Colorado

MountainCity ~ A Family Band

By | Music | No Comments

In my early 20s I was the band leader for a church youth group in Longmont – Planet Youth. It was a singular experience and highlighted by being in a band with my brother, Dave. Growing up I remember us jamming on Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze even before he was a teenager (I was thrilled and proud my kid brother played guitar so well), but we’d never been in a band before.

Over the years I would frequently come back to the idea of being in a band together, and, while we would play on occasion, nothing consistent worked out. And honestly, we’ve had our ups and downs and it’s taken time and perspective for us to iron some things out.

But now, here we are! Presenting the band MountainCity 🙂

Dave and Tara (his wife) have laid a ton of ground work to get MountainCity started. The first song, This Is Love, has been recorded and released, website is up, social media is in place (see Facebook, Instagram, YouTube) and the first show is in the books.

We’re also doing a Kickstarter so we can record some more music. See below.

Like with any business, you need start-up capital – someone who believes in you and is willing to invest. Traditionally this would be a record label but the music business landscape has changed making this a less feasible option. So rather than go into debt or try to find a record deal that would leave us hamstrung, we’re asking people to listen to the music, check out the social media and consider donating to help us see if the music will strike a chord.

Regardless, I hope you’ll enjoy discovering MountainCity! This is something I never thought I’d be able to do and I’m grateful for the chance to play in a family band 😉

 

Quitting the Drums

By | Music, Philosophizing | 5 Comments

I quit playing the drums a couple times – the first was around 9th grade. I was tired of lessons and practicing, didn’t have a very exciting musical outlet and frankly was more interested in skateboarding. I guess the break lasted about a year.

The second time was a more complex situation. I’d just completed my first year as a music major at DU and was disillusioned with school and overwhelmed by the work. Certainly I was struggling with laziness, had some of the little fish, big pond thing going, but there were also frustrated expectations and some bad experiences.

My girlfriend at the time was moving to Portland so I decided to follow. Another complex situation. I worked odd jobs, went to CD and book stores and spent time with her. During that year I didn’t play drums and considered selling my set.

To circle back to my time at DU, one of the main reasons I felt overwhelmed was because of my sudden exposure to SO MANY phenomenal drummers. I felt like there was no place for me. If I had a band, I would’ve hired one of them over me any day!

After leaving Portland I moved back to Denver and ended up playing again through some connections with musicians I had from DU. There were 2 main reasons I decided to start playing again and they are the inspiration behind this blog post.

First, I saw that there were more opportunities to play than there were drummers. They couldn’t be everywhere at once so I’d get chances to play by default if nothing else!!

Second, and much more importantly, I realized that I was the only one who could be me. I was the only one who could fully realize MY artistic voice and at some point, others would need or want the perspective that only I could bring. All I had to do was keep trying and hopefully someday I’d be in that position. Obviously there was no guarantee, except that if I didn’t try, it was guaranteed NOT to happen.

These were powerful, inspiring ideas for me that have helped buoy me along ever since.

Falling Asleep Drumming

By | Music | 6 Comments

I must’ve been about 21 years old. I’d had very little sleep, wasn’t eating well and was taking every musical opportunity that came my way – jazz gigs, experimental music, rock and latin gigs, musicals, jam sessions, etc.

Paris on the Platte

The gig was playing jazz at Paris on the Platte in Denver. The crowd was younger (high school/college age) and focused on drinking coffee, intellectual conversation and being counter-culture. I was in a fog. I don’t even remember who the other musicians were.

I do remember my head snapping up and waking out of a dream to realize that I had nodded off and I was still on stage playing the DRUMS! I quickly looked around but none of the other musicians were looking at me and no one in the crowd flinched. After my heart stopped pounding I realized no one was listening. Like, no one.

And no one cared.

I began to wonder why I was there.

It was a clarifying moment.

I was scared and disappointed that night because I thought I was there to play music that would help bring everyone together and transport us all to that “other dimension” which music can and I thought I had destroyed that chance. Turns out I was just hired to do background music haha!! And really it was an opportunity to practice my craft and gain life experience. I was putting in time toward those “10,000 hours” so that in the future I could be ready to help facilitate those special musical experiences when they did happen.  Seeing the situation for what it was and getting ahold of WHY I was there really helped.

There’s always the chance that someone’s listening, though 😉

Learning Double Bass Drumming

By | Practicing Drums | No Comments

Happy New Year! I wish you all a great beginning to 2016! Welcome to my blog.

To dive right in, one of my most recent ideas is to do a series of videos about double bass drumming. I have never invested consistent time into learning double bass and as a teacher, I want to be able to help my students who are interested in learning it. So I thought maybe there’s a way I could chronicle the process AND provide a way for drummers to learn along with me.

The videos are pretty low-budget (haha) but functional (I hope). Sometimes having something to practice along with in real time is an added motivator and makes it more fun!

The YouTube playlist is here: Practice Double Bass Drum with Me!

If you have any questions or feedback, it would be great to hear from you!

J