The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Mustang bandsman gets wish granted

Mustang Band drummer Ricardo Leon went from performing at halftime of football games to rock star status over night.

After adjusting the seat height of the drummer’s stool and arranging the drums to his liking, Leon found himself drumming along with Grammy-award-winning artists Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman and Will Champion, or better known to most as the British alternative rock band Coldplay.

“I was so shocked to hear they were granting my wish,” Leon said. “I wasn’t surprised that Coldplay said yes; I knew that those guys were the kind of people that would do something like that, but I was still in shock.”

Leon, on the reference of his pulmonologist, was granted his wish of getting to play drums with Coldplay by the Make a Wish Foundation.

“I couldn’t really think of anything to wish for, I didn’t want something like a TV or a car,” Leon said. “I figured music is the way to go since I’m very passionate about music. Coldplay is one of my favorite bands, I knew they would do it.”

Drumming since he was 10 years old, Leon is not the usual marching drummer in the Mustang Band. Leon was born with Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, a form of neurological muscular dystrophy. Scoliosis has him drumming from the seat of his wheelchair.

Leon has since transferred to University of Texas at Arlington in pursuit of an architecture degree, but can still be seen zipping along the Ford Stadium field, providing a beat for the Mustang Band.

Leon’s drumming skills were required when his wish was granted at the beginning of December. He said the Make a Wish Foundation provided everything, including putting Leon up in a presidential sweet in his Denver hotel. The concert took place at the Pepsi Center just blocks from his hotel, but Leon said that the foundation still provided a limousine for the short trip.

Leon said when they first got to the Pepsi Center he was taken on stage and was admiring the bands instruments when the foursome came on stage.

“All day before I got there I was extremely nervous, I mean I was about to meet one of the biggest rock bands in the world,” Leon said. “Once they got on stage I forgot they were rock stars, and they seemed really normal; it was so surreal that they were just talking to me like a member of the band.”

After some introductory chatting, lead singer Chris Martin asked Leon which song he wanted to play first and was surprised to find his choice “politic” was the favorite of Martin.

Leon said that he was a little worried about botching some of the song’s drum beats, but was reassured by Martin.

“He told me not to worry about messing up; he said he totally screws that song up every time they play it as well,” Leon said. “He also didn’t think I could really play drums, that I would just be banging on the drums. It was a great feeling after we kicked it off and he turned around and was surprised I could play and mostly knew their songs.”

After finishing the song, Leon thought his wish was filled and the jam session with one of his favorite bands was over, but soon after the song ended Martin turned and asked what he wanted to play next Leon said.

The band went on to play some of their bigger hits with Leon including “Scientist,” and “Chinese Sleep Chant,” Martin’s favorite song from the band’s most recent recording Viva la Vida.

After the jam session was over, ended by a manager stating the band had gone over their sound check time, Leon said he gave them a gift of his own. He gave them four of his paintings he created himself. He said the band enjoyed them so much they were going to hang them up in their recording studio.

Even the equipment staff enjoyed Leon’s time playing with the band. A roadie for the band, known as “Roadie number 42,” writes a blog after every show and mentioned him in his thoughts after the Denver show.

“[It is] clear that he is not only an excellent time keeper, but he also has the parts down to any Coldplay song they care to mention,” the blog said. “They [sat] chatting for a while like old mates, it was a lovely afternoon and Ricardo is an all round top chap.”

Leon was provided tickets to the night’s concert and came back to listen to his jam session mates of a few hours prior. He said that throughout the concert lead guitarist Jonny Buckland would wave at Leon after songs; and lead singer Martin gave him a shout out during the last encore song.

Leon posted videos of his time with Coldplay on YouTube and he said that someone found it and put it on The whole world can see Leon jam with Coldplay under the forum “The Day I Jammed with Coldplay.” Leon said it was posted on Dec. 2, and already has over 1,600 views.

Leon is grateful for his time he got to play with his favorite rock band, and is happy to find that there are still good people that would never be too famous to help a guy like him.

“As far as performances go, it is safe to say that anything I do is downhill from here,” Leon joked. “It is good to know that people, no matter how big or famous, can still do things to help one person.”

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