Uptown Hall

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Uptown Hall San Diego

From The Real Frank Zappa Book (1989): By 1956 I was playing in a high school R&B band called the Ramblers. We used to rehearse in the living room of the piano player, Stuart Congdon — his Dad was a preacher. I practiced on pots and pans, held between my knees like bongos. I finally talked my folks into buying a real drum set (secondhand, from a guy up the street, for about fifty dollars). I didn't take delivery on the drum set until a week before our first gig. Since I had never learned to coordinate my hands and feet, I was not very good at keeping time with the kick-drum pedal. The bandleader, Elwood "junior" Madeo, had gotten us a job at a place called the Uptown Hall, at 40th and Mead in the Hillcrest district of San Diego. Our fee: seven dollars—for the whole band. On the way to the gig, I realized that I had forgotten my drumsticks (my only pair), and we had to drive back across town to get them. Eventually I was fired because they said I played the cymbals too much. It's hard to be a drummer-in-training, because there are very few apartments that are soundproof enough to practice in. (Where do good drummers really come from?)