Jeremy Hampton: Little Drummer Boy
“The Little Drummer Boy” is a familiar holiday tune about a poor young boy who performs for Baby Jesus. While the song itself is a Christmas classic, the Rankin & Bass TV version received only a lukewarm response in Nielsen ratings. Children were put off by the lead character, who wore a wooden expression on his face throughout. He never smiled – not when his pet lamb was miraculously healed, and not even when Baby Jesus smiled at him.
In hindsight, we think the Rankin & Bass production was ahead of its time, but 50 years ago there just wasn’t anybody out there with enough charisma for the lead role. Today, we know of the perfect person. He possesses the excitement, poise, and glamour needed for the protagonist’s part. With piercing eyes framed by a rugged face and well-groomed beard, our guy even has an infectious smile.
Meet Jeremy Hampton! CORE Church members readily recognize Jeremy as the accomplished drummer for our popular praise and worship band. His resume doesn’t end there. He’s also a house manager, recovery instructor, spirituality class teacher, softball team member, and volunteer for CORE special projects. Jeremy is able to serve in these positions because he has recovered.
While people today have difficulty picturing this, five years ago Jeremy was a struggling addict who hit rock bottom. He told us “I was doing a lot of meth, weed, everything. I was 118 pounds and malnourished. I was sleepng in my car and miserable. I was dying.” His predicament was the product of denial and blaming others. “My thinking was that I just needed to get away, change my location and friends, then I’d be fine,” he recalls, “it all made sense in my head at the time.” Jeremy shook his head while telling us this, and we understand why. Within CORE, we know that such thinking is eternally wrong. Unfortunately, it’s terribly common with an addict trapped in the cycle of addiction.
By the end of his last spree, everything Jeremy had worked for in life was gone, again, and this time he had nobody to turn to for help. The moment finally had come for him to quit, but he couldn’t, no matter how hard he tried. In desperation he called our program manager Kevin Hunt who, Jeremy says, “answered my phone call and got me in [CORE]; he probably saved my life.”
Jeremy worked his recovery program in earnest and, after 6 months, was doing Steps 10, 11, and 12 daily. He vividly remembers the exact moment when he “suddenly realized” – in the Big Book’s words – “that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.” Jeremy was at his place of employment, a local resort:
I opened a drawer, and there was a bag of dope. I’d never expected to see that there, but I went and flushed it without really even thinking. Five minutes later, it hit me. There was no craving or desire. My mind didn’t race about how I could do it without getting caught. And that’s when I knew it; the miracle had begun. It was an awesome realization.
Jeremy credits his recovery to God, who he sees as loving, forgiving, and understanding of his past. He maintains conscious contact with Him by “expressing willingness, by doing the act of getting on my knees, praying, and by doing the steps.”
He shows gratitude to God through abundant service work. Within a few months of his recovery, Jeremy went through our presenter’s training and began studying the AA Big Book cover to cover. In his first class, he told us, “I was so nervous. My mouth was dry and I could hardly talk.” He walked through fear by faith, nevertheless, and now Jeremy’s recovery classes are always popular with clients. In time, he also began helping teach our weekly spirituality classes which, he says “probably helps me more than it helps anybody else. It makes me really dig into scripture and learn.”
At CORE, we are so very happy and pleased for Jeremy! We sincerely hope that his association with us bears fruit and continues for years to come. But – what does Jeremy see for his future? His answer for us was altogether encouraging.
He enjoys his profession in real estate, but he also feels that God may be leading him into working full-time with clients in recovery. There has been talk of CORE possibly opening a third recovery center. Jeremy hints that if this does happen, he may be interested in helping get this started and underway. He said, “that looks like where my calling and destiny is headed, where God wants me. It’s in the recovery field, and I’m at the point where I need to surrender and give into what God wants.”
Ordinarily, we might conclude Jeremy’s story here. We know, however, that many Readers are fans who really want to hear about Jeremy’s musical career. We dug hard to get this information, which is 100% true, so here goes.
Jeremy always had a knack for music. He remembers rhythmically beating on pots and pans as a toddler. When he was 7 years-old, Santa Claus brought him a “Fraggle Rock” drum set – a child-sized, working drum kit, with Jeremy’s favorite Muppets shown on the bass drum!
While these seem like humble beginnings, Jeremy already was on a trajectory toward musical greatness. He never had formal lessons and didn’t need them. He rose from being first chair in junior high, to jamming with garage bands in high school. By his early 20’s, Jeremy played with a local rock band whose popularity took it to towns up and down the Mississippi River. Sadly, his musical career was derailed by drugs.
In Jeremy’s mind, being a member of CORE’s band today is a great blessing. When given the opportunity to play, Jeremy says, “I was grateful and cherished it. I still do.” In our humble opinion, his performances are central to the band’s pulsating energy, a conduit of raw power. His drumsticks seem to blur in a whirlwind of controlled chaos, yet his limbs move with precision and dynamic athleticism. Each rhythmic crash of his cymbals sends the crowd into excitement, mesmerized by sound, movement, and spectacle alike.
It’s a pity we don’t have an actual pic of Jeremy performing, because it’s really something. Happily, our graphic artist has been kind enough to make a fun facsimile that gives Readers a mental picture. He looks something like this: