Bang the Drum, Ashley
Airdate 17 September 1990
Written by Shannon Gaughan
Directed by Debbie Allen
The Fresh Prince Project
Clubba Hubba

Bang the Drum, Ashley is the second episode of Season 1 of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.


The household hits a sour note when Will pawns Ashley's violin to get her a drum set.[1]


The Banks start their day off in the family room. Philip experiences headaches from work and Geoffrey offers him some aspirin. Meanwhile, Will is upstairs singing obnoxiously, much to Philip's annoyance. Ashley then appears and asks who's going to be her afterschool escort. After Hilary refuses to do so, Philip tasks Will with driving Ashley to and from her violin lesson on Wednesday afternoons. Though Will is reluctant to do it, he drops his cousin and her friends off to their lesson.

After sitting through hours of noisy violins, Will admits how nice it was hearing the music, but Ashley reveals that she's not actually interested in the violin, and that's she only doing it to please her father. Will convinces her that she needs to do something she enjoys, and not try to be like her father.
After another annoying day at work, Philip comes home to the loud obnoxious drumming coming from Ashley's room. Upon entering, he finds Will teaching Ashley to play drums and calls for Vivian. Will tells them they pawned Ashley's violin, which angers Philip. However, Vivian feels that Ashley should try something new if she wants.

Will's friend Jazz enters the room, who he claims is going to be Ashley's new mentor. After Philip and Vivian leave, Jazz begins a demonstration with the drums, with Will humorously dancing beside him.

Sometime later, the family is in the living room trying to enjoy their tea time, but not so much, as the drumming continues to go on. Philip calls Ashley down to enjoy tea with her family. Ashley comes downstairs, along with Will and Jazz and the family plays some classical music by Brandenburg Concertos. Philip tries to get Ashley to appreciate the soft, smooth rhythm of the music until Jazz ruins everything by playing with the records, prompting Philip to toss him out of the house for the first time.

Later that night, Philip and Vivian have a discussion with Will and Ashley. Ashley reveals to her father that she never enjoyed playing the violin, then reveals to Will that she doesn't like the drums either, but was just trying not to disappoint the two. Vivian then jumps in, telling Ashley doesn't need to worry about pleasing any of them and to just do what she enjoys best. Ashley then embraces her mother, then tells her she wants to quit ballet, which Vivian doesn't agree with. Seeing this, Will and Philip are disgusted by how she wants to quit everything, and how low her attention span is. The show ends with Will claiming he blames television.


Will Smith as Will Smith
James Avery as Phillip Banks
Janet Hubert as Vivian Banks
Alfonso Ribeiro as Carlton Banks
Karyn Parsons as Hilary Banks
Tatyana Ali as Ashley Banks
Joseph Marcell as Geoffrey Butler

Recurring cast

DJ Jazzy Jeff as Jazz

Guest starring

Bette Ford as Madame Chatchka


  • Ashley: Mommy, who's gonna take me to my tennis lesson after school today?
  • Vivian: Are you sure it tennis today, sweetie? Maybe you better check the schedule.
  • Will: Schedule?!
  • Ashley: Yeah, my parents bought me this calendar so I can keep my lessons straight. Did you have an after school schedule when you were my age?
  • Will: Yeah, the TV guide.
  • Ashley: See, Monday's for ballet, Tuesday's writing, Wednesday's violin... oops.
  • Vivian: I thought today was violin today, sweetpie.
  • Carlton: You mean Ashley would've shown up to her violin lesson in her tennis outfit?


  • Hilary: Ha, I just pictured it.
  • Carlton: Well, I'm two for two. I'm gonna quit while I'm ahead.
  • Will: That's just retirement.
  • Carlton: Ouch, keep 'em coming, Will.


  • Will sings "The Power" by SNAP! and, accompanied by Jazz on drums, "Pump Up The Jam" by Technotronic.
  • This is the first appearance of Jazz and the first time he gets thrown out of the house.
    • It also marks the first time he tries to make a move on Hilary.
  • The scene where Jazz is thrown out of the house in this episode is the same exact clip used in every Fresh Prince episode he gets thrown out the front door.
  • This is one of a few episodes Philip is shown with a shaved beard.
  • The episode name is a pun on the 1956 baseball novel (and later film) Bang the Drum Slowly.
  • Wills and Philip's lines, "Aww come on Uncle Phil, you gonna ruin my rep!" and "You're only 17, you don't have a rep yet!", come from Will Smith's song "Parents Just Don't Understand."
  • When Geoffrey gives Philip some water, the amount of water changes between shots.
  • Philip says that Will is 17, but in a later episode, Will says he left Philadelphia when he was 14.
  • Phillip asks Geoffrey to put on "the Brandenburg Concerto." Since there are six of them, he would have ask which number he wants. The one they play is Brandenburg Concerto #2.
  • When Uncle Phil drinks water for his second aspirin, he drank about 1/4 of the water. In the next shot, the glass is nearly empty. After this second shot, the water is 3/4 full like before.
  • In this episode, Will is revealed to be 17 and Ashley is 9. In later episodes, such as "Just Infatuation," she turns 12, but Will still remains 17 throughout the season.
  • Due to Will being only 17, he would not be able to legally pawn Ashley's violin.



  1. DVD description