Beating to his own rhythm

Junior Aidan Board is rockin’ and rollin’ through life


Photo by L. Leisure

Board is performing in the upcoming school musical. He has participated in NHS musicals for the past three years. His favorite was Spamalot.

Lexi Leisure and Victoria Flanagin

When performing for a crowd, it can be intimidating. Junior Aidan Board has grow up with a musical background and has experience with performing through his drumming. Board feels as though drumming is the center of his life right now. He doesn’t see himself giving it up anytime soon.

When did you get your first drum kit?
I got my first one for Christmas and I was very excited. I wanted to start playing right away at like seven in the morning. We dug up an old video camera and some tapes recently. [My parents] got me on video and I was running around in my pajamas and saying ‘oh, it’s a drum set!’

Who are your inspirations?
My dad has done a really great job of really nurturing my brother and I’s love of music and our pursuit in musical careers. He has taught me a lot of things about playing with bands. I owe alot to my dad. As far as famous people, my playing influence [would be] Phil Collins. He’s actually a great drummer even when he’s not singing cheesy pop songs. Bill Bruford, he played drums for the band ‘Yes,’ who I’m sure no one in our generation has heard of. There are probably my two biggest playing inspirations.

Do you think you are comparable to ‘Animal’ from Sesame Street?
I dressed up as Animal for “Avenue Q”. Ever since Mrs. Robinson saw me play when I was in seventh grade. She has been calling me animal behind my back. I can see the comparison because when I play drums I totally lose myself in it. I don’t break the drums, but I definitely go pretty crazy. I kinda lose some self control, which is the fun part about playing drums. It’s almost embarrassing sometimes, but then I’m like ‘you know what I’m just having fun with it’ and people get a kick out of it.

Have you ever broken a drumstick?
I have a pile in my basement of shredded up drumsticks. There have been several times, especially at a church because the drumheads are a lot looser than I’m used to, so it doesn’t feel like you’re playing too hard. You have earbuds in that cancel out the sound around you and a plexiglass cage around you, so you can’t really get a sense of how loud you’re playing. Then you break three pairs of sticks in a single night. There have been a few drumstick emergencies. Usually the tip of the drum stick comes off and that drastically affects the tone. You don’t notice until you’re like ‘something doesn’t feel quite right’ and then you look at your stick and half of it is torn off.

What is unique about drummers?
Drummers have a bunch of weird terms. “Spang Spang-a-Lang”: that’s a jazz rhythm. “Four on the four” is what we use as the bass dance or rock bass drum pattern. “Fat Drums” is when you tone the drums really loose and it has a good sizzle to it. It’s drummer culture and why everyone hates drummers so much. They never know what we are talking about. I’m just always off in my own world when I play.

Do you have any significant moments that you remember from drumming?
I think I was in seventh grade and I was playing at church for the youth service. We were playing this song that ends with me keeping this heavy drum beat. I completely missed the fact that the vocals had ended the song and I kept playing drums. Some people were confused in the audience and were kinda clapping along. What you do in that sort of situation is you find a way to end the song. I just awkwardly stopped and there was one girl in the audience that looked so confused. I hated it at the time, but I look back now and think “that was good Aidan”.

What advice do you have for musicians?
You’re gonna make mistakes when you perform. I think that’s the most intimidating to new performers. They are also so nervous about messing up. If you mess up no one is going to care because half of the time no one is going to know that you messed up. The biggest thing I’d tell anyone who is starting out performing is just don’t be nervous. Even at a competition, it’s not about if you win [or] if you are better than your stand partner. I think that’s sort of a dynamic that a lot of high school bands have that really annoys me. It keeps them from being great because there is such a competitive spirit within the band that is trying to become better together. The reality is that every single part of the section or ensemble is important.



Interview with Aidan’s mentor Jay Jasper
To Jasper, what sets Aidan apart from other drummers is not just his talent. But his strong dedicated work ethic.
“The thing that I really love about having Aidan in the Black and Gold Band is that I can give him a piece of music and he will go home, take it, listen to it, come back in and be ready to play it,” says Jasper, “a lot of times I have drummers that they’ll come back and they’ll know all different pieces and parts but they won’t know where the bridge is or where the chorus is, but he’s always on top of that sort of thing and he prepares well.”
Aidan’s enthusiasm and love for music continues to captivate anyone who has a chance to stop and listen.
“We’ll be standing and talking about ‘Genesis’ or ‘Yes’ or some 70s era progressive rock band, and he will [just] be poetic for great lengths of time. He’ll be like ‘no, Mr. Jasper you really have to listen to this album, it has an extended drum solo between minutes four and five.’ He gets really super excited about some track that I probably haven’t heard” says Jasper.
While contemplating his favorite “Aidan moment,” he couldn’t just settle on one. However, there is one memory that stuck the most.
“We were in rehearsal getting ready for the Black and Gold Band and he’s playing along and he’s just going crazy with the drums and he drops one of his sticks. He has a whole bag there to grab another stick but instead he stands up and starts walking and playing around the drum set while walking all the way to the front, still playing, picks up the stick and continues to drum as he walks his way back around the drum set and sits down and keeps playing,” says Jasper, “that’s my favorite Aidan moment right there, hands down.”
Whether he’s on stage, in his basement, or practicing with the Black and Gold Band, Aidan continues to evolve and change as the years go on.
“He’s broadened his scope of music that he likes. I think that the older Aidan gets, the more he looks at a wide variety of music.           When I first got to know him, he was just playing jazz stuff and then I would talk to him [later on and] it was all very complicated stuff,” says Jasper, “and that all comes from the hard work and that’s what Aidan does that distances him from some of the other drummers around the school.”