It is my birthday ... and I'm old enough now (55) that birthdays are not particularly something to look forward to. But this was a surprise of all surprises, and, just like Brad said, we will [probably] never do this again in our lives.
The plan was for Susan and I to meet Brad and Jeremy for dinner at Rocky's in Jeff. I was really looking forward to it, of course. When we were on our way, I got a call from Brad - he said he was at Mom's Music buying me a birthday present. When he went to leave, his car wouldn't start! He was going to have his car towed, and asked me to come pick him up. I was bummed for him, but I was hoping we would still have a good time at dinner.
So, we get to Mom's Music. I don't see Brad, so we go in the store. Still no Brad. Then, Brad AND Jeremy pop out from behind a bunch of drums and say "Happy Birthday!" I didn't get it .... Then Brad says, "Any of these drums look familiar?" And I said, "Yeah ... those look just like mine." On closer inspection - They WERE mine! I still didnt get it. There were actually three sets set up in a row facing the front of the store.
Then Brad explains ... We have always talked about all three of us playing together on three sets of drums at the same time. We'd mentioned it YEARS ago ... but it just never was gonna happen. So Jeremy and Brad MADE it happen. They had gotten permission from Mark Maxwell (owner of Mom's), Brad snuck over to my house and loaded up my drums (so I could have my own set to play), set up two other sets, and had it all ready to go when I got there.
But that's not all ... Brad's friend Dan was also there - with his video camera - and was ready to video the whole event!! And they had ordered pizza and it was on the way! And, to top it all off, Susan opens a gift bag she had brought with us - and pulled out my tennis shoes that I wear when I play out!! HA HA! She had been in on it all along.
Well, let me tell you, you could have bowled me over with a feather. I realize now that I was kind of stunned by it all .... amazing that they would put this together ... and all for ME!
So, after a bit of drum tuning and rearranging, we started to play - and it was A BLAST!!! We played a nice rock groove with everybody improvising ... then a 6/8 feel ... then a shuffle ... then a half-time groove .... all with lots of fun licks and shenanigans flying around everywhere.
Jeremy has a lot of experience with a number of albums under his belt as well as loads of live gigs. He is a killer player with a unique style and some true Jeremy-isms ... nobody could sound or feel like him if they tried. He played his butt off. Fun!
Brad has less experience ... he's never had the chance to be in a gigging band. But he played GREAT. He's got a fantastic feel, he stayed with what he can play well, and it all worked. He has some cool licks and he held himself together and kicked it! We ended with the John Bonham groove from the beginning of "When the Levee Breaks" and Brad sounded just as good and Jeremy or me. It was a gas for all three of us to lock onto that groove and nail it. I would not have been surprised if stuff would have started falling off the walls.
We played and ate pizza for an hour to an hour and a half. The boys wouldn't let me help tear down or put the store back together ... it was all part of my birthday present. So Susan and I said goodbye and headed for home.
It was then, on the ride home, that the whole thing really came together for me. How thoughtful, how special, WHAT LOVE! For Jeremy and Brad to be so creative as to even think of this - then to actually DO it - left me in awe and amazement. Like I mentioned in the beginning, I have the best feeling you can imagine.
I challenge anyone who ever reads this to come up with something this cool to do for your dad ... because I can tell you, I will never, ever forget it. It is a cherished night and I'll carry it with me always. AND I 'll get to see it on video as well.
It is wonderful to have that undeniable truth that my sons really do love me that much. Thanks guys. I love you, too. That was the best present in the world. Amen.