Angry In Parachute Pants: An Autobiography

NOTE: This page is a work-in-progress that is subject to change over time as it is periodically reviewed and refined. Last edit was made October 27, 2018.

Who is Timothy Alan Roe … and why is his autobiography titled Angry In Parachute Pants?

This is a very abridged version of my extremely complicated life. If you have no idea who I am and are visiting my blog for the first time, I am hoping this page will enable you to learn who I am by experiencing the journey I have taken to arrive where I am now. If you already know me and my passion for drumming, you may be surprised to learn some things about me that you did not know. Although I have attempted to limit the scope of this autobiography to my life as a drummer, there are other key events that are included as well. This is mostly to provide context and, hopefully, show how these events shaped me as a person and a musician. I was born a drummer, but I have not always honored that calling. I allowed other things to take priority and divert my attention. Drumming is one of the few things in my life that has a way of bringing me the purest essence of joy. No matter where you may be on your drumming journey, I hope my story may inspire you to continue pursuing that passion, no matter what curveballs life may throw at you. I believe there is always a path back to music … if you want it badly enough.

As far as parachute pants are concerned, simply Google the phrase “angry in parachute pants“–go ahead, I’ll wait. You can either do it manually, or click the link I created here. Unless something has changed since I wrote this (March 17, 2016), the first picture result should be a picture of me in high school, sitting on the corner of a stage, looking angry in parachute pants. Yes, this fact blows people’s minds … and gave my kids the laugh of a lifetime. For the record, that picture was taken by Evans Brown, the keyboardist for Room With A View. We played a big show at The Athenæum in downtown Indianapolis sometime before we graduated from North Central High School. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We should let the story unfold chronologically.

Therefore, let the journey begin …

1967: I am born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Medical issues contribute to my mother and I returning to the hospital several times during the first month or so, but eventually we are both home permanently.

1970: My father moves our family to the “big city” of Indianapolis for a new job. Meanwhile, in the music world … Paul McCartney announces his departure from The Beatles, leading to the breakup of the band.

1975: KISS releases Alive! It helps propel the band to superstardom and is acclaimed as one of the most significant live albums ever released. My friends become obsessed with the band and I can’t help but get sucked into the KISS hype for the next several years. I suspect that Peter Criss was probably one of the first rock drummers I knew by name. Although, around this same age, I am also listening to virtually every record in my sisters’ album collections, reading liner notes word-for-word and beginning to recognize names like Russ Kunkel showing up across numerous records by various artists. This is my introduction to the concept of a studio drummer–one who is not associated with any one particular band or artist, but instead gets paid to play with multiple artists. The idea sounds very appealing to me.

1977: The first Star Wars movie is released in theaters. My dad and I wait in line to see it on opening weekend. Han Solo and Harrison Ford become my favorite character/actor. I turn 10 years old on August 5th. Elvis Presley dies 11 days later. It is also an extremely pivotal year, musically, that introduces me to a radically diverse palette of genres. Progressive rock bands like Pink Floyd are breaking new ground. Meanwhile, two new and diametrically opposed music styles break into the mainstream that year. Disco music and the Bee Gees are in their prime with the release of Saturday Night Fever. And, the Sex Pistols release Never Mind the Bollocks, a phenomenon that makes punk rock “cool” and injects it into my bloodstream for years to come.

1978: Cheap Trick at Budokan is released and I instantly become a fan of the band (I was obviously a sucker for live albums). I purchase a cassette deck which leads to my listening to records less often because I now record the vinyl to cassette instead. Toto releases their debut album which my sister records to cassette for me. Although this album is a different genre than I am typically consuming at the time, the soulful and groove-oriented nature of the tunes speaks to me. The intro of “Child’s Anthem” and the deceptively simple meshing of straight and shuffle patterns grabs my attention immediately. In time, I discover who Toto’s drummer, Jeff Porcaro, is and that he has been right under my nose the entire time, playing drums on some of the best songs and records of the era.

1979: This is officially where my life of drumming begins. My father finally gets fed up with me beating my bedroom lampshades to shreds with flag sticks and enrolls me in drum lessons. I spend the next 5 years studying with Richard Paul at the Paul-Mueller drum studio on the northwest side of Indianapolis. I begin playing in school bands: concert band in middle school, marching band in high school, as well as the drummer for the North Central Counterpoints show choir. I attend state competitions every year, competing in snare drum, drum set (and eventually marimba) categories. Get The Knack is released. I buy the cassette on impulse at a local record store and fall in love with every aspect of the entire recording. The Police also release Reggatta de Blanc, featuring “Message in a Bottle,” the album that introduced me to drummer Stewart Copeland. Much of my formative style on the drum kit for the next few years will be directly influenced by my focused study of his playing. Richard attempts to get me excited about jazz drumming by turning me on to Buddy Rich, and other influential jazz drummers. Although I half-heartedly approach the lessons, I don’t fully appreciate the skill of Buddy Rich until years later. In retrospect, I regret not paying more attention to those technical details at the time.

1980: John Lennon is fatally shot in NYC. Although I am only 13 at the time and still discovering The Beatles, I am keenly aware that this represents a tragic loss for fans everywhere. This is also the same year that John Bonham dies, leading Led Zeppelin to the inevitable conclusion of calling it quits. I am already a huge fan of the band, due to discovering their first two records in my sister’s album collection, but I am still sampling the rest of their discography and gaining an appreciation for the depth and breadth of what they accomplished. Of course, Bonham becomes another major influence in my drumming style.

1981: While the planet has barely recovered from its mourning of John Lennon (and John Bonham), my personal world is shattered when I return home from school one spring afternoon to discover my mother, 46, dead in our garage. This is an obvious and successful attempt at suicide that proves to have rippling effects on my attitude, outlook and perspective for decades.

1982: I join my first “basement” band with four other high school friends. The band settles on the name Room With A View and manages to develop a small local following over the next three years. I have been told that this band was the inspiration for Indianapolis icons, Eric and Marc Johnson, to start their own band(s) and (eventually) get deeply embedded into the music industry. This is also the same year that the Zero Boys release Vicious Circle. Despite the prevalence this recording would come to play in my life, and the history of midwestern punk as we know it, I did not give this record the attention it deserved at the time. Still grappling with the death of my mother, I was a broken, angsty teenager shrouded in confusion and fear. It would be another year or two before I sink my teeth into the record and cherish it forever. And, it would be several years before I actually meet Paul Mahern and play in a band with him (Datura Seeds).

1984: I buy my first CD player from a classified ad in a newspaper. It has a faulty fuse that I override with a small metal cylinder I happen to find. Miraculously, the unit works for several years. The very first CD I purchase is Sting’s solo debut, The Dream of the Blue Turtles. Like many people, I spend the next several years replacing half of my record collection with CDs. Despite all the cautions from vinyl audiophiles, the combined convenience, portability and fidelity over previous formats is compelling. The end of vinyl seems inevitable and there is no way anyone would have predicted that a vinyl resurgence would happen 25 years later.

1985: This proves to be another pivotal year for me and my future. Despite having spent my entire high school career studying privately with Richard Paul and the unspoken assumption that I would go on to attend Ball State Music school with him as my mentor, I panic and change my plans in the middle of my senior year. Giving in to external influences concerning my future, I apply and am accepted into the Electrical Engineering school at Purdue University for the 1985-1986 academic year. I also choose to participate in the Purdue marching band, in some misguided effort to remain musically involved. Without a percussion mentor to help me prep for my audition, I bomb the sight-reading exercise during snare drum try-outs and, consequently, get relegated to bass drum. At this point in my life, I feel like a fish out of water. I am away from home, away from what I love and desperately trying to find my way. I am the oddball in my peer group, listening to punk music and attending underground slam-dance parties on the weekends while my roommate and friends are engaged in more “normal” activities. I have my drums brought to campus one weekend, but there is no realistic place to set them up or play. I attempt to put a band together, but my efforts go nowhere.

1986: At this point, I miss my Room With A View days, regret ever bailing on the Ball State plan and despise being a nameless “ant” in the marching band. So, I decide to quit the marching band. My parents drive up to West Lafayette for a weekend football game, only to discover that I will not be on the field at halftime. The second-semester physics “weed-out” course does its job, and my grades are too low to return to Purdue in the fall. My “college-away-from-home” days are done. I return to Indianapolis for the summer with the realization that if I get accepted into another school, I probably won’t be returning to classes until spring–essentially giving me the fall semester to get my act in gear. I am adamant about playing drums in a band again, so I post some flyers in various Broad Ripple locations, advertising myself as a drummer seeking a band. Within a day or two I receive a phone call from a girl named Lee Cuthbert. She explains that she is in a band with two guys. One plays bass, the other sings and plays guitar. The project sounds like something I’d enjoy. A little punk; a little avant-garde. Exactly what I’ve been looking for. And then, she tells me who is in the project. The other guitar player turns out to be none other than Paul Mahern! As mentioned previously, at this point in my life I have become a Zero Boys fanatic and Paul is a local legend to me and my musical pals from high school. I jump at the opportunity and become one of the founding members of the Datura Seeds. Over the next several months, I drive Paul to insanity with a million Zero Boys questions. Eventually, I learn to stop asking. Although I wouldn’t fully appreciate the opportunity I had been given until it was too late, I did get to do some cool stuff in that band. I got to record drum tracks at Hit City. The band played The Vogue (twice, I think). Jonee Quest was a crazy dude, but an amazing bass player with some super-cool production tricks up his sleeve. Overall, this was certainly one of the coolest bands I have ever been in.

1987: I turn 20 years old in August. I am now enrolled at Indiana-University Purdue-University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in the Telecommunications Program, studying audio and video production. I spend a weekend down in Bloomington, Indiana visiting a friend of mine at Indiana University. I meet a girl who will ultimately become my first ex-wife. Around this same time, I am hired by a guy named Brian Schafer to play drums in a “prom” cover band. This is the first time I play in a band that actually gets paid any significant sum. In addition to a part-time day job at my father’s place of employment, the cash from this band helps me pay for school and have a little spending money. Meanwhile, I am still involved in the Datura Seeds project. Paul and Jonee mention the name Kenny Aronoff a lot during this time. Obviously, I was familiar with him as John Mellencamp’s drummer and enjoyed several of John’s early songs over the years, but Paul and Jonee help me see a side of Aronoff that isn’t obvious to the casual listener or observer. This is when I begin to understand the importance of groove versus chops. At this point in my life, Neil Peart (of Rush) represents everything I think I want to be as a drummer. The examination of Aronoff helps me gain insight into other ways to channel power and energy when drumming. In time, as I learn more about Kenny’s character as a human being, I also develop a deep appreciation of what it takes to be a well-respected session drummer that people want to work with. This was a valuable lesson for me. Unfortunately, however, I do not learn that lesson right away and my mouth (and hot-headed nature) get me into trouble with the Datura Seeds. The pressure of balancing school, work and two bands eventually takes its toll. My tolerance snaps. Paul and I have a falling out. Twenty-seven years will pass before Paul and I speak to each other again.

1988: I am still attending classes at IUPUI and working my way through school. The Brian Schafer project is still playing the occasional Moose Lodge and high school prom gigs.

1989: This turns out to be another rough time for me. After suffering with what I thought was potentially strep throat, I am diagnosed with polyps on my vocal cords. Over the next 18 months, I will have three separate laser surgeries to remove them. My voice will never be the same. Any chances of augmenting my drumming skills with vocal ability are pretty much shot at this point. I like to believe this is somehow related to all those cold nights back in high school, screaming with the high school pep band at football games.

1990: I believe it is around this period of time when Brian Schafer and I join a project called Ricky & The Rowdies. The band is formed by Rick Eichholtz, the owner of Ike & Jonesy’s in downtown Indianapolis. This is a huge group with bass, guitar, drums, keyboards and a horn section. Rick fronts the band, but we have a female backup vocalist who sings lead as well. This band does a lot of Motown tunes, along with classic rock. Rick owns several bars in town, and we play them all. I experience so many seedy and shady things being in this band, it really opens my eyes to how sheltered my life has been. One night, after band rehearsal in the back room of the Sports Bar, I get arrested for forgetting to turn my headlights on as I begin to drive up Meridian Street. That was quite the experience. Eventually, Brian and I (and the guitar player) were replaced by the bass player’s pals, but it was fun while it lasted and allowed me to learn some valuable lessons (good and bad). This band also played at some huge outdoor festival that took place in the parking lot of Ike & Jonesy’s Too (as I recall). I think it was related to Indy 500 weekend. This was one of the largest crowds I’d ever played for. I have some nostalgic clips from this show on my YouTube channel. This was also the first band in which I ever played behind a drum shield. I also was deep into electronics at the time, using piezo triggers on my drums through a drumKat to augment my acoustic drum sounds with Roland R-8 samples. Eventually, I sell all of the electronics because I get fed up with dealing with that level of detail. I just want to focus on my playing, not perfecting synthetic sounds. In fact, electronics won’t enter the picture again until 2015 when I begin experimenting with an iPad mounted to my hi-hat as a metronome.

1991: My girlfriend and I announce our engagement. I begin working at University Place Conference Center, on the campus of IUPUI. I receive my B.A. in Telecommunications from Indiana University in December and continue working at the conference center after graduation.

1992: I get married (to my first wife) in the spring. I also turn 25 on the 5th of August. As I am celebrating my birthday, I learn of Jeff Porcaro’s death from the radio. It is possibly the saddest birthday ever. Adjusting to married life, a period of time goes by where I barely play drums. Years from now, I will recognize that I am attempting to live a provincial life that does not suit me. However, I still have not developed enough self-confidence to take the risks necessary to succeed at what I really want. It will take this mistake, and others to follow, to teach me how to hear my own voice … and honor it.

1993: I meet a keyboardist named Greg Leistikow (a new conference center employee) who is working on a music project with a guitarist named Tony Valasek. I audition and become the drummer of a trio that becomes known as Odd Man (based on a concept from Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain). Although my wife is not thrilled, my involvement with this band at least satisfies my need to play. My wife and I build a house together in Carmel, Indiana. One of my personal hopes is that this may provide me the ability to pursue drumming more freely than I could in an apartment. That doesn’t really come to pass.

1994: Yet another traumatic year. I purchase Kenny Aronoff’s VHS entitled Power Workout I, in an effort to develop my double kick technique and hand/foot independence (in 21 years from now, I will get it signed by him). Odd Man polishes a set of songs and spends the summer recording their album at Tony’s house. Meanwhile, my marriage to my first wife comes to an end after it becomes painfully apparent we are on different paths. Luckily, we have no children, so splitting is relatively easy. I also quit my conference center job and start working at Markey’s Audio-Visual. Someone wise once said that if you change your marital status, your job status and your living status all at the same time, you’ll go insane. I can assure you it is a painful existence. I spend a lot of time wallowing in my “failure” and chasing after cheap thrills that ultimately lead to deeper depression. Although this won’t be the lowest moment in my life, it sure feels that way at the time.

1995: Learning to be single again proves to be challenging at best. Hypothesis by Odd Man is released. However, band momentum and enthusiasm has decreased. I accept an offer to audition with a popular cover band known as Danger Will Robinson. I get offered the position, the band seems thrilled to have me and I begin gigging out with them.

1996: During a show at World Mardi Gras, a large nightclub on the fourth floor of Circle Centre Mall in downtown Indianapolis, the main spring on my kick pedal snaps. I have no backup pedal and am forced to play my kick drum parts with my right hand on the floor tom for the remainder of the show. The lead singer fires me from the band the next day. I spend the rest of the year looking for another opportunity, but am now so desperate for cash I have to begin focusing on finding a lucrative career path. Necessity forces me to resort to the exploitation of my technology-oriented inclinations and I begin taking Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer courses and studying for the certification exam.

1997: I turn 30 this year. Working through a technology job placement firm, I begin a new job at WFYI (Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Broadcasting) as a temporary hire in their (two-person) “IT department.” After six months of temporary employment, I am hired on full-time and spend the next 7 years working my way from backroom network and computer support to online website development. I have great freedom to try new things and explore technologies that excite me. Because of this, I am able to figure out a way to take the unique programming produced by the radio and television stations and provide on-demand streams of those programs on the web for the first time in the station’s history. Unfortunately, drumming is not a major part of my life at this point. I am often jealous of other coworkers who are still actively involved in music. It will be several years before that silent yearning transforms itself into active motivation again. Meanwhile, I join the Helen Wells modeling agency and explore the idea of getting into modeling. This is how I meet the woman who will eventually become my second ex-wife.

1999: This was the year that Prince’s party tune got its last use. It was also the year that I got married … again. Although I got to play Tempted (by Squeeze) with the Carl Storie Band at our reception, it would be a few years before I get back on the throne regularly.

2000: My wife gives birth to our first daughter in June (11 months after we were wed). Becoming a father becomes one of the most terrifying, yet satisfying experiences of my life. Work and family obligations consume most of my days, leaving very little time for musical pursuits.

2002: Amidst personal financial issues and extended family health concerns, our second daughter is born. Perhaps as a result, she is born several weeks early and spends several days in the neonatal intensive care unit. Tensions are high as the family comes together to do everything in our power to make sure she pulls through.

2003: Our oldest daughter is enrolled in preschool. At a parent meeting, I am introduced to Drew White, another father at the gathering. I learn that he is the drummer for HeadFirst, a cover band formed by him and two other guys who are all related by sibling marriages. I am invited to a rehearsal and soon become their new drummer. Drew takes over bass duties and the band stays together, with some occasional member changes, for another nine years. The band only has a few shows each year, but rehearses on Thursday nights (with occasional exceptions) for the majority of its existence. In many ways, it feels like the Room With A View experience all over again–band members who are also close friends. The final rehearsal space for the band–a special room created just for the band inside the lead singer’s painting business, is still used today by bands that have been created by former members of HeadFirst. Someday, I hope to produce a short documentary about Kevin Kinder, the lead singer of HeadFirst, and his painting business and that amazing room that has enabled so much music to survive in this city.

2004: I leave my job at WFYI to take a new job at my current employer, Butler University. This results in a significant salary increase and marks the shift in my career away from highly-technical tasks and spending more focused, specialized time on project management.

2005: My wife loses her mother to stomach cancer in August. This loss cripples her ability to focus and productively function in life for years to come. As her ability to process rational thought diminishes with time, I find myself becoming increasingly responsible and accountable for the day-to-day needs of the household. This will eventually lead to the demise of the marriage.

2008: At the end of October, just before Halloween, tragedy strikes again when my wife, two kids and I return from a week-long Disney vacation to discover my father has been diagnosed with liver cancer. He dies one week later. The realization that both of my biological parents are now dead weighs on me heavily. The concept of mortality becomes more of a motivator than ever. My father’s death is simultaneously devastating and liberating. This event, more than any other, makes me realize how important it is to live while you have the chance. Do not squander your days. Live them purposely and intentionally. Achieve what you want … before it’s too late.

2009: HeadFirst is invited to record an original song at the Fairbanks studios on the campus of Butler University. The band chooses to record an original song I had written a couple years prior, entitled You Know What I Mean–a song about a man who discovers the girl of his dreams. In a classic case of life imitating art, a lovely Butler student appears out of nowhere in the middle of the recording session to join the other students working on the project. As time will prove, this girl becomes unforgettable and the two of us find ourselves involved in a roller coaster relationship that turns my entire world upside down. Despite the immediate complications this relationship will cause me, she and I manage to navigate our way through life together for another eight years. Her talents in the visual arts and assistance with my crazy creative ideas enable me to finally turn my “Indy Drummer” moniker into something bigger (like this blog that you are reading now). Meanwhile … still broken and clinging to memories of her mother, my wife and her unrealistic demands of me become too much for me to burden any longer. The marriage unwinds into an intense set of events that lead to a hasty and messy divorce. The events of this year will place me in the lowest point in my life’s journey … for awhile–the worst set of circumstances I will ever experience. In time, I realize that I must not let this setback define me. Although I lose many “friends” through this process, I learn who my real friends truly are. I also begin to see this as a chance for another rebirth; an opportunity to do the things I should have done after my first divorce: living life on my terms and using my time and money to pursue the things that matter to me.

2011: With the majority of the marital and legal issues behind me, it feels like for the first time since my father’s death I can begin to take full control of my life. I strategically begin to reconstruct my life, one piece at a time. I learn about a local musician named Branch Gordon. I am impressed with his original material and reach out to him. One thing leads to another. I record drums on his (yet to be released) debut album, as well as playing live with his trio for about a year.

2012: I face some challenges in trying to maintain a viable work/life balance. This brings me to the conclusion that I need to step away from the Branch Gordon project for the time being. Meanwhile, HeadFirst is now reduced to three members. The HeadFirst “trio” plays its final show in July. Once again, I find myself without a band.

2013: It doesn’t take long before I begin to annoy my roommate with regular rants about needing to find (or form) a new band. She sends me a NUVO ad posted by two guitar players looking for a drummer. I reply to the ad and, in time, TORO is born. The original bass player quits the band and HeadFirst’s bass player, Drew, joins. As of 2018, this band is still together, writing and performing its unique brand of guitar-oriented rock tunes.

2014: For the first time since the 80s, I finally get to spend some face-to-face time with Eric Johnson once again when he agrees to track and mix TORO recording a studio version of More. The song can be found on digital streaming services (e.g., Spotify). A month or two afterward, Kenny Aronoff appears at the campus of Butler University for a night of drumming, lecture and Q&A with an intimate audience in the new Schrott Center auditorium. Eric and Marc Johnson attend the show, providing me another opportunity to chat with them again … as well as meet Kenny Aronoff after all these years. The Zero Boys announce a New Year’s Eve show at The Melody Inn. I end up going. Although this is actually the second time I see the Zero Boys perform at The Melody Inn during this time frame, this will be the first time I speak to Paul in 27 years. I am sitting in that tiny seating section opposite the stage. He walks off the stage after the show and comes directly over to sit down and rest a moment after their performance, so I muster the courage to say “hello.” Paul remembers me and we chat for a few minutes. In the days to follow, we end up friending on Facebook and exchanging a few emails. It’s funny how life works sometimes, but it was a huge relief for me to finally bring some form of closure to that whole ordeal. It has always felt odd to me whenever communication with another human being just stops for some stupid reason, and life just marches on. These days, I’m not interested in making enemies or burning bridges. I’d prefer to just work things out somehow. It’s just not worth alienating people like that. It’s very difficult to do what you love in this world all alone, so it’s better to work with people and get along however you can. Kenny Aronoff was right all along.

2015: This is the year that several amazing things happen for me. First, I decide to try something a little crazy. Thirty years after graduating from high school and walking away from a musical education, I apply to Butler University’s music school as a graduate student … and get accepted. After years of hearing about a man named Jon Crabiel and his accolades as a drummer and instructor, I find myself enrolled in a one-on-one summer course with him. I have a great experience spending the summer with Jon and discovering new challenges in drumming. I also discover that Jon studied with Richard Paul as well, and we have quite a few laughs reminiscing about his teaching style–and the fact that we probably passed each other at the Paul-Mueller studio dozens of times back in the 80s. In the fall, I attend another intimate engagement with Kenny Aronoff, where I finally get him to autograph that old Power Workout I lesson booklet I mentioned earlier. In addition to finally pursuing a formal musical education, I also give country music a chance for the first time ever. Being open-minded and diverse pays off. First, Tim Neuman (10th of Never, formerly of HeadFirst) decides it’s time to form the country band he’s always wanted. He asks me if I’m interested. His new band, Kenyon, is born. About the same time, my cousin’s daughter is putting together a new girl duo project (American Honey) and forming a band for local shows. I am alerted to the opportunity. Around October, the original drummer has to opt out, and I get offered the position to be American Honey’s new drummer. The lofty aspirations of this project lead me into new territory: playing to a click live, electronic charting (with Finale Notepad), as well as using items like iPads, in-ear-monitors (IEMs) and personal mixers on stage. Although I experimented with electronic music gear back in the 80s (drumKAT, Roland R-8 and piezo drum triggers), the task of managing set lists and tempos via software (forScore) during rehearsals/shows was new. Luckily, I have grown quite comfortable with playing to click tracks over the years, so that was the least of my worries. I was mostly worried about piecing together a reliable technical solution that I could count on during shows. So far, the solution I have created has worked very well. I will detail that solution elsewhere in my blog. For now, suffice it to say, my technology background–combined with a little cunning and creativity–came in very handy. About the same time as Kenyon and American Honey are ramping up, I am just beginning to recover from my first painful bout with tennis elbow in my right arm that had started in August. By January, my right elbow is essentially back to 100%.

2016: Sometime around the holidays, just as soon as my right arm is healing, my left arm begins to show similar signs of tennis elbow. As I write this sentence (March 3, 2016), I am still dealing with left elbow pain, attempting to manage it the same way I did my right, and clinging dearly to the hope that I can replicate the comeback I achieved with my first case of tennis elbow. If you are suffering from this, contact me and I’ll be happy to share any tips I can to help you heal up too. I will post more on my status as things progress. American Honey just played its most amazing show to date: we got to perform on the ginormous stage in the Terrace Lounge at Hoosier Park Casino in Anderson, Indiana. As predicted, this year is turning out to be pretty damn amazing … assuming this elbow heals soon!

February 2017: Looks like I need to to write an update! Much has changed since March 3, 2016. In fact, maybe now that I have completed all of the historical view of my life, I could just use future entries on this page as more of a diary or journal of my drumming experiences. So, here’s what has happened in the last 11 months. First off, my tennis elbow issues seem to be mostly a thing of the past. Every once in awhile, I sense a twinge here and there, but I try to be as careful as I can be so that I don’t have to deal with that again. Kristi Kroker left the American Honey project shortly after that casino gig I mentioned. I don’t think this really turned out to be what she expected it to be. So, Brooke and the band carried on without her as “American Honey” for a few gigs, then Brooke chose to just switch back to branding herself as the Brooke Roe Band again. Then, near the end of the year, we dropped the “band” part and she just marketed herself as Brooke Roe. At that point, she had completed all of her Nashville recording and seemed to be closing in on completing her EP. For the majority of the year, I had a blast. We played some amazing shows and stages, including some fairs and festivals. We even got to play at CarmelFest. Shows thinned out near the end of the year, and the 2017 calendar wasn’t filling up, but I held on and hoped for the best. Regrettably, things didn’t really pan out as intended. After our holiday show at the Strand Theatre in mid-December, the wheels came off the project and Brooke announced she was taking a break from the band concept for awhile. I have since used the spare time to gain a solid working knowledge of Ableton Live, which was a skill sorely needed in the last few months of the year, as Brooke began performing her studio tracks live. So, I’m proud to say I have that under my belt now. I’m currently keeping myself busy by digging back into TORO rehearsals and shows again, as well as filling in with a cover band called The Party. I’m actually putting my Ableton knowledge to use with their tunes, prepping a live set to trigger keyboard and percussion tracks as needed. We’ll see how it goes when we play at the end of the month. I have also been staying in touch with Cook & Belle, whose sons are leaving the band in March. They will be conducting drummer auditions soon, so I am hoping to score that gig if I can. Keeping my fingers crossed. One interesting discovery I made this year was this article. Apparently, I have been written out of the history of the band, which is odd. I have communicated with the author of the article, and he claims he merely printed what people told him. Who knows. All I do know is that, once again, my “founding” status in a band becomes lost in time. In another interesting case of things coming full circle, Jim Gilchrist (TORO) and I are supposed to be visiting Paul in his home studio in Bloomington sometime soon, to re-track Jim’s vocals on The Rough. Also in the “full circle” category, I spent the past two nights hanging out with my old Room With A View buddy, Lee Obermeyer. He was in town to visit his father and came to the TORO show Thursday night. Last night, we included our old bass player, Skip Lyford, as well. So, it was a mini RWAV reunion. Good times. Here’s to the rest of 2017 and how things may pan out. I’ll keep you updated … eventually. 😉

July 2017: Once again, I find my writing lagging way behind life’s constant ebb and flow. Let me attempt to provide an update. Sometime shortly after my February 2017 update, I began to realize that there was an open band slot at this year’s CarmelFest that was going to go to waste if Brooke didn’t want to pursue it. As time progressed through March and April, it became evident that forming another band with her to fill that slot wasn’t a reality. So, at the end of May, after finishing up some of his solo material and playing some of it live at The Melody Inn, Tim Neuman and I decided to use the CarmelFest opening as an excuse to form a new cover band project. We set out to create the best band we could put together, name it something catchy and appropriate to its purpose, market the heck out of it, and use the CarmelFest debut as the launching pad for a top shelf project that would continue to build, improve, and book itself well into the future. In the course of precisely two months, we formed Station to Station, an amazingly diverse band that is composed of Tom Padgett on guitar, Sarah Reitmeier on vocals, Roger Logan on bass, Tim Neuman on guitar/vocals, me on drums, with Gary John Higgins on keys for the debut show. Once we had all the players nailed down, things began to move very quickly and we put on a stellar show at the festival. We are currently building the rest of our show and booking future dates. This was an incredibly proud achievement for us all, and I look forward to posting more about it soon. Meanwhile, TORO finished up two new studio tracks and released them. We just started collaborating as a full band, and almost have our first song done as a foursome. We are also beginning to experiment with a web platform/app called BandLab for collaborating remotely. Our first experiment is promising. Hopefully, I will have great things to say about BandLab in the future. Last, but not least, a new opportunity just landed in my lap last week. Apparently, I have been leaving a good impression on people as I have been building up my drumming career again. John King called me up recently and asked me if I’d be interested in drumming for a special tribute project he’s putting together. Tom Padgett is involved with this project as well, and apparently recommended me. In fact, John said that my name keeps “popping up all over the place” and he’s heard good things about me from multiple sources. Words will never express how grateful and humbled I am by those words. Obviously, I have been working my tail off to earn such a reputation, but I didn’t realize that I had already obtained such a network of trust, given that I’ve only been back in the music “game” heavily for the past few years. I gotta say, in addition to the honor of working with Tom, I have also had the immense honor to play with some other respectable names in this town. It’s been a trip getting to know all these people, broadening my musical network, while finally feeling like I’ve “broken into” the Indianapolis music scene that I’ve been on the periphery of all these years. I’ve also been delving into my own music writing and production in the past few months. I recently completed a song called “Banshee” that I’ve released on SoundCloud and ReverbNation. I’m in the process of publishing it to Spotify and iTunes right now. I’ll be writing a special post about that as soon as the release is officially accepted by those services. Meanwhile, I need to take off and get out to the Dog House in Brownsburg to do a fill-in show with “The Party.” So, look for another update soon!

January 2018: I really suck at this blogging thing, eh? I guess it just goes to show that I am keeping myself occupied with other things. Holy cow, I haven’t written anything since July of last year! This should be interesting (and long). So … let’s see. Station to Station managed to book several dates throughout the fall of 2017. They were all bar gigs. No other festivals, and no private parties yet. Although, shortly after CarmelFest, Tim and Sarah met with Lisa Sauce (Blonde Entertainment) and Lisa agreed to take us on as an “official” Blonde band, but as a “second tier” act that could be offered as alternatives to her top bands when someone needed wedding or corporate entertainment. That project hasn’t played a show since December, but I’m sure something will fall into place this spring. You can view the promotional video I edited for this band here. Meanwhile, the tribute project I mentioned earlier has come to fruition. John King and Ryan Wright formed an LLC, named “This Is:,” that was setup to launch various types of tribute acts. The first of these, which Tom and I are a part of, is a Doors tribute band. Ryan fronts the band, playing “Jim Morrison,” while the rest of us support him as the rest of the Doors band. Tom Padgett on guitar, Pat Finnigan on keys, Kenny Prescott on bass, me on drums. We worked all through the fall, working out a set and preparing a 60-minute show. The project finally debuted on Friday, January 5th at 8 Seconds Saloon. We opened for Henry Lee Summer, so we had a decent crowd. The show was a huge hit and we received a ton of compliments afterward. The Facebook page has some video clips, but Gary John Higgins did a multi-camera shoot of the entire show and we should be seeing a full length video sometime soon. In addition to these projects, I was also invited to join another project that Tom had been part of, called Tommy Whiskers. This band consists of Brian Goodwin and Nick Lemmo from the Endless Summer Band, as well as Tom and Pat. Performing a set of tunes that Brian insists we call “Yacht Rock,” the mission of this band is to perform songs that audiences don’t typically hear from a bar band, and to please/challenge ourselves with songs that we’ve always wanted to play, or tunes that stretch our abilities a bit. The first few weeks were a test for me, putting my understanding of the Nashville Number System to use with a newly-discovered iPad app called 1Chart, to enable me to quickly chart dozens of songs I had never played before (and in some cases, never heard before). It’s been a lot of fun playing songs like “Peg” (Steely Dan) and “Rosanna” (Toto), and other tunes I’ve grown up with, loved, but never played. Right now, we are getting ready to rehearse songs from Frank Zappa and Jeff Beck, which are definitely off the beaten path of “pedestrian” music typically played by bands around here. And, Pat has asked us to learn “Fred” (Tony Williams), which will push me to my limits as a drummer. I’ll be lucky to do that one justice to get started. But, ideally, learning songs like this will give me incentive to woodshed some more on my chops and take my skills to new places in time. All in all, the second half of 2017 was interesting, musically. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, November 29th, I woke up to the worst pain of my life. I was taken to the hospital, where I discovered that I am “full” of kidney stones. The following Tuesday, I had surgery to remove two stones from my UT, a 5mm stone on my left side, and a 3mm stone on my right. I *immediately* altered my diet the day after my ER visit and as of this writing (Sunday, January 28, 2018), I have lost over 30 pounds. Adhering to a “low oxalate” diet is tricky, but I have done my best. I finally get the results of my 24-hour collection test this Friday, where I will get some specific dietary advice. It will be nice to get down to details after I have essentially had to spend the last two months educating myself and modifying my diet to the best of my ability. I have had a nagging backache ever since the stents were removed on December 7th, and suspect it may not be muscular, as I once thought. Given my history of tendon issues, and a comment made by James Gilchrist (TORO), I think it may be tendon related. So, I have been treating it as such, with no significant improvements. I’m not sure what to do about it, and it is impairing my ability to enjoy my drumming as I should. I often have to take a muscle relaxant and ibuprofen just to get through a gig, and that’s not right. I am going to try some specific hot/cold therapy techniques to see if I can accelerate the healing process. I am also in the process of getting approved for a home mortgage and will likely be buying a house sometime this spring. More news on that as things unfold.

October 2018: Time once again for me to provide some form of update. I’ll try to keep it brief. I started shopping for a new home at the beginning of the year. What a crazy process that was! The market has been bizarre. Countless afternoons of having a property pop up on the market, rushing out to see it with my realtor, and then determining it was trash (90% of the time), or hurrying to put an offer together that night … only to be outbid. Frustrating. However, I did eventually win the bid on a condo in Fishers, IN. I closed in July and moved in August. I am once again completely single for the first time in a long time. It’s been an interesting adjustment at times, to say the least. Before moving in, I had to spend a chunk of cash to do some remodeling, removing a wall and replacing 19-year-old carpet with luxury vinyl. The place is slowly coming together and I realize I have plenty more to do, as time and MONEY allow. As I jokingly say, “I have invested in a 15-year fix and flip.” 😛 There have been some shifts and changes with some of the bands I’m in, but with the exception of Station to Station, everything else seems to be together in some shape or form, even if moving slowly. I have joined a new Mark Moran project called The Beep Line, a 60s rock ‘n’ roll cover band that does a great job emulating bands like The Beatles, The Monkees, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and many more. Yet another great set of players that learn and execute quickly. I’ve had the joy of getting to know some new people in my life like Michael Read, Lisa Sauce, Phil Kaiser, Jim Sanders, Mark Moran, and others … and feel blessed to know them all! October has been a rather slow month for me musically, mostly due to the fact that Tommy Whiskers lost its weekly house gig at TWO different venues within one week. That’s taken a toll on my budget, forcing me to be extremely frugal at the moment. Moving into a new home on my own has forced me to purchase a lot of things I needed to get started, but now it’s time to get tough on “discretionary spending” and focus on absolute necessities. I have plenty of gigs coming up on the calendar, and I’m sure this new project will yield more gig opportunities. This is just a temporary dry spell. Well, that’s all I can think of right now. Needless to say, I could probably write a multiple-page entry on the entire moving experience, but I won’t go down that emotional rabbit hole here. 😉

Conclusion: So … that brings us to current day. As you have read, my life has been all over the place. In some ways, one might argue that I’ve been running from drumming half of my life. It’s almost as if I had to go out into the world and somehow prove to myself that I could be something else. In my teens and twenties, everyone always associated me with the drums. People I hadn’t seen in years (or perhaps even known) would bump into me and, inevitably, ask me if/how my drumming was going. I had formed a reputation (of some kind) and was even aware of it at the time. I think it took all of the events written above to help me accept that drumming will always be in my veins, and not to be ashamed if that’s what I really want to do with my time. I’ve paid my dues. I’ve lived through enough hell. I’ve earned the right to return to my roots and grow them as they should have been all along.

One of my all-time favorite quotes summarizes this idea so well. The quote is from T. S. Eliot.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time

Truer words have never been written.

May you be inspired to continue your exploration, as I have been mine. Be purposeful and intentional with each day. They are limited, you know. 😉

*If you are interested, I also give a little biographical information in my introductory video on YouTube.