, I was sort of a mole from the J-School, except that I wasn't actually taking any J-School classes, but was straddling three divisions of their own school with the work I was actually doing. I'm sort of fascinated by the theatre types--they're divided into playwrights, directors, dramaturges and actors, and there are only 16 actors, only 4 of them men. (I was reminded of Sarah Fan's comments a few months ago about being at a party with models: "I was surprised that they really don't look like normal people. They're like gazelles or something.") Also, for someone who spends as much time as I do hanging out with dramaturges, I really ought to learn what exactly it is that they do.

Tonight, Lisa & Jess & I went to unload our junk from the enormous shipping container that came back from Burning Man, all of which was coated with so much playa dust that I have residual playa-skin once again. An enormous guy was hanging around next to the truck smoking a cigarette and bellowing "WORK FASTER!" at the people inside. I think it was a joke. He may have found it funny.

An advice question from a reader (thank you, reader):

What's the best way to find a drummer for our band? Our ranks include a bass player and a guitar player. We like to practice once a week in NYC. We have many songs and a couple 7"'s out and we like to gig once a month or so. The main thing is finding someone who likes similar music and who wants to have fun bashing away. He or she can have as much or as little input into the songs as he or she would like. We like Mission of Burma, Pere Ubu, Silkworm, The Feelies, The Clean, Dinosaur Jr., GBV, Wire but don't necessarily sound like any of them. We've tapped our friends as resources to no avail. We'd like to avoid placing an ad in the Voice and "holding rehearsals." Technical ability is less important than desire and enthusiasm. Do you recommend posting on any particular message boards? Putting up flyers? Know anyone? Any ideas?

Drummers. (small gasping sound)

Seriously: they are a special category of person and require special treatment. There is no greater blessing to a band than a good, compatible drummer, but the planets must be perfectly aligned to find one, and then they must be fed and watered carefully. Almost all drummers love to play whether or not it's an appropriate moment to. (Also, much as I tend to agree with the "enthusiasm trumps technical stuff" thing in all things band-related, be very careful about overemphasizing the unimportance of technical ability when you're talking about a drummer. I've been the drummer with (severely) limited technical ability, and it can prove to be a serious drag.)

As for where to find one: flyers are good, as long as the flyers are only in places where you would respond to a snazzy flyer if you saw it--a favorite record store, a favorite club, a rehearsal space where you've had good experiences. And make them creative bordering on weird; it'll weed out some of the incompatible types. Message boards? Only if you frequent them yourself.

If you're serious about the enthusiasm-first thing, pick a non-playing friend or acquaintance of yours and ask if that person would be willing to be your drummer. (Which is how I ended up behind a kit for a while myself, despite no native skill.) It could be fun. And if you later meet someone who's an actual good drummer, draft that person into the band too--for some reason, the experienced drummer + inexperienced drummer combination almost always sounds great (God Is My Co-Pilot got a lot of mileage out of it back in the day).



previously ask for advice