Of Gifts & Givers–and no, this isn’t a holiday post…

Whilst jamming out to “Sing, Sing, Sing”—which we always play at LEAST twice in a row in this house, as it’s mandatory, the Man of the House reminded me that Gene Krupa’s seriously pulse-pounding drumming was the influence behind a drummer whose music I first heard during my tweens in the mid 70s (gasp), Peter Criss, a.k.a. The Catman. This was courtesy of a family member who had taken up drumming (hi Mike!) and ever since high school I always loved Criss’ song “Beth”—especially playing it on the piano. As I got older my tastes in music eventually included hard rock and metal in high school, on top of all the other beloved genres I had already come to know and love, in great part to the delightfully eclectic tastes of my parents (thanks Da’ & Mom!). I continued to embrace pop, rock, jazz, classical, big band, military & patriotic marches, some opera & operetta, hymns (traditional/folk/contemporary), soundtrack scores (a major fave!), some country and CCM, plus now there was new wave. Then during my freshman year of college I found artists who defy genre to me (e.g., Steve Taylor & Bruce Cockburn). Thanks to my brain I’ve probably left something out–oh yeah, Dean Martin, Harry Connick, Jr. and their contemporaries for starters–but you get the drift. My interests were and continue to be as diverse as my ADHD brain (for which I usually thank the Good Lord for having because it’s allowed life to be anything but boring).

So, that brings me to the topic of this PSA: Gene Krupa is why Peter Criss is such an awesome drummer. As he himself said about Krupa:

He is the reason I play drums today. I love big bands. When I hear the word drums, I think Gene Krupa. He was a pioneer. He brought the drums up front. He was my idol. I got to talk to him and he really liked me. He gave me lessons for about six months...
He was great to take the time out to teach me. He once said to me, “You got it kid, You really got it.
I’ve never seen anyone who wants it so bad, so I’ll take the time out to teach you.”
Today when I do a drum solo I have that Drum Boogie Sound and nobody uses it.
The kids go wild but it’s not original. I’m doing something that was done in 1935.

So, just remember, ladies and gents, musicians, artists, writers, homemakers, gardeners, architects–to name but a few–and creatives of all types draw their inspiration from the most unlikely (to us) places, but God gives the gifts and whether or not the person using them recognizes that, He, The Creator and Ultimate Artist, is always the giver of gifts and we should seek to discover ours—if we don’t already know them—and use them, as they weren’t given for us but for the world, as unlikely as that often seems to us because we can’t see them as good enough to share. As one scared artist to others, STOP THAT! Let’s just press on the best we can and see what happens. After all, allowing ourselves to be the conduit by producing our work is what matters. After that whatever happens is really none of our concern. (Easy to say, hard to live; I know!)

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