What is the worst enemy of a drum set? Look at the title of this blog and you got yourself the answer: water.

I have seen some great drum sets completely ruined because they were in a basement that flooded. The mounted toms usually are ok, and so is the snare. They are elevated. On the other hand the first one to take damage points is the bass drum, then the floor tom. The wood gets reshaped when exposed to water. It buckles, it twists, it swells and the glue holding the plies together bubbles. It never comes back to its original shape. It is an absolute disaster.

I happen to teach in my basement. That’s where my studio is. I teach the piano on the grand piano upstairs. But I am always worried when I see the big thick rains of the fall or the spring coming down behind my window because my drums could be affected.

Last Thursday, we woke up with 2 inches of water in the basement. Oh misery! Oh despair! Fortunately, because my basement does not have a flat and level floor, nothing was touched: I had set up the drums on the high point of the room.

Nonetheless, I spent the rest of the week taking the carpets out, dry vacking the floors, spraying different product to get rid of the smell. Still, I knew I had to do something more drastic.

So, I grabbed the phone to call in the big guys: the sewer people.

And here we are, today. They have dug a hole in the ground, dirt and mud, to get to the pipe underneath. They are going to put a little door on it. They assure me that it will do the trick, no more water receding into my studio, no more smell like I got too many cats. I am nervous. Of course. We are talking about my job, here. I can’t afford to replace my instrument every time the Chicago skies open.

But, I will be brave. I will trust the process, I will think that this will work and that the sewer will leave me alone.

So, when people ask me what I fear most in life as far as natural disasters are concerned, there is fire, tornado, earthquake. My answer is always the same: flood!