March 31, 2008
Kathy and I spent all morning at the Heart Institute in Phoenix today. After a cat scan and several other procedures (all seeming to involve the placing of multiple sadistic oval tape strips planted on my chest and sides), then, with a simple "Sorry," the nurse ripped them off and sent me on to the next test, where another buxom nurse planted another row of electrode tape on completely different parts of my upper body (thankfully) and repeated the process.
The good news is the stents they put in at Kingman Regional are good to go and I won't have to have open heart surgery. I celebrated by taking a big fat nap.
The Long Road To the Final Wipeout
Even a week later it's kind of hard to believe a song I love almost killed me.
I first heard the Safari's "Wipeout" at Charlie Water's house in the summer of 1963. It was, and is, about the coolest drum solo ever. The drums are so crisp, the simple para diddles so effective. I went to Mohave Electric the next Saturday and bought my own .45 of the record ($!.08 Dad's account) and proceeded to learn the lick.
In addition to some glory (Surfer girls were way turned on by that drum beat) the song has given me a couple of humiliating experiences. The first happened when Charlie Waters, Wendell Havatone and I went to the Elks to hear a rival band The Gallows. They played "Wipeout" but the drummer, Sonny Alvarado, just played a straight rock beat through the drum solo interludes.
On the break, I asked Tinker, the leader of the Gallos, if we could set in (and show this crowd what the song should really sound like). We took the stage and I started the song and on the second verse I dropped a stick, couldn't find a replacement and the song died with a gimpy-one-handed fade.
Several months later, we had a gig at the American Legion and this obnoxious kid from Phoenix kept coming up and asking to set in on the drums. Wendell finally said to me, "Let him make a fool out of himself." So I gave him my sticks and the Kid got up on stage and proceeded to rip out a version of Wipeout I didn't even know my drums were capable of playing.
With my head, throbbing like a pea, I made two vows: "I will never ask to set in, and I will not allow anyone to set in on my drums.
Thanks Wipeout, these are amazing lessons about control, integrity and humbleness. Little did I know this iconic surfer classic had even more humbleness to teach me.
"I think I'd better gator."
—BBB's almost famous last words
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