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Meet Michael, the Drum Master

Meet Michael. Homeless in Indianapolis, he sleeps on the ground near the famed Lucas Oil Stadium by night and drums buckets underneath the Artsgarden walkway for loose change and a few bucks by day.

"Mom got sick one year," he said, "and she asked me and my brother and sister, 'What would you like to get for Christmas?' She was like, 'Get something really big, within reason.' I decided to pick up the drums. So she went out and bought me a drum kit and I’ve been doing that every since."

Michael is unshaven and he smiles like he has an abundance of smiles to give away. "I’ve lost a lot of family members over the years," he said. "My brother died of a drug overdose last year. My mom, she was raped and murdered back in ’06. My cousin just got shot sixteen times in the back. So I’ve got my issues. But with that said, I don’t let it drag me down. I try to be as optimistic and positive as I possibly can."

He lets that sit for a moment, the confusion of nearby traffic mixing with laughter, a toddler crying, some teenage girls holding hands and screaming as they try to beat the light, to create an ambience particular to a big city scene. "We’re the only country in the world that is truly free like we are. It means the world to me to be able to sit out here and play a bucket, make a few dollars. I look at America as being a great place. I’ve toured all over the country. I love America. I’m totally all about America, for sure.

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