The story of my life for those who must know:
I was born near the Wallowa mountains in a small town called Enterprise, Oregon January 16, 1963. I grew up closer to Portland though and was surrounded by trees, blueberries (which we grew), and the cascade foothills. I became interested in drums at an early age and remember waiting anxiously for Hogan’s Heroes to come on TV so I could hear the snare intro to the theme. I also remember playing and replaying the percussion opening to Dr Zhivago’s overture. I would dive down and stick my head under the console stereo after starting the turntable to get the full effect.
I played violin in elementary school as well but drums won out and I played them all through elementary and high school. I had several teachers along the way though my serious study didn’t begin until I moved to Boston in 1983 to attend Berklee College of Music. Though I took lessons in school I also began studying privately with a drummer named Bob Gullotti who taught me not only a tremendous amount about drums but also about jazz and improvisation. Later I also studied with Alan Dawson as well. Both of those teachers were incredibly committed players and really wonderful people. In Boston I was also introduced to traditional west African drumming through a professor at Tufts and worked at integrating that into my playing. In 1988 I took my first trip to Brasil to meet my mother’s family. Living in such a musical culture really affected me. It was a refreshing departure from my formal musical studies and very inspiring. In 1990 I began studying Tai Chi at the Gin Soon Tai Chi club. Gin Soon really understood the martial arts applications of Tai Chi and like my drumming instructors his teachings really shaped me in a positive way. I learned a lot about relaxation, body mechanics and transfer of energy which are all essential to drumming (or anything for that matter!).