The Mentor Was The Leader Of The Band
1979 was a pretty good year.
That's when Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister in the UK, Michael Jackson released his breakthrough album "Off The Wall," and a little known cable network with an untried all-sports format was born in Bristol, CT called ESPN.
It was also a pivotal year for a 15 year old kid entering his first year of high school in a village not far from the greater Green Bay area. That's when I met and began a four year tutelage under the instruction of a person with whom I would always consider to have the most influential impact on my life.
He was a member of what many consider to be the most noble profession - education. He was a music teacher, to be precise.
I confess that I've a soft spot for teachers. My wife is a teacher. So was my Mom. Two of my siblings are PhD's. Another is a principal at an elementary school in southern Wisconsin, and I teach as an adjunct on the local college circuit here in the Northeast part of the state. Additionally, take a guess what my daughter wants to be when she grows up.
Some of you may see the irony. You can't possibly guess the number of times we've all been asked "is that your real last name? Books? "
You got it. Mr Books. Seriously. Maybe it's destiny at work.
My junior high days were great times. Having learned how to work a drum set from my oldest brother since I was six years old, 6th grade was the first opportunity I had to really demonstrate my drumming abilities to my teachers and classmates. The very first time I sat down behind a kit in band practice during warm ups, my fellow band mates began to form around the riser where I was perched.
The best part? The girls were watching. Pretty girls. Cute girls. Ones who never talked to me before or cared in the slightest if I was in the same room with them.
I was hooked.
There were some drawbacks. I was a red-headed drummer with an unhe