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The other half of the pocket

Tehachapi Music Scene

So after playing drums for roughly six years, I was drinking beers with my dad and my lead singer, Buddy Ammons, in the Panhandle of Florida at my father's house. Buddy says to my dad, "Rolie, you have no idea how amazing your son is on the drums! He's the best around."

My WWII Marine Veteran, Finnish dad belts out in his Bowser-like voice, "Well, what're you gonna do RJ? Put a sign up in Ponce De Leon (FL) saying, 'The worlds best drummer lives down this dirt road!'" This was, of course, followed immediately by his booming laugh.

My brother Jack was to be visiting from Los Angeles County shortly. So I loaded my few belongings in his truck, including a single bass drum shell and some broken sticks. All that was left from my newly purchased drum set that was repossessed and left in the trunk of my old Ford Galaxie 500, which was also repossessed.

When I got to LA, I saw an ad at a 7-Eleven store for a bass guitar and amp for sale. My brother fronted me the cash and I grabbed it! After all, it must be easy...there's only four strings! (See my first article.)

I pulled out all my albums and learned them by ear...every single one. Side A, then side B. I got the basic gist of it right away. One day working on Black Sabbath's, "Heaven and Hell," I got a little frustrated at some of the more complicated parts. It was hard to distinguish all the intricate parts. So I took a restroom break with the music still blaring in the other room and it hit me like a ton of bricks! It was exactly like when you hear just the bass when one of those loud cars drive by with those obnoxious, pumping low notes. I figured out how to hear just the bass notes! (This was 1984, before the internet.)

This put my learning at "Warp Speed, Scotty!" I found my niche, my place, my thing. Soon after I hooked up with my younger sister's friend, Joe Kent on guitar and vocals, we eventually formed CODE III and rocked the SFV for over 10 years.

My time on the drums combined with my destined third arm called the bass guitar, molded me into quite the pocket player. I flourished and it took me around the world, literally.

To contact Nohawk Rob, email [email protected]/.