Hi, MD readers! First off, a sincere thank you to Modern Drummer for the blog space. I have been an MD reader and fan since the very first issue!
Many of you know me from my instructional/encyclopedia-type book Complete Modern Drumset and the DVD of the same name (Mel Bay), from my many gigs or recordings with 805 when I lived in upstate New York, or from Mike Keneally’s Sluggo album. I’ve been living in Los Angeles for the past twenty years, and I’m in the midst of the best year I’ve had creatively. I recently released my first solo album, China Ranch, which I’m very happy with. It’s my first attempt at writing and producing an entire album, and I was fortunate to have attracted some of my favorite musicians, who in my opinion happen to be some of the best in the world.
The process of producing is grueling, and believe it or not, this record had very little to do with my drumming; rather, I was completely focused on the compositions, and wanted to make a pleasing album of music. I opened up some of the songs for drum solos after I felt I had a tune I liked. I sincerely hope the music connects with some of you. If you would like to check out some samples or purchase a copy, you may do so at the Web sites below. It will be also available at Audiophile Imports, Abstract Logix, iTunes, and Amazon. The initial reviews for China Ranch have been overwhelmingly positive. That has been so nice, as this project spanned three years, and I’m doing this without a record label. Recording the album was a labor of love, and I sincerely hope that you feel that when you listen to it. The music was inspired by a desert oasis in Death Valley, which I hiked three years ago. At that time I also started reading The Artist’s Way, which helped me open up compositionally. The liner notes were written, so beautifully, by Jeff Davis.
In other news, I recently joined one of my favorite bands, OHM, which features Chris Poland (Megadeth, Lamb Of God, Damn The Machine) and Robertino Pagliari. Chris is an amazing guitar player and writer, and Robertino is one of the greatest rock/fusion bass players out there. I’m featured on their upcoming CD, Funhouse. This led to my joining the band, as the chemistry during the recording sessions was just so right. Funhouse will be available on Tone Center records in the next few months, and we’ve already started writing for the next album, on which I will share the writing chores equally with Chris and Robbie. And almost none of the songs are in 4/4, so I get to solo on every tune–what a blast!
For you gear-heads, I play DW drums and hardware, Istanbul Agop cymbals, Regal Tip 8A sticks, and Attack drumheads.
Thanks to Billy and the rest of the MD staff for the space here–you guy’s rock! Hope to see all of you soon.
All the best, and peace,