Some auditory stimuli: The metallic, loud crash of a speeding car hammering into an SUV on Interstate 25; the boom of a commercial trash bin being slammed back to the ground while you try sleeping in on a Saturday morning; the clanging, banging and pounding of your kitchenware by a small child.
These aren’t what you’d normally consider inspirational sounds—unless you happen to be Frank Funaro, drummer for the band Cracker. Banging, clanging and loud noise in general are music to his ears.
Funaro began “banging on things” as a child when his father, also a drummer, starting teaching him the musical art. It wasn’t until his teenage years that he took real interest and asked for a drum kit to hone his skills. Thirty-four years later, Funaro travels the country chasing his passion.
“I embrace the freedom of it,” says Funaro during a phone interview while awaiting a plane in a California airport. “To me, drumming is freedom.”
While Funaro, whose band makes a stop on Nov. 15 at the Fox in Boulder, would not consider himself a role model, he likes encouraging his brand of freedom. Basically, if he had his way, everybody would be banging loudly on every object within reach. So he teaches the art.
His webpage, simply titled “I play the Drums,” offers anecdotes and advice for those aspiring to be the world’s next rock star. He hopes to inspire a few kids into turn their love of making noise into an art, so long as that’s their calling.
“I wouldn’t mind people catching my enthusiasm for drums, but if they are thinking about being a doctor, (they should) go do it,” Funaro says.
Constant travel and the challenges zig-zagging time zones are not the ideal life for many, but for the resilient, Funaro
has advice: “Be prepared to fail and not give a sh*t. As far as I’m concerned, it has to be about the music; you have to love what you are doing; ’cause there’s a lot of rejection.”
On his webpage, Funaro discusses breaking into the business with other musicians: “There’s a million different ways that people grow into the role. I want (to talk to) people who are interested in playing the drums, (I give and) take a little advice here and there,” Funaro says. “The questions I ask drummers are not about what size stick you use. It’s about putting a human face on being a traveling musician.”
Funaro is a self-taught musician. As a teenager he listened to his favorite artists (such as the Mahavishnu Orchestra) imitating them as best he could. In retrospect, Funaro says he wishes he’d done a bit more and taken lessons.
“I know how to make a living with my hands, and I am proud of being able to do that,” says Funaro.
“I love what I’m doing, I love playing the drums. Basically as the drummer (the audience) is not going to be taking away any lyrical sense from me. I want (people) to take away the joy of playing the drums and being a musician.”
Nov 15, Fox Theatre, Boulder. Nov. 16, BlueBird Theatre, Denver.