Brian Norris

Personal Call from my Drumming Idol

2In 1989, I was turned on to a band called Wrathchild America and their album "Climbin' The Walls" by a good friend of mine. I was floored by the drums on that album. I caught the video for Climbin The Walls on MTV’s Headbangers Ball and was completely floored and dumbfounded by the drummer in the video and how he was playing. Complete and total chaos. Not the typical drummers I had seen in videos before who just sat still and occasionally smiled. From that moment, I was hooked on drums and wanted to play the drums immediately.

As I started to engulf myself in music and learning to play, I attended countless shows (still do) and got to meet Shannon Larkin many times. When he would come through with Souls At Zero (formerly Wrathchild America) in NC or Ugly Kid Joe, I swear I would bug him to death, but he was always nice. He took the time to speak with me as long as I wanted to talk about whatever came to my mind, which to me was just awesome. I continued to follow his drumming career as a personal inspiration, not copping his style but the passion and intensity.

In 2000, Shannon and his band at that time, "Amen" came through NC. I was stoked and figured, I’m going to go up early and see if I can meet him before the show and just talk. I drove up to the venue, walked around, went up to their tour bus and knocked. I believe it was Paul Fig, guitarist for Amen that came to the side door. I asked if Shannon was around. Oddly enough, Shannon was behind me at the old Music Loft sitting against the brick wall reading a book. Paul, pointed him out and I walked up and feeling 100% sure he remembered my, Shannon stood up hugged me and we just talked. He took me on their tour bus, hung out for an hour and was just the nicest guy in the world.

After seeing him play live, what seemed like a countless number of times, I had got his autograph many times, but never once got one of his sticks. Hey, who doesn’t want a stick from their favorite drummer right? I asked him before I left if I could get an autographed stick, before I left to go home and get ready to see Amen later that night. He immediately went, grabbed a stick, signed and gave it to me (Vic-Firth Classic Rock/ Telephone pole haha). Before I left, I gave him a CD with new tracks from the band I was playing with, included my number, email address etc. Went to the show later that night, it ruled of course. Talked to him once more before I left and came home on cloud nine.

What happened within the next couple months blew my mind and changed my outlook on music and as a person. Coming home from the gym late one evening, I walked into my house and checked my answering machine for any new messages. To my utter disbelief, I had received a personal phone call from my all time favorite drummer, Shannon Larkin. I FLIPPED OUT! To make sure that phone call was never erased from that tape, I recorded the answering machine playing back his message on my video camera (probably one hundred times)! I called my friends, my girlfriend (my wife now), my younger cousin (who I play for now ironically haha) and everyone I knew. They couldn’t believe it until they heard it.

My drumming hero since 89’, when I started playing, called my house and left me a message about that CD of our music I had given to him! I was just floored and in utter disbelief. What this taught me, is a huge appreciation for people, music as a communication tool and to cherish those who support your career.

I am happy to say that I play for a living now and I carry that attitude with me anywhere that we play. If someone appreciates you, your band and supports your career, those people should mean the world to you.

I can honestly say that Shannon Larkin personally changed my outlook on music and people that support music. He was absolutely the nicest person I have ever met to this day involved in music (and I have met many). My dream is to one day thank him for that as I have no had the chance to speak with him since. Keeping that attitude continues to keep me going and for that, I am extremely grateful. I have attached the audio and a pic of that day on their tour bus. I hope you enjoy!

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