On Friday I joined Jessica Lurie and Arne Livingston in opening for and sitting in with Victor Wooten, Dennis Chambers, and Bob Franceschini, musicians I’ve been listening to and admiring for half of my life. Here’s what happened and what I learned:
They walked in and sat down to watch just as we started going over tunes at soundcheck. I was nervous to the point of almost shaking but thankfully my body took over and made the music happen. Living Daylights’ repertoire is full of twists and turns and, this being my first time playing their music, I’m glad I studied and had a strong foundation of practice to fall back on. Preparation and time on your instrument always pays off. I give full credit to mega-bassist Damian Erskine for being a shining example of how a pro gets ready for the stage. He plays through the music on his own, marks up charts so they’re extra readable, and makes his own charts when necessary. Whenever I’m prepping for a gig, I always ask myself “What would Damian do?”
After soundcheck I escaped to the green room to pull myself together. When I came out 10 minutes later Dennis was walking back and met me in the hallway. He smiled big, threw his hands in the air, and said he was looking for me to ask about sitting in. I was stunned and the nerves came rushing back, but he was so kind and funny and personable that within minutes I was fully relaxed, hanging and shooting the breeze with one of my idols. By the time we took the stage an hour later I was completely comfortable and just happy to be playing, free from fear of being judged by the incredible musicians I looked up to, and that’s the key. My nerves were an extension of an irrational fear, and getting comfortable with the source of that fear allowed me to get out of my head and enjoy myself. Our set went great. Continue reading Lessons Learned→
I’m happy to report that I’m now a Sabian endorsed artist! I’m proud to have joined the ranks of some of my biggest influences and favorite drummers including Billy Kilson, Mark Guilana, and Terreon Gully, and I’m excited to put some new cymbals to the test this fall. I’ve been using Sabian’s 22″ Artisan as my main ride for years now with great results (you can hear it on Hardcoretet’s last two records and on McTuff Vol. 3 here) and recently picked up a pair of 13″ HHX Groove Hats, a 21″ HHX Fierce Ride, and 19″ HHX Fierce Crash. All of these cymbals have rich body and just the right amounts of attack and decay, the perfect qualities for the type of playing I do with McTuff and the many other groups I get to play with. Thanks to the folks at Sabian for making great cymbals and giving me the opportunity to represent them.
Happily, with the endorsement comes plenty of chances to put those cymbals to good use. Tomorrow McTuff embarks on a two-week, 12-city west coast tour along with the extremely talented players of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. The band is celebrating its 20th year of making music with a new record and national tour, and McTuff is honored to join on dates from San Diego to Seattle. Check the Performances page to see when we’re in your city, spread the word, and come see a show!
Finally, with the members Hardcoretet so busy with their respective projects (Polyrhythmics, Heatwarmer, McTuff, etc) the band is on a bit of a sabbatical. Aside from missing out on making music with those guys, I’m also left without an outlet for writing music of my own. To that end, I’ve started a project called Happy Orchestra that will feature a rotating cast of my favorite musicians and will play a few big shows a year. The inaugural performance will be at Tiborfest at Nectar Lounge on Friday, November 7th and features members of McTuff, Polyrhythmics, and Funky2Death. The bill also includes Richie Aldente, another one of my favorite Seattle groups, and promises to be a ridiculously good time.
Thank you all for your support and encouragement! I’ll see you out there…
This summer has been one of great shows and new experiences. McTuff performed at Blacksheep Family Reunion and Summer Meltdown, with a set at Bumbershoot on the way. The band played to a packed house at Seattle’s Nectar Lounge and joined forces with Skerik, Steve Moore, and Hans Teuber for two nights of horn-filled goodness. Outside of McTuff, I had the pleasure of recording on Bill Doerrfeld’s upcoming piano trio album along with Jon Hamar, bringing together Andy Coe and Evan Flory-Barnes for a Lick Trio gig, and maintaining Hardcoretet’s residency at the Seamonster. I’ve performed in Fremont, Columbia City, Cap Hill, Downtown, Redmond, Garberville, Portland, Eugene, Hood Canal, Kenmore, Tidewater, Gray’s Harbor, Yakima, Walla Walla, Darrington, Manson, Missoula, Billings, and Bozeman with more on the way. Oh, I also now play bass in a Lake Street Dive cover band.
On the personal side, I moved to Ballard and I WENT BUNGEE JUMPING! It was incredible.