A Little acting can go a long way.......
by John Morin
(San Diego,CA USA)
first drum set, circa 1967 NJ
Wow, what can you say that has not been already if your a drummer.
I do have a unique story that might make some laugh, including John, rest his soul. I was 18, at home in Jersey, was high on weed, and came up with this brainstorm in my parents home.
I came up with this idea of calling international information, and telling them i was a friend of John's, but that i had misplaced his number, and it was very urgent that i talk with him immediately.
The lady whom i could barely understand, put me on hold,came back and said, sorry, it was a "x directory line" Im like, what the heck did she say? so i persisted, asked to speak to her supervisor, she put me on hold again, came back and gave me the number, there were 2 words associated with it, and i could barely understand her with the British accent, but your damn straight if it took all night, i was going to understand that number.
Then when i did, she asked, would you like me to connect you now, and Im like holy shit, what am i going to say, so i went with it, it rang. Im a bit nervous, more like crapping in my pants as i did not know what to expect or say.
Sure enough a male voice answers, which happen to be John's dad, he said i just missed him, then he asked how i got this number, and i told the truth, he was amused, and said to call back the next day i might get John.
So i called back the next day, and this time Mathew answered, who happen to be John's personal assistant/chauffeur. I got the sense he heard about me from John's dad the night before, at least now i was a bit prepared as to what i was going to say.
And Mathew, who was very nice, just like John's dad as well, asked if he could help in anyway, because i wanted to get the exact sizes of all the drums John played, after a bit of chit chat, Mathew said he would post the questions on John's board for him to see the next day, and asked to call back.
So i did, and Mathew again answered, and again, i just missed John, but Mathew said John took great pleasure in writing all the information down for me, and was tickled as to how I got his number, but I was and still am and will always be a big fan of John's being a drummer now for almost 45 years with John Bonham being my #1 inspiration.
Back to the end of that call, I did get the sizes, and the reason i just did not go with what the Ludwig fliers said back then, was because when i snuck into Madison square garden for all 5 nights in 1977, year before this call, not only did i settle for sneaking in, but i wanted as close as possible to front row!!
And i did get there, I used to collect the stubs people would throw away, and the next concerts that came to the Garden, I would tape 2 or 3 of the torn stubs together, preferably matching colors :-)) and that got me thru the check points, now the hard part came, when you approach the usher that takes the ticket looks at it and tears it in half, i used to put a couple of bucks under the ticket, most went for it, and let you in.
Once in a while though, i would get a boot in the ass, that's why i came prepared with back up fake tickets, and just went around the block, to one of the other entrances, but had to go thru all the checkpoints again, that's where NYPD are keeping the long lines in order and looking to see the people inline have tickets in there hand, but they can not stop everyone, they kept it flowing.
So that was easy, i used to use clear tape to put over the area i attached, and also had NY thumb over that area, and they just waived me through.
I remember one night, i think it was Peter Frampton, i got kicked out of the 8th ave entrance, the guy would not take the bribe, so about 30 minutes later, im at the 7th ave entrance, and low and behold, Im like holy shit, who of all people is the usher going to take my fake ticket? the same guy who was on the 8th ave side.
He goes, you again!! yelled for security this time, and told them, make sure you escort this kid OUT of the building, shoot, you think i gave up, heck no, i hauled butt back over to the 8th ave side, and got in, then i snuck in backstage to boot!!
I'll save that for another time as i drifted way off here, I wanted to point out, when i snuck in the 5 Zep concerts, I will never forget what it was like being 10 rows from the stage at the garden, awaiting Zeppelin to come on any second.
It darkens, the crowd roars........and it frakin sounded like a FREIGHT TRAIN just came crashing thru the walls, but it was Bonzos bass drum and rim shots.......woe.......!
Im lost for words here....those who experienced that know what Im talking about..then i really watched Bonzos drums, he had a stainless over wood set, with a bigger than average small tom, his usual 16x16 and 16x18 floors, but i kept saying to my self, that chrome snare, which everyone knew as the 14x6-1/2, seemed to be thicker, as in 7 or 8 by 14" and it bugged me.
Well that was one of the reasons a year or so later i made up that act on the phone and got JB phone number, well, when i finally did call back the next day, Mathew again said John was more than happy to write the drum size information on his board to give to me.
The snare was a custom made Ludwig supraphonic 402, but 7-1/2" instead of the factory 6-1/2", there you have it :-) I even double and triple checked with Mathew, because there was a little bit of a accent going on, but he insisted that what the board said, so i went with that.
Most of all, they were so nice and cool about it all, I asked Mathew once agin, was there a chance John was home, he said, missed him again.... Well I really miss him now, God Bless Bonzo, and all.