By the time my son was born, he already had 83 gigs under his belt.
During the 42 weeks leading up to my beautiful baby boy’s birth at home on August 26th, 2013, I toured, recorded, rehearsed and taught drums on a daily basis. Gigs ranged from my hometown of Oakland, CA to as far as Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, and everything in between. I played weddings, clubs, parties, regular gigs in the “house” band at weekly jam nights, parades (with a fife and drum band) and more. After an exceptionally ruckus life in the womb, it’s no wonder that in the first few weeks of his life, the soothing sounds of “1 e & a, 2 e & a, 3 e & a, 4 e & a” seemed to be the only lullaby that would send baby Levon off to snoozeville.
Since so few of us get the unique experience of being a pregnant drummer, I’ll give you a few highlights and life lessons that I learned, in case you are considering getting your drummer pregnant. First, let’s discuss a few pros and cons to take into account as the band mate of a pregnant drummer.
Pros: Extra drink tickets, a permanent designated driver, an excuse to ask for more tips.
Cons: You may actually have to help carry drums for once, when couchsurfing on tour the chances of you scoring the only available bed or couch are very low.
In an all but typical pregnancy, some of unborn baby’s first destinations included the NAMM show in Anaheim, and Mardi Gras in New Orleans. In March (at about 4 months pregnant), I played a few showcases in Austin during South by Southwest with a band that needed a last minute substitute drummer. I probably should have mentioned the pregnancy to the band before they overheard me telling a friend at a bar one night. I never heard from them after we returned home.
In terms of touring, the week-long Austin trip was pale in comparison to the May tour with Muncie (www.munciecalifornia.com) at six months pregnant. Our trusty van and trailer took us on a run of 13 consecutive gigs across 10 states. Needless to say, it was never difficult for us to find a place to crash after a gig, although sometimes we elected to drive all night – like when we played in Idaho Falls and wanted to make it to Las Vegas in time for a brunch buffet the next day.
Shortly after learning I was pregnant, I got offered a gig at a Summer Concert Series in August. Why did that date sound familiar? Oh, right, that was the estimated due date I just got from Planned Parenthood. I mentioned the pregnancy to the event booker (months before anyone besides my husband would get the news), but he couldn’t offer another date. I did what any hustling musician would do, and took the gig anyways. So there it stood, looming on my calendar for almost a year – a gig on my actual due date. Then another few gigs popped up a couple weeks before, then another the day before, then one a week later. I ended up making them all, with the exception of one that was 2 days before my son was born. To my defense, I tried to go, but my bandmates and my husband wouldn’t let me, most likely since I was seven days overdue at the time. I didn’t get that. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?
Since over a dozen of the gigs during my pregnancy were weddings with my Soul/R&B cover band, West Grand Boulevard (http://www.westgrandblvd.com), it was only fitting that Levon’s first gig “on the outside” was yet another wedding, only 5 days after his birthday. At nearly 3 months old now, he continues to attend gigs against his will, a trend that will surely continue for years to come. All I can hope for is that someday I will be forced to unwillingly attend some of his.
Click below for some video of the infamous “due date” gig on August 17th: