20 HIGHLIGHTS

PASSED EXPERIENCES WITH MENTORS, TEACHERS, FRIENDS, MUSICIANS AND EMPLOYERS
 

1. Rick Rubin: I was a part-time assistant to icon music producer Rick Rubin. The few months I had working for him shaped the way I make records, set up a business and the way I outfit a studio today. I learned things watching Rick work that cannot be found anywhere else in the music and recording world. Working for Rick was an education of a lifetime.

2. Johnny Vidacovich: I studied drums with Johnny V for three years in New Orleans. He not only shaped my drumming but the way I view life. A man I will always be in debt to. I also studied and had long late night talks with drummers Stanton Moore and Jason Marsalis. All three of these gentlemen gave me insight into the depth in a groove, unmatched by any teacher since.

3. Ringo Starr: I had a couple of talks with Richard Starkey known as “The Beatles” drummer Ringo Starr. Richard taught me about love and compassion but most of all forgiveness of one’s self is the key to personal freedom in music, and that match grip is king.

4. Chris Martin: I set up microphones, talked and watched “Coldplay’s” Chris Martin work while on the job for Rick Rubin. I discovered an answer that I had been looking for, for decades: What true talent is. Chris was the most down to earth musician I ever had the experience of being in a studio with. Music just dripped from his pores. How I judge musical talent today was shaped by him.

5. Charlie Haden: I studied and played with Ornette Coleman’s Bass player Charlie Haden for two years while receiving my Masters Degree at CalArts. I learned that every musician is not perfect and it is what you do with your imperfections that make you great. Charlie said, “You have to be a great man first before you can be a great musician.”

6. The Grammys: Built and operated a recording studio affiliated with the Grammy’s Music Cares Program. I learned the importance of always having the microphones on and ready to capture a great moment.

7. Joey Waronker: Taking drum lessons and watching Beck’s drummer Joey Waronker work. In the small amount of time I spent with him I learned a lifetime of information on how to perform in the studio. Joey showed me how to be a classy musician.

8. First audio job: At 16 years old I was a Boom Operator/Grip for a weekly produced Latin MTV style show called “Ritmo Latino” that was syndicated on Telemundo. The job was to travel around major cities in Mexico to shoot the VJ’s hosting the show. This was the beginning of my journey into the world of Ethnomusicology.

9. DH Peligro: I had lots of late night talks with “Dead Kennedys” drummer DH Peligro. He taught me what the recording and performing process was like in the heart of the punk era. Most of all he taught me what it is to be human.
 
10. Eddie Roeser: I recorded and performed with “Urge Overkill’s” Eddie Roeser. I learned about songwriting from Eddie and the importance of passion in the recording process and that the song has to mean something to the artist.

11. Dean DeLeo: I had several late night talks with “Stone Temple Pilots” guitarist Dean DeLeo. I learned one the biggest tips I use today in my recordings: “The microphone has no idea how small or big an amp is”. Dean was my first introduction to what it meant to be a father in the music business.

12. Dallas Taylor: Dallas was a mentor of mine for many years and I spending endless hours with “Crosby, Stills Nash’s” original drummer Dallas Taylor. I learned you never know what is going to come your way, be ready for the unexpected and always have your drums set up.

13. Sandy West: I played drums with “The Runaways” Sandy West and learned her style of performing. Sandy was one of the first girl punk drummers. She was very powerful and I think of that power before every show I play. Energy is what she passed on to me. Always play the drums like you are in a war and that is going to be the last time you ever play.

14. John Travis: I worked with music producer John Travis while in the band “Saint Motel”. I learned countless lessons around how to get a great performance out of an artist and being open to anyone helping out in the recording process. Also to let go of control, stay open and when the word “No” wants to come out of my mouth, don’t let it.

15. Denny Laine: I had talks with “Paul McCartney’s” drummer Denny Laine. I found out from Denny that having a sound is more important than being the all around drummer and that sound you have is your trademark.

16. Duke Bardwell: I played drums with Elvis Presley’s bass player Duke Bardwell. Outside of history talks about Elvis I learned what swingin’ was really all about. How Elvis swung and Duke gave me tremendous insight into the groove of early Rock n’ Roll.

17. First major gig: It was for 500 people playing drums at 17 years old opening for the local Houston band Sprawl at the venue Fitzgerald’s. This sparked my love for performing and investigating drums as a way of life.

18. Damian Abraham: I recorded Canadian punk band Fucked Up’s vocalist Father Damian Abraham. I spent an hour recording Damian and learned that being a nice guy goes beyond the skill a musician has. At the end of the session he didn’t take any payment.

19. Michael Bienhorn: I was a runner for music producer Michael Bienhorn during the recording of Korn’s Untouchables album. I learned that sometimes keeping my opinion to myself is key to keeping a job.

20. Bob Egan: I have worked, recorded and performed with “Blue Rodeo’s” pedal steel guitarist Bob Egan. I continue to learn weekly from Bob and most of all: that my time is the greatest currency I have.