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Humor for Drummers

Article by Sean Mitchell // July 02 2007
Humor for Drummers

One day, a drummer sick of all of the stupid drummer jokes decided that he was going to change instruments and dodge the side-splitting repartee once and for all. So he went to the local music store and announced that he was in the market for a new instrument. The storeowner cheerfully obliged and asked what instrument he would be interested in playing. After looking around the shop, the drummer said, “I'll try those things over there,” as he pointed to the accordion section. It was over an hour before the storekeeper interrupted the drummer’s meticulous process, “Have you found what you’re looking for?" “Yes,” replied the drummer, “I'll take that big red one over there." The storekeeper smiled and started laughing. When the drummer asked why he was laughing, the storekeeper replied, "Are you a drummer, son?" "Yeah!" the drummer exclaimed. “How’d you know?" "Well,” said the storekeeper, “that big red thing is a radiator."

It would seem that it never ends. Needless to say, the above joke only reaffirms my stance that drumming is a lost and thankless art, too intricate for some minds to fully comprehend. When you look at the big picture, it is we, the drummers of the world, that are entrusted with the monumental task of fashioning the backbone of the band— that big, fat groove that all musicians covet—and instead of a pat on the back we are dismissed with stereotypical jokes and demeaning banter (paralleling the infamous association between ditsy girls and their hair color!)

Yes, as disheartening as it is for me to say, in the music world the drummer joke is akin to the blonde joke. How the “dumb drummer” belief first generated is fodder for yet another article, but it is curious to note that while we are berated with drummer jokes, the rest of the band relies on whom to keep time? It is at best an uphill battle, especially when one of our esteemed colleagues—who has achieved certain commercial success—is suing an agent for (among other things) allegedly making said rockstar look "incoherent, lazy and incompetent" on his own reality television show.

Consequently, even if a guitarist or pianist finds this counter-piece remotely stimulating and intelligent (and let me off the hook), there is yet the hurdle of drummers still being depicted as drooling monolithic troglodytes. (Keep in mind, as I write this I am constantly spell-checking and will confer with my resident English/creative writing expert Jill Schettler, so as to manifest the illusion of intellect. See, I’m not a slobbering Neanderthal!)

Q: How can you tell a drummer is walking behind you? 

A: You can hear his knuckles dragging on the ground.


While the above photos do not lend credibility to my credo that the drummer is a misunderstood soul (like an onion ... many layers), it is certainly logical to see why we are often considered skin bashers as opposed to Mylar maestros.   

Even as children we were inundated with the image of the drooling, maniac drummer as characterized in The Muppet Show’s Animal character. Not the most flattering depiction of our kind. However, if you have read up on Ronnie Verrell—the man who played the drum parts for Animal—you will find a wealth of information that really portrays Ronnie as an expert chart reader and a world-renowned jazz musician.

Q: What did the drummer get on his IQ test? 

A: Drool.

When we delve into it all and peel back the layers, the drummer jokes hold as much water as the significance of this article. While funny (I really do love the accordion joke), there are many players who contradict that stipulation with a clear representation of our more academic side, and these players, I’m proud to say, put those “stupid-drummer” jokes to shame.


Now this is how drummers should be portrayed! Drumming is dignified, classy and artistic. Take for example, Neil Peart (Rush) who is an accomplished percussionist, lyricist, and published author. How about, the above pictured Mitch Dorge who can literally make you run into the street proclaiming that you will in fact rule the world after seeing his incredibly inspirational motivational clinic. Lastly, our very own Jayson Brinkworth, who penned the very clever “To Read or Not to Read” article in June’s edition of The Black Page. All are an excellent representation of the true face of the percussive arts.

Yes, fellow drummers, it is the dawn of a new millennium, no longer will we accept the addle brained references from the masses. We now have electronic drums, and, at last, we have a need to own patch cords. Drumming became somewhat hip with the release of 2002’s “Drumline” and of course there is the rumors flying that PlayStation will soon be releasing Drum Hero. Finally we fit in!     



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About the Author
Sean Mitchell

Sean Mitchell has been an active participant in the drumming industry for over 20 years. He has studied under Crash Test Dummies drummer Mitch Dorge and Drumming's Global Ambassador Dom Famularo. Sean is also a songwriter and regularly performs with his wife (and singer) Jill Mitchell. Sean proudly endorses Aquarian Drumheads.

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