“Drop Down” written by Bill Dankert
Released in 2003 on the album In Spite
Bill Dankert and the Real Austinaires
Vocals, Guitar: Bill Dankert
Drums: Brien Lilja
Bass: Davin Odegaard
Guitar: Darin Rinne
Sometime around 1990, I met Slim Dunlap at a party. When he learned I was the drummer for the Gear Daddies, he gave me a piece of advice that changed my life. At the time, my approach to drumming consisted of providing a beat punctuated by various stretches of crashing sounds. In the friendliest possible way, he said, “You gotta let the singer sing.” In the decades since, this advice has in some way informed almost every decision that I’ve made in playing and recording music.
I’m sure everybody who’s met Slim has their own story of how he changed their life. In addition to loving his music over the years, I’m so grateful that I also got to know him just a little, to feel the humanity and heart that have made him such a beloved and positive influence on so many peoples’ lives.
For a year or so in the mid-aughts, I had the privilege of drumming in Slim’s band after Brien Lilja left. Brien’s shoes were impossible to fill—he is, in my view, a master of the art of drumming—but I was too giddy with delight to care. I finally had the chance to play beloved songs that I had been rocking out to for years! Somewhere during this short stint, Slim and the boys said they liked one of my songs, “Drop Down,” and they wanted to cover it. We worked it up and the following Saturday night, I got the thrill of hearing Slim and his band thunder through one of my songs—with me, once again, trying my best (and failing) to fill Brien’s shoes on the drums. Since Slim likes the song, I’ve included it here.