While the Baltimore Ravens were giving the Buffalo Bills a 47-3 beatdown on Sunday, Peter Zirpolo was known only as a systems analyst with a side job in the Ravens’ marching band.
Less than a week later, he is known around the world for his air drumming prowess after a tweet from News 8 went viral.
Since the tweet posted on Monday night, it has over 8.5 million views and more than 95,000 retweets.
“It’s been crazy,” said Zirpolo on Thursday. “The band members think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.”
A lifelong Rush fan, the 54-year-old began playing drums in the 4th grade. He moved to the Baltimore area 15 years ago and soon after joined the Ravens’ marching band along with his three kids as a cymbal player. In 2013, he gave up playing when he was named the band’s vice president, which put him in charge of budget and logistics.
Luckily for the world, Zirpolo never gave up air drumming.
“I haven’t been behind a kit in about 15 years, but I air drum in my car,” he said. “When I go to buy a car, the dealer thinks I’m nuts because I’ll thrown on some music and start air drumming, to see what the steering wheel, the dashboard, and the door sound like.”
Zirpolo says he’s been caught on camera dancing or lip-synching, but he never captured eyeballs like he did on Monday night.
“A few buddies from the band said ‘Pete, do you know you’re on Twitter?’,” said Zirpolo. “I didn’t know. I was watching Monday Night Football.”
“I had people texting me running totals during the game. You’re at 100,000, 150-, 200,000. I’m like ‘Okay, it’ll have a short shelf life,’ but that didn’t happen, it’s still going.”
With so many people interacting with the original tweet, Rush’s official twitter feed caught wind of Zirpolo’s invisible skills.
“With all the tweets I’ve gotten, one of the best ones was from Rush themselves,” said Zirpolo. “One of the bands I’ve never seen in concert but I love them dearly.”
In an age where social media can be a sea of cynicism, the response to Zirpolo’s air drumming has been unanimously positive.
“I haven’t seen any negative comments at all,” said Zirpolo. “[My family] think it’s hilarious. My brother in New Hampshire, he thinks it’s great. My brother in North Carolina, my other brother in Florida, my kids are all over the place, they think it’s fantastic. It’s been a hilarious situation.”
Zirpolo is thrilled that so many people enjoyed watching him rock out and firmly believes in the power of music.
“I love the Ravens’ marching band,” he said. “It gives me and 150 of my closest friends the outlet to perform on a worldwide stage at every home game.”