Stafford: Musicians never-ending source of bad jokes

Tom Stafford

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Tom Stafford

Q. How can you tell if the porch is level?

A. The drool is coming out of both sides of the drummer’s mouth.

As a drummer, I have mixed feelings about writing anything that casts drummers in a bad light. So I know some drummers won’t be happy about me telling another drummer joke later on in the column.

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To a point, I understand their unhappiness. Another joke will just give guitar players more ammunition to hurl insults at us before they start to cackle like chickens with necks stretched out underneath an ax and then transition into the charming smoker’s cough that eventually makes everyone in the room take an uncomfortable swallow.

And that would be bad enough if the coughing didn’t wake up the bass players, who, after recovering from years of confusion over the fact that their instrument is spelled like the name of a fish, are best treated like sleeping dogs.

Wait. I didn’t mean that to sound so harsh. In bass players’ defense, sleep is the only guaranteed escape from guitar players whose ego-sustaining solos are only exceeded in length by the stories they tell about their romantic conquests.

Guitar player boasts led to the first known use of the term “fantasy stat.” You can look it up, which is what most guitar players are now trying to do.

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There are other reasons I don’t think we drummers have anything to worry about.

Neither the guitar nor bass players will get around to reading the joke anyway.

The guitarists will be standing alone in a dark room yamming on about being with a fabulously lovely woman they never really got a look at because they had lost their contacts. They later will find them with their keys and the wallet the lovely woman has emptied, meaning they’ll be in the dark again because they’re unable to pay their electric bills. And that explains why, when they final make it to practice, they’ve taken up an interest in solar panel technology.

As for the bass players? They won’t see the drummer joke because they will be hanging on every word of the school intervention specialist assigned to help them make reasonable progress toward the goal of acceptable attendance. (The specialist will have to pull out the contract the bass players signed promising to do better and listen to one of bass players’ most frequently spoken sentences: “Well, that sure looks like my signature.”)

In what surely is an act of grace, this interaction with the intervention specialist will divert bassists from the troubling question as to why most of them were issued instruments with only four strings, while even the least hygienic guitar players (a relatively low standard) get five.

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I have postponed until now the mention of harmonica players because they’re always running about 90 minutes late for summer practices, 60 minutes of that due to their failure to understand the full implications of springing forward.

And now we finally get around to the keyboard players, whose relationships have been on the rocks ever since their Goth girlfriends — the ones who think they can write poetry — painted the white keys on the keyboards with a high gloss onyx fingernail polish after becoming huge fans of the Black Keys.

Here, I feel compelled to insert a writer’s note.

By now, many will have noticed that I have used the masculine “he” or “him” for all the instrumentalists mentioned in the story. I mean no insult to the growing number of excellent female musicians. In fact, if you’d like to forward stories of women who have achieved the level of idiocy I’ve observed in males, I’ll be happy to write another column to balance the scales.

(Yes, bass players, both music and bass have scales.)

So where were we headed?

Right, the joke that casts drummers in a bad light.

Here we go.

Q. Why does the drummer on the porch have drool coming out of both sides of his mouth?

A. He just escaped from a really loud room occupied by his bandmates.

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