THE JOY OF NOISE
i’ve always been attracted to playing something traditional and then giving it a spin, like an old egyptian beat played on homemade percussion or bongos (my favorite). those facsimiles flirt with your imagination. i like hearing when jazz drummers play rock n’roll, the way they displace the backbeat is really fun.
i’m from washington d.c. via cleveland. in d.c. i was lucky enough to be in a band called urban verbs . it was in the early punk rock days when u could feel a new energy in the air. we played at cbgb’s in nyc and got discovered by brian eno who recorded a demo for us that resulted in a warner bros. record deal. we worked w/ steve lillywhite too. and we felt like we made up our own language in music.
SWEET RELIEF MUSICIANS FUND
i volunteered to fly to nyc to play a benefit for sweet relief on MTV’S 120 minutes. i played behind a lot of friends including michael penn and victoria williams (whom the benefit was structured around)
as a result i became lou reed’s drummer for several years. performances with lou included leno, letterman, mtv, the shrine auditorium in los angeles, a recording of ‘september song’ (94… on you tube ..it was shot in a warehouse in toronto)’live on letterman’ album, etc.
i studied w/ avante garde drummer paul motian who encouraged me to play w/ abandon…..the strength of going for the moment. thinking of colors like orange and red while playing. he had me play the rhythm of piano music .he played for me a record of baby dodds and told me to notice how different it sounded when he would start playing the bass drum on all 4 beats. he was a true non conformist.
BLUES FOR IGOR
i worked w/ a travelling vaudeville troupe for many years called the flying karamazov brothers. one of our concerts was memorizing igor stravinsky’s l’histoire du soldat for the next wave festival at the Brooklyn academy of music. we did it verbatem and the music gelled so well it felt like we were playing the blues. my kit as indicated was a few toms, a snare, triangle, cymbal and tambourine. i played a similar kit to this on a song for John Cale for his record Circus. and on one of my solo albums The interplanetary note beat conference (w/ nels cline and larry goldings) on a piece called 1958.
i’m obsessed with bongos. there’s a number of you tube videos w/ me but there’s one in particular where i get to solo on bongos and explain a groove i made up in 7/4 that includes the martillo rhythm. i’m proud to be endorsed by gon bops. i’ve studied w/ mike pacheco (1950’s hollywood fame) kevin ricard, frank colon, angel figuerora, and other percussionists where i could apply stuff to bongos… i.e., aloke dutta (tabla player), paul motian (jazz), brad dutz (mid eastern), cassio (brasil). i’m excited by the 70’s playing for example ‘the incredible bongo band’ and various guest percussionists on the rolling stones records,and various jazz albums. i’ve released one vinyl record ‘jupiter now!’ and three cds, ‘new thing on jupiter’, ‘vibration of sound’ and ‘the interplanetary note beat conference’. they can be found on cdbaby and digitally on groundlift.org.
in 2002 i was invited to do a percussion freak out at South by South West music conference in austin, texas. it was at ritz lounge..wild and crazy…
theres a book called STICKS AND SKINS i’m in w/ about 500 other drummers from all over the world..super privilige to be in it… (p. 217)
credits include urban verbs, rickie lee jones, zee avi, gruff rhys (from the super furry animals), flight of the conchords, muppets movie, k.d.lang, lou reed, john cale, steven bernstein, laurie anderson, fiona apple, jewel, everlast, money mark, victoria williams, mark olsen, beck, michael penn, bebel gilberto, luscious jackson, marianne faithful, kid congo powers, madeleine peyroux, bo diddley, nels cline, robin holcomb, don cherry, and j.g. thirlwell
music is a universal language for sure.. DF
east Hollywood, 2012