3/8/2014

If you have been paying attention, you've noticed I haven't been doing many live shows or videos lately. I had to face some tragedy and loss recently, but I am coming out of all of it a better person and rest assured, I am back to my hard working self now. I have 2 videos in preproduction, one with a just sickeningly talented drummer named Lindsay Martin. Look this girl up on youtube. Since my last blog I have hooked up with the metal band Rusty Eye who just released our Spanish album Saca El Cobre last week. We are currently shooting videos and planning shows. I also got together with my buddy Quentin who sings with Enrot and so I'm playing at least one show with those guys. More? Who knows what the future holds... I'm talking to a few other really great artists about collaborations too. Some cool acoustic singer/songwriter stuff and a few rock and roll bands. So expect more from me in the near future. In addition to music, I've been doing a few auditions for commercials and I have been working with a rad group of students from UCLA on student films and learning more and more about how to work behind the scenes. Second career? Looks like this might be. I'm coming for you, LA. Time to be the guy in all the bands again.

Remember, 3/22 in Anaheim: Night of Debauchery 2 with Enrot! Go to the show and party!

9/5/2013

I pulled in to LA with my girlfriend Jen and my dog on October 1 and it has been the most insane year since. We were immediately greeted by a man that would become my friend and band leader, Happenin’ Harry. With Harry I have had the opportunity to play with members of Iron Maiden, Dio, Fishbone and Ministry and even got to tech for Mike Portnoy! I joined The Tokyo Death Squad and made some videos I’m really proud of. I started teaching at 2 schools, one that focuses on teaching 1-3 year olds to appreciate music, and at the other I give private drum lessons. I started singing, picked up a little piano and started getting more serious about guitar. I was also welcomed here by a group of amazing people, some locals and some who are even newer to LA than me. I’m really lucky. This town is amazing and I can honestly say that I am a much better musician than I was when I left Chicago. I have so many ideas for the future and I have a lot of irons in a lot of fires right now. I’m slowly gaining more students and opportunities for work are presenting themselves in ways that I never even thought about. I seriously love LA and am so glad I moved out here. Thank you everyone for your continued support. It means the whole world.

Having said all that, I have to pay tribute to a very close friend, bandmate, confidant, mentor and any other thing I left out. Matt Ryd was my brother in so many ways. He decided to end his life about a month ago and I’m about to leave for Chicago to play cajon on one of his songs at he public service. I cannot name all the good Matt has personally brought into my life and I won’t attempt to list everything now, but know that that when Matt left we lost one of the best. And if you read his Facebook page, you’ll find that I’m not nearly the only one with this kind of story. Matt touched so many people’s lives. I’m honored to have been so close with Matt and so proud to be involved in his tribute. I just wish he wasn’t gone.

9/31/2012

Stayed the night at my moms and took advantage of the sun. I layed out for like 10 minutes total and that was plenty! The sun is so intense here! The we hit up Alice Cooperstown which was amazing. His show was what inspired this move in the first place. I saw him play with Maiden this summer and his band was so tight and amazing. I just thought, “That is where I belong.” And from there I started planning. Seriously, if you’ve never seen Alice Cooper live, do yourself a favor and catch a show. His band is one of the best I’ve ever seen and the stage stuff can’t be matched. Anyway, the food was good and we had a good time. After that, we went to the Scottsdale Gun Club. This place was amazing! First we got to pick posters for our targets. Of course we picked a couple of gnarly looking zombies. We shot 3 kinds of fully automatic machine guns and tore our targets up. They will be the first “art” that goes up on the walls when we get to LA. Then we spet another 20 minutes shooting handguns. Such a fun day today! Partying with the dogs tonight (my mom has a Doberman and an Italian greyhound that play with Link) and hitting the road kind of early tomorrow. Hoping to get to LA in the afternoon and start looking for a place to live. So stoked to get settled in LA! See you guys soon!

9/30/2012

2 huge days to tell you about! I got up early yesterday morning to get my oil changed. The mechanics were super helpful and told me how to get my car to LA in it’s current condition. Then, after a quick nap, we hit the road for Amarillo. This town is crazy. We didn’t have a ton of time, but we stopped at Tyler’s Barbeque and that was amazing. Texas bbq is incredible. You probably already knew that, but I want to reinforce it. Texas bbq is among the best food I’ve eaten in this lifetime. After that we checked out the Cadillac Ranch, which was really cool. Texas, I gotta say, I’ve only been there twice, but this is one of my favorite states to visit. About 2 years ago I came through with Fashion Bomb on the Ill Nino tour and you guys treated us and me personally, great. This time may have been even better. Texas has always been good to me and I can’t wait to visit again. We made it all the way to Gallup NM before stopping. This was a little adventure too. The local refinery was having a big overtime thing where they brought in a ton of new workers and because of this, on a seemingly random Friday night in New Mexico, EVERY HOTEL ROOM WAS BOOKED!!! We ended up getting the last room at a pretty expensive place. Oh well. At least we avoided sleeping in the car.

Today we had another busy day. Jen and I got up early and drove to the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest in AZ. This was a pretty amazing stop. The rocks and scenery are incredible and the actual petrified forest really has to be seen to be believed. Our next stop was Scottsdale to visit my family and Google took us on this crazy route through all these national forests. The drive was a blast. Got to my mom’s and, of course, she already had dinner waiting. We ate, drank and had a blast. We’ll be here tomorrow night as well then hitting LA on Monday to find an apartment!!!

9/27/2012

Craziest day of the trip so far, and by a wide margin. We started off early, leaving the motel in Tulsa at like 11. Soon after we left it started raining but it wasn’t too bad. We stopped at the Cherokee Trading Post “with live buffalo”! It was way less exciting than I thought. Basically it was a gift shop that looked like it was out of a 1950’s western (or Doc Brown’s image of the wild west from Back To The Future III). Lots of campy kitchy stuff. The buffalo were cool though. I almost got a wolves howling at the moon t-shirt but resisted the temptation. So about an hour after we left the Trading Post my oil light came on. We stopped at the next town, but it was 5:15 so every single oil mechanic was closed! Not wanting to push our luck we checked in to a local motel. This is where the story takes a real turn for the positive. I decided I wanted to eat some Texas bbq and we had past a place on the way to the motel so we decided to stop in. It’s called 66 Stage Line and it’s on Route 66 in Shamrock Texas. If you are ever here, this place is a MUST! I can’t stress this enough. As soon as we walked in the door the head waitress and the manager each introduced them selves. We ordered food and some beers and the manager came to our table and talked to me about his old band that used to tour all over Texas for years. Then he grabbed his acoustic and gave us a private VIP show of some old tunes I hadn’t heard before. The food came during the show and was incredible. I got ribs and they were way better than any bar-b-que I’ve had in Chicago or anywhere else for that matter. Between the food and the show, this was easily one of the best nights of the trip and turned what could have been a rough and stressful night into a real positive. Cross your fingers that all I need is an oil change to get back on the road tomorrow!

9/26/2012

Ok I missed writing yesterday. Super tired when we got to the hotel. We started the day in Louisville and hit up Lynn’s Paradise Café for one of the best meals of my life. Seriously guys, Food Network is right, this place is incredible. Order a hot brown sandwich and thank me later for the recommendation. After that we hung with Jen’s family until about 8:30 when we hit the road. We drove through an insane thunder storm that covered our entire route and stopped in St. Louis. We got there pretty late so just went to bed.

Up and on the road today by 11:30. We stopped at a place called The World’s Largest Gift Shop, which was very boring and a place called The Candy Factory, which was not. They share a parking lot and mascot, but I assure you, that is where the similarities end. Candy rules. What more can I say about that? Bought too much candy and hit the road for a few more hours. Now we’re at a hotel near Tulsa OK eating pizza and watching Doctor Who which makes me very happy. No idea where tomorrow will lead, but I’m excited for it. I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

9/25/2012

Quick move update. Today was SUPER long. We got up at 7am!!! to finish packing and moving and did that with no real break until the pod was packed and gone at like 2:30. Then we cleaned the apartment and loaded the car. Hit the road at about 4:30 and here we are at Jen’s dad’s house in Louisville at midnight.

I’m about to pass out but I just want to take a minute to thank everyone who helped me on the road to getting on the road to LA. I’m going to leave people out but specifically Matt Ryd, Ryan Bodi, Matt’s entire band, Jennifer Jackson and, of course, my family. I would not be where I am today without you guys! I’m feeling super content right now in the thought that I’m really making the right decision. LA here I come!

9/8/2012

I almost can’t believe I’m moving to LA in just over 2 weeks! I confirmed the pod to ship all my stuff just a few minutes ago. But before I can focus all of my attention on this move, I have a few things left to do and #1 on that list is my goodbye to Chicago show! It’s 9/14 at Elbo Room in Chicago. I couldn’t be more psyched. What a great sendoff. I’ll be sharing the stage with a band that I’ve been playing with for years and have become some of my closest friends. John Schieber on violin, Ben Winter on bass, Laura Green singing and playing piano. And we’ll be playing one of Laura’s songs at the show as well! And of course, the incomparable Matt Ryd. This guy is one of the best songwriters, not to mention, one of the most generous and kind human beings I’ve ever known. I consider myself lucky to know him and definitely am a better person and musician because of him. We’ll also be joined by Liana Modestas, who impressed me on the tour so much that I thought we absolutely had to include her in the set. There’s going to be a drum jam, a short acoustic set and more so come out and celebrate with us!

Tomorrow I’m hitting the studio with DEADMANSWAKE one last time before I leave. This is also a fitting bit of closure for me. I’ve played drums on and off with DMW for almost as long as I’ve been playing with Matt and we’ve had some great times. I love the way these guys work and you should definitely give DMW a shot next time you’re trying out some new bands. We’ll be shooting a video as soon as we get to the studio and I’ll be editing it as the day goes. The plan is to have it up on Youtube before I leave the studio. Seems like a tall order. Cross your fingers for me.

Then I just have a few projects left to work on. I’m shooting a drum cover of a Taylor Swift song tonight. I decided last minute to record a song for my student band “Party Crashers” so we’re working on that. A few other little odds and ends, and of course, packing. So I’ll be busy. Feel free to shoot me an email and say hey, especially if you live around LA. See you guys September 14!

8/15/2012

Back from tour and rested enough to actually type up a semi-coherent tour blog! Yeah! So the tour with Matt Ryd was just amazing. I made a new best friend in Liana Modestas and all around it just ruled. We started off in Chicago at Elbow Room. It’s always fun jamming for the hometown crowd and the icing on the cake that night was jamming on Call Me Maybe. Liana couldn’t make this one but we had the awesomely talented John Schieber joining us on his violin. Then we were on to Columbus Ohio. We got to the club early and the turnout wasn’t exactly what we had hoped for, so the band hit the streets to invite people to the show personally. It was a lot of fun and a great warm up show to get comfortable as a trio. The next night we were on to DC, which was a brand new town for me. We had a great crowd at this huge coffee shop and I had a couple of good friends who I haven’t seen in a long time come and check out the show. Afterwards we were treated to a great dinner by some awesome Matt Ryd fans. (Sidenote: if you ever want to get to know a touring musician, offer them a free meal when they’re on the road.) The next day we rolled into Philly way early and I got to have a workout and swim a bunch. Matt has family in the area and they were ALL at the show. It was a blast. After the show we hit Tony Luke’s for cheese steaks and it was on the New York. Again, we pulled in early and everyone went sight seeing around the city. The show was at the legendary club The Bitter End. The placed was packed, standing room only. It was so cool to rock out on the same stage as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, James Taylor and so many other legends of music. I thought that was the strongest set of the tour. Afterwards we watched the Mars landing with what seemed like 1000 other people in the middle of Times Square! Just awesome. The next day was Boston and a show at The Middle East. This is a club where I saw so many punk bands when I was in college and it was awesome to come back and play there. Throughout the set this awesome dog kept coming in and out of the club which made me really nervous. I’ve played in front of my dog a million times, but when it’s your own dog they have to tell you you sound good. After the show the dog let me pet him a lot so I think he liked the set. ;) We took the next night off and stayed in Scranton PA, the home of Dunder Mifflin on our way to Pittsburgh. Great hotel, great dinner, great workout. We packed up and hit Pittsburgh the next day but when we got to the club, we found out it had been closed down for a month and no one bothered to let us know! Oh well. These things happen in music once in a while and if you don’t believe me, check out Spinal Tap. This was such a great experience and I want to thank Matt and Liana for being a huge part of it and thanks to everyone that came to shows. You all rule. 3 more shows in Chicago and then I’m off to LA! Make sure if you’re in Chicago, you come to my farewell show at Elbow Room on September 14 with matt Ryd! See you guys then.

7/27/2012

So much happening! In case you missed it, I’ll be on tour for the next couple of weeks heading up to the east coast with my good friend Matt Ryd and new friend Liana Modestas! I am so psyched to see a lot of you guys again. It’s been over a year since the Fashion Bomb tour with Ill Nino so I hope to see a lot of familiar faces. Tour dates are up on my calendar page and a few of the shows are free so make sure you check us out!

In addition to the tour, the HUGE, life altering news for me is that I’ve decided to pack up all of my stuff in a couple of months and head out west. I’ll be moving to Los Angeles and trying to "make it". I’m certainly not saying I’ve done all I can in Chicago but there is a point in life where you have to go for the gold. I’m so excited and optimistic for this transition. If you know anyone looking for a drummer for recording or live gigs or for a drum or guitar teacher, get that person in touch with me! Or even if you live in LA and just want to chill, make sure you send me a message. I only have a few friends out there and am looking to make more.

So until the big move I’ll be super busy. Tomorrow I’m recording a very cool acoustic version of Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper with DEADMANSWAKE. If you haven’t heard Kryssie Ridolfi sing yet, you are missing out. Then Sunday afternoon I’m coming back to Rock House to record the video for “The Ultimate Drum Cover”. That’s shaping up to be a real can’t miss video and hopefully I’ll be editing both videos in the car on tour and have them on Youtube when I get back. I also picked up another gig with the lovely and talented Lady Laura at Double Door on August 18 so check that out for sure. Oh, and I’m recording a song for Chris Hortola who is WAY out in Vegas. So much new music! I love it!

The move is scheduled for mid-late September. Between now and then I have so much stuff planned. If you come to any of my shows, please don’t be a stranger. Come up, say hey and hang for a bit. And maybe you can even pick up a “DRUMS” t-shirt! See you guys soon!

6/19/2012


Only a month in to selling t-shirts and I already get to make a second order! Thank you guys SO much for that. You all rule. I’m coming up with some new designs and color schemes so keep an eye out. Nothing mind blowing. I just want to sell some cool stuff that people would actually want to wear.

So in addition to selling my new shirts, lately I’ve been working on the new STILL DEATH cover of Blitzkrieg Bop. I dropped the tempo a ton and made it really sludgy and heavy. I’m super happy with the song, especially the drums, which were actually inspired by some of my students who couldn’t play the song at the original tempo. I slowed it WAY down for them and then sort of decided, “Hey, that actually sounds pretty cool.” I’ll have that on the site soon but if you want your own FREE copy you have to sign up for the mailing list.

Teaching has started to die down for the summer, which is nice. I love working a lot but I’ve been going 6-7 days a week for a year now. It’s nice to actually have 2 days off in a row every week. Or at least I think it will be. I’ll let you know.

Music-wise I’m doing a ton of work. I have a show coming up with DEADMANDSWAKE called Dame-Nation that’s going to just be sick. It’s a whole night of girl fronted hard rock and metal bands. I’m super psyched to be a part of this. I guess it’s just the feminist in me LOL.

I also just booked a week long tour with my good buddy Matt Ryd. We’ll be heading up the east coast for a whole week in early August so if you are in NYC, DC or PA definitely mark it on your calendar! I can’t wait to get back on the road. It’s been way too long.

Well, it’s time to get back to working on music. I’m currently figuring out a conga part for The Trooper by Iron Maiden. You don’t often hear someone gallop on hand drums. This is going to be a fun cover. Thanks for all your support and I hope I see you guys at some shows soon!

5/24/2012


First off, sorry I haven’t updated you guys in so long! It has been super hectic over here with teaching new students, getting kids ready for shows and having a TON of shows of my own. The show at Rock House with Party Crashers and Matt Ryd was insane! Remember the Ill Nino Drum Jam? It’s on my videos page. Well, I had some of my students come up and play it and it rocked SO hard! It’s so awesome to see kids that I taught able to memorize parts AND improvise solos all in one song! Check out the Ill Nino version and the Rock House version on the videos page. Party Crashers ended their set with the sickest, punkest version of 99 Red Balloons ever. Goldfinger’s got nothing on these kids.

After that I hooked back up with my old friends in DEAD MAN’S WAKE for a great show at Reggie’s in Chicago opening up for ZERO-1. ZERO-1 is fronted by actor/comedian Hal Sparks and they are a serious rock band. I had a great time and Hal was really cool. He took a picture for me in my brand new “DRUMS” t-shirt.

Speaking of which, I have now officially entered into the world of fashion design! My “DRUMS” t-shirts are available RIGHT NOW on the MERCH page. Right now I only have small, medium and large but I can take special orders if you need a different size.

Just 2 days after the show with DEAD MAN’S I had to reload the car and head to the south suburbs for the Southside Massacre headlined by Soil. This show was so sick. I played with Fashion Bomb and the energy couldn’t have been higher or more positive. The crowd was hot and ready to be rocked. Thank you guys so much for coming out and enjoying the music. Between the new drum part in Sick One, our brand new song Death March and closing with Thunderkiss 69 by White Zombie, this was definitely one I will remember for a long time.

This weekend will be intensely busy for me (I’m playing 3 shows with 3 bands) and then I’ll get some time off to work on my own music. And by my own, I mean a cover of Blitzkreig Bop, a really cool drum cover idea, you might call it The Ultimate Drum Cover, and the video for Carrie.

Make sure you set your DVR for the 11am WGN news tomorrow. I’ll be playing with Xoe Wise and sporting the “DRUMS” shirt. Then I have an early rehearsal with Mike Mentzer and it’s off to Cubby Bear for a show with Mike and Matt Ryd. I’m playing with 2 bands so if you are free, come on out. It will be a great time. Saturday Mike is playing a show at Rock House and some really talented students are going to open up the show. I’ll have shirts available at all of these shows as well.

I’ll try not to take so long between blogs next time. If you have anything to say or ask me shoot me a message. I answer all my emails personally. Thanks for reading.

4/18/2012

April has been, and continues to be, a hugely busy month. And you know me, I LOVE to work so I couldn’t be happier to have so many projects. The show at Exit Chicago with Stephan Portugal went really well. You would definitely never have guessed it was our first show as a band. Thanks everyone who came out late on a Wednesday night to check out the show. Tomorrow I’ll actually be recording a few tracks for Stephan so I’m pretty excited about that.
After that show I had a couple of weeks off to get ready for the Hell On Earth Metalfest being headlined by Fashion Bomb! It was SICK! So many friends came out to check out the show but I really have to thank Mike Kingston, creator of the comic book “Headlocked” (definitely check this out) for changing his freaking flight to make it to the show! I’m glad you finally got to see me play, bro. The crowd was hot and we played with so much energy! It was really great. New bass player Chris was on top of his game and I thought we put on a really good show.
Just a few days before the Fashion Bomb show I released the video for STILL DEATH’s latest song “The Missing Link”. So far it’s been a hit with everyone who’s seen it and I want to say thank you so much to everyone for the kind words. You guys are why I do this so it means a lot to get positive feedback on my stuff. If you haven’t seen the video yet, check it out on my videos page. I played drums, bass, guitar, growled, screamed, produced the song and the video all myself.
That’s about it for now. Make sure you guys come out to The Rock House in Wilmette this Saturday night at 6:30 for a FREE show! Party Crashers will be opening up and I’ll be headlining with Matt Ryd and The Awesomes. We also have a HUMONGOUS surprise in store for the audience. I’m planning on shooting video for youtube but you don’t want to miss this live.
Thanks for reading. See you guys Saturday at The Rock House!

4/2/2012

Wow. That’s all I can say to describe my first spring break in about 9 years. I shot 2 videos. The first was this amazing, insane thing for the song “The Vow” by Fashion Bomb. We destroyed an office building and even got some unbelievable shots from a rooftop right in downtown Chicago. Serenading the entire city for a couple of hours on my drums was just awesome. I’ve also been working on the song and video for my solo project STILL DEATH. It’s a death metal song about my dog, Link, and so far this video is epic. I showed my work in progress to a 12 year old student of mine and it was met with overwhelming approval. I ended my break with a bit of non-musical fun (yes that does exist). I had my birthday party Saturday night and followed that up with WrestleMania on Sunday. All in all it was a really great week. Now it’s time to get back to the grind of teaching and playing and I couldn’t feel more refreshed or excited to get going. See you guys April 4 at Exit Chicago!

3/18/2012

The concert last night at The Rock House was unreal! I put together the first ever all girl Rock House show and it couldn’t have gone better. I was super glad I got to add Kathryn Beeman (see a video I made of Kathryn singing with Party Crashers in October on my "Videos" page)to the lineup as a special guest opener. She sang and played guitar and totally knocked it out of the park. Next up was the brand new all girl pop/folk/rock band Pink Lightning. These girls are all 12 year old students of mine and I couldn’t be more proud of their performance. Finally I had Xoe Wise headline the show. If you haven’t heard Xoe sing, do yourself a favor and check out www.XoeWise.com and listen to some of her stuff. Her voice is so great. After the show Xoe hung out with the girls for like 30 minutes answering questions, taking pictures and signing autographs. Then, the icing on the cake: Xoe let Pink Lightning sign her guitar! It was such a great moment for the girls and I was so happy to be a part of it. My students continually make me so happy. I really am lucky. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you guys April 4 at Exit Chicago!

3/3/2012

I can't wait for my students to play at The Rock House in a couple of weeks. March 17 is going to be ridiculous. Xoe Wise is headlining. If you haven't heard her voice yet, go to www.XoeWise.com right now and give her a listen. She draws you in. The girls in the student band, Pink Lightning, are all super excited. I'm sure they're going to pack the house. The show I played at Rock House with Matt Ryd was a highlight of my career. My students, Party Crashers, opened the show and totally tore the house down. Watching 10 and 12 year olds play Judas Priest is a truly gratifying thing. Then we played and the kids all had a blast and got this amazing experience of opening up for a real professional band. To top it all off, it was the launch of my book, CD and DVD, "All Beat Up A Drum-Torial"! I can't wait to book more of these things. Look for more Rock House shows with Matt Ryd, Dead Mans Wake and Lady Laura coming up!

Thank you, Goodnight!