Blaze Bateh of SoftSpot and BAMBARA
Ever since I was a young boy, I have known what I wanted to do with my life. I remember in kindergarten, my teacher, Mrs. Pearson—I never knew her first name—asked my class what we wanted to be when we grow up. One by one the tiny voices yelled out doctor, singer, or sommelier. When Mrs. Pearson turned to me and asked, I said, “I want to be an astronaut architect.” Later on that day, while I was waiting in the carpool line, my friend Ricky came up to me and invited me over to his house to play his dad’s drums and watch Full House. I was nervous because I hadn’t yet asked my mom about it, and my cell phone was dead. Out of mortal fear, I declined the offer. About that time, his dad pulled up in his pickup. I never actually met his dad, but I think he was the drummer for a .38 Special cover band. Anyway, Richard stared at me, did a wiggle dance with his hands on his hips, and called me a wee-wee missile. He jumped in his dad’s van, and they sped off. To this day, I still don’t know what he meant by that. He’s not on Facebook, either, so I guess I’ll never know.
Exactly three years after that particular day, I got my first drumkit. I was super excited about it because it was blue, and that was my second favorite color next to orange, but orange wasn’t in the cards. I hopped in my car feeling like I was dealt a full house. I sped home, unpacked all the boxes, picked a room to set the drums up in, set the drums up in the living room, grabbed my headphones, and immediately tried to play along with the Mortal Kombat theme song. I walked away from that experience unsure if I wanted to play the drums at all anymore and, more importantly, if there were even real drums in that song. My drumkit sat untouched in my room for about a year after that. I was really preoccupied with Pogs at that time, and probably the Internet.
That all changed after I went to a concert exactly two years after that particular day. Eve 6 took the stage in front of a full house at the Roxy in Atlanta. I was too short to see anything, but my brother Reid and my friend John were with me, and we were hanging out, so it was cool. We had just come from our fifth-grade Winnie the Pooh play, and I was feeling immortal. I thought of how interesting it was that we were on the other side of a stage the same night that we had actually performed on another stage. I got excited about this musing and decided to tell Reid and John about it. First I told Reid, but he didn’t think it was interesting at all. I tried yelling it into John’s ear next, but it was during the “Or am I origami, folded up and just pretend” part, so he was too busy singing along. In hindsight, I’m glad he didn’t hear me. After the show, we all went back to my parents’ house. John asked me to drum to him (for him); he had been revved up by the concert. I told him that I couldn’t because it was too late, and we slept silently to the symphony of crickets that only we could hear. Our ears were ringing and it sounded like crickets.
I live in Brooklyn now, and those three days are far behind me. I am the drummer for SoftSpot, BAMBARA, and the Blaze and Alex Show.