One of my very first paid gigs, I believe when I was in sixth grade, was playing at the NCO Club in Ankara, Turkey on New Years Eve. I was playing in a band with a bunch of adult airmen for a roomful of other drunken airmen and a lot of lady friends (from whence they came, I cannot say).
I remember at one point watching one airman slow dancing with a woman (probably to “Knights In White Satin,” or something like that), as he gradually hiked up her already revealing miniskirt. My unprepared 12-year-old mind was dumbstruck. With all of its excessive drinking, blatant sexual innuendo, and general partying, that night immediately ranked as the wildest scene I had ever personally witnessed in my preteen existence.
Rather than sitting on a proper drum throne, I sat on a wooden stool — the kind you’d buy at an unfinished furniture store back in the day. As the crowd’s frenzy was peaking, the bandleader called “Wipeout” – my big moment at my first real, paying gig. I launched into the solo with extra gusto, thrashing and gyrating to the famous sixteenth-note snare drum pattern when, after several bars, my stool suddenly began to feel wobbly. It then collapsed altogether, sending me off the back of my little drum riser. Everything stopped as I disappeared from view.
The audience tried to peer over the back of my drum riser as the sudden quietness caught their attention. I slowly crawled back up, grabbed a nearby bar chair (which put the top snare hoop just about parallel with my chin), and finished the solo. The dancers went back to dancing, and I played the rest of the set with a red face and a story I would tell for the rest of my life.