The First Instrument I’d Ever Wanted to Play

Grade 8 and I discovered the ’60s world of Sandy Nelson on one of my girlfriend’s sister’s LPs–Let There Be Drums, featuring the minor hit of the same title. I eventually bought several of his albums and he quickly became my favorite drummer standing out with his unique albums which featured concept solos.

I was living in an apartment block though at the time, and the dream of owning a kit and learning to play was not destined to happen. The hootenanny era was just beginning to peak and I turned, instead, to guitar, and was quickly self-taught. The Kingston Trio’s “Tom Dooley” was an easy first-play followed by The Kinks’ “A Well Respected Man”. Chords led me into playing folk, folk rock, and eventually rock.

For the record, some of Sandy’s best work with extended solos made it to CD and quickly became an expensive sold-out collector’s item. He still plays despite losing a foot and part of a leg in an accident in the late ’60s. An amazing guy and a legendary player and promoter of drums.

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