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I Could Have Been David Sanborn November 4, 2006

Posted by Michael in Music, Personal Experiences.

Instead, I got stuck playing a frickin’ clarinet.  In a Boy Scout marching band.   It scarred me for life.

The saxophone was my destiny, and I missed it.  You have heard me discuss this at length before.


Michael Misses His Destiny


1. geoff - November 4, 2006

As a long-time trumpet player, I can only say: Reed-sucker!!

2. Wickedpinto - November 4, 2006

My brother has almost the exact same picture.

Thats why I always demanded the Cello.

(I demanded the Cello as an instrument knowing full well, I would never be able to own one, or to take lessons on it, Kids can be devious little bastards, (btw, I’m literally a bastard, so I toss the phrase easily, apologize if that offends people))

3. a-a - November 4, 2006

I have no musical talent. Everybody else in my family did. Not me. Do you still play? or are you in the closet?

4. a-a - November 5, 2006

speaking of cellos, Dave posted this the other day. its pretty cool for any of you who may not have seen it


p.s. female cello players are hot. Paula Zahn. That french chick from that crappy David Spade movie. Hot

5. a-a - November 5, 2006

Anybody ever see a python eat a pregnant sheep?


Well there you have it.

6. Michael - November 5, 2006

I signed up for band because I wanted to play the sax. The band director encouraged my parents to “start” me on the clarinet, and I could always switch to sax later. I did not realize at the time that this was just because there were too many kids who wanted to play sax, and not enough who wanted to play clarinet. My parents were OK with this. A student clarinet is about 20% of the cost of a sax.

Flash forward 30 years.

My daughter, when she was about in the sixth grade, wanted to play sax. She had no idea that I had ever played anything besides a guitar. She just liked the sax. So she signed up for band. She came home from school after her first day of orientation and said the band director told her she should start on a clarinet. She could always switch to sax later. She seemed disappointed, but was willing to go along with it. I knew what was going on — the band director just needed more clarinets. So I just bought her a sax, and when she went to school the next day I told her to tell the band director that her daddy had already paid for a sax. So she played a sax.

My son then got interested in the sax. In high school, both of those kids were in marching bands (two different schools) that won their regional competitions and qualified for the Bands of America National Finals competition, and both of their bands finished in the top ten. (This is really a major achievement for Texas bands, due to state-imposed restrictions on how much time kids can spend on extra-curricular activities. They were competing against schools with fanatic practice schedules.)

It was a great experience for them. And for me, travelling to Indianapolis just to sit in the stands and watch my kids perform in the National Finals.

They both quit by the time they got to college, and we recently sold off the rather expensive Selmer saxes that they finished with. But those instruments were worth every penny.

My kids did not get stuck with a clarinet.

7. Wickedpinto - November 5, 2006

I signed up for band because I wanted to play the sax

Did you spell “sax” right? 😀

8. Michael - November 5, 2006

The picture you see up there was unknown to me before tonight.

Mrs. Michael has undertaken a project lately of scanning all our photos to CDs and organizing them. We went out to dinner tonight, and I was entertaining her with the compos mentis “soccer game” story for some reason (in detail, right down to the purple shorts at the end), which had her in stitches. This led to me explaining the goofy AOSHQ thread where we were all trying to out-geek each other with embarassing revelations, and I mentioned how I had posted that I was a band geek playing clarinet in a Boy Scout Marching Band when I wanted to play sax.

Mrs. Michael says, “So you want to post a picture of you playing clarinet in your Boy Scout uniform?” I flipped. I had absolutely no recollection of this picture. But there I am, playing clarinet as a member of the Pottowatamie District Boy Scout Marching Band.

You can see in that picture that I am riffing like David Sanborn. But it was a frickin’ clarinet and I wanted to play sax. I quit not too long after that picture was taken.

9. Who wants to put their Hands on Amishs Organ? - November 5, 2006

I actually like the sound of a clarinet. Not a big fan of the sax. Except maybe 50s rock style sax. Always seemed kinda cheesy to me. Can you still play?

Amishes Top Three Underappreciated Instruments:

1)The Armonica: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armonica

Not a Harmonica – an Armonica. Ben Franklin invented it.

2)The Theremin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theremin

Not just for sci fi movies. If somebody actually can figure out how to play one of these things it actually sounds pretty nice. Sort of a cross between a violin and a womans voice.

3) The Hurdy Gurdy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurdy_gurdy

It sounds like a bagpipe stuffed with violins. Its crazy sounding. One Hurdy Gurdy can actually sound like an entire set of instruments if played well. Very neat.

10. amish - November 5, 2006

I think one of my comments may have been eaten. I can see it right now, but it isnt in the recent comments section. I put too many links in again.

Oh well. Night Folks.

11. Retired Geezer - November 5, 2006

Probably mentioned this before.
Favorite Sax solo – Foreigner Urgent.
The sax player was Junior Walker who just happened to be in the building when the sound engineer said “This record needs a sax solo”.

I’ll post the link if anybody wants.

12. Retired Geezer - November 5, 2006

Michael, ever see “Drum Line”?

Pretty cool stuff if you were a band geek.

I got my own *Clarinet* story. I had a Trumpet that had fallen out of the case many times while riding my bike to school.
When I got to High School, the band director took one look at it and told me I was now a French Horn player.
I think switching embouchures made me a better kisser.

13. Michael - November 5, 2006

RG: Yes, Mrs. Michael and I loved Drum Line. It is totally a band geek movie.

Amish: When you post multiple links like you did in #9 above, WordPress gets pissy. Multiple links look like spam to WordPress. You’re going to end up in the spam filter, or (if you are lucky) your comment gets quarantined in another area, the moderation queue, where it will wait for approval by me (or Brewfan). The latter is better, because I get an email notifying me of the fact that something is waiting for approval, as opposed to a comment that is just lost in a sea of spam in the Akismet filter.

In this case, you were lucky. You were caught by the moderation queue rather than Akismet, and I noticed it promptly.

Bottom line — one link per comment is usually safe. If you want to share more than one link, use more than one comment.

14. Wickedpinto - November 5, 2006

I’m the resident nihilist. My joke “did you spell ‘sax” right” was meant as a gay joke.

but, my brtoher played clarinet in gradeschool. . . .which actually, means I’m even more willing ot say “did you spell ‘sax’ right” since brothers are all about gay jokes.

Michael? did you want to play the “sax” or did you wanna play WITH sacks?

Okay, the punchline is complete.

I am crashing out, gonna visit big bro in the morning.

15. Wickedpinto - November 5, 2006

I Dicked up so big, gonna be silent for a while.

I’m here in spirit, and in hits.

16. Feisty - November 5, 2006

I played the flippin’ mellophone in marching band for 2 years because this hot guy I wanted to hit HARD was in marching band. During an indoor rehearsal one day, he kissed me backstage rather a propos of nothing if I remember correctly. Rowr; that was so freakin’ hot. He was going out with some other chick though, so I couldn’t repeat any of that action.

I also made out with his brother a little later that year while the brother’s girlfriend ran out to go to the grocery store, but that’s beside the point. Heh.

17. BrewFan - November 5, 2006

Favorite Sax Player: Tom Scott. His band, the L.A. Express, toured with Joni Mitchell and they are featured on her Miles of Aisles live album. IIRC, Tom and Joni were an item at one point. Anyhoo, great music.

18. kevlarchick - November 5, 2006

I played brass–trumpet and also baritone in marching band. We partied hard too.

One time…at band camp….

19. PattyAnn - November 5, 2006

Michael, you are, obviously, a wonderful Dad.

20. geoff - November 5, 2006

Michael, you’re absolutely right about band directors’ pushing kids towards instruments like the clarinet (with the sax carrot hanging out there). When I started in band in Austin, TX, the director said, “All girls want to play the flute, and all boys want to play the drums.” I think he also had a rule that you couldn’t play sax without starting on the clarinet.

This director was, as I’ve mentioned on other threads, the one who gave out belly slaps as punishment if you lost a musical bet with him. That experience made the allegations of belly slaps as “torture” much less impressive.

I liked your solution to the clarinet/sax problem.

21. Mr Minority - November 5, 2006

What HS did you go to?

22. Dave in Texas - November 5, 2006



My fav sax player is probably Stan Getz. My favorite clarinetist used to be Pete Fountain. Now it’s Michael.

23. geoff - November 5, 2006

geoff, What HS did you go to?

I went to Burnet Junior High back around 1970.

24. Michael - November 5, 2006

I have a Stan Getz CD. That guy is awesome.

25. Dave in Texas - November 5, 2006

Burnet Texas?

26. Mr Minority - November 5, 2006

Burnet? that is just up the road from me on 281.

27. geoff - November 5, 2006

Burnet Texas?

Burnet Jr. High in Austin, TX. My dad was teaching AFROTC at UT, so I spent 4th & 5th grades at Woolridge Elementary and 6th and 7th grades at Burnet Jr. High.

Thereafter we were transferred to North Dakota (Grand Forks AFB). That required a fair amount of social and climatological adjustment.

Hey Mr. Minority – I don’t know what sort of engineer you are, but did you check out the free technical books I’m giving away at my site?

28. Michael - November 5, 2006

Mr. Minority, are you in San Antonio? Burnet used to be just up the road for me too. I lived a little west of 281 in the Sonterra area north of 1604.

29. Dave in Texas - November 5, 2006

Burnet and the general area around San Antonio is the prettiest place in Texas. IMHO.

30. Dave in Texas - November 5, 2006

KC, you got brass chops?


31. kevlarchick - November 5, 2006

I do. Back in the day I could wail on a variety of mouthpieces.

If that isn’t a setup I don’t know what is.

Amish, isn’t there some Zeppelin song that features a Hurdy Gurdy? Gallows Pole? Battle of Evermore?

32. Elzbth - November 5, 2006

Teenagers all over the world are cruelly forced to play the clarinet.

33. Dave in Texas - November 5, 2006

ba dum dum dum.


34. Pete Fountain - November 6, 2006


35. Mr Minority - November 6, 2006

“Mr. Minority, are you in San Antonio? Burnet used to be just up the road for me too. I lived a little west of 281 in the Sonterra area north of 1604.”

No, I live in Dripping Springs, which is 20 miles west of Austin on 290. Actually I can see the lights of Johnson City from my House.

“Hey Mr. Minority – I don’t know what sort of engineer you are, but did you check out the free technical books I’m giving away at my site?”

I would pick the:
“Handbook of Physical Properties of Liquids and Gases: Pure Substances and Mixtures”
“Solid-State Laser Engineering”
If I had a choice.
I am an Electronics Engineer, but have been doing Mechanical and Industrial Engineering for the last bunch of years. I spent 25 years as an Engineer in the Semiconductor biz.

36. Tom M - November 7, 2006

(Pete Fountain)… not to mention Benny Goodman.

Still, its not as cool an instrument as the sax. David Sanborn’s lead on All American Alien Boy was simple, but so well played, which made it memorable.

Michael, would it have been Tenor or Alto?

37. Dueling Cellos « Innocent Bystanders - May 24, 2011

[…] exciting musical instrument. I ranked it just below the Glockenspiel but about 14 points above the Clarinet. This video changed my […]

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