A few days ago, I wrote about a band 'The Careless Picnickers' that lasted for only a month. After a fighting incident, the members split. No one had any news of the singer. All I know is that the bass guitarist is now an insurance agent. The lead guitar player is a clerk with a stock broking firm. The drummer, the leader (by the way, his name is Sebastian) is working as a graphic artist with an advertising company.
Sebastian is always a cool and nice fellow. It just shows in his face. He is so likable. He is crazy over drums. In just 5 minutes, he can name all the different drum sets that are available in the market. I tell him I hate drums. It's only noise. Sebastian tells me that drum isn't noise, drum is beat, as in heartbeat. Without it, we have no life. I kind of believe him.
Sebastian says he is barely surviving in his current job and still needs his dad finances every month. He is willing to give up his job, if any band needs a drummer. He says that he has only one wish, to make a pilgrimage to Manchester, England one day. He says that it would be an honour to die and be buried in Manchester as all his favourite groups ie. Joy Division, Oasis, The Smiths, James and New Order are from that place.
Sebastian teaches me a lot about music, especially his kind of music. I am so naive. I only know what's in the Top 40. I tell him that a girl would normally listen to songs by guys who are good looking. So, Enrique can sing any rubbish, a girl will still go for it. To me, rock is nothing but noise(again). Sebastian tells me it's wrong to think like that. Rock is about skills, he says. The skills of the guitarists and the skills of the drummer. Then, he hands me a CD and tells me to take home and have a listen.
It is the 'Black Album' by Metallica. I take it home and put on my earphones. Two days later, I tell Sebastian the CD is absolutely incredible! I listen again and again. I tell him I love 'Enter Sandman', 'The Unforgiven', 'Nothing Else Matters', 'Don't Thread On Me' and etc. In fact, I love every track. Sebastian then says that this 'Black Album' made Metallica lost so many of their hardcore fans. When it came out, Metallica was transformed overnight from an underground band into a commercial one. The radio started to play their songs. Many fans hated them for that and switched their loyalty over to Iron Maiden instead.
Then Sebastian says if I want to appreciate the group and their music, I would have to go backwards. I have to look for their previous albums. I did. I bought 'And Justice For All', 'Ride The Lightning' and 'Master Of Puppets' and I can tell you I love them all.
One day, on Sebastian's birthday I bought him a black tee shirt with 'Zildjian' (a brand name for drum cymbals) printed on it. He was so happy and says it is the most precious of all the presents he has ever received. After a while, we seldom see each other that often.
Sometime last year, I received a call from Sebastian's elder sister. She said something unfortunate had happened. One night, a friend was giving Sebastian a lift home on his bike. They were waiting at a traffic junction for the lights to turn green.It so happened that there was a car which was speeding, came straight and hit the back of the bike so hard. Sebastian was thrown high up into the air. His helmet flew off. And he landed head down on the bonnet of the car. That broke his spinal cord and seriously injured his head. Sebastian's sister said that her brother is now confined to a wheelchair and suffers a lost of memory. I guess I cried and cried.
I decided to visit Sebastian. I bought him another tee shirt, also with the brand name 'Zildjian' on it, hopefully to help him to recall something. When I showed him the shirt, Sebastian looked confused and asked me 'What is the meaning of this strange word?' I couldn't control my tears. From that moment on, I knew I have lost my dear friend and tutor. All his desire to be a drummer, his wish to go to Manchester, his knowledge of Metallica and music were gone. That part of Sebastian I will always miss and cherish.