For over three years, Guitar Doctor Bruce Lee Mani has been prescribing fixes for your guitar ills. But what if music is an illness you don’t want to recover from?
Ask Rajeev Rajagopal, TAAQ’s drummer, who has been ailing for 15 years and loves every malingering minute of it.
“The illness,” says Rajeev, describing his symptoms with the enthusiasm of a certified hypochondriac, “is about trying to get each limb to have a mind of its own. With its onset, you start to have immense fun sitting behind a drum kit. It takes a lot of patience to perfect your symptoms, though, so you need to be patient!”
Chortling at his own bad puns is probably another symptom, but he continues undeterred: “Someday, if you get to be like Rodney Holmes or Simon Philips, you’ll know what it feels like,” he says looking wounded because you think he’s faking it. “With every clinic I attend or conduct, the illness manifests in beautifully creative ways.”
So what should aspiring drummers do in order to be terminally ill?
“Teaching how to play a musical instrument doesn’t end with learning how to play it,” says Rajeev, as if he is addressing a convention of gonecases at Drummaholics Anonymous. “How you play with other musicians is what really matters and this is what makes a good band. And this is especially true for drummers, because just being a great drummer alone won’t make your band sound good. Drums, unlike guitars, are not made for solo performances. It’s important to know how to play with a guitar player and a bass player.”
Can you show me where it hurts?
“Keeping time together is different from keeping time by yourself,” continues the Drum Patient. “Speaking the musical language through eye contact and finding your way through the arrangement of a song, and transitioning between parts in a way that brings out the dynamics of what is being communicated musically – these are the elements of playing in a band that musicians must really learn.”
There is no pain, you are receding…
“I have played with guitar players like Bruce, Prasanna and Vinny Valentino,” says Rajeev, relishing the pain of personal experience. “A drummer’s target audience is not other drummers – you’re playing for the song and for the band. If you can instill the confidence in guitar players, bass players and singers that you can bring value to their music, you’re starting to get there.”
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying…
“Through this philosophy, I have been able to live up to being the drummer of Thermal And A Quarter for 14 years,” says Rajeev, coughing softly with the smug confidence that all hope of recovery is quite irrevocably lost. “The illness has also given me the confidence to play in the presence of other musicians such as Mike Pope and David Gilmore and ability to soak it up at amazing workshops with Rodney Holmes and Simon Philips.”
And you have become comfortably drummed.
Thinking of rehab? Wait, try the prehab first.
Guitar Doctor and Drum Patient recently conducted their first combined clinic. At the workshop, held at TAAQ’s Queen’s Studio, five aspiring guitar doctors and five aspiring drum patients got together to rewrite musico-medical history.
The pictures, taken by Ashutosh, are evidence of the futility of therapy.
For a free consultation, leave a comment here and the Drum Patient will gladly let you know how you can catch the bug.