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  • Francis James

Drummer Boy: A Suspicious Fiasco

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

Now it was the end of May and we had pretty much 85% of our tour plans ready to execute when the time came. It was to start on the last Thursday of July in NYC. We had a rehearsal date booked in Nashville for mid-June, and we needed our drummer.

Earlier in the year, Pete had recommended a few guys, of whom we asked for tryout videos. We started the conversation, but it fizzled due to our lack of show dates, so our attention turned to that for the better part of March through May. We started to get some emails with video attachments. To our surprise (mostly mine I think) we had two or three guys send in some tryout videos where they played one of our songs and a choice song on drums. They were all pretty good. We set up times to talk with them.

Sometime in May I had been in Saint Cloud Minnesota for work. My company at the time had sent myself and a bunch of guys & gals out there for training, and while I was out there we decided we needed to interview a couple of these drummers. It was wild to think that we had me in Minnesota, Jordan in Tennessee, Dan in Florida, and Pete in NY while we were interviewing these drummers - who are all from NY by the way. We had scheduled these video interviews with the band on maybe that Tuesday night or something, one guy first, then Mason right after him I think. We hadn’t made a full decision yet, because we had mentioned in the interview that we needed whoever it was to commit to touring right away. Both guys needed to think it over since the tour dates were so soon. In the meantime while they thought, we scheduled sessions with them to rehearse some songs and jam and feel it out. Mason was the only one of them who stuck to it.

Pete and I scheduled a time with Mason in May to rehearse at a studio in NY (state not city). He showed up and not only knew almost our entire set about 85% of the way, but it was 5 originals and 2 covers. Mason crushed it. After that tryout/rehearsal we asked him to come to Nashville in June for the tour rehearsal and to hop on tour with us in July and August. At this point, we told him that if he committed to those dates, he was not just on tour with us, but he would be our official fifth member.

He pulled through, and in June, I picked him up at the airport, the morning of rehearsal day in Nashville. I should also mention that the night prior, his other band had played a show. This wild man played a show, up until 1 or 2am, hopped on an early morning flight from NYC down to Nashville and got down there around 10am. I swung by the airport, picked him up, and went right to rehearsal. Within 2 hours of landing in Nashville, he was behind the kit, playing our songs like he’d been playing with us the whole damn time. BEASTLY is the only word that comes to mind for me when I think of his level of commitment and preparation in the face of all the odds and conditions and just everything.

On the car ride over I asked how his solo rehearsal sessions went and he said that he really hadn’t had much time to really play through the songs. All in all, I think I remember him telling me he was able to rehearse all the music for about two or three hours total. I was a little worried at first but during rehearsal I was stupefied and blown away at how cohesive we all sounded. So I asked him how he was able to learn our songs so fast, and he mentioned his Dad (who is also a drummer) and his drum teacher taught him how to break down songs to their parts just by listening to it. That was awesome.

So at this point we had our eight hour studio rehearsal day and our official fifth member, our drummer boy, “The Animal” Mason Servedio.

We told him the tour dates we had planned, and he quickly dropped a bomb on us. The first two nights we had booked, at the end of July in NYC and Philly, he wasn’t going to be in the country. He had travel plans already and was committed to them first.

So we all agreed, he’d join us on the third night of tour, in Long Branch, NJ at the Brighton Bar. But now we were faced with a quick decision. Postpone the NYC and Philly dates or find a stand in drummer. Like a bunch of nutcases we opted for a stand in.

We all reached out to a few people and we found our stand in drummer, Freddy. I think he lives on Staten Island. Pete and I had a quick rehearsal with him in NYC a couple weeks before the tour started, so early July I think. He knew our jams enough, and kept working on the music until we trekked into NYC for our first show of the tour at The Delancey in Manhattan. It was the last Thursday night in July 2019. There was a good turnout.

But Dan, our bassist, was nowhere to be found...

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