performing ferrets

Hello, y’all, and ire greetings from the former skin basher, sideman, sticks man, kit rat, chap-who-hangs-around-with-musicians, lower caste even than the viola player, turkey drummer boy with the alleged band ‘The Performing Ferrets’.

We were a merry band of men, and a woman, who trod the boards anywhere they would have us, and quite a few places where they didn’t actually want us.

The purpose of this bit of word-processed scrawl, unlike the base aim of the band about which it is mostly concerned, is to entertain you.

For instance, it may not be generally known that Steve (Maguire), the guitarist who, as one endearing hack put it, ‘would benefit from a better band’, just loved to press his face into well-used ashtrays. For my part, and you can only guess which part that is, I’m afraid I was wont to lose my temper on occasion, resulting in me snapping fairly sturdy drum sticks twixt my fingers like the fragile neck of a rabbit. Or something.

I once arrived in Portsmouth for a gig, and, realising I had only one pair of sticks, had to improvise in some way, the shops being shut, to provide myself with a spare in case of breakages. Thus, without explaining my motive, I asked Steve’s flatmate if I could borrow a wooden spoon. She handed over the implement without question. Perhaps she thought we included a rudimentary cookery demonstration in our act.

Come to think of it, I’m not so sure we didn’t.

The ‘Ferrets’ performed as often and as unrehearsed as is conceivable, and received various critical commentary, such as ‘appallingly executed’, (the writer of those words was, in fact, some days later, in mysterious circumstances), and ‘couldn’t play their way out of a paper bag’. I told the lads the paper bag stunt was never going to work, but would they listen?

My favourite was ‘the band lacked polish.’ So who’s looking at our shoes? Maybe the author meant nail polish. After all, it was the eighties.

Writing of footwear, one of the things Paul Skilbeck, our dashing vocalist, and he did dash around a bit, was known for, was his propensity for removing his boots on stage and dancing around in his stockinged feet. Hence his slightly inaccurate lyric, ‘I bought some pink socks, I put them on my head, and I pick locks’. He was also renowned for the length of his stride.

To veil my shaky drumming skills, I devised a cunning plan to never practise, which led to my fingers forming blisters after about two songs into the set; this resulted in almost spectacular displays of blood, which fell from the bursting blessures on to the drum skins, and was then sent spraying towards the ‘crowd’ upon the impact of the sticks. Another consequence of my lack of professionalism was a frequent ball battering. Perhaps I set the snare too high, or the stool too steep, but following a vigorous drum roll or paradiddle I was almost certain to feel that dull ache in the groin.

Someone once told me that she knew I was a drummer because I ‘had that haunted look’. Mind you, she was a ghost.

I think I should stop now; they’re bringing my medication.

Look here again at your peril, because more snoresome anecdotes will, if I can get them past the orderlies, follow.

Your only true friend,

Chrust Almighty, a.k.a Chris Fenner/drummer boy Coich.