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           The sight, and taste, of my own blood......
           Can really do it for me.
           Drawing some of the red stuff during intense physical activity wears like a badge of honor. Proof that I gave it my all. Testament that I turned myself over to whatever I was doing. That I, literally and figuratively, left it all on the field.
           Put another way, blood is a big turn on.
           When a musician is up on stage, giving it everything they’ve got, laying out their heart and soul for all to experience, we say that they’re bleeding for their audience. Bleeding for their music. As a drummer, I get to bleed for you, not only emotionally, but physically. I’ve drawn blood plenty of times drumming, the sticks rubbing and splintering against the skin on my hands. I dig it. I really do.
           At about eleven or twelve, when I first considered playing an instrument, I was drawn to the drums, unconsciously at the time I’m sure, in part because of the physicality of the instrument. We drummers may not be able to move around the stage, but we move our bodies in powerful, beautiful, and unique ways. We’re always the sweatiest ones up there, if we’re doing rock music right, and it’s a true physical workout. A drummer can get their whole body involved in their music in ways that other musicians, because of the nature of their instrument, simply can not. And, sometimes.......we even get to bleed. For real. Very cool.
           Whenever I played sports, I wanted to bleed. In fact, I would play with a barely controlled reckless abandonment that assured it. For example, I would play softball, in shorts, and slide into a base whenever I had the chance, even if it wasn’t completely necessary. The fields we played on were not of professional grade, so the dirt was rough and corse. I didn’t just get raspberries on my legs and butt; I got whole patches of them. And those wounds would get reopened, week after bloody week. I would usually be bleeding by the middle of the game, which would fuel my passion, and I would go at it even harder, and get into the game even more. More blood meant more energy, more focus, and in fact more fun.
           When I boxed in college, it was the same thing. My best moment, in my two year collegiate boxing foray, was, in fact, when I knocked a dude on his ass, with a perfectly thrown jab, after he had broken my nose and made me taste my own blood. My opponent’s ability to make me bleed profusely actually did more for me than it did for him.
           This is not a masochistic pursuit. Well, maybe it is. Because it does hurt. Sometimes a lot. And I do derive great pleasure from it. But it’s a different kind of pain/pleasure relationship. It’s pain with a purpose. Maybe that’s the key. The purpose is to drive up the intensity, the commitment, the passion, the focus, the drive, the performance.
           Whether it’s drumming or softball or boxing, I’m not bleeding just for the sake of it. If, for example, I took something during a game and cut myself on purpose, in an act unrelated to my participation, just to make myself bleed, it wouldn’t have the same effect. Believe me, I know, because I’ve tried it a few times, in an attempt to psyche myself up for a game. It doesn’t work.
           The drawing of blood has to be part of the action, a piece of the actual life play. It’s not method acting. It’s not acting at all. It’s real. As real as it fuckin’ gets, in fact. Bleeding forms a connection to external physical reality, to what’s actually happening in the world. Being a man of great introspection, a man constantly aware of his inner world, a man of very deep feeling and very deep thinking, a man sometimes far too involved with what’s happening on my inside and not paying enough attention to what’s happening on my outside, blood instantly bonds me to that external reality. And I need that. My being intuitively knows that. So sometimes it goes out and gets what I need; the spilling of my own blood.
           The energy behind that is the same energy that makes me love to sweat, love to engage in physical activity, love to feel the exquisite interaction of my body with the physical world. It’s the energy that makes me a very sensuous man, a very sensual man, a man who loves to touch and be touched. A man who has a healthy dose of physical hedonism in him and doesn’t ever want to lose that.
           A man who loves to bleed.

    ©2013 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.

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