Band geeks everywhere, vindication day has arrived! After years of enduring torment and ridicule at the multiplex (read: the American Pie franchise), halftime junkies are about to get a major respect fix courtesy of Drumline, a rat-a-tat dramedy that centers on the world of college show-style marching bands (opening today).

"I definitely believe that this film will do [great things] for bands," says 22-year-old actor Nick Cannon, who plays Drumline's ace percussionist. "Because, the stereotype is that marching band isn't really the coolest thing in the world. When I was in high school, we used to throw stuff at the band. Now, this is the coolest thing ever.

"Once people see the movie, they're going to be like, 'Yo, that's a show,'" continues Cannon, best known as the star of Nickelodeon's The Nick Cannon Show. "It's going to make the youth really want to be musicians, which is going to be great for the music programs in schools."

To prepare for his Drumline role, Cannon spent a month training with Florida A&M University sophomore Jason Price — who also served as the thesp's double in the film. "Every day, four to six hours, I was practicing my paradiddles," he says with a laugh. "People got tired of seeing me with sticks. I was just bangin' on [everything]! I even went to sleep with my sticks taped between my fingers because I had to get used to holding them a certain way."

"I still have callouses and scars from my fingers bleeding," he adds, attempting to drum up some sympathy. "My fingers were swollen for like three weeks!"