Ok, I know it’s been a while since you heard from me, but I’ve been busy. Who knew semi-retirement could be so exhausting! Lots of great adventures this summer. Martha’s Vineyard for four days in late June, where I got to see not only Rick Marotta, but one of my best pals, Harry McCarthy! Then to Bermuda for a week, home for a couple of weeks, then back to Martha’s Vineyard for two incredible weeks, where we entertained family and friends. Martha’s Vineyard is truly a little slice of heaven off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
After getting back from Bermuda, The Doobie Brothers came through town (almost literally – they were right next door in Cohasset, MA) and I caught up with old buddies (and drummers) Ed Toth and Tony Pia. I first met Ed in 1997 through Carter Beauford. Ed was playing in Vertical Horizon, a great band from the Boston area, that went on to enjoy some commercial success. I signed Ed around 1998 or 1999 and he joined the Doobie Brothers in 2005 after longtime drummer Keith Knudsen passed away. Tony Pia played with Maynard Ferguson and was introduced and recommended to me by Gregg Bissonette. He replaced Mike Hossack in 2010 who passed away in 2012, one of the two original Doobie Brothers drummers (John Hartman is the other). It was great to see Jim McGathey and Steve Pappone, Paul Francis and Jeff Westhaver from Zildjian, who also went to the show.
I had dinner recently with a drum industry colleague and friend who works in Artist Relations (my former job for anyone just tuning into the show) and our conversation brought back many great memories of working in the drum industry for 30 years and inspired me to get back here and write. I won’t mention this person’s name, because associating with me could be the end of a great career! He encouraged me to keep sharing my experiences in the drum industry and our conversation really inspired me to do so.
We talked about why we got into working in Artist Relations in the first place. Besides hanging out with rock stars and getting free tickets to concerts, it’s because we’re drummers and who better to relate to drummers than a drummer? (I was being sarcastic about hanging out with rock stars and free concert tickets). What I’m getting at is, even after being out of the biz for six months, I still feel very connected to it and it’s due to having so many artists and industry friends who keep in regular contact and also because I’m a drummer. And I wouldn’t have it any other way! Just because I don’t work for Zildjian (or in the drum industry) it doesn’t mean I can’t relate to drummers… In fact, one could make the argument that I can relate to them even more now. I won’t get into non-drummers who think they know the drum industry… nope, that’s for another time.
Besides having dinner with the aforementioned drum industry friend, I heard some great music this week and saw some of my oldest and dearest friends, which also inspired me to write. When I returned from Martha’s Vineyard last Saturday I caught “Bellevue Cadillac” at Scituate Heritage days. A great band with old friends Doug Bell, Jimmy Capone and Andy Bergsten, playing their butts off. The next day, Sunday, I was blown away by “Low Rider” (members of the original “War”) who played (and sounded exactly like) all those great War songs from the 70s. I was pleasantly surprised to bump into Alvino Bennett, an old friend from my days living in LA, who was playing with Dave Mason. Heritage Days is an annual festival that takes place in my hometown of Scituate, Mass and I’ve been going every year for the past 15 years since I’ve lived there. A few years ago I worked with the organizer, Gerry McMorrow (who also owns Scituate Music), to have Zildjian be an official sponsor of the festival and provide backline cymbals for all the performing acts. It’s been a great arrangement and I hope it continues. Plus, I get to sit in the VIP section!
On Tuesday night my good buddy Steve Gorman and the Black Crowes were in Boston, along with the Tedeschi Trucks Band with my pal JJ Johnson and Tyler Greenwell on drums. Talk about being inspired… x 2! Now that’s how music is supposed to be played! Steve joined us for dinner before the show and had me cracking up as usual. I can’t remember the last time I hung so late. The Crowes finished at 11pm and I hung out until almost midnight rapping with Steve, JJ and Tyler. Kind of like the old days at Zildjian, except I didn’t have to wake up at 6:00 a.m. the next day! The following night was the total opposite end of the musical spectrum, seeing Adam Nussbaum at the Regatta Bar with Steve Swallow. Adam is such a special player and besides being a very funny and great guy, he’s truly one of the very baddest of the bad! Paul Francis and Jeff Westhaver from Zildjian were also there, as were drumming greats and friends, Dave Mattacks and Skip Hadden.
Well, I’m going to wrap up it here. But I want to thank my industry friend for that inspiring dinner conversation. You know who you are We’ll have to do it again sometime. And to all my artist friends who might (but probably won’t) read this, thanks for your continued inspiration, both musically and spiritually, and most of all, your continued friendship. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I’m very blessed to have the memories and relationships I have after all these years, and will cherish them always.
Until next time, thanks for reading… I’ll be back again soon!