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PingWi-Fi — Drumming Up Rock Legends Deep Purple To DimeBag

March 31st, 2009 · Tags:Arts · Cities · Satire · Wi-Fi

This is my second cross-country travel blog in search of all things Wi-Fi. The two trips are similar. But, if there is anything missing this time, it is the lack of opportunities to just sit and visit with locals.

Yesterday was a nice exception.

In Fargo I was driving around, snapping a few photos when I noticed a nondescript building on 13th Avenue — during the snowstorm — because of the black and white sign on top. It caught my eye because of the crazy logo — a dinosaur standing near a rock ‘n’ roll drum kit. “Prolly my kinda place.”

I collect t-shirts like most people collect speeding tickets, so I pulled over to investigate. And yes, I now have a new rock dinosaur t-shirt in my collection.

This impulse buy introduced me to drum coach Chance McMasters at DSI. He sells drums, plays in bands, teaches and even rents tour buses to rock groups. Interesting guy. (I heard he has some rental properties too and even let a family move into one for free, because they lost their home in the flood.)

McMasters With Neil Peart's Drum Kit (Rush joke)

Ha … but first I had to wait in line to see this guy. His clientele — teenage dudes in their first bands were ahead of me. And — while I tapped my foot in time — of course they wanted to talk about EVERY new cover version they were learning for their first gig: Steppenwolf‘s “Born To Be Wild;” “Smokin In The Boys Room,” (The Motley Crue version, which is much easier on the signature drum intro, than the original Brownsville Station version … Chance filled in.) … blah, blah.

Finally it was my turn. I felt like a kid waiting backstage to get my body autographed. (That never happened, by the way …)

Chance is a nice guy … and best of all — he do like to talk some music. We were in total agreement that Dave Grohl was a much needed ingredient and that his creative energy elevated Nirvana to new heights. (Grohl was not the original drummer, but significant … and then when Nirvana ended, the former drummer made a name as a front man … singer/guitarist for Foo Fighters. Ironically, I saw the Foo Fighters airline-in-drag video this morning for the first time in about eight years.)

Chance and I could not come to agreement on KISS. While I agree they were genius, I think it was for their packaging and marketing savvy. I mean … I was a teenage boy — the target group — when they erupted, and I thought their music was wimp rock. But, I have a few years on Chance. He may have been swayed by a KISS lunchbox or some other clever ploy.

Yes … we were on the same page about Alice — (Cooper, not In Chains) — whereas I stated Alice Cooper in the early years was the purest, most raw teenage angst — ever. (see School’s Out, No More Mister Nice Guy … and even Teenage Lament) Chance added that he though Alice Cooper (the band) was the Nirvana of its day. Hmmm … never thought of it that way, but I concur.

I only mentioned the name of Joe Strummer (The Clash) and Chance almost bowed his head saying “what a loss” regarding Strummer’s untimely death. (See Strummer interview on this site — VIPeeps section.)

We went on and on … but this was probably the other point worth repeating. The ’70s are so misunderstood. Mistakenly, most people think of Disco when they hear the term ’70s music. The plague that was Disco ended the decade — but not until Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, The Doobie Brothers, Black Sabbath, The Who, YES, The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Uriah Heep, Black Oak Arkansas, ZZ Top, Wishbone Ash, and about another million bands put out some of the most creative, innovative music in history.

Last thought … even though we were in a drum store, the name of Deep Purple instantly transports anyone my age/gender back to their neighborhood Fender guitar store. Every guy could pick up an electric guitar and pick out the basic tune to Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water.”

“Ha, most people think that is a song about drugs.” Chance said.

The point was not wasted on me. It is actually a song about a casino burning down, during a Frank Zappa show in Montreaux. IF memory serves, the members of Deep Purple were across the lake, in a mobile recording studio and watched the joint er … casino burn. Someone took a few quick notes and one of the most recognizable songs ever was written. Today … they probably would take a photo with their iPhones and twitter their friends.

You can read the entire story at Wikipedia … but I gleaned one gem for you.  “According to the late Dimebag Darrell Abbott’s brother, Vinnie Paul Abbott ( both of Pantera), ‘Smoke on the Water’ was the first song that ‘Dimebag’ learned on the guitar, and the first song that they played together.”

That of course raises two questions:  Have you seen the bumper sticker that says, “What Would Dimebag Do?”  And, do you know that in some parts, because of my first name, I am known as “Dirtbag Darrell?”

On YouTube, the Smoke/Water video only has about 7 million hits.  I cannot tell by sight how many of these guys are originals Deep Purple members … I think that is actually Ian Gillan starting the song on lead vocals, and it is obviously Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow with Ritchie Blackmore) taking over on vocals midway through … And I am pretty sure the 40-piece orchestra are not the original Deep Peeps.  But still … good stuff.  I mean … talk about the perfect rock band … In their heyday, Deep Purple had not one, but  two guys named Ian.  That so rocks.

Smoke this! (view video) … pay particular attention to the orchestra conductor as he lays down his licks … LOL

Know what I sayin?