For years my husband tried to get me to listen to the Foo Fighters, but I stubbornly refused. I didn’t have any good reason for it, except maybe a bit of pride — I hate being late to the party of a popular trend. At the time I met my husband, the Foos had only been on the scene for five years, but he’d discovered them and I hadn’t.
I was a Foo Fool. Or Foo(l).
But there was no denying the awesome of Dave Grohl and company, including Taylor Hawkins on the drums. It was those incredible drum beats and fills that finally won me over and converted me to what can only be described as an obsessive Foo Fighters fan.
It was that Foo conversion that also inspired, actually re-inspired, my desire to be a girl drummer. And I didn’t want just to be an average girl drummer, I wanted to drum like Taylor Hawkins pretty much the same day I set up my new-to-me drum kit. Even though I’ve never had a single drum lesson except for a couple of YouTube videos. Even though I’ve never even owned a set of sticks until recently. None of that mattered; I just wanted to drum like a bada$$.
Because I’m a Foo(l) like that.
Of course, I’m not quite drumming like a bada$$, though I am drumming quite badly. And that is a definite obstacle to my showing up to learn the top three drum beats for beginners. Because in fact, I am the epitome of a beginner — my stick handling is slow (so slow I may appear to be drumming in reverse), and my beats are more of a stutter than a beat. I start and restart and then restart again during any given lesson. But I don’t want to be a beginner. I want to be a bada$$, like now.
If you’ve ever set out to learn something new, you know how it goes. That inner critic gets loud. Really loud. Every time I sit down at my kit, my inner critic kicks in louder than my kick drum: this is such a waste of time, you’re never going to be as good as Taylor Hawkins (this one’s probably true), who are you kidding — you are way too old to be a girl drummer now, you are silly for doing this, you are foolish.
No, but I am a Foo(l) Fighter.
You see every time I sit down at my kit, I fight the idea that learning to play the drums is a foolish idea. I have to fight the thought that I’m too old or there are more important things to do with my time. I have to counter the critic’s voice telling me I’m an imposter, I’m silly, I’m wasting my time. Instead, I remind myself this is not impossible. I remind myself to enjoy the journey of learning something new. I remind myself to have fun and embrace my lack of bada$$ness.
I remind myself I’m a Foo(l) Fighter.
And then I restart my lesson, practice the basic money beat and play around with the the snare placement or the kick drum placement or the hi-hat placement in the basic beat. Then I switch to the book recommended to help increase stick control and speed (recommended by members of the Drummergirls United Facebook group I joined to help me shake off my insecurities). Truth be told, my stick speed is s-l-o-w. In fact, right now, I play my drumming exercises at 50, sometimes 60 beats per minute (BPM) — a far cry from Taylor Hawkins. A far cry from being the bada$$ drummer I want to be.
But that’s the other things about starting something new, isn’t it? We want to be an immediate expert. We want to be so much farther down the path than at the beginning of it. At least that’s how I feel, especially about playing the drums. It doesn’t matter that Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl spent their teen years listening to bands and playing along to various rock drummers. It doesn’t matter that they’ve put in the hours, the blood, sweat, and sacrifice for at least 25 years. It doesn’t matter that I’ve barely put in 25 days of practice.
The idea that I should be playing at Taylor Hawkins’ level is definitely a Foo(lish) one. But the commitment to put my hours in each day makes me a Foo(l) Fighter.
So, while my vision won’t involve me filling in for Taylor Hawkins at a Foo Fighters concert (should we ever get to attend another concert, but that’s another post altogether), it does involve me improving. It involves me playing and learning because this is something I want to do. It involves me upping my BPM to over 100 as I get further down my path.
It involves me showing up every day to be a Foo(l) Fighter because I told myself I will. And, that, my friend, really does make me a bada$$.