Although the rock solo artist Advosary is now my current artistic representation, there was a history and a process of what led to this current iteration of myself. The Origins blog series chronicles the years and eras of my musical development up to the current time of this writing. It all began with some drumsticks.
Before music, I was a Leafs fan. Age 11, right before the obsession.
I had auditioned several childhood pursuits before arriving home to music. There was soccer, hockey, skateboarding, and even an early attempt at the electric guitar before I truly found my place with music. A couple years after that brief phase with the instrument, I somehow had the thought that I wanted to play the drums. I hadn’t been exposed to that instrument like I had with a guitar-playing uncle, so it confounds me as to why I would develop such an interest in the drum kit.
Nevertheless, one of my uncles bought me my first pair of drumsticks, and I put them to use frequently against my bed pillows and the air around me, imagining myself behind a real drum kit along to the sounds of the early 2000’s pop-punk albums I enjoyed at this time. Somehow, I even thought to research the musical equipment used by the drummers in these bands to imagine what I would somehow buy or acquire as an eleven year old boy. The obsession into this instrument was taking hold.
My first drum kit – best Christmas ever
My first drum kit – the pinnacle of a Christmas gift back then - wasn’t quite as high-end and complete as I was somehow already wanting, but it was complete enough, and I surely put that to use as well. The acquiring of my first drum kit was also accompanied around the same time by the introduction of classic rock from the 1970’s and 80’s into my world. Friends and family put me onto bands like Alice Cooper, Iron Maiden, Rush, and most of all, KISS.
The pop-punk bands quickly fell out of my favour, and were replaced by beings of larger-than-life stature. KISS became my new superheroes, just as easily as if I had grown up in the 1970’s during their heyday. Along with drumming, they were my first real obsession in life, and they embodied everything I wanted from music. They were superhuman to me – the closest thing to Spider-Man, Batman, Superman in this life. They existed only to traverse the land and bring the party. They were simply the coolest thing I knew.
Did I think I could be like them? I was never an outgoing child, so I never saw myself as a Gene Simmons or Paul Stanley kind of personality; I tended to identify more with Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. I just knew that I wanted to be in the same world of music and entertainment greatness like them and their stage show. The inspiration of sheer character/persona/image - whatever you want to call it – drove me towards developing my drumming skills just as much as the drive to get good at it for the sake of it. I found my first true sense of belonging, of who I really wanted to be.
My first band experienced occurred even during this time. We were called Hero Behind Bars, probably only because it sounded cool, not because it made much sense. A school friend who wrote lyrics and sang knew a guitarist and a bassist friend, so I would play along to the songs they started when they convened in my family’s basement, and I remember feeling like we were pretty good. It felt like making real songs to me – real music. The group didn’t last very long for some reason, but it is a fun memory to recall sometimes.
13th birthday with my first guitar and Oreo ice cream cake
I also began playing electric guitar a year and a half later, with a similar kind of sudden inspiration as what brought me to the drums. I had been watching KISS concert videos, and as much as I loved drumming, I also saw that I could enjoy myself in music with an instrument while standing on my feet, rather than only being stuck at the back of the stage. When birthday number thirteen rolled around, I found myself with the electric guitar equivalent to my drum kit: not what I could have possibly wanted, but enough.
This was how it started - the first two years in the basement with my instruments, my CDs, and my new passions and dreams. I was made to be in their world, so I had to start learning to play like them. The CD player blared behind me as I laid into that drum kit or plucked that guitar along with that music, and it launched me in a direction that changed everything from then on.