Bliss And Drumming: The Slow Enlightenment Of The Hard Rock Drummer


Clementine is a writer and musician living in San Francisco. In this podcast, she reads entries in the blog, in which she connects her spiritual practice with her life as a drummer in hard rock bands. Clementine teaches meditation and offers energy healing at For more on her music career, visit


  • The First Trance

    The First Trance

    05/08/2020 Duración: 12min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** The drum begins. I begin my journey on a bluff, overlooking the Pacific. Rolling grassy hills, the coastline rippling side to side, and the big birds delighting in the marine updraft. There is an opening to a cave there, to my left. The first time I entered this cave, a wave of fear washed over me because it was so dark. Then I remembered: this is my shamanic journey! Turn on the light! And light flooded in from above, highlighting the massive space. A soft dirt floor, ferns and the distant sound of water. A lower world where everyone I meet has my best interest at heart. For a couple of years, culminating in the past few months of the quarantine, I have been studying Shamanic Counseling with the teacher Isa Gucciardi. This path is a surprise in my life, and yet I also feel as though I’ve been making my way here the whole time. Photo by Claudia Meyer from FreeImages

  • Here There and Everywhere

    Here There and Everywhere

    03/07/2020 Duración: 08min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** I love a band. Being one of a small group forging a way through the landscape, experiencing days and nights together. The intangible connection outsiders intuit. The mystery of the moment after everything has been loaded and the van door shuts and what happens as we drive away. I love the animal protection that forms in a band, and the secret language that develops. This secret language – music – connects us in a profound way. The group sometimes comes closest together when attacked by the outside world, as a family does. We can struggle internally until something happens to the whole, and then we bind together, forgetting all pettiness. Buzz Osborne from the Melvins, when asked how to keep a band together for so long, said: Find a common enemy.

  • The Power to Know

    The Power to Know

    19/06/2020 Duración: 12min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** I’ve been thinking about power lately, as I watch the world struggle. To begin such a conversation, I can only reference what I know. So who better to illustrate my thoughts about power than John Bonham. Bonham was a powerful drummer, no question. He was powerful in all the ways our culture references power: heavy-hitting, with an ability to let fly a thunder relentless and pounding. All true, but I would argue that Bonham’s real power, and the reason he is beloved by so many, is in the subtleness of his groove. The reason Zeppelin songs feel the way they do, that exquisite “something” that has been chased by rock bands for half a century, is the translation on drums of the delicacy of power.

  • Better You And Me

    Better You And Me

    29/05/2020 Duración: 15min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** For the most part, the past week of quarantine has looked much the same as it has for the past couple of months. The preponderance of birds, riotous flower bloomings, quiet streets. Then, a warm spell in San Francisco sending folks out to the parks. Overnight, it seems that facemasks have become obsolete, and big drunken parties of young people fill the grass. I don’t enter the park most days now, and walk Henry elsewhere. After months of lockdown, I can’t help but seeing that block-square grass patch as a big petri dish.

  • Parrot In A Loquat Tree

    Parrot In A Loquat Tree

    30/04/2020 Duración: 12min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** My window seat lives in this little porch room off the kitchen. I imagine that one day the whole room will topple over in an earthquake, set on stilts as it is. We’ve got bedrock beneath us, and the house has weathered such rattling since the early 1900s, but still, I have a plan to leap into the kitchen and roll beneath the table should the shaking begin. You’re supposed to practice disaster routes so the shock of crisis doesn’t leave you paralyzed. I don’t go as far as leaping around in here and spoiling my comfortable perch, but I spend a little time imagining the tuck and roll before I forget all that and fall in love, all over again, with the breeze.

  • The Delight Of Strangers

    The Delight Of Strangers

    16/04/2020 Duración: 12min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** I know I keep remarking on this, but the birds in the gardens outside my window are really going to town again, under the paused skies of the early morning storm. 6AM is our time, the pug and me. We’re fortunate that built into this small apartment is enough room for solitude, but it’s still nice to have the mornings to ourselves. We’re the ones who take advantage of the pre-dawn hours. The old man caretakes the after-midnight ones. Enough space is important, since this is our reality now, gratefully sequestered behind these walls most of the time. When I wake in the morning, it takes some time to remember that reality looks different than it did not too long ago. Now and then it dawns on me how profound of a shift this is, and I marvel at the changes. As the days unfold, now and then I remember that there seems to be no end in sight. That’s always a shock, the lack of the finite.

  • Arguing About Death In A Laundromat

    Arguing About Death In A Laundromat

    01/04/2020 Duración: 13min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** It was funny, really, and later it brought to mind the article we had both read about the spike in divorce rates after the quarantine was lifted in China. We had to venture out to the laundry. Harsh words were spoken after perceived carelessness. Then, escalation after a reconnaissance to the grocery. We had been doing well up until then, enjoying the time sequestered and getting to spend time together in a way we rarely do. As two working musicians/managers, we often go for months without being in each others’ company. This serves to make time together feel rather precious. Thus the longevity, and the ease with giving the other plenty of autonomy. Adding the outside world to our equation served to ignite a stress we’d each been feeling, and it all launched to the surface under the fluorescent lights.

  • Sheltering In Place

    Sheltering In Place

    18/03/2020 Duración: 13min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** We deep clean the house. We retrieve things from storage to sell. Now that we are out of work for months we start thinking about things to off-load in order to keep the lights on. We make tense financial plans. I order dry goods for just in case. We check in with family and send condolences to friends whose long-term plans have been cancelled, check in with the elderly neighbor. And then, I wake up into a day where time is all mine. I find waiting for me all of these projects, all of these dreams and goals and plans, as present as birdsong and the chimes of Peter and Paul. I spend time in the morning in metta meditation, with my mind on all those who don’t have the resources I have, those who are ill and worried and alone. Then exercise, on the bike that I’m always too busy to use. Then the window-seat, and a reverie of now.

  • Preparing Myself To Live

    Preparing Myself To Live

    29/01/2020 Duración: 15min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** Death is always on my mind, but in the best way. As we drag through the muck and mire of caring for an elderly relative, I often say to the old man, listen. Should it come down to you making these decisions for me, please just stick me in the cheapest, easiest place possible and leave me, go, live your life. I have spent years cultivating a way to be fine, anywhere. I lived for a year in a van, sleeping on floors and in truck stops. I have held my breath in showers in which I wore tennis shoes to be safe. I have had to slumber on disgusting green room couches and to depend on bathrooms that should have been condemned. I’ll be fine in a lo-fi rest home, for sure.

  • Drummer As Delicate Flower

    Drummer As Delicate Flower

    03/12/2019 Duración: 20min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** This is where I’ve arrived with it all: peace, love, one-heart, common ground. A belief that separateness keeps us enemies, keeps us trapped in our suffering, keeps us simmering in a despairingly low vibration, keeps us choosing war and hatred. You and I are of the same consciousness, manifest to learn from each other. In fact, even the idea of “other” is mis-knowing, and keeps us in pain. Who wants to listen to all that baloney? Happiness writes white. Language falls short and words struggle to bring us anywhere. Walking with my vision on these truths is all I can do, I can’t convince anyone of it.

  • Ode To My Friend, Time

    Ode To My Friend, Time

    21/11/2019 Duración: 19min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** I have reflected some times, where the hell am I trying to go so fast? I have to be the first one anywhere, and where am I eventually going? Do I really want to be first? There is a vivid, funny memory in my mind of sitting in a living room with a group of children, and the adult saying that we were going to go outside to play, and leaping up and running outside to be first, only to bounce off of the sliding glass door. That’s me, on a spring propelling me to be first in line, no matter the consequences.

  • The Right Foot And Other Openings

    The Right Foot And Other Openings

    07/11/2019 Duración: 18min

    From her blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** I also see this in the people I work with. I see that sometimes they don’t even realize that the patterns of misery they are caught have gradually let go in subtle ways, and when I ask after a few sessions about these old ways of being, it’s almost as if they’re surprised I’m asking. Someone who has not been able to sleep for years, for example, when I ask how they slept recently says, “pretty good,” not with any kind of amazement, but more like a matter of course. Whey wouldn’t they sleep well? It’s as if they don’t quite remember the angst of insomnia. Remarkable.

  • Laguna Main: Published by Memoir Magazine

    Laguna Main: Published by Memoir Magazine

    01/11/2019 Duración: 24min

    As a special edition of the Bliss and Drumming podcast, Clementine reads this piece, recently published at *** Sharona bleats from a nearby radio and I close my eyes and imagine Sharona, object of adoration. I imagine Jim Morrison, on a beach with a guitar, writing about his LA woman. I love the Doors. I move to ask if Becky likes the Doors, but her back stops the words from forming, glossy and solid and resolute in the bright sun. It seems that every back, every face these days locks me out. The words stay in my throat. Forget it. I lean back on sinking elbows and close my eyes against the glare. Jim Morrison lolls on the beach in my mind, and I let go of the day and follow him down to this other world. Do women get to be so free, lounging, writing, owning their dreams? Who will write of me?

  • How Reading YouTube Comments Taught Me How to Fly

    How Reading YouTube Comments Taught Me How to Fly

    18/09/2019 Duración: 21min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** I want to say that opening oneself to be vulnerable feels like flying. First you have to push yourself out of the plane, out of the open door through the barrier of fear: fat and sappy and dumb and weak. But once you get over the ledge, once you think, you know what? Hanging out in this loud annoying metal contraption of a mind… or a plane… is over for me. I can’t take it any more! Then, you realize there is no plane. When we can’t take it any more and we throw ourselves overboard into the vast sky of the heart, I gotta tell you, it’s truly like flying. And once you’re out, you really can’t get back in the same way.

  • To Hell or Not To Hell

    To Hell or Not To Hell

    17/07/2019 Duración: 16min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** A funny thing happened during a recent weekends of shows. An unease settled on me, and I felt myself raw and overly sensitive to the slights of others. Maybe it had to do with the heat and humidity of the Midwest weather, or maybe I’ve just been alone too much for a while and the shock of socializing was jarring. Whatever the reasons, I started to fixate a little too much on the typical annoyances of putting on a show. Sub-par backline equipment. The basement dressing room, sweaty and smelling as if a gas generator was on high pumping fumes through the rooms. Maybe it was knowing that each show would be a struggle on foreign gear, since I had flown to the shows instead of driving my own drums. Maybe it was the rude customer at the rental car place, or the loud 10-year olds and even louder mother behind me on the flight, or the stopped traffic from St. Louis to Illinois.

  • Lessons Of The Damn Mockingbird

    Lessons Of The Damn Mockingbird

    13/06/2019 Duración: 12min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** I, too, realized, as I sat on my little cushion with the dog snoring nearby, that I had nothing better to do than listen. I moved into the song, getting closer and closer, until I was inside of it, watching and listening in a way that was almost like being in the center of a symphony, with all its voices and colors and crescendos. This was a symphony not unlike one I attended once with dazzling modern sounds: whistles and metallic patterns and sirens. The sound settled into my awareness until it was not sound, and instead spread out like a ribbon, a wave, that carried me further and further into a feeling of openness. Judgment or preference would rise and fall, and each time this happened and released, I fell further into expanded being.

  • Notes From The Interior

    Notes From The Interior

    30/05/2019 Duración: 12min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** After a while the park opens out into a long drive through the prairie. There is 2% of wild prairie left in the US and this is most of it. The sky is grey and the clouds low, and there is a long wooden walkway leading into the grass. We slip and slide on the ice out and out and out, until we stand with the land undulating around us like we’re standing on top of an ocean. The sky seals up the edges of our sight. I hear only the sound of my heart, the breeze on my cheek, trickle of water and the joy of small birds. There is no hum of humanity, no airplane or car noise. I think of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who is from a town nearby, and imagine for a second that I too am living in this world of prairie. A thought comes through about how much writing I would get done if I lived here, but I can’t hold on to that imaginary scenario long . I have a sense of the wind coming from the edges and I am aware only of expanse of mind, expanse of sky

  • Practice Of Moments

    Practice Of Moments

    10/05/2019 Duración: 16min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** I have a fantasy of monastery life. The 10-day silent meditation retreats I participate in are exquisite, and for so long, when I’m tired and feeling lost, I imagine living at a retreat like Thomas Keating, meditating and writing until the end of days. That will always be a dream. But now, I see how much more fruitful this lovely chaos seems to be for me right now. Maybe the drums are how I find the clear-light, the silence of consciousness. Maybe being a rock drummer is the Clementine version of monastic life. I certainly seem to be built for movement, and exertion, with a gift of stamina that may be lost in a monastery. It’s with challenge that we really transform, and what a challenging career and a way to spend my time have I chosen. I see how my music career IS my practice, as much as my counseling and meditation and writing and driving and all the other ways I spend the moments of this life. My practice is to let go of atta

  • A Conundrum Of Birthday

    A Conundrum Of Birthday

    02/04/2019 Duración: 13min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** The week in Costa Rica led up to my birthday. The travel back involved many legs and different planes, and I spent the day curled up on the couch sleeping it all away. I felt the pull to do something special, but sleeping seemed to be what was called for on this birthday. I was alone, the old man and the pug were out of town, and I let go of offers of fun knowing that I may need a recovery day after travel. Seems I was right. Off and on during the day, big regrets of not making the most of the day rose up, but I let those go. Birthday, shmirthday. Every day is celebration. I had been feted at the previous show. A river of well wishes waited for me on the phone and computer. I closed my eyes and drifted into the gratitude of the love in my life.

  • Finding The Joy In Practice

    Finding The Joy In Practice

    14/03/2019 Duración: 14min

    From the blog, Clementine reads this piece. *** As she told me this, I flashed on remembering when I started learning drumming. When I started playing drums, I had that freedom of feeling that everything was possible. I had no intention of being a professional musician, so learning drums was just interesting. It just opened up my mind to the possibility of doing something that I had never even considered. I didn’t have any blocks of thinking that it could be difficult. I just went into it with joy, and everything seemed to blossom. I certainly want to practice more. What kind of player would I be if I got it together and sat down every day for two hours? Well, I’ll keep at this intent and meanwhile, I open to the joy of playing whenever do I make it to the kit. I see how judgment about practicing has blocked the desire to practice, and how often I keep myself from drums because of this judgment. I see how some days, sitting for 10 minutes feels excruciating, as all judgment, o

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