I’d like to thank the folks at Modern Drummer for inviting me to share a little bit of history and a few of the upcoming events going on with Ryan Star. I’ve been playing drums with Ryan for a little over a year and a half now. I started back in September of ’09, when he was in a bind and needed a drummer fast—he was getting ready to do another leg of his tour with David Cook, and through mutual friends and two meetings he decided to write me an email asking for me to “recommend” drummers to him. Naturally I recommended myself. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made thus far in my professional life.
Over the last year and a half we’ve toured the country pretty extensively. We’ve been blessed with opportunities to open for artists like Rob Thomas, Bret Michaels, the Back Street Boys, Macy Grey, the Script, Collective Soul, Train, O.A.R., Maroon 5, Sara Bareilles, and our good friend David Cook, among others. We’ve also had amazing opportunities to headline our own tours and explore this great country a few times over. In August of 2010 we released our first major-label record, 11:59, for Atlantic Records. Go grab it if your eardrums are craving a musical orgasm.
Ryan actually plays a little drums himself. He’s not so bad—for a singer anyway. Ha, zing! When making the album he called upon many of our mutual idols to play drums. On the record you’ll find Abe Laboriel Jr., Josh Freese, Kenny Aronoff, and Matt Chamberlain. Clearly I had some big shoes to fill when I signed on as his drummer later on. It’s been so awesome dissecting the album and learning from all those greats. Listening and learning the tunes was like getting private lessons on musical interpretation from all four of them. It’s a blessing to get to attempt recreating the framework those guys laid down.
As insane as those guys are, my job at hand varied slightly. Ryan pushed me to not just recreate what I heard but rather to reinterpret what I heard and apply it to a live setting, feeding off the energy that Ryan and the whole band brought. Naturally the parts would change a little, and I had to make sense of it all in the new surrounding. With all that said, I think our live show took the album framework and amped it up a level—as one would hope to see in a live setting. You must come out and see us to fully understand what I’m talking about. At the end of the day, I can only hope I arrive at the level of success of these greats in my lifetime.
As time went on our friendships as band members and our respect for each other as musicians grew, but more importantly, as human beings a strong undercurrent of love was built that can’t be broken. Our beliefs systems are completely in sync with one another…it’s really pretty amazing. We’re all believers in positive energy and positive perspective, which I believe has attracted our recent opportunity to tour as main support with Bon Jovi for four shows. I know I speak for the whole band when I say how appreciative we all are to Bon Jovi for inviting us to share the stage with them, and for believing in us. Thank you a million times for giving us the opportunity to rock out for your fans, and once again show the world what we are made of!
I would like to end with a note of encouragement to all the up-and-coming badass drummers. I don’t know if it was directly because of these experiences that my band has grown so incredibly close to one another, but I am convinced the bond my band has created will be hard to match by any other emerging band out there today. On my off time I picked up a couple of other gigs, some of them higher profile than others, but all of them shared one trend—disrespect and disloyalty. No matter how much you love drumming, or what your skill level is, you wont ever reach your full potential as a “true” musician unless you find a group of people who value you. They will make you shine in ways unimagined and elevate your playing to a level even you thought was impossible. For this I have Ryan Star, Dallin Applebaum, Dan Tirer, and Artie Fleischmann to thank. Also, I would love to thank our crew Michelle Dutchen, Serina Lingo, and Stoney for being the perfect puzzle pieces to our touring family.
Lastly, I’d like to thank Chad B at Vater drumsticks, Geoff at Truth drums, Sarah Malaney over at Zildjian, and Dave J at Yamaha for hooking it up and getting me out of many jams. You all kick ass, and thank you for supporting me. Finally, thank you to all who read this. I know I can sound like an herb with all that spiritual love talk—so seriously thanks for reading this far.
For more on Ryan Star visit www.rstar.net.