Pierce lives life beat by beat
By Anthony Welch
Christine Pierce lives to play music.
The 60-year-old who celebrates her birthday this month relishes her simple life of working at a fast food joint; living in a quaint downtown apartment and relying on public transportation. The soft-spoken Pierce enjoys relaxing, but she’ll rarely turn down a music gig.
Pierce plays in four, sometimes five, bands in the Colorado Springs area. Occasionally she’ll play a fill-in gig for a band in need as well. She’s played the drums for more than 45 years, taking up the instrument when she was 15 years old.
“I was influenced by Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and Karen Carpenter,” Pierce said. “She was a great drummer and a great vocalist.”
A military brat, Pierce settled down in Colorado Springs in 1976 with her parents Emerson and Maria. Her father retired at Fort Carson back then. Pierce is the only musician in her family.
“My dad didn’t really like it because he wanted me to get into business,” she said.
Pierce persisted, however, fueled by her love for old television shows the “The Lawrence Welk Show” and “Partridge Family,” along with a love for funk music. She was also inspired by watching drummers perform live.
“I really enjoyed watching the percussion section when I was living in Frankfurt, Germany as a youth,” she mentioned. “When I came back to the states, I thought, ‘Yeah, I want to give this a go.’ After high school, I just kept going and going.”
She purchased her first drum set in 1980. That’s when she first started playing with bands. Pierce estimates that she’s maybe played close to 400 shows since that time. She even managed to make a living drumming while touring with a band on and off for 14 years in the 80s and 90s.
“In the 80s and 90s, there were times when I was playing seven nights a week,” Pierce said.
These days, she keeps busy playing with classic rock/blues band Riverbottom, old school country act George Duncan and the Moonlighters, variety band The Risky Business Band and an all-original project – Sargents Sargent. Pierce usually rehearses three times a week. She often plays four to five gigs a month.
When she’s not playing drums or working, she’s usually just taking it easy. She does enjoy playing a little guitar. She took it up while living in Maysville, Missouri. Her favorite player is Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Pierce also enjoys “Star Trek.” She’s a self-proclaimed “Trekkie.”
“I go to bed early. I hardly even go out,” she said. “I have a model of the Enterprise in my apartment.”
Though, on rare occasions, she’ll join her bandmates in hitting a bar to play some pool and have a drink or two. When it comes to staying up late for gigs, Pierce doesn’t rely on energy drinks or alcohol – it’s strictly coffee for her.
“I can’t do a gig without at least one cup of coffee. I only stick to my good ole Joe. Joe is my buddy. Joe is my best friend. Yeah, I love Joe,” she said smiling.
Pierce has never married, but she has had boyfriends.
“I’ve never been married because of music. I’ve had some pretty crappy boyfriends because of music,” she said. “One of them wanted to keep me barefoot and pregnant. I said, ‘Hell no.’ I like being single. I don’t drink or drug or cause trouble. I’ll have an occasional beer here and there, but I really have to be in the mood for it.”
Pierce enjoys playing all different genres of music. That’s when having multiple bands that play different music comes in handy.
“I play country, rock, jazz, funk and blues,” she said. “I don’t stick to one genre. It makes you a better player that way.”
Pierce appreciates each and every gig she gets to play. Her favorite bar, however, is Bloom’s Mill Hill Saloon at the top of 21st Street. Her favorite music to listen to is funk. Her all-time favorite is Average White Band, but she also enjoys Kool & The Gang, Parliament Funkadelic and KC and the Sunshine Band.
“I’m a funkaholic, bigtime,” Pierce added. “I grew up listening to James Brown.”