Not too long ago, I was reunited with a bass player I’ve been thinking about for decades. I lost track of her years ago, but she was one of the finest and rock-solid players I ever met. Dee Harrell taught me how to play the blues proper and do my job as a drummer when I lived in Austin in my 20s, and those lessons lasted a lifetime.
I owe that reunion to Carol Dierking, a drummer from Irving, Texas, who graciously connected me with my long lost friend. I told her I owed her big time – I mean, on a huge scale – because of how much this player/teacher meant to me, so when she put up a GoFundMe account for some serious health issues, the payback was obvious…
Carol has a pretty interesting story, from what I’ve read so far. Mind you, we met kind of blindly in Facebook when I contacted her after seeing that my friend was playing with her, on a YouTube video. I had not heard of Carol before this, but it didn’t matter. Reading about her background, I found her to be established and legit.
She’s featured in Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (April 10, 2014), went to Steven F. Austin State University on a full music scholarship, and carved out a music life in a way that suited her world with raising a daughter. Not an easy road, which became even less so when physical ailments began to interfere with performance hopes and dreams.
Developing degenerative bone disease is not exactly how most people wake up and plan their day. It actually brought Carol’s playing to a near standstill until an offer came up that reignited her drive and got her back on stage. But that fire took a literally exhausting hit when an airbag exploded in Carol’s face in a 2007 auto accident.
Such actions generally tend to render your teeth into a less that favorable state.
So, cutting to the chase, Carol recently put together a GoFundMe account to help pay for the now inevitable long-term dental work and related health insurance expences, some needed vehicle repairs, and funds to help participate in a musical fundraiser for breast cancer (she lost her mother to this, as did I; no one has to ask me twice to support the cure effort).
If you follow the link, you can read more about Carol (and of course, read her profile in Women Drummers).
Not all of us are destined for incredible career rides, and as we go along in this world, we find the path to be odd and winding sometimes. But as long as we can sit behind a drum set and play our truth, what else really matters? Even if it’s exhausting and painful, the rush of the stage and the pulse of the music are what make life worth living.
For Carol Dierking, this truth is her daily dose of connectivity to the beat of life. I’m all for chasing that wherever possible, and as long as it’s possible to play, most things can be overcome. But every once in a while, things can become a bit much. Texan to Texan, I truly hope the path becomes easier for Carol. And like I said, I owe her big time, so personally, thanks for reading this particular blog about her. I have no doubts she would thank you personally too.