Re: Your music background?
I began by listening to my parents record collection. They had music as diverse as swing to the Carpenters and everything in between. I would listen to the Tijuana brass then Deep Purple. But my love as a small child was The Sweet. :-)
As I turned into a teenager anything was possible, prog by Yes and King Crimson, movie themes (James Bond in particular) and loads of jazz. Over time rock died for me, it just seemed to repeat itself ad infinitum. This is the late 70's through til the mid 90s. I far enjoy modern rock than that of the "classic rock" bands of old who I really think should be retired. I enjoy hearing new music, not old hat music I've heard time and time again. I think "what's the point???" And mean it. Really mean it!
My first drum teacher turned me onto funk in a big way. So from the beginning of instruction I was into Clyde and Mason, Garibaldi and Clark. Plus all the other guys like James Gadson and Purdie.
My jazz list was extensive and covered everyone from the early people such as Baby Dodds to the who's who of modern jazz players.
Then I heard some Cuban music and began studying percussion, congas, timbales etc. Then I heard samba and joined samba groups playing surdo, pandeiro, tamborim, agogos etc. African music followed, and then Gamalan....... On it goes.
I also studied with several high end drum teachers, Virgil among them and continued to play drums as well as percussion.
My first band was a rock garage band. That was followed by stints playing reggae, ska, punk, rock, top 40, latin and samba, touring playing either drums or percussion and continues to this day save for an interuption of a few years when I became ill. Now I teach drums and percussion and love it! I find teaching to be as, if not more fulfilling than gigging. To see a student's face light up when he or she discovers something new is just great.