1997 was an unbelievable series of major ups and downs which left us breathless. I'm starting to wonder if the words 'a normal existence' are even part of our vocabulary. The roller coaster ride began in January and showed no sign of letting up.
Our anticipated 1996 post Christmas wind-down disappeared in a sudden squeal of skateboard wheels. Barely a fortnight before the Tamworth Festival, Peter decided to buy himself a ritzy new skateboard. The ensuing accident was as spectacular as the aerial manoeuvre was supposed to be. His arm was a mess. Two titanium pins, several bone grafts and a reconstructed elbow later Pete struggled out of general anaesthetic and onto a plane for Tamworth! It was a big thrill too to see the way that The Country Music Industry responded to Pete's predicament. All the major acts signed Peter's skateboard and the ensuing raffle raised almost enough money to just about pay off his medical bills. A year on Peter is playing better than ever and can be seen during the Tamworth Festival doing a pretty solid round of gigs.
I had no idea at the time, but the incident was to begin a solid year of hospital visits.During a routine checkup in February my physician found a large lump in the side of my neck which sent every one into a bit of a spin. I, who had hardly ever seen the inside of a hospital ward before that, suddenly found myself subjected to one test after another. It was to be several fairly uncertain months before further test results cleared me of any immediate danger. The growth is classed atypical to use their jargon, which is not terrific, but it is stable at present. Enough hospitals for me, I thought. Not so. By Mid April, I was back in Jamison Hospital for the removal of some badly impacted wisdom teeth and then, in August, daughter Meghan, whose life has also been a bit of a roller coaster of good and bad fortune this year, also landed in hospital for a tonsillectomy. A bit unusual at the age of 15; but it was an attempt, and thankfully a very successful one, to finally solve some persistent problems she has been having with her vocal cords over several years. Unfortunately the problems and the operation resulted in her being sidelined from a major role in the school musical in September which was very disappointing for her.
In May our children...well, I'm not sure how much input our 3 year old Josie had into things...staged a surprise party for Carol and I to mark the occasion of our 25th wedding anniversary. Held in the Leura Parish Hall, to which they lured us on the pretext of picking up some boxes with the station wagon, it was a very Dimboola-like event, complete with party balloons, fluorescent lights and a list of guests who were press-ganged into performing at various times by the band. Thanks also to those of you who sent cards and greetings for the occasion.
In June my brother Danny decided it was time for me to make the leap into Cyberspace, The homepage is at http://www.lisp.com.au/~ patdrum.
Our eldest son Matthew's firm, Extradigital, in Martin Place, has been firing on all fours since June with a new manager and a mass of completed corporate CD's and videos; a run of digital animations for the ABC new series of its Quantum program and an invitation for Matt, now 24, to lecture at Murdoch University in Western Australia.
If Mid year Celebrations were in order however, they were fairly short lived as July brought Carol and I a major professional setback with the theft of gear from my truck. My beautiful 22 year old Maton on which I had written so many songs, and the relatively new custom made De Gruchy. Some six months later none of the gear has been recovered, apart from a box of CD1s which, in a move that added insult too injury (and which my children said proved conclusively that at least the thieves had good musical taste), were found dumped in a garden in Coogee. We would like to thank all those people who supported us during this time, either by lending gear, expressing sentiments or giving money to the new guitar fund.
The last quarter of the the year brought tours to Karoonda, Adelaide and Victor Harbour in S.A., a 4500km round trip, which proved terminal for my faithful truck. After 400,000Km of virtually untroubled motoring the entire diesel injection system collapsed and I am now driving a seriously financed BIG BRIGHT BLUE ford transit. Very easy to find in parking lots, it is the fifth truck in a long line of vehicles that I have thrown against the distances this continent demands and which, though they have acquitted themselves well, have always eventually succumbed to the mileage.
At the Australian Music Festival at Karoonda. My brother, Geoff who lives in Adelaide, was also on the bill so we played as a duo all weekend. It was a very important occasion for me as we had never done that before. He played all the songs he had written which I have recorded as well as heaps of new ones.
In September Peter, firmly back on the road, saw the release of his two new albums. The 'Bushwackers Oz Rock Salute' a live on which Peter and I combine for a vocal duo cover of 'What About Me' and 'Mirrors' by The Lemmings; (a Christian funk band!! for whom Pete drums) who turned out what proved to be a remarkably fine first album. Gigs with jazz greats, The Prophets, brought him firmly to the notice of the Jazz scene expanding his already well developed country and rock clientele. His visits to Sydney suddenly became longer and longer when, in October, he simultaneously acquired a car and new girlfriend. Becky the daughter of Jess Zapia, Pete1s life long drum teacher and mentor have known each other for many years but the relationship appears to have developed in recent months to something a little more than friends. We await developments!!!! At least Carol has a full time car again!
And speaking of Carol, she completed the first section of her early childhood course this year with straight A1s in every subject. As a bloke who consistently failed pom pom making and spelling at Teacher's college, I have to get used to the fact that she is going to get a much better pass than I did.
Canada seems intimately connected to The Drummonds this year. Peter, as I mentioned toured our northern cousin with The Bushwackers in April and now, Meghan, is in the snows of Ottawa visiting close family friends there for six weeks over Christmas. She saved the proceeds of her after school job for two years to fund the trip. At home, Josie, now three, discovered Santa Claus in a big way and although I campaigned hard with her about recognising the religious significance of the season, I think Jesus was relegated to the status of one of Santa's helpers for the moment. Our annual Christmas Cruise was again a fun time, this year both Matthew and Peter played, varying instruments, and our old friend Glen Barwick joined us as well.
I have been given the job of finishing this Newsletter while Pat is away at The Omeo High Country Muster. He has just rung in to say that it was a great event featuring Mulga Bill's Bicycle Race among other unusual activities.
I'm sure we have managed to survive this year because of the continued support of so many of you.
Love to you all Pat & Carol
NB. Sincere apologies to those who turned up to gigs, listed in the previous Newsletter, which were cancelled, unfortunately from time to time some gigs are liable to change due to factors beyond our control. If you are travelling long distances please ring and check details either from the venue or ring us on (02)47841950 or 015 891466. The Newsletter can now also be seen via the Web. Please let us know if youcan obtain it this way - Internet address:
Sat, 17 & Sun 18 - West Tamworth Leagues with Murray Hartin 1PM
Sat, 17 & Sun 18 - Tamworth Golf Club with The Bush Poets 7PM
Mon, 19 The Longyard Hotel 12-4PM
Tue, 20 The Longyard Hotel 7PM
Wed, 21 The Longyard Hotel 4PM
Wed, 21 & Thur 22 - Tamworth Golf Club with The Bush Poets 7PM
Fri, 23 and Sat, 24 - Tamworth Golf Club with The Bush Poets 7PM
Sun, 25 Tuggerah Lakes Memorial Club 2PM
Mon, 26 Australia Day Celebrations Wollongong Council - Lang Park, Wollongong
TWO SPECIAL EVENTS WITH THE DEAD RINGERS
Fri, 30 Woolaway woolshed, Old Hume Hwy Picton 8.30PM
Sat, 31 Rooty Hill RSL Club
Sun, 1 Tropicana Hotel, Wilberforce 1.15-4.50PM
Thu, 5 El Rancho Hotel, Epping Rd Nth Ryde 9PM
Sun, 8 Jamberoo Hotel, Jamberoo 2PM
Thu, 12 El Rancho Hotel, Epping Rd Nth Ryde 9PM
Sun, 15 Wiseman's Ferry Inn 1.00PM
Thu, 19 El Rancho Hotel, Epping Rd Nth Ryde 9PM
Fri, 20 & Sat, 21 Blue Mountains Folk Festival, Katoomba (See programme for times)
Sun, 22 Mt Kembla Hotel, Mt Kembla 3PM
Sat 28 & Sun 29 - Travellers Rest Motel, Cessnock 3 Course Dinner + Show $35 Bookings (02)4991 2355
Sun, 8 Wiseman's Ferry Inn 1.00PM
Fri, 13 Wagga Toy Library Fundraiser- Wagga RSL
Sat, 14 & Sun, 15 Harden Liars Festival, Harden NSW (See programme for times)
Thu, 19 - Sun, 22 Illawarra Folk Festival Jamberoo (See programme for times)
Sat, 28 Oberon Music Club Songwriting Seminar during the day and Concert at night
Sun, 29 Folk In The Caves with Wongawilli Abercrombie Caves NSW
Fri, 3 St Pius X Fundraiser (Contact Tania Brown - (02) 4271 1509
Sat,4 Husky RSL Club, Huskisson 8PM
Sun, 5 Tropicana Hotel, Wilberforce 1.15-4.50PM
Fri, 10 - Mon, 13 Griffith Festival, Griffith NSW
Sat, 11 Griffith Ex-Services Club 2PM - 5PM
Sun, 19 Wiseman's Ferry Inn 1.00PM