Holy crap dude! Great stuff. Love these stories!!My story is a little funky.
I played sax in school...then one day we played "wipeout" in like 7th grade and I remember thinking to myself "I could do that. easy" - and as it turns out - I could. So I had this natural inclination on drums... and then I got obsessed and played like 3-4 hours a day all through high school.
I was also lucky to have a band director that was a drummer - so he gave me all these Weckl CDs and the Burning for Buddy tapes, etc.
Well anyways - cut to Senior Year in HS - I Worked at a local public radio station and had my own little jazz show, so they sent me to the Telluride Jazz Festival where I got to interview Kevin Eubanks (and Smitty, etc.). So the structure of that gig is that after you play the main festival - all the artists gig around town so you can get like a longer set right...so since I went to his gig and said Hi and all that and told him I was a drummer too, etc. Well it was like 1am and they let me sit in - which I think they did as a joke really to burn me basically - but I happened to know the tune (Spidermonkey) and it was fast and had odd time breaks....totally nailed it. So turns out that he extended his southwest summer tour but Smitty had a tour planned with some fusion band he was part of when he was younger (M Base maybe from memory?)
Anyways - I got the gig and toured with Kevin Eubanks. So from there it just sort of bossomed - I played with Bud Shank, Greg Abate, Doug Lawrence, James and eventually got a touring spot with Al Dimeola on the World Sinfonia III. During all this heavy jazz stuff - I also played with a lot of more contemporary music - like The Ionics and even played the Warp Tour with a band called Cold Fusion.
So I was in it - this was like 2001-2006 ish.
But then I met my wife and we started a familiy...and it became clear to me that having a family and being a touring musician is one of the hardest things to do - and I came from a broken home and didn't want to NOT to be present for my daugthers.
So I kind of packed it all up and started a business. There was transition period and the emotional pain of turning down gigs...but for a long time I started this business and support my family and was able to do things like take them to Europe and go sailing on the pacific, etc... really provide them a quality life.
So now my oldest is a Junior in college and already becoming this in demand architect and my youngest is almost out of school - I've been slowly getting back into it more full time. I started a jazz trio with this freak of nature good horn player - and we added an MC at this festival we played and that turned into a whole jazz/hip hop band that got featured on NPR a few years ago and just got WINGS and this year we had TONS of shows planned in all these major venues, and signed with a great label for some licensing deals to have our music on some Netflix shows, etc.
All that then COVID haha. (Luckily though we've been lots of live streams and working on the licensing and still have venues doing neat things like paying us half and re-scheduling for later dates, etc. etc.)
So anyways - my business allows me to work from home or on tour, etc. so that's totally fine and the past couple of years I've been transitioning back into being a full time musician (Which everyone else in the band is....so yea - I pay for a lot of meals when we gig haha).
Also just got a contract with Columbia records to be the drummer and a producer for this show and tour that features indigenous musicians (I'm half spanish half peruvian).
Also I'm on the board for "The San Juan Jazz Society" which is a non-profit that helps artists in the Four Corners area - we built a nice outdoor venue down here and host weekly jazz jams (Or DID) and concerts / workshops on one saturday a month - and since COVID we've started filming a live concert series with musicians from the South West called "The Heart Space Live" - the heart space being the name of our venue.
And finally I'm a co-founder of another non-profit called "The Indigenous Youth Arts Education Foundation" that does two things: Promotes arts to indigenous populations that might not otherwise be exposed to it...so taking musicians to cool area and populations and that promotes Indigenous artists to more mainstream venues. We've done workshops and concerts now for like 30k or more students.