Monday, March 21, 2016

Volume 17 - Eddie Vallee

Volume 17 - Eddie Vallee

What's up people?!
I have another treat for you today. This guy is a grinder and educator. A husband and father, who is one we all can relate to and hope to emulate. As musicians, we all want to be out there playing and making a good living. Well there are a number ways we can do this and be happy but you still have to be good at what you do. Eddie is the kind of guy I used to always meet when I was coming up. Playing in clubs all of the time. These guys are the heart of the music industry, because they keep the music pumping night after night!
You don't have to be on a fancy tour, playing for some famous artists. You have to be really good at your craft and know how to be successful and happy at being a professional musician.
I found a Happy guy, his name is Eddie and he's Talkin' Chop.

Name or Stage Name: Eddie Vallee

Where are you from? I live in a small suburb on the west side of Phoenix, Arizona, but I grew up in a small town in the Finger Lakes region of New York called BIG FLATS. You can't miss it on the's right in between Horseheads and Painted Post!  
In Arizona I'm sandwiched in between the Air Force Base, The Arizona Cardinals Football Stadium, several Spring Training Facilities for Major League Baseball and my favorite Pizza joint called Marios.  It's never a dull place to live.  Everyday is an Airshow....and you never know who you might bump into at a restaurant, grocery store or shopping mall!

How long have you been playing?  Well.....I'm turning 49 next month - so, wow......45 years.  I remember I was given a small toy drum set at the age of 4.  This was because my folks realized that I like to drum on everything from a very early age.  My mother says I used to beat on my highchair tray in perfect rhythm with the radio she had playing in the kitchen. Along with pots and pans that I'd pull out of the cupboard.

What is or are your main genre of playing? Rock and Roll mainly. At least that's the genre of music I've worked with the most. I like all the other genres - but as far as workability and gigs. Rock and roll. 

How did you get where you are now? I was very hungry to perform when I was a kid. Even when I was 8 years old I would set my kit up by a large window in my bedroom so my neighbors could hear and SEE me play. I would turn the record player on, open the curtains and hammer out tunes for an hour or so.  I'm surprised no one ever called the cops. But the old people in the neighborhood loved it and thought it was great. They'd even applaud! 
When I was a teen I was given an opportunity to play in a large adult church worship group.This wasn't your typical slow hymns. This was upbeat swing, a lot of thick  6/8 gospel - lots of high BPM's at time too. It was a blast. I played to a full house 3 or 4 times a week.   It was quite the adjustment in my playing though.  I learned a lot about dynamics - and because it was easy to record a service...I got to hear how bad I sounded at times. became a huge learning experience over time.  

Eventually I began playing in cover bands with people  much older than me. This is probably a good thing. They kept me in line and were experienced. 
I ended up getting a gig with a popular group called THE ROGUES. They were very popular and booked solid playing up to 5 nights a week. I played with them for 10 years then moved to Phoenix, Arizona in '98. 
I put an ad in the paper and must've had 200 calls. But they were all garbage. I just wanted to gig and play. Eventually I got a call from a guy on a Wednesday night. He needed a sub drummer at the last minute. He talked to me on the phone for about 5 minutes than hired me on the spot providing I didn't mind playing the gig "cold" without any rehearsal.  
After we finished the first set, he turned and asked if I wanted the gig full-time.  So - I took it. 
After that I ended getting a lot of work with the blues scene in Phoenix. It kept me busy - but it was very incestious and I wanted to play more rock and roll.  I ended up in a band called the Sofa Kings and a couple other things, but like most bands, they couldn't seem to stay together and stay working steadily.  Eventually I started my own band with a friend and we've remained busy ever since. 

How is the music scene in Phoenix? 
I think it's like it seems to be every where else.  5 times as difficult to find 1/5 the work for less than 25% of the money you could get back in the 80's and 90's.  But...I'm fortunate to be able to work in a group that plays as much as we do. But it wasn't - and still isn't easy.  I still wonder how long until the music scene completely dries up.    

As a drum instructor, are there any tendencies you see in young players, good or bad? 
think the more frustrating thing I see is that a lot of young players focus to much on speed and double bass blast speeds instead of feel and dynamics.  They can do a 200bpm blast beat,  but can't play a simple blues shuffle. They can blast single strokes on their snares - but can't butter out out a smooth Samba, Bossa Nova or a simple 6/8 groove. 
I think there's certain "Money Beats" that a drummer who wants to be employable and giggable needs to learn. If the student only wants to spend their time "fugga-dugging" - they need to realize that they are limiting themselves to one genre and minimizing their drumming toolbox.  I think it's incredibly important to be versatile, and as a Teacher, it's my responsibility to convey that message to my student loud and clearly. 

Do you feel young players of this generation are getting the same from "their" music today as some of us "old school" katz
I's so different today, technologically.  When I was a kid, the only way I could hear new music was on the radio. You didn't always know what your were listening to  But I could tell that it was John Bonham, Charlie Watts, Phil Collins, Steve SmithJohn Densmore or so many others - just by their "Sound". It seems to me that with most new stuff I hear these days, all the drumming sounds the same.  Over produced and unnatural. Seems the only guy I can identify on the radio instantly is Carter Beauford. I wish the mainstream would get back to more natural sounding drummers where there sound came from their fingers first.  
On the other hand, young players today have resources where they can see pioneers of the drums on YOUTUBE.  I didn't see John Bonham play (on a video) for almost ten years after I bought Zeppelins first album. Now you can order DVD's, download vids, see Vines and instantly share stuff. 
The other problem today is no one is teaching the new comers about the history of the instrument and it's players. How can we expect new comers to the instrument to appreciate the pioneers of it if we don't tell them about them?  

Being a veteran in the game, what are some of the differences you see in musicians, in the last 10yrs or so..?
TECHNOLOGY.  Musicians today can record a fantastic album of their own material in their bedrooms, and even sell it online.  The big problem with this is then they many can't do it LIVE or have no LIVE show to offer with it. Especially when the drum beat was a computer and the individual overdubbed all the tracks.  I get it. replicate it with humans!  
On the other hand...TECHNOLOGY has made marketing yourself and your band so much easier and targeted. It baffles me how some bands and club owners don't take full advantage of FACEBOOK and other social media to promote themselves and their bands.  It's FREE ...and even "boosting" a post for a band gig can be done fairly inexpensively through FACEBOOK.
Ten years ago venues used to advertise shows in Entertainment sections of the newspaper - but the readership numbers dwindled so much over the last 10 years that bands don't promote like they used to in these mediums. Why bother, no one reads it.  However.. if they're not using social media to the best of their ability they are making a huge huge mistake.  

What are your goals, short & long term?  
It's funny....when I was in 8th or 9th Grade I remember having this same question asked to me by my folks.  I was jelly-fishing through life, my grades were ok but for the most part I didn't like school, and all I wanted to do was play the drums. I didn't care about fame, I didn't want to travel or tour, didn't care if I was in a well-known band, I-JUST-WANTED-TO-PLAY-MY-DRUMS for people and earn money at it.  
I remember my folks having a "come to Jesus" talk with me about my future and what I was going to do with myself.  I sat on their bedroom floor crying...and remember saying..."All I want to do is play my drums...All I want to do is play my drums".  
The answer hasn't changed since then, and I don't expect it to.  I want to play these drums for the rest of my life. Period.I'm an addict. 

Artists you would like to play for?  
You know...I've never really envied other drummers and who they play foreven though I think drumming for The Foo Fighters would be a blast.  If I could get Gene Wilder to do a Young Frankenstein procedure with me and Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree, I'd be thrilled.  Second choice would be Gregg Bissonette.  I might even change my mind at the last second and choose Greg over Gavin!  Then there's Simon and Vinnie, so so many great drummers. 
Lastly..If I would love go back in time and play with Buddy Holly, I would. 

List some of your accomplishments. 
Three things mainly:
#1) I'm proud to have been drumming in local/regional bands that have worked a lot and stayed together for a long, long time. I played with The Rogues in upstate New York for ten years and now the band I co-founded "Boomer" is closing in on it's 9th year.  It's a lot of work, and a lot of frustration sometime, but the people around me are good and we all have the same passion, desires and commitment. It's difficult to keep a band together for 18 months. Let alone almost ten years. 
I recently watched the EAGLES Documentary. They were commenting on how hard it was to keep the band together. I got to thinking....they were famous, had all the benefits of success,  making millions of dollars and they were unhappy and struggled to stay together?   
My band here in Arizona are a bunch of guys that love to play. We play a lot, don't  make a lot of money - and have been together almost ten years, enjoying what we do.  Wow. I think that says something.    
#2)  "Playing drums as much as I could throughout my entire life" was a huge goal in my life and I've done it. But it wasn't my first goal. Ever.
My first goal was to be a good husband and dad. With a house, white picket fence, a couple dogs and beautiful kids. With the exception of the white picket fence, I believe have accomplished that so far. (and I have twice as many dogs as I ever thought I would).
​(from the back "Thunder, Peanut, McCoy and Rascal") 

I've grown even more proud of my kids over the years as "accomplishments".  My 14 year-old son is a "Double Freshman" - meaning he's a Freshman in College and High School at the same time. He's brilliant, love Avenged Sevenfold, Porcupine Tree and Fall Out Boy.  He also works with me and my band as a roadie and Light tech.  

My 11-year old Daughter is my Artistic butterfly, living without a care in the world and as sweet-hearted as anyone I've ever met. She's also a straight A student and growing up so fast.  She loves music too, and most recently became a fan of ONOFF.  A group from Ireland I happened to meet up with at NAMM this year! 
Lastly...I proposed to my wife in front of Big Ben in England in 1994 and we've been together ever since. That's my best accomplishment!   I'm proud of her and her support for my passion.  I couldn't do it without her support. She's a blessing. 

​My Wife, Suzette.  She's my rock.

​My Son Eddie, Myself, Suzette and my daughter Savannah. 

#3)  I left a solid day-job on good terms in 2008 to pursue playing and teaching full-time. I had two little kids, one just out of diapers.  The economy was collapsing and the whole country was going to hell financially. It was the worst financial times this country has seen since the Great Depression and the WORST time to leave a steady job that had benefits, vacation and steady pay. I was laughed at....but I did anyway.
It wasn't ever easy, and scary as hell. Fear can be a great motivator and it sure was for me. I survived and stayed afloat on my own. I'm in one piece. I had to make a lot of sacrifices, but it was worth it.  I knew I would go crazy if I never tried, so I did. If I decide to make a change or work dries up for me.  I can rest easy knowing I gave it my best shot!  When you are a musician - you can always circle a date on a schedule and say "I'm unemployed as of this date".  The date keeps moving and I'm fortunate to be able to do what I do.
I look forward to years from now when I'm in the twilight of my years and this period of my life is discussed.  I can look back and admire what I did when I did it.  I'm sure I'll get a good chuckle about it.  
"Hey Grampa...what was the Global Financial Crisis like for you in 2008?"  lol   I can't wait to for someone to ask me that. 
Are you in a band? 
Yes "Boomer"Boomer is a band I started in 2008 with a smart, committed guitar player/vocalist I had done some sub gigs with back in the 2000's.  I wanted to start a classic rock/variety band that targeted people in the 40's and up.  Baby-Boomers mainly.  I felt that we could continue to play the same classic rock set lists that we'd grown up with and with 50% of the peoplein Arizona being over 50, it would work. It did.  We play close to 200/225 dates a year all over the county and around the state.  We don't play anything to heavy and nothing too old, and our set list is broad and eclectic.  It's fun to play a set of music that includes Cheap Trick, Johnny Cash, Prince, The Eagles, KC and The Sunshine Band and Steely Dan.  We cover a lot of fun stuff without the ringers everyone else plays. 


Do you play any other instruments? 
I play the piano. Self taught. I'm good enough to play a handful of tunes that you'll know. But I've transposed them so they're mostly white keys! ;)

Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks included and why you choose these items?

(My Son and Drum Tech/Light Tech!)​​

These Birch Pearl Vision are a great kit for the money.

​My Pearl Prestige Session Selects

My Yamaha Power Stage Series.....and short hair. 

​Yamaha 5000's 24 inch kick.  This kit has about 7 toms, but I rarely use them all. 

I've never considered myself a big GEAR HEAD, but I have many kits. I rotate my main gigging kits between a Pearl Prestige Session Select and a Mapex Pro M kit. Both are Maple. My hardware is a cannibalized collection of this and that. So many gigs on the stands I've had to replace one tube with another.  Something will strip and I have a pile of old stands in my garage.  I can usually find something that fits.  

As far as cymbals -  I recently joined the SOULTONE cymbal family and just absolutely love them. I call them my SOULMATES because they are perfect in what I'm looking for in acymbal. 


I've been championing SILVERFOX Sticks since 2008. They are simply the best sticks I've ever used. When you're playing 200 gigs a year and spending 10 bucks for a pair of sticks each night - it gets expensive.  Silverfox sticks started saving me money...A LOT of money right from the beginning.  Owner Greg Scarselletti asked me to come on board as an Endorser a few years ago.  I'm thrilled to be a part of their family. Best sticks ever! 

Eddie with Jim Simonian and Greg Scarselletti @ NAMM

I use an assortment of heads (Remo, Evans, Aquarian). Only because it's difficult to get all the heads I need at once.  In Arizona with the dry hot climate, I'm forced to change my heads a lot. IT GETS HOT IN ARIZONA!  They get brittle and stiff quicker that they did back  east.  

118* outdoors. July 29th - 4-hour gig. Yep.
I try my best to support the local store as much as I can.  But most of the time they are missing a size that I need in one model or I end up with another brand of similar construction. I guess if I planned ahead I could remedy the situation.  My plates pretty busy....I just don't always think about it.  

Do you have multiple kits and snares?
I also have a couple old Yamaha kits, a 5000 series and a Power Stage Series kit that I've had since the early 90's. I also have a Pearl Vision kit that I use for gigs and to teach on, and a small Tama Imperial Star with an 18 inch kick that I used to teach my littlest students. I have some students that are 6 and 7 years old so a regular size kit is too big.  I also have a Vintage Rogers R-360 Red Ripple kit stored away.  I've got a lot of snares. My favorite is Limited Edition Pearl Masters Series Power Piccolo. 13x8. 

Which wood shells do you prefer?

Depends on the gigMost nights I'm playing mic'd up, so I like my maple kits. But if I'm doing an agency corporate gig where it's lighter and quieter, I prefer my Champagne sparkle BirchPearl Vision kit.  It's bright and thick and doesn't need mics to project some good tone. Sounds good with a couple overheads and a kick mic.  That kit is really impressive for a lower budget kit.  

Do you have a “Dream Kit”?  
No....but I always liked the kit Tommy Aldridge used when he was in WHITESNAKE back in the 90's. 

How do you describe your drumming style?

A combination John Bonham, Liberty Devito and Pat Torpey. (with a little sniff of Stewart Copeland). 

Why the drums?
I never picked the drums. They picked me.  There's not a single day in my life where I remember deciding to pick up a stick and play a drum. It's always been something I've done.

If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing?
Probably working with young kids as a Teacher.  I love them. They're fascinating creatures so full of curiosity and amazement. I can have conversation with Elementary school kids for hours! 

Reading a book to a class of Kindergartners.  More terrifying than playing a gig in front of thousands of people but a thousand times more rewarding. ​

How has drumming impacted or changed your life?
I don't know..I never really been with out it. I can't imagine what I'd be like with out it.    

Is the music business your career?
No, but Drumming is, even though I've never considered myself a "Professional Drummer".  I'm not comfortable putting myself in the same category with famous drummers we all know and love. It's just not my style. 
When people ask me what I do...I tell them I'm a self-employed full-time drummer/teacher and leave it at that. 

Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown? band Boomer plays a lot, from Casino gigs, Bars and Restaurants to University of Arizona Homecoming games outside the stadium in front of 50,000 tailgaters. I do a lot of sub work and agency stuff from time to time too. It's fun to be able to work in other groups and with other musicians. As much fun as I have in BOOMER, it's nice to do a gig with an Elvis Impersonator, or fill in for another band as needed and nail the gig. 

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why?

John Bonham- I loved the way his drums sounded when I first spun the first Zeppllin album on my record player when I was in Kindergarten .  I'd never heard drums sound that HUGE before and it blew me away.  
Liberty DeVito-  I began listening to Billy Joel's 52nd Street Album at an early age. The album was very eclectic in style and was some of the first exposure I'd had to jazz and latin rhythms. The drumming crossed over so well, and I loved the way Liberty could play the groove within the song on any of Billy's albums yet suddenly blister a tom fill that would hit you right between the eyes -  then go back into the song.  How recognizable is the drum intro to the song Allentown?  Yet so simple. 
Greg Bisonette-  I saw Greg early in the 80's when he was just out of College and playing Maynard Ferguson. His incorporation of double bass drums and latin grooves within his jazz playing was something I'd never heard before. He instantly became my favorite drummer, yet no one really know of him back then.  I felt a lot of vindication when he landed the David Lee Roth Gig.  I got to meet Greg this year at NAMM. It was early in the morning and we got to talk by ourselves for a few minutes when no one was really around.  He couldn't believe it when I told him about seeing him with Maynard. What a fantastic guy. 
Buddy Rich- Obviously his speed, showmanship and cantankerous attitude.  When I was a young kid, my Dad would wake me up at night just so I could see him play on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I actually got to meet Buddy and spend some time with him on his tour bus when I was a kid. I think Buddy's temperament is very misunderstood. 
Phillip Gould- A bass player I'd been in a band with when I was young turned me on to this English band called LEVEL 42. This was before they'd had any hits in the USA.  It was a blend of funk, pop and jazz that I liked right away.  The Live album A PHYSICAL PRESENCE changed my life.  I even named my band after one of the songs. We were three paste white guys playing original reggae and ska music. (It was a strange sight, really)   So...we chose the name MR.PINK.   We had a blast in that band and had a lot of fans in the community. It was short lived though. Band fell apart after a couple years. 

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding? 
Not necessarily a live concert that I attended, but as mentioned, Level 42's Live album A PHYSICAL PRESENCE changed my life.  Up until then..I was all about ROCK MUSIC for me. But when I heard that album and it's blend of Funk, Jazz and Pop.  It completely changed my approach to drumming.  I think I could still play the entire double sided album note for note.  It still makes me want to play my drums after all these years. 
Level 42 "A Physical Presence" Live Album: 

How much time do you practice?
It depends. Usually at least a couple hours a week on something new or something old.   My schedule can be pretty crazy at times.  In addition to gigging and my private teaching, I also volunteer with two different Elementary schools teaching all 5th graders about drums, drumming and rhythm. I also do a snare drum group at one school and a bucket drum group at another.  Some times I need to brush up on lesson material that I'm teaching. Nothing worse than tripping over a New York Mozambique chart when you're trying to teach it!    

What types of things do you like to work on?
It depends a lot on what I'm working on with my more advanced students. Much of the time just basic fundamentals and practicing with a click. Recently I've been practicing working one rudiment into a drum less track. Experimenting with a funk groove, a jazz groove, a rock groove, etc. I then video record it and listen to it.  I also evaluate my gig playing and work on a beat or something.  Most recently dialing down the tempo on Boz Skaggs LOW DOWN.  It's a great groove, but it pushes when we play it live so I've been practicing it with a metronome and the original tempo. Typical drummer stuff I guess.   

Do you record drum videos of yourself? why?
Yes....I call the camera THE SUCK-O-METER.  I record a lot of what I'm doing when I'm gigging. Just to make sure I'm steady, tempos are ok and what fills work and don't work. There's always something that I can improve and I'm always analyzing my playing.  I'm my worst critic.     
In my rehearsal/Lesson studio I like to record to drumless tracks and try new stuff. Then listen to the play back and see what works and doesn't.  Sometimes it's really surprising to hear what does and doesn't work.  
As much as I appreciate the compliment of being "A Rocker",  I'm trying to develop a more Nashville-type middle-of-the -road style.  It's difficult and quite a challenge, but I like it.

"Use Me" with BOOMER

(one of the koolest grooves to play)​ 
Are you into electronic drums or programming? 
No not "in to",  but very interested.  I really enjoy playing to tracks, have done it with some sub gigs I've done - and would love to get more into that technology. I'm sure I will. 

Are you a songwriter as well?
A little bit....I like to write things on the piano but have never recorded anything. I have a ton of songs in my head. I'm got a poetry bug too. So lyrics can come pretty easy depending on my mood. Someday I'll get them out of my head and onto a recording. 

Do you sing and play?
Yes...but I don't always like to. I was always forced to sing LEAD parts when I was in Elementary school. Hated it.  I don't mind singing back up and harmonies - and feel that I am very good at it. But I'm not fond of my own voice.  I guess that's normal. I cringe when I hear my voice.  

Do you prefer studio sessions or local live gigs?

I love playing LIVE.  Especially smaller clubs and casinos.  It's fun to interact closely with crowds. My Band Boomer is such a different band when we have a close, intimate interaction with the crowd. It's amazing. 
That being said. I really enjoy recording in the studio. I used to record jingles back in New York for a while.  It was a blast.  when I was a kid I thought it would be cool to hear yourself on the radio.  It was but who'd a thought it would be me drumming and singing about a Hornell NY furniture store 50 times a day for thirty seconds a pop. 

Do you prefer being in a band (artist) or being a sideman?
I love playing in bands. It doesn't matter if it's my own band, or a sub gig.  I enjoy playing the kit.  It could be in a rock band or a polka band, at a large stage or a small Moose club. I'll have fun regardless. As long as there's people watching and enjoying it. I've never considered anything I do on the drums as "Art".  I've considered it a "Craft".  I've had opportunities to do duo type with guitarists.  I just don't enjoy it.  I feel awkward.  I like playing the kit.  
Eddie  playing "Hey Joe"
(u know i love Hendrix)

What would you like your legacy to be?
I've never really thought about that until recently.  
Over the years school budgets have shrunk so much and funding for the arts has dwindled to almost nothing. Everyone agrees that the Arts are important and that it's a shame schools have cut these funds from their program. However, no one is really doing anything about it. 
I'm in a situation where I make my own schedule, am my own Boss, and for the most part, can share my time and energies to teaching kids about drums, cymbals, drumsticks, rudiments, drumbeats and so much more. So.....I do it.   
5 years ago I volunteered to develop a 6-week course that I share with all the 5th graders at a school where my kids attended. I was invited back a second year, then again and again. Two years ago I began teaching this program at a second school. The kids get to hold drum sticks, get to see what a drum head looks like, touch and hit a ride cymbal, a crash cymbal, play with a snare strainer, hear the difference between a steel snare and a Maple snare. Its very Hands-On. They also learn some notation and the silly names of rudiments. We even attempt to play them on their desks with the sticks I pass out. They love it. I Love it. 
It's so fulfilling to spread the love of percussion, drums and drummers to kids who rarely get to see it other than on a flat screen of some sort in a media package that's formatted for something being sold to them.   
I hope that's my "legacy" when I'm long gone -as someone who just passionately adored the drums. Someone that openly shared all his knowledge, passion and stories for the instrument with everyone he could in a fun and interesting way.  
As they say...A candles flame never burns out if it is passed on to another and another.  I feel the same about my passion.
Some of my students

Snare Drum Club in 2014

My oldest and Youngest student, Mike and Brody.

My Snare Drum Club last year..

​My Bucket Drum Group!

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us?
Dude......I could write a book. The best stories are probably best kept quiet. 
What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there?

1989, One late night I was driving home on a long back road from a Rogues gig somewhere in upstate NY.  I was with our bass player Greg. He had cancer and was battling it with every ounce of grit he had. I would drive him to most of the gigs. 
The ride had been pretty quiet. We were both really tired and worn out and there wasn't much chat.  We simply chilled out as we drove and listened to some tunes on the cassette player. 
As the miles turned we came over a crest on a small berm in the road Greg suddenly yelled  "Stop! Stop ! Stop!" 
At that moment I wasn't sure what he meant, was he talking about the tape player in the car,  a deer up ahead in the road? Stop ? Why? 
"The car...stop the car stop the car stop the car!"  He yelled. 
I immediately pulled over. I wasn't sure what was happening, but at first I thought something was wrong. I was confused and a little startled to be honest.  
I'd no sooner had a chance to put my car in PARK when Greg flung open the passenger door and quickly walked toward the front of the car. 
I shut the car off, hit the emergency brake and began thinking that something was very wrong. 
I got out of the car, and met Greg at the front of the car as he just stood there......facing east, staring off into the sky. Just staring into the sky. 
"Look at the Moon" he said he pointed to the sky. 
Sure enough....there it was.... The Moon. 
It was huge and extremely bright. More full than I think I'd ever noticed before as it began to rise above the forests tree tops that silhouetted it's bright glow . 
"That's amazing!"  he said as we stared at it.
We stood there in the dead silence of the night in the middle of somewhere for a minute or two, staring at this giant Moon. It was so big I'd swear you could hear it.  It was beautiful, and a rare awesome site for our neck of the woods.
Then Greg slowly uttered these words. And it hit me like a ton of bricks:
"I'll probably never ever see anything like this again." 

I just stood there.


We quietly stood there and watched the moon. I don't know how long we stayed there. It seemed like a long time....a few minutes maybe, I'm not sure.  
Eventually we got back into the car and finished the drive home. I don't remember anything else after that. 

Not long after that night, a few months maybe,  he was gone. Cancer took his life, and my very close friend.
To this day.....every time I see a full moon. I stop for a moment and appreciate it. 
I'm fortunate to live in Arizona where we get the biggest desert moons you'd ever want to see. It's breath taking,  and it happens often.
It helps me keep perspective. ....just the moon. advice to everyone, drummer or not, is to enjoy every single day of your life, especially the little things. Appreciate what you have, and who you have. Even if you don't have much. At least you have the moon.  You just never know when it will be taken away. 

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s???


Thanks to the guys in my band BOOMER. Devo Carrillo, Jason Wylde, and Bobby Sullivan, and some of the other members who have come and gone. Thanks for putting up with my crap and desire to put on a good show. I think this band is something special, even though we are simply a "local act".  
Thank You to my wife, Suzette for putting up with the sacrifices we have to make. For tolerating the dogs barking at 3am when I come home from a gig. Thanks for putting up with 50 weekends of gigs a year. Thanks to my kids for dealing with students in our home while they try to simply live normally in the house we have with people coming in and out. 
Forgive me for the Dinners at 8:30pm after all my students have left.  Forgive me for drumsticks laying around everywhere. Drum keys clanging in the dryer.  Forgive me for snare drums laying in the hallway outside the studio room all the time. Forgive me for so many drums in a garage that we can't even park our cars in there. Forgive me for spending 48 minutes with a student who was booked for a 30 minute lesson while dinner is waiting in a pot on the stove and everyone is starving and patiently waiting. 
A very special thanks to Kandi Reyes and Susan Boquet and The Litchfield School District for giving me the opportunity to work with the kids. It means the world to me.

See, I told you. There are many ways to be successful and fulfilled in this game. Don't let someone dictate to you what is the correct way to achieve your goals. Just hustle and make sure your passion meets your work ethic. You don't need all the fame stuff, you just need the right stuff.
Big Thx to my brother Eddie for taking the time to share his Drum Life. Much respect and continued success to you Eddie!
I also wanted to thank Eddie for a kool thing he did for me and for some other Silverfox & Soultone artists...
     Dig It!

Remember, if YOU would like to be interviewed and featured on Talkin' Chop, just hit me up:



I'm Out!

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