“My main medium is drum set and percussion. My style is ‘a listener’: You have to listen first. Listening is so important, especially as a drummer.
If I may, I’m going to give you my theory on drummers. We go through three phases. Phase One is when you get a little bit of experience. You’ve got a little bit of technique. You get a call, you get a gig – and then you overplay. You blow it. No dynamics, no touch, no sensitivity, no finesse. You’re just a brute. If there’s another drummer in the audience, you want to let them know that you’re the best drummer in the house. That’s Phase One. You just overdo it. Then you’re pulled aside, they talk to you and say, ‘Hey, man, you’re doing too much.’ Then you go to Phase Two.
Phase Two is when you become selfish and you say, ‘Well, forget it. I’m going to play for me.’ You’re still not listening to the others when you’re listening to yourself.
Then you finally get to Phase Three, which is when you listen to the music. Nine times out of 10, the music will tell you what to play. I think that’s one of the reasons why I’ve been busy since I’ve moved to Goshen: It’s because I listen first. What does the music want me to do? What does the artist want me to do? And that’s what I do.
When we first moved to Goshen, I didn’t know a soul except for my in-laws. So I went to the Goshen College Music Department and gave them my contact info. I said, ‘If you need a timpanist, a bongo player, whatever, let me know.’ A few months later, I got a call – ‘This is the Goshen College big band director, and we need a Latin drummer. We’re doing a couple of Latin pieces. We’ve got two guys who play drum set, but they can’t play Latin.’ So that’s how my intro to the Goshen College scene opened up. That led to me being offered the job of directing Lavender Jazz. We sort of revitalized the big band program at Goshen College, and I’m pretty happy about that.
Being a drummer in Goshen, it’s been wonderful. I’m still in The Dean’s List, a jazz band. I’m still freelancing. I’m just very happy anytime anybody calls me for work.”