He sat backstage twirling his drumsticks through his fingers with his eyes closed, waiting for the song on-stage to finish. It was almost his turn to play, but you would never notice it cool as a cucumber on the outside, but forever screaming in anticipation on the inside. These butterflies keep him doing what he loves most in the world playing music. It was when he was playing did he truly forget everything else in the world, all his problems float away for those few short minutes, and continue to float anytime he thinks about his performances. Music was his drug.
The song on-stage finished, and he walked out the room door, down the hallway, when he passed his competition going the other way. Some no-name kid stared back at him but he couldn't criticize, as he had never been in a band besides school endeavors. People's shouting became louder and louder as he got closer to the stage, butterflies continuing to fly, and a grin coming across his face.
He sat behind the drum-set with a sense of confidence a confident drummer is a good drummer was a lesson he learned earlier on in his drumming career' (although it wasn't much of a career at this point). Peter turned towards him, and gave a nod, before picking up his other, black, Ibanez ARX140 guitar for the next song much easier to use more than one guitar than fiddle around with tuning, plus you get different tones suited for different songs. Behind the kit, he noticed this and understood completely he had played guitar as well for the last few years, but drumming was his true passion. He simply nodded back at Peter.
Derek introduced the next song to the eager audience. Vicarious by Tool was the song that would decide his fate in the band it was a live audition between him and the other drummer. The rest of the band couldn't decide during the first audition, so it came down to a one on one performance second audition of a song of their choice. Panic Attack by Dream Theater was the other drummer's request, a respectable decision.
He always learned that drummers were hard to find, and he was up against one of the best he'd ever seen (that wasn't signed). Panic Attack seemed near flawless, from what he heard backstage; the kit he was sitting behind didn't have nearly as many parts as Mike Portnoy's epic kit, but the song still sounded amazing.
The Ox was probably the calmest of them all, simply standing behind his Ibanez SRX500 bass (the drummer really didn't know what the band had to do about Ibanez, but as long as it floats their boat he thought), with a continuous blank look on his face. Truth was, no one in the band knew The Ox's real name, and everyone had addressed him as that ever since he had joined the band (as Derek explained to him earlier before the show). He asked Jon behind the kit whether he was ready, to which he nodded back. The Ox relayed that to Peter, who began his guitar intro. The audition had started.
The audience falls to a dead-hush during the intro, as Jon does his few notes on a triangle clipped to the bass drum's top edge. A few bars later, the song picks up into its main beat, consisting of blazes of drum notes perfectly on time. As the band knew, Vicarious was a very percussion heavy song, with a very simple guitar part (well, at least compared to the drums), and if Jon could pull it off, it would be a very, very convincing audition indeed.
Jon pulls back as soon as the singer comes in for dynamics, as the guitar builds up for a bang at the end of the eight bars or so. Danny Carey had always been a drumming idol for Jon, and he felt it was a true honor to even attempt to emulate him. This thought bounced through his head throughout the entire song, but especially this part, as he needed to keep that legendary aggressive, confident feel of Danny, while still playing very, very quietly.
That's my kind of story, it's no fun til someone dies. Only a 1:40 into the song, and already the entire band were sweating like a pen of pigs on a hot summer's day. Sweat crept into the eyes of Jon behind his glasses, but he had to keep going no matter what happened. The crowd at this point was simply electric, roars drowned by the sounds pouring out of amps and drumheads.
Until 3:47, everything was as it should've been the bridge is going as it should, a solid performance by all so far. Except that at that particular bar at 3:47, Peter missed his cue to come in. This left just Jon solo until 3:59 when Derek came in, as they didn't have a dedicated rhythm guitarist (only Peter to attempt to fill both shoes). The result of this mistake is what got Jon the job.
A solo that Jon could never possibly attempt to emulate again spawns after a look of confusion between him and Peter. He flicked his left stick behind his back, flipping it over his shoulder to his left hand in front of him (while still keeping the groove all this time). A 10 second fill of double-bass, toms, and a one-handed roll or two keeps the audience absolutely stunned, ending with falling back into beat perfectly on time at 3:59. A simply awestruck look befalls the band during this random improv display of drumming talent. Jon simply looks back calmly and continues onwards, however he was just as awestruck as they were about the situation he never thought he could actually do those 12 seconds so flawlessly.
The rest of the song finishes up with a great performance from all (and a renewed sense of confidence for Jon). People from the crowd demand an encore, but the band rejects in order to take care of business back stage. The other drummer was seen leaving out the entrance onto the street while Jon headed backstage, giant grin forming again underneath mounds of sweat, and slightly steamed glasses.