Funny how things lead to other things sometimes, eh?

On our little Californee trip last week, we made a stop at the Museum Of Making Music in Carlsbad, as we are all music fans and history fans and such. It is part of the NAMM Foundation, NAMM being the National Association of Music Merchants. NAMM is now an international organization of the music product industry, and I can tell you that they put on huuuuuuuuge awesome trade shows. If you are a musician, you should go to one of them sometime -- every possible music instrument manufacturer is there, plus everything do with with recording music or anything else you can think of, all the newest and coolest stuff. Take earplugs, though. Lots and lots of Guitar Heroes shredding away. Lots.

Anyway, this cool little museum,unassumingly set back into an office park, was a nice respite from the heat and theme parks. The history began around the turn of the century or so. It is somewhat difficult to explain to kids how brass band music and early jazz were sort of the cutting edge pop of their day. They didn't really believe me, I think.

They did recognize the Beatles' stuff. Lucky for them, or I would have had to banish them to the desert.

Who knew Joan Crawford was a harmonica player? I thought she only played wire hanger.

I could look at old cool instruments all day long. Look at this elaborate thing! I could tell you it was a Siberian 5-Knuckled Lute and you'd believe me, but it is an electronic zither.

Charlie Christian's guitar! Memphis Minnie's guitar!

How cool is this old amplifier? I just want to stare at it and play with it all day long, like a chimp in a lab.

The feature exhibit was on Robert Moog, he of synthesizer legend. You have to appreciate the time it took to get from this horror show... this far more reasonable and practical item.

The kids were getting antsy to move on to the interactive part of the museum, where you could actually play on some stuff. MissSix went right for this colorful and elaborate organ. I believe it also had a shower in the back and does taxes in its spare time.

Mr11 spent about a YEAR playing with the theramin. Jimmy Page also likes the theramin. Couch Teen looks remarkably like a young Jimmy Page. Jimmy Page plays a Les Paul. I play a Les Paul. I am the mother of Couch Teen and Mr11. See how this all makes sense? Neither do I; I'm just babbling here.

But now I am going to lead into the thing that led into the other thing, the one that is funny, like I said before. At the end of our visit, MissSix and I decided to kick some ass on the electronic drum kits. I had never played one before, thinking pshaw, that is going to sound about as good as my old Synsonics machine I had in the early '80s. (You can play them here.) It really was only good for a kick drum click track, which you can actually hear on some of my old music, because I only had a snare drum and beer cans and some kind of metal beam to play on then. But that was a looonnng time ago, so I thought I would sit down and see if technology made any advances in 25 years.

HEEEYYYYYY, I said, this is FUN! And it sounds pretty damn good too! WHEEEEE! I am not a very good drummer at all, but there is just something about bashing away that is very satisfying. I don't do it as much as I would like to, because drums are very very loud and impractical to play at 11PM and would wake children and piss off neighbors and shatter the dog's sense of well-being. But the electronic kit was just tap tap tap to others, while KABOOM BLAMMA BLAM to me in the headphones. Coooool!


So we dragged the kids out of the music room eventually and returned to Washington. I went to Guitar Center yesterday to pick up a cheap splash cymbal for my regular drums, and we got sidetracked from their shiny beauty over to the electronic kits. A teenage boy was attacking a kit that was $2500, and I hope he got it because he was really good. But even the Not Really Good Drummers have a place in the world, yes they do.

Bye bye splash cymbal -- hello Yamaha DTXplorer fo' mama!

I'm having fun, the kids are having fun, the neighbors and the dog are happy, and no one had to travel to Siberia to get a 5-Knuckled Lute. Win!