Archive for October, 2009

Desktop Drummers

October 25, 2009

In high school I was a “desktop drummer.”  I was constantly  beating out various rhythms on my desk, sometimes loudly before class started and sometime much softer, while class was in session.  I could actually listen to what the teacher was saying and at the same time, almost subconsciously, tap out a rhythm.

What I would like to know from all of you blog readers is this:

Were you also a desktop drummer?

If so, just let me know by leaving a comment at the end of this blog. Your answer can be very simple, like, “Yes, I was a desktop drummer in high school,” or you can elaborate if you have a story to go with it, such as being caught drumming by one of your teachers.

At the very end of this blog will be blue hypertext with the last choice saying, “Leave a Comment”.  Just click on that and let me know who you are and if you were a desktop drummer.  I’m really curious to see how many of us beat out rhythms on our desks.


The Progressions

October 11, 2009

I first heard the Progressions at Judge’s Musical Bar which was located on Greenmount Avenue just north of 33rd Street.  Right away I recognized them as far above average – one of the best local groups I had ever heard.  I followed them over the years as they moved from Judge’s to The Mardi Gras, on Harford Road just north of Northern Parkway and as their name changed over the yeaars to Taste, Touch, Flow and Light.  I often wondered how they originally formed and recently asked Carl Brooks, an original founding member along with Walt Bailey, about their very beginnings, including how he and Walt first met..  He most kindly responded.

Many thanks to Carl Brooks for his memories of how the Progressions first became a band.

How I met Walt Bailey? As I recall I was actually on my way to beat him up. A friend at the time said that Walt was giving him a hard time in school. Of course that wasn’t the case. As I approached Walt he was sitting on his front porch playing two songs at once—a Chet Atkins piece. My whole attitude changed the minute I saw him. I was floored by his playing and could see right away that he was a nice guy. We hit it off right away. I had learned a few chords from another friend (Skip Herbert) prior to this so I began playing rhythm guitar with Walt. We played our first gig (just the two of us) standing under a tree at the Veteran’s Hospital on Loch Raven Blvd. It wasn’t long before we decided it would be cool to form a band. Walt remembered this guy in school named Ricky Peters who used to play his desktop like a drum set. We tracked Rick down and found that he had a real drum set in his basement! They were wrapped in aluminum foil and he had colored lights shining on them. They were beautiful! We began learning Beatle songs. After a while I introduced Rick & Walt to Skip Herbert who had already played “professionally” with the Progressions, a group he founded and named. Skip reformed the Progressions with me, Rick and Walt and added Lou Meyers as front man. Our first “professional” gig was “House Band” at The Nite Owl on Woodland Ave. and Reisterstown Rd.

The Progressions

The Progressions at their very first professional gig.
Left to right – Carl Brooks, Ricky Peters, Walt Bailey, Skip Herbert and Lou Myers

“While working at the Nite Owl, Ed Schroeder, the owner of Judges Musical Bar on Greenmount Ave. offered us the job as House Band at his club. Trudy was playing drums and singing with the Crossfires there when her guitar player, Ricky Cook, was drafted into the army. We were blown away by Trudy, and because she was so popular and such a good draw at his club, Ed Schroeder suggested we take her on and we thought that would be a great idea, allowing either her or Rick to front the band while the other played drums. We did a short stint on the road with Danny Brewer on drums before the transition took place and when we returned, Trudy’s band had ended and she took over as drummer.

The Progressions (then named Light)
Left to right: Walt Bailey, Ricky Peters and Trudy Cooper and Bob Grimm not pictured

This is Sam Towers again, adding a story Walt told me of how he and Ricky met.

On the first day of school in a new homeroom, Walt walked in and found there was a guy already seated at a desk banging out a rhythm upon it.  Walt had himself always been a “desktop drummer”  and before long he and Rick discovered each other and without actually knowing one another began to jam with each other rhythmically, finding a grove together, doing counter rhythms, etc.  So, you could say that they were already playing together before they began actually playing together!  Anyhow, that’s how Walt and Ricky met.