Tuesday, March 11, 2008

David West and Birdman made questionable life choices

Posted By on Tue, Mar 11, 2008 at 9:42 PM

by Alejandro de los Rios

click to enlarge D West Interview

This is the Hornets David West being interviewed by Adam Norris from ABC 26. Norris, silly man that he is, was talking to West about, of all things, basketball. Sure, D-West is an All-Star and has been pivotal to the team's success this year, but probably the most interesting thing about him is this blurb from his bio in the Hornets media guide: "is an accomplished tuba player."

Yea, like the instrument. As soon as I read this I imagined West playing alongside the Soul Rebels or some other NOLA brass band. I had to make it happen. But first, I had to confirm. D-West, you play the tuba?

"Yea for a little while," he said.

How much is a little while?

"Like fourth grade." That sound you hear is my heart sinking; there will be no D-West-Soul Rebel collaboration.

Still, I prodded on. Why only the fourth grade?

"We had to do it in order to play basketball," he said.

Apparently, West's elementary school made kids who wanted to play sports also play an instrument. I guess the idea is to make sure the kids are well-rounded. Now, imagining a 9-year-old West playing the tuba, my spirits were lifted. Just one question, why the tuba?

"It's the easiest to learn," he said.

So yea, All-Star David West, when forced to pick an instrument, decided to pick the easiest one. The most complicated song he could play? Jaws.

West isn't alone in failing to pursue a career in music. As I noted before, Chris Andersen, a.k.a. the Birdman, is also noted in the media guide as being an accomplished musician. In typical Birdman manner, when I asked about his musical skills Andersen said he plays the jazz flute. But seriously, I asked, you got any skills, Birdman?

"I played manly instruments, like baritone and guitar and percussion," he said. Now we're getting somewhere. How long did you play?

"I think about a week and they told me I couldn't play anymore because I suck," he said. Turns out 'somewhere' was a dead end.

But alas, all was not lost. West conceded that he also learned how to play the drums and continues to do so. He actually owns his own set at his house in North Carolina and he said he's been banging since high-school. He also just bought an electric drum set so that he can play different styles. Now this is something worth noting. I like to picture West in a dark suit and a fedora, playing a smooth jazz line in a smokey Bywater club.

For his part, Andersen deferred the title of "Most Musically Talented Hornet" to West.

"I sucked," Andersen said again.

All this just leaves one question: if West last played tuba in fourth grade and is still playing drums, why is the former in the media guide and not the latter?

"It was my rookie year when I told them that," he said. "They asked if I ever played an instrument and I figured everybody says the drums so I said tuba. But I'm a legit drummer though."

Maybe West will play drums with a brass band. Hey, a guy can dream.

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