Ask A Former Touring Drummer For The Pointer SistersAdvice • ISSUE 35•19 • May 19, 1999 Dear Frustrated In Freeport,The other night, I came home from work to find my prize azalea bushes completely wrecked. I didn't witness it, but I'm sure I know who the culprits are: the children next door who are always running wild in our yard! How do I keep my bushes safe without permanently alienating my neighbors?Frustrated In FreeportDear Frustrated,By October of '84, "Neutron Dance" had hit number three, and things were getting seriously crazy. Every night, we'd hit the stage and be standing there in front of 1,500 wild, screaming fans. I remember this one show in Detroit, we were playing the Fox Theater, and it was so loud, I couldn't even hear Anita when she said, "Let's hit it, boys," which is the band's cue to launch into the "I'm So Excited"/"Jump (For My Love)" encore set. And it didn't let up for the entire 90 minutes we'd be out there. Man, it was insane.Dear Frustrated In Freeport,There's a big company dinner party coming up at the boss' house, and I can't decide whether to "dress to impress" or just go with the casual confidence of slacks and a sweater. The invitations say it's just an informal cookout, but this is my boss we're talking about! What do you suggest?In A Quandary In QuincyDear Quincy,For most of the "Break Out" Tour, we were on the road with Midnight Star, and, let me tell you, things got pretty wild. Backstage, after the shows, you'd have all kinds of groupies and freaks and God-knows-what-else hanging around. The guys from Klymaxx used to swing by and party with us a lot, and so did Pat Sobriewski, a buddy of mine who used to play keys for Ray Parker Jr. and is now with Gloria Estefan. I really can't even get into most of what went on. With the double bill, we were drawing upwards of 2,000 people a night, so we were living pretty high, to be sure. I was pulling in some of the best scratch of my career, better than anything short of what I made with Billy Squier back in '80-'81. Those were good times, man, good times.Dear Frustrated In Freeport,My mother's 75th birthday is coming up. I want to go all out and get her something really special, but I'm afraid I'll spend a fortune and end up getting her something she doesn't like. What would be an appropriate gift for an occasion like this?Unsure In UticaDear Unsure,All three Pointer Sisters were cool, but if I had to choose, I'd say Ruth was definitely my favorite. We'd tell jokes, play cards on the tour bus, and just generally have a real good time. I was with her in this hotel lobby in St. Petersburg when she came up with the basic chord structure for "Automatic," and after that, she'd always say I was her good-luck charm. But like I said, all three were real cool. Touring with them was one of the best times I've had in this crazy business. In '86, I left to tour with Richard Marx, and we had a lot of success, especially with the "Repeat Offender" Tour a few years later, but it just wasn't the same. I tell you, I really miss those gals.Jeff Aufiero is a professional drummer whose weekly syndicated advice column, Ask A Former Touring Drummer For The Pointer Sisters, appears in over 250 papers nationwide.