My dad always had records going and the way he smiled at the music made me want to do that. I wanted to make him smile...bob his head. He played me all the things he grew up on: Steely Dan, Doobie Bros, Zeppelin, James Taylor. Then I started digging into jazz and the history of the instrument. I found guys that were pushing drums and music forward. They sounded very much like folks that came before them, but they also sounded very much like themselves. Guys like Jay Bellerose and Brian Blade...I can listen to those guys all day. I have always thought finding out who I was as a player was the toughest part of being a musician. You know, learning what "success" looks like for you...but now I am understanding that success is offering up what you have to give to music. You can contribute, you are important to the story of music. Story is a big deal to me...we all have one, and they are all real and relevant. The guys I look up to musically and just as people, all tell a great story...literally or figuratively. Music, and specifically, the drums, should be a vehicle for us to tell that story. Success isn't about who you play with or where, but whether you have something to say and if you say it well.
Most memorable Next-Level PerformanceI don't know that I unlocked any level of playing, but playing the Ryman in Nashville to a sold out crowd for the first time, was pretty magical. I was also fortunate enough to play Red Rocks...that was bananas!
What Drives Your Creativity?Guys that came before and those that push us further. Jay Bellerose, Vernel Fournier, Brian Blade, Art Blakey, Steve Gadd, Frankie Dunlop, Jerome Green...you can go on and on! Im a history nerd, so understanding where we as drummers are coming from historically really inspires me.
Why do you choose Vic Firth?My favorite Vic instrument is the SD12...they feel great and always inspire me to stretch out a little bit.