hello and thank you


Junior Member
Hi all,

I thought I should finally introduce myself after lurking for about two years. The short version: I grew up playing drums, moved to lead singer/rhythm guitar for 26 years, and returned to drumming just under two years ago at age 50. When I started thinking about drumming again, I came here a lot to read advice, especially on gear (a fairly overwhelming market now compared to when I stopped drumming in 1990!), so a sincere thank you to all of you who post good info.

I live in Cincinnati, drum/sing/write for my band Pike 27 (www.pike27.net), and sit in with some songwriter friends when they need a drummer. My main kit is a Gretsch Brooklyn (12/14/20) with Istanbul Mehmet cymbals. I also have a Gretsch Catalina Club bop kit (12/14/18) and a Roland SPD-SX.

The longer version of my story is that I'm self-taught, as my family was too poor to afford drum lessons and my small Catholic school didn't have a music program. Steve Gadd and the drumming on Aja were early revelations in grade school. Stewart Copeland was my first true love and still a huge influence on my playing. As a freshman in high school, I discovered Rush and punk/new wave at the same time, so Neil Peart and Pete Thomas joined my list of heroes. My first gig was at 16 at a birthday party for a tall, cute ballet dancer who immediately became my girlfriend, so I was hooked. ;-)

My bands got better and more serious to the point that we were working on our first record and ready to hit the road when my co-lead singer/songwriting partner died in a car wreck when I was 23. I didn't know how to play guitar and he would help turn my hummed ideas into chord progressions. I wanted to establish myself as a songwriter, which has hard for a drummer in 1989, so I learned guitar, moved out front, and led a series of Americana/roots rock in Cincinnati, Chicago, and Akron. I filled in a few times for friends who needed drummers, but otherwise didn't drum and didn't even own a kit.

That said, I never stopped thinking like a drummer and banging on things constantly. The first of three steps that led me back was seeing Brian Blade with Black Dub in Pittsburgh in 2011. It was my first time seeing Brian, whose playing I already loved, and I was blown away. It says something when a drummer can make you keep your eyes off of Daniel Lanois and Trixie Whitley. (Incidentally, I got to meet Brian and Daniel outside of a pizza shop after the show - they were very nice.) The second step was filling in on drums for my own band for a few shows when our drummer was out for chemotherapy treatment in summer 2015. It was my first inkling that I could lead a band from behind the kit. The final step was being totally blown away and obsessed with Mark Guiliana's playing on Blackstar in January 2016. It coincided with my being about to turn 50 and thinking a lot about what I wanted to do with my remaining years. A few months later, I bought a kit and went completely down the rabbit hole. (I got to meet Mark at Snarky Puppy's festival in Miami this year after he and Jojo Mayer put on an incredible workshop. I'm fairly certain I sounded like Chris Farley interviewing Paul McCartney, but he was very nice to me.)

I didn't practice much when I was younger -- I just jammed constantly. Now I'm doing rudiments on an almost daily basis and loving it. I fired myself as lead singer of my band (my bandmates thought I was nuts) and I'm getting ready to put together a new Bill Frisell-inspired instrumental trio. I listen to the Modern Drummer podcast religiously and subscribe to MD and Drum. Copeland, Blade, and Guiliana are my holy trinity. I've never been happier as a musician.

If you made it this far, thanks for listening. I have drummer pals here, but no one I can hang with to talk shop, so you'll probably see more of me here on occasion.