Like most people around the globe this time of year, I am faced with requisite holiday social events—office parties, high school peers returning home for a weekend, extended family get togethers, etc. I generally avoid these soirees whenever possible as they hold nearly zero interest for me (meaning not many people are interested in drum talk). I don’t think I am alone in this viewpoint either.
However, this year there was one event I actually wanted to attend. It was a gathering of company reps who all worked the same territory several years ago when I worked in the field. Technically, we all competed with each other for the same business, but we were all young, starting out in our careers and, since we saw each other all the time, we either got along, or we didn’t. We all basically chose to get along and developed pretty good friendships along the way. None of this is noteworthy in any way for anyone beyond our little crew. What was noteworthy (for me) is that I was given a little personal insight during the party. Gaining something of substance (other than illegal) at a holiday party may be unprecedented. And it wasn’t even that painful. I include it here only because it relates to Noble & Cooley.
So I am hanging out BS-ing with a couple of guys I haven’t seen in years and another guy came up who I remembered was a huge music fan. I also remembered we liked a lot of same bands but also disagreed on several bands and would debate endlessly which, of course, was way more fun. Even though we hadn’t seen each other in forever, the first thing he does is bring up a band (that shall remain nameless) that just released a new album. He doesn’t even say hi, he just gets into how awesome it is.
“I hate that frickin’ band” I say. “OMG, annoying overrated, etc.”
He says, “Are you crazy? They are the only band actually playing rock music these days.”
Me: “They still suck.”
Back and forth like this until he says, “You are an idiot. Fine. Stay ignorant. I’ll enjoy good music.” And goes off to grab another beer.
So one of the guys I am hanging with says, “Dude, why are you arguing with him? You haven’t seen each other in over a decade. He is a good guy. What’s the point?”
The other guy says, “John was always like that. I could never figure out who you would like or not like. There was no logic or consistency to it whatsoever. People I thought were cool, you did not like. Others, I thought were jerks and you were fine with, but also the reverse happened. So I couldn’t figure it out. I’m curious. How exactly do you determine who you like and who you don’t? And why don’t you like Adam?”
I was perplexed.
I said, “I do like Adam. Did you not just see that? We had a great conversation.”
“Uh, no John, I didn’t. I saw you argue with someone. Seriously, you are random. There has to be some common thread somewhere. What is it?”
I had NEVER thought about this before. So I did.
“That’s the common thread. Everyone I like strikes me as genuine. I don’t care if they agree or disagree with me, what their personal, social or political views are. I just want them to be their own person and not care what anyone else thinks, including me.”
The rest of the evening doesn’t matter here. But that night it occurred to me that it was also genuineness that drew me to Noble & Cooley. Everything about Noble & Cooley is genuine—original designs, natural and hand painted finishes. No wraps. No BS marketing about 200 year-old lumber found in a time capsule unearthed by a hurricane. Just real drums for real players. If you call the factory, you get the people who will make your drums. With no deliberateness whatsoever, they treat the everyday player with the same respect as the top pros in the business. No superior attitude either. They respect other companies and quality craftsmanship anywhere.
And, not surprisingly, that’s the same exact quality I see in our players—guys who care about their tone, are obsessed with getting the instrument that is just right for them, sharing their ideas and experiences with fellow drummers to help them get the most out of their drumming. Commenting, candidly (too candidly sometimes?) about anything and everything drumming related. Just genuine guys. And also, no surprise, that is where the best music comes from. Genuine players, on genuine gear, playing genuine music.
I am not going to use the obvious cliché and say I am genuinely happy to be a part of this.
Happy Holidays to all of our extended family. Whatever your plans this year, we hope they all involve friends, family and most of all, music.