Bass players, you know how hard it is to find a good drummer. Not just a good drummer musically, but someone who has their sh** together, shows up for practice regularly, stays in touch when they have a conflict, doesn't have a drug problem, doesn't have a messed up marriage that interferes with the band, etc. (Note: I have played with plenty of drummers who: cannot keep a steady beat, don't show up to practice, don't stay in touch, have messed up relationships, have drug problems, and any combination of the above.) In the fall of 2012, my band replaced a not-very-good drummer (who was unfortunately a very nice guy, making him hard to fire) with the holy grail of drummers. He'd just moved to town, same age as us, exact same taste in music, and has an awesome wife and awesome son. Super laid back dude, very easy to work with, but also never seems to run out of energy. His 4-year-old boy drums too, and sometimes we'd give him ear plugs and let him drum along with dad while we're jamming (which was super fun and a huge thrill for the kid - and I am pretty sure he could keep a beat better than the 27-year-old drummer we fired.) The one Achilles heel was that he had a job which basically came in spurts. The way I'm describing it makes it sound like a military gig, but it wasn't that. He'd be home all the time, available all the time, then suddenly gone for a week, two weeks, or even a month or more at a time. With little to no warning. Almost immediately after hiring him, a 3-month stint for work away just came up and he had to get on a plane and go. Nonetheless, it was the holiday season so we were ok with a break anyway, and he was just that much of a fun, awesome dude, and great musician, that we were willing to roll with it. Sure enough, he came back, we started rehearsing regularly, then all of a sudden all of our music got better. Amazing how a good drummer can do that. We played shows, people liked us, etc. There were some more work conflicts, none that were super lengthy, and while we missed some practices, it was not nearly as bad as other bands I've been in. Eventually he quit the heavy travel w/ no notice job, got a more routine 9-5 job with less travel and our practice schedule stabilized a bit. Then, a bombshell. We found out that his lovely and ultra-cool young wife is sick. The C word. A huge shock. Fortunately she was doing so well with her treatment that we never had a clue. She'd still come to shows and hang out, exhibiting no overt signs of the illness. The amazing part is, our drummer is such a happy dude, so optimistic, that he also exhibited no outward signs of fear or anger over his wife's sickness. I am sure he was troubled, but his amazing outlook and positivity was something to behold. He's not even religious or anything like that, just naturally confident and happy to be alive. Very cool. Me, if that happened to my wife, I'd be a miserable wreck. We slowed things down a bit, found out she went in for some surgery which went very well. They got everything bad out of her and she's doing great. That's not to say things are perfect, but given the circumstances, they're as good as they could possibly be. In the interim, we played a New Year's Eve show with a fill-in drummer... a guy we know from other local bands. Very nice dude, good drummer. Not as good as our own drummer but good enough to throw it together in a couple weeks with only a few rehearsals. He played better live at the show than he did at any of the practices, and we nailed it. People dug it. We even made some money, which is almost unheard of in this sleepy, freezing-cold city for an hour of original music with little to no promotion (other than the fact that it was New Year's Eve.) Then, another bombshell. Our drummer e-mails us this morning. He has to go on hiatus. The family situation is too much. His wife is doing better, but I imagine it's hard for him to be gone with the kid and all since she's recovering. Totally understandable. His son is actually going to be very upset that he can't come to practice with dad and jam with us (he'd normally play 1-3 songs with us and then watch a movie on his iPad for the rest of the time.) We're set to record at the end of April but he can't do that. I guess we'll see if our fill-in guy wants to do a more long-term fill in gig. Which is fine. But he's not quite the same. As a bass player, I became spoiled by our drummer. He's really good. Just really creative and a pleasure to work with, especially in the rhythm section. Oh well. I hope the hiatus is only that.