The luckiest fan in the world
Ever since I found out that Tom Ardolino died, about 1am Friday night/Saturday morning, I’ve been trying to come up with words that convey my appreciation and love for the man.
He was one hell of a drummer, possibly the best I’ve ever had the pleasure to see live. In fact, he and his old high school buddy Rikki Bates spoiled me for most other drummers – after seeing them both so many times and up close, most other drummers, even those who really are quite fine, pale in comparison.
He was a sweet, gentle man – he loved his cats, he loved to sit on the floor (closer to the cats, closer to the record player).
He was a music lover – a record collector in the upper echelon of record collectors. He could name the label & b-side track of seemingly every 45 that was ever released.
And he was the luckiest fan in the world. He fell in love with the band NRBQ while in high school and within a few years was drumming for the band. Essentially the only job he ever had.
It’s this aspect that I can really identify with him, at least on some level. I started as a fan of the Chandler Travis Philharmonic and somehow have managed to work my way onto stage as a harmony vocalist. I can’t even imagine how Tom must have felt being such an integral part of NRBQ, but I know how lucky I feel every time I get a chance to be on stage with Chandler. Once a long time ago someone asked me how many gigs I had seen that year, and I included CTP gigs in my total. The person said “no, those don’t count – you’re in the band”. I replied, “I just think of it as having the best seat in the house”
Tommy had the best seat in the house for 30 years.
*meow* Tommy, *meow*