Clearly, it is unusual for a 66-year-old CPA to play drums in a bar band. Along with my friend and bass player, Jeff Strout, I have held down the rhythm section for the Bourbon Brothers band for eight years. Although disclosing this fact is a great icebreaker at parties, and even when meeting new clients, it is also guaranteed to elicit the question as to “why”. Where do I start?
My best explanation is the true feeling of accomplishment when the band can learn and perform a new song. As a former golfer, I liken this to playing with three other average golfers on a day when you all shoot below par.
Of course, it all starts with the love of music. I come by this naturally as my mother was a pianist, her sister, Sr. Julie Clare, taught piano for 60 years at St. Joseph Academy in Columbus, and my mother’s other sister, Helen, was an accomplished violinist. On my father’s side, his brother Jack played piano by ear and his sister Catherine was a vocalist. I am not saying we were only some lederhosen away from the Von Trapp Family, but that is pretty musical.
Covering Red Hot Chili Pepper songs is not as far away from my family’s classic roots as it seems. Tempo, dynamics, and feel are universal. However, admittedly Sr. Julie Clare would have been as confused on the proper placement of a 16th kick drum note as I am with an arpeggio but still there is a significant amount of connective tissue.
What I like most about being in a band is the ability of a group of men whose ages span over 30 years, and who come from very different walks of life, to skillfully combine talents to create art. Because of our age and musical differences, every band member (which includes Burke & Schindler colleagues, Dan Engelhardt and Diego Vallota, along with Jeff Strout, Dave Lewis, and Andrew Champa) gladly plays songs they had never even heard before a member suggested the song. Our democratic (mostly) selection process has resulted in an extremely eclectic playlist that routinely keeps our listeners guessing. This includes not only the next song but maybe even the back half of a mash-up. I mean who combines Bruno Mars with Rare Earth?
If you want to liven up your next event, give me a call. Please note, our name notwithstanding, we are serious (sort of) about our craft and do most of our tippling post show.