Big Red

I’ve been meaning to write this post since my birthday last month because I was reminded of why I own my red drum set, which I like to call “Big Red.”

12 years ago, I was jamming a lot with some of my good college friends and had formed a jazz combo. We’d play at the local coffee shop every other week. I was playing a borrowed, beat up Tama Rockstar kit for these jazz gigs. But I always felt insecure playing that kit because it wasn’t mine, and I couldn’t get it to sound good. I couldn’t afford to buy my own either.

One morning, I showed up to school at 8 am, thinking that I was going to a rehearsal that my jazz combo had setup. I walked into the band room, noticed a brand new red drumset, walked over in curiosity, and also noticed my friends standing around, watching me. Next thing I heard was everyone shouting, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

I could not believe it! I started crying. My friends got together to give me probably one of the best birthday presents anyone could ever receive. (The original idea was to get me a snare, but someone suggested that if they gather enough friends, they might as well get me a full drumset.) It was a cherry red, PDP FS Series Birch Fusion kit. It sounded amazing and I could not believe it was for me. Not just a gift of drum set, but a gift of ever lasting music. I still play this kit to this very day.

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20-something year old Joan playing her brand new kit

Big Red and I have been through so much together. We’ve played so many venues, festivals, retreats, on the beach, in the mountains, recorded with it, back-lined entire shows with it, used bits and pieces of it for whatever strange gig setup I needed, and Big Red came with me wherever I moved.

If you’re one of those friends and hopefully you’re reading this, thank you, with all of my heart. You don’t know how much this meant to me. This gift of music left an impact, it gave me hope, and it encouraged me to continue pursuing my dreams. Because of you, I’m still here, playing music every day.

Love, Joan

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Present day Joan

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