About Rick Stone (aka Ricky Racoon)

"THIS CAN'T BE BEAT!"---There I was, not doing much, minding my own business, when I heard it. It creeped down the hall, emanating from my older sisters' bedroom, enticing me to move toward the magic: "Awheembo-whep, Awheembo-whep, Awheembo-whep, Awheembo-whep, In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight. Hush my darling, don't fear my darling, the lion sleeps tonight". It leaped into my soul, never to let me loose again. 'Ah! That was music'. I finally understood! I was hooked! From that moment on I spent my nights and days with an earplug from the radio firmly entrenched, listening to the tiny transistor radio I had been given for my birthday. The only time that I wasn't wired for sound was when the battery died. Sure I was asked to take it out at suppertime. Surely the teachers at school were not pleased that I was unable to concentrate on my lessons. And, Yes! I caved in to their pleas and temporarily endured their ridiculous ban on my music. But I had a plan. If they saw fit to torture me with their ways, I could find a way to make them pay. I would dedicate my life to music. Better yet, I would become a drummer. That'll show 'em. Amazingly enough my mom was OK with this plan, at least the part she knew about. She took me to Newberry's in downtown Cincinnati and I was awarded a set of drums just for turning 14. WOW! Little did she realize the dividend her investment would pay. She was now able to justify that the rest of the family should go out for dinner two or three times a week. Their absence gave me the opportunity to bang away in the basement, unhindered by my brother and sister telling me to shut the hell up. Listening to my drumming was definitely not their ideal time spent. Meanwhile there was that pesky old homework and chores thing rattling around in the background. I did manage to keep my end of the bargain with their devil and go to school. They never told me that I had to get good grades.

"But Mauhmm, how ami I supposed to carry my drums around to all the other guy's houses. Do you want to drive me over there?" I may have been young and somewhat naive, but I was no fool. Early on, I realized that having drums and having a place to play was a real asset when a group of guys needed to form a band. It was at my house that we held practice, and now my plan to torture my family was being aided by all of my friends. I have to admit that none of us were very good, since we were all trying to figure out how to play our instruments. Budding genius was not our strongest suit, but the girls were starting to come around and some of them were interesting, and more importantly some some were interested. This drumming thing had great value to a teenager. Soon I was hanging around guys who prfessed to actually know a few songs from start to finish, and even knew the words. They offered to show me a few guitar chords, and boy did that open up a new world. Now I could show up at parties, be able to share the music with others who would sing along, and I didn't have to drag along a buncha drums. We even had a good time trying to out duel each other on how fast, loud, and lewd we could be. Fear not though, your intrepid narrator had not lost his primal passion. He was forever, eternally bound to the sticks and skins. Drums were and will remain the primary detail of his life. The rhythmic beating of a heart is matched to the constant beat of a greater Mandela, the circle of the drum.

The Beat Goes On.

Never mind that the world was changing for us all and the more that we tried not to, the more we were bound to think things through. This music thing brought a new venue to voice our thoughts. The guys I played music with had grown up enough that we had ideas and ideals to articulate. We were young, loud, brooding and brash. What a great combination for a rock career. Unfortunately there were other things to consider now. Did I want more than the back room at a friend's house? Did I want to be able to feed myself and keep a girlfriend together? Of course I did. Now that the ugly prospecto of getting a paying job to accomplish what I strived for reared up, I finally had to listen to my parents and teachers screaming at me to 'Get A Job'. What a horrible prospect. What a shame that the entire day gig deal had to become a blur of waiting for the next paycheck before I could get the next Airplane album, or a new cymbal. The world offered me nothing greater than to hear the theme run through my head. The music kept me alive, facing a rising prospect at the turn of each dawn. What a blessed event to have my life filled with music.

The Beat Goes On.

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