The Day I Played Drums For My Chemical Romance
See that? That's My Chemical Romance doing what they do best - rocking the house, causing mayhem and devastation, raising the roof and generally blowing up a storm. And that fella at the back with arrows on him, that's MCR's drummer Bob Bryar.
Now, the tale I'm about to tell you is perhaps a little hard to believe, and certainly the kind of thing that might make a hardened MCR fan want to smash up their computer screen with envy...but it is a true story. And it is a good story. And it goes a little something like this...
Not long ago, I met a man called Simon who, in the midst of a massively long chat about music, revealed that he'd done a few music interviews in his time, and that he had once stood in for Bob Bryar, and even played his drums at Wembley. Now, that sounded like a load of old hooey, so I quizzed him further, and he told me the tale you are about to read.
When he finished, I was impressed, and not a little bit envious myself, so I asked him to write it all down for the ChartBlog massive (that's you) to experience first-hand. This he did...but before you devour his every word, a note of caution... even a cursory look at this reveals a man who is still a little bit drunk on the excitement of that moment. Or just plain drunk. Either way, this amazing tale of rhythmic daring has altered slightly from being merely impressive in speech form, to an enormous rambling film-script for some widescreen epic, starring Johnny Depp as Simon and featuring thousands of CGI kangaroos raining from the very heavens...
...or not. You be the judge. All I know is that he's never been the same since. And quite right too!
The Day I Played Drums with My Chemical Romance at Wembley Arena
By Simon Vincent (aged 23)
There is a famous speech in the play Henry V, by our old friend Billy Shakespeare (bear with me here), in which King Harry leads the English army into battle at Agincourt against the French (the English win, by the way...).
On the eve of battle, Henry addresses his men and says:
"He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day'"
What Hazza is saying here, if my English Lit GCSE serves me correctly is;
"This is kind of a big deal. Y’know, one day you might wanna boast about this to your mates down the pub", or to put it into the words of Shalamar (and then Atomic Kitten), "We’re gonna make this a night to remember".
What I'm getting to is that, for those of you who attended the My Chemical Romance gig at Wembley Arena on the 29th March of this year, there was, I believe, an event of similarly momentous and world-changing importance (to me) going on, and you may have missed it.
For it was upon this hallowed evening that the greatest, most technically gifted (as well as the most dashing, intelligent and modest) drummer of modern times graced the Wembley stage, rocked out, and fulfilled not only his own dreams, but also those of all the beautiful ladies in attendance that night.
No, not the erstwhile Romance sticksman, Bob Bryar (excellent though he is), but a little known rock journalist who just didn't get the lucky breaks he deserved in the music industry. That man...was Simon Vincent. 'He' was, in fact, me.
The way it happened is this. I was there to interview Bob for a specialist drumming magazine, which I duly did. He showed me his kits, his kaboodle, his skins, his cymbals, the lot. He has two kits, y'know, which are set up back-to-back on a 12-foot-tall rotating plinth which hardened gigsters call a 'drum riser'.
Things went well. Bob is a very nice man indeed. So nice, in fact, that at one point he even offered me a chance to play his drums. YES, THAT'S RIGHT! HE ASKED ME TO PLAY HIS DRUMS FOR HIM!
Now, it is at such crucial moments in one's life that one must remain, above all, calm and dignified, stepping up to the plate in a confident and swarthy fashion. One must be a master of lucid thought as well as being swift and nimble of tongue (and sticks, in this case).
I can recall my witty response to such a kindly offer almost completely accurately. It was, I believe, "B****r! Erm...alright then!"
(I know, I know. It's like Bill Shakespeare never died, right?).
I climbed the 'riser' like a hardened jolly jack tar swarming the rigging for the last ship's biscuit, which had been left in the crow's nest for the seagulls to peck at, but suddenly became valuable when all the ship's rations got flooded and spoiled. Once behind the kit, I grabbed a pair of Bob's best hittering sticks and, with a count of four, began to set about his skins and cymbals with unerring accuracy...
What followed was a performance for which other (lesser) rock journalists usually reserve the terms 'incendiary' or even, occasionally (very occasionally) 'good enough to make a little bit of wee come out.'
For my performance was not only powerful, it was performed with a lightness of touch. A piece of elegant rhythm so solemn and yet so elegant that it reduced grown men to tears (I believe they were tears of joy!).
Yes, my friends, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE TWENTY PEOPLE in the room thought it such a beautiful piece of musicianship that they felt undeserving even to be in the same room as such an accomplished rhythmic raconteur as myself; running, as they did, for the doors, screaming their approval to each other in beautiful hymns of praise.
"Twenty people?" I hear you ask, "I thought you said it was at Wembley Arena?".
Ah, did I not mention I was only a sound-check?
If anyone else has a story about playing a famous person's instrument (easy, pop pervs!), then do send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org