By: Richard Christy — from The Howard Stern Show
My passion for drumming began, from what my beer soaked memory can earliest recall, when I was four-years-old, all thanks to my Aunt Theresa. I remember seeing KISS on TV and being fascinated with them just like every other kid was in 1978. My aunt learned of my KISS fascination and bought me KISS Alive 1 and the Peter Criss solo album. I was a big fan of Gene Simmons because I’ve always had a fascination with horror and he most reminded me of a horror character, but I mostly gravitated toward Peter Criss because I loved banging on things around the house and making noise.
Fast forward to 2014, 36 years later, and I’m playing drums on VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show in front of the one and only Peter Criss! Talk about pressure, this is the guy who made me want to play drums and I have to play several drum solos in front of him. I was terrified and honored. Luckily things went great. Playing drums in front of the person who made me want to play drums is definitely one of the highlights of my drumming career. What began with Peter Criss, evolved into Frankie Banali and Alex Van Halen in the early eighties. I remember playing the drum beat from Quiet Riot’s “Cum On Feel The Noize” on pillows with dowel sticks back around 1983. I then graduated to cow feed buckets thanks to growing up on a farm and I remember trying to play the drum intro from Van Halen’s Hot For Teacher on five different plastic feed buckets in the summer of 1984.
To this day, I still don’t know how the hell to play the drum intro from “Hot For Teacher.” It will continue to be one of those unsolved drum mysteries in my mind, it is such a mind boggling and awesome drum piece. I’m so thankful that for me in 1984, the drumming universe aligned to allow me to hear “Hot For Teacher” the same year that school band was offered at my elementary school. Of course I wanted to play drums in the school band, but so did everybody else in my class, so a simple rhythm test was given to see which students were the lucky five chosen to be drummers in the school band. Thanks to years of practicing on cow feed buckets, I had pretty good rhythm and was chosen to be a drummer in the school band. I haven’t looked back since. I was forced to make a backup choice in case I hadn’t been picked and since that choice was saxophone, who knows, I could’ve been the next Kenny G, although I think things turned out the way they were supposed to. I can remember specifically a time when my band teacher Mr. Abati, pulled me aside after band class and said that I had real talent and I should stick with playing the drums and think about pursuing it beyond school. Mr. Abati really inspired me and I can’t thank him enough, I still try to send him magazines, albums, and posters of my various bands whenever I can.
Thanks to drumming I’ve made lifelong friends, traveled the world, and become a pretty mellow dude — getting out all of my extra energy and aggression on the drum kit. My band Charred Walls of the Damned, has a new album out title “Creatures Watching Over The Dead” and I’m so proud of the drumming on it. I think it’s one of my best drums sounds I’ve ever had on an album and the drums sound so full and so natural like you’re there in the room with them. I just want to take this moment to thank drumming for being such a positive force in my life and I hope I’m still doing it when I’m old and gray, come to think of it I’m pretty old now and my hair is mostly gray, so my wish has come true!
- Richard Christy
~check out RichardChristy.com
Produced by Jeff Gorra, Artist Waves