Ken Weisbach of Flying Machines
Hello to all who have arrived here; nice to meet you. I play for a quartet called Flying Machines–but before I go further with that, let me extend a quick thank you to Modern Drummer both for inclusion here and also for years of being a simply awesome publication for us drummers!
I’ve read it since I can remember, that is to say, remembering when I got my first practice pad and pair of sticks; remembering tapping away on any number of various sizes of books and magazines set out in front of me and under my feet, comprising my first “set.” Oh, was I determined to make those hard and soft covers rock and sound like real drums and cymbals as much as possible! I remember dabbling with trumpet and baritone horn along the way through early school, but then, finally, I got my first real kit. It was some butterscotchy kinda color! The badge proudly displayed the company moniker…who knows who made it, but I had my first proper drumkit! A four-piece, and oh you know that thing was the coolest! I can only imagine how cheap that was back then. But it was top-of-the line to me!
So it went that naturally I spent every hour I could down in the basement, working out stickings to my fave tunes. Had my first lessons with a cool dude whose name I’ll omit here but will never forget! Thank you, MM! I got to see him play with his band while learning from him, and folks, don’tcha know, he had the most rad kit! Two rack toms, two floor toms, what seemed like soooo many cymbals to me back then–that was it! Game over! It and he were too cool for words. And his vibe: Now that I think back, it’s like maybe if Johnny Depp were teaching drums. Just laid-back but quietly intense about it. What a great first teacher to have!
So I continued learning every song I could in any style that turned me on. I remember being BLOWN AWAY by the sound of a track called “Eli’s Comin’” by Maynard Ferguson. I remember that being the first time I really felt the sheer power of horns–very exciting stuff as I was learning more and starting to put together some semblance of ability.
I played in a few cover bands in school, played bass and handled lead vocals in the first band I was in while I waited and hoped for the already present drummer to quit. When he did, I did the singing-drummer thing in the band for its duration. I had some heavy involvement in theater too, which has only served to properly inform my performance muscles. When the curtain comes up–BANG! You’re on! Full blast! No warming up onstage–no way! The audience ain’t there for that. No one’s paying to see you “warm up” to “get into it.” It’s show time, folks! GIVE IT TO ‘EM! You come out SWINGING! (And ROCKIN’!) =0 D
So after having played with a few bands in NYC, that brings me to…Flying Machines: Based in NYC, we are: a singer/keyboardist named William Ryan George, John Wlaysewski on guitar, Evan Joyce on bass, and me on drums. I am so lucky to be playing with these brilliant talents! We’re all multi-instrumentalists, but each man is on his specialty here. Will has a voice and melodies (plus very clever, acute lyrics) that can change your life, and is our primary songwriter. John is an ingenious guitarist and a great songwriter in his own right, and Evan’s lyrical approach to his bass playing combined with his chops make him the BEST rhythm section partner this drummer could hope for!
Our mission is super high-quality songwriting and “playing for keeps” impassioned performance. I’ll use a direct quote from John that I think is very accurate. “We mesh my abrasive rock guitar and William’s beautiful singer-songwritery thing. He brings the beauty, we bring the rock. We’re not a garage band, but we always try to keep a little of that mentality so we don’t pick things apart to the nth degree.” We’ve had complimentary comparisons to Queen, Muse, ELO, Weezer, McCartney, the Killers, Keane, Supertramp, Billy Joel, and the Police. Very happy to be in that company indeed!
Flying Machines’ first CD, a self-titled ten-song release, produced by the ever forward-thinking Spencer Proffer and Steve Plunkett, plus Mickey Petralia (Beck) on three tracks, is scheduled to drop September 22 through M17/EMI. We all look forward to touring as much as possible to support it and get the music out there to all who have an ear to bend in our direction. Also a HUGE bonus is that our CD artwork was designed by Hugh Syme, who has years of award-winning covers behind him for Rush, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Metallica, and many others. So all of us feel so privileged to have his work supporting us, as well as equipment love from Fender, Gretsch, Sabian, and Gibraltar. Truly, a thousand thanks!
So…CD coming out, the road awaits. I like to think I’ve come a considerable distance from the time of my first kit–but even more, I like thinking about the journey that lies ahead! Just really stoked to know this CD will be out soon! What will the reaction to it be? Positive? Negative? In-betweens? Who knows? But it’s time to find out–time to get the gear loaded, and go rock some faces like there’s NO TOMORROW!
For more on Ken Weisbach and Flying Machines go to www.myspace.com/flyingmachines.