I started playing the drums when I was 2. My parents were the Bay Area based duo "Bobby and I" who performed all across the country and appeared on T.V. shows like "The Johnny Cash Show" (shown below) and the "John Davidson Show".
They recorded on Liberty Records in 1968 and were produced by the Legendary Tommy Oliver of "Name That Tune", Marty Cooper "The Alhambra Man", and Eric Jacobson who went on to produce people like Chris Issac. I used to hang out at their rehearsals and try to play along. My parents made sure to get me a drum-set as soon as possible and I have been playing ever since. My first teacher and influence was very well-known S.F. drummer by the name of Jon Rae. I learned so much from watching him play. I also studied with another S.F. drummer by the name of Bob Belanski who is an absolute monster drummer. He was the first guy I learned about technique from and gave me a strong foundation of knowledge that still serves me to this day.
I played in every group I could while in school including Jazz Band, Concert Band, Jazz Choir, Show/Pop Choir, School Shows and local theater shows. If there was something going on, I was playing in it. I started working professionally when I was 14 years old. I had my own band with friends from school that played weddings and corporate functions. I also played with other professional working bands in the Bay Area and more exclusively my parents band. Yes, I needed a ride to the gigs before I was 16. I also stumbled into teaching lessons for a bit with some of the local "younger kids". I found at an early age that teaching could be a great way to make a living but I didn't really take it that seriously until I was much older.
I won various awards in middle school and high school including a $1000 scholarship for a snare drum solo. I also won a Marin County scholarship called the Buck Fund for $1000. None of this would have happened without the constant support of Emily Gates of San Marin High School in Novato, Marin County. She was my first and most important mentor in music. Of course, I can't thank my parents enough for the talent that I inherited from them and all of their support over the years.
I started studying with Anthony J. Cirone in 1990 at San Jose State. He is world renowned in the classical vane of music. He was principal percussionist of the San Francisco Symphony for over 20 years. I studied with him for 4 years and then switched my major to music performance. At this time, I started playing the jam at Garden City with Smith Dobson and started working with local acts in San Jose. At SJSU I played every type of music that I could get my hands on ranging from Concert Band to African drummin crew. I also played in the world famous Clown Band at Great America for a couple of seasons during this time. I studied improvisation with late Professor Dwight W. Cannon and learned a lifetime of information. I really miss him.
Freelancing as a professional drummer has allowed me to play with many of the great Bay Area musicians and has given me the opportunity to play so many types of gigs from bar gigs to really well paying corporate parties, live TV and radio. My favorite type of work has always been studio work recording songs for new artists/projects. Most noteably, in the early 90's I played with the well-known San Jose Band "IBOPA" which still has a following to this day. We did some live radio shows and had some brief acclaim but eventually things didn't work out. That's show biz!
Music and Drums has been my life. Although I enjoy playing live teaching is/was a natural progression for me as I have always enjoyed it. I started teaching because it was something I believed in and I have worked hard all these years to be the best teacher I can be and deliver great instruction to my students. I have taught literally 1000's of kids and adults over the years, some of whom have become professional themselves in both playing and teaching. Teaching drums is what I do for a living. This isn't a quick way for me to earn a little extra cash and avoid getting a job. I am in the studio 6 days a week and will be until I get too old to do it.
* 37 years experience on the drums * 27 years professional (paid) years in the Bay Area and beyond * 20 years teaching experience * B.A. Improvised Music/Creative Arts (Drum-set Performance) San Jose State