When I was 17 years old I had had enough of the war zone that was my childhood and decided to pack it all up and pursue my musical dream 1000 miles away from anything or anyone I knew. Oh, it was brutal. I was still a boy and a gawky, insecure nail bitin' long-haired hippie kid who wanted to do nothing but play drums, and in the back behind a kit was probably the best place for me. "Heard and not seen".
So in I'd say March of 1986 I was in George's Drum Shop in Jackson, MS dinking around on the newly released Simmons SDS-9 or whatever the kit of the day was...there was a Pearl electronic set there as well... Steven Garrett, a guitarist who resides in Nashville and a fine player/songwriter heard me play and was immediately interested in hearing me play with his band. In Tampa, Florida. That was all the excuse I needed to get out of Jackson!
Back in 1989 I moved from Jackson, MS to San Diego, CA. and began to work in town. Being the impressionable young drummer that I was, finding someone to glom onto as a mentor was essential. I went to Croce's Top Hat (now a pizza joint) one Wednesday night and ran into this amazing band called "Len Rainey & The Midnight Players". They were playing this funky Blues music- right up my alley!
George Lawrence is the first drummer other than my father that I consciously remember watching. That being said, I must say that I have always been aware of the beat. Even when I could barely walk, the driving smack of 2 & 4 carrying and propelling the music was enough to let me know I've found something!
The first time I heard the Aquarium Rescue Unit was when I lived in Taipei, Taiwan. I had read a review of the album in Modern Drummer Magazine about these guys and just happened to see their cassette in Tower Records. I bought it and gave it a listen. I heard it once and it did nothing for me. So I threw it in my bag and eventually headed back home.
Once I got home I threw in ARU once more for a quick going-over and THIS TIME I was completely floored! TO this day I have to give Sipe credit for shaping the way I play. His fluidity and ideas never cease to amaze me.
W have only met a few times; He let me sit in with Leftover Salmon and we did a drum solo together. It was EPIC.
Timm Biery was with Frank Marino for a number of years (he's the guy on Juggernaut), Danny Gatton's drummer for the latter part of his life, and is now playing with Nils Lofgren (Bruce Springsteen E Street Band). Our mutual friend Dave Goode introduced us in 1994 and I was instantly blown away by what I was hearing.