Justin: In the Feast of Being Able to. Amen.

Fat Gold Chain c.1988

2 months ago someone says, “Justin, did you meet Hamilton? He’s a drummer, too.”

Hamilton was a drummer at Southside a few years ago. As opposed to me, who was a drummer a few decades ago. Or two, anyway.

So despite 15 years difference in age, Hamilton I can connect with, what little I see him. We eventually chatted about our times in the Southside drum section, and I asked him what cadences they played in the section.

He named several I had played and a few I hadn’t. And he named Birdie and Fat Gold Chain. “No way. Awesome, my friend Scott and I wrote those two,” I told him.

I guess it was the summer of 1988. Scott was about to enter his senior year and I was to be a Junior. We were first and second chairs, respectively. We decided we had a lot of fun ideas in our heads for cadences and we should get started writing them and trying them out on the section. We agreed to come up with a general idea and bring it to the other to work together on them. My initial drum licks were taken by Scott and his by me. Mine became Birdie Boogie and his became Fat Gold Chain.

My friends who knew Scott and I in highschool may not have understood how close we were in thoughts. I guess like any best friends, we read each others minds. But this transcended the bounds of suddenly both having the same “brilliant” idea about lunch or the weekend. We could play drum duets for measure after measure and just know. Know where an accent should go. Know where to suddenly get quiet. Know the other was about to spin a stick. And know exactly when to stop.

Yes, it was freakish, and it continued into other realms such as what shirt we both bought over the weekend from the same store without knowing it. … to both losing our wallets at the school the exact same morning, both of us realizing we’d lost our wallet while reaching for our back pocket in our respective 2nd period classes in order to remove a dollar to buy a drill team caramel candy bar. (Mine was found in the hall and turned in to Principal Haver, his was returned by a lady across the street from Southside when her little dog carried it up to the front porch.

And yes, we both had 80’s punk hair, so we looked alike.

All this just to preface the following:

Yesterday Hamilton walks into the break room and says, “Did you REALLY write Fat Gold Chain?”

“Well, yea, my buddy and I did. Why?”

“Because they play that all over the country.”

“Huh?” says me.

Hamilton goes on to tell me a drummer friend of his from somewhere was being interviewed by a woman about his drum section and she wanted to know where Fat Gold Chain came from. Who wrote it? His friend said he had no idea. Hamilton tells him, “Dude, a guy at work wrote it.” The guy doesn’t believe him, of course.

Hamilton tells me that schools around the country play Fat Gold Chain now, and one from the Carolinas even has a piece of it on youtube. When I got home I checked it out. Sure enough, here it is, playing a little piece of what Scott and I wrote and played 20 years ago. (had wrong link above, video search for “part of fat gold chain”) Try This.

So last night I’m telling two friends about this and one says, “well yea, when I moved here from Texas to Greenwood High School 10 years ago, that was the only thing I recognized in the cadences. Fat Gold Chain.”

I don’t know how much of an exaggeration all this is, but it sure is entertaining in that feel-good sorta way. The fun of those days (drumming) seemed constant, even at the time.

Now, instead of a cadence, how awesome would it have been had Hamilton informed me I’d left behind a real legacy at Southside of some actual value to people.

Fat Gold Chain. While it really is pretty cool, what an utterly worthless way to find value in your past.

For the record: the fat gold chain we swung around in the air was my older sister’s gold chain belt. Not sure if I asked her!

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