I have been influenced and inspired in a number of different ways by a number of different people, as a musician, a teacher and as a human being. In fact, I have probably been influenced a little bit in one way or another by most every person I have ever come in contact with. I have taken bits and pieces of all these people and mixed them together with a healthy dose of my own personality to make up who I am.


I was greatly influenced by rock music of the late 60's and early 70's and the fusion movement of the 70's. Major influences include: Emerson Lake and Palmer, Frank Zappa, The Doobie Brothers, Chicago, Gino Vannelli, Kansas, Triumvirat, Steely Dan, Dan Haerle, The Dregs, Kit Watkins, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Weather Report, The Brecker Brothers, Yes, Jethro Tull, and many others. After watching Emerson Lake and Palmer perform on a 1974 ABC network television broadcast, "I was hooked forever!"


Some well known influences are: Simon Phillips, Rod Morgenstein, Dave Weckl, Carl Palmer, Steve Gadd, Anton Fig, Gerry Brown, Steve Smith, Danny Seraphine, Don Brewer, Chet McCracken, Keith Knudson, John Hartman, Michael Hossack, Chad Wackerman, Vinnie Colaiuta, Terry Bozzio, Ed Mann, Barriemore Barlow, Phil Ehart, John Bonham, Micky Dolenz, Floyd Sneed, Jeff Porcaro, Keith Moon, Doug Ingle, Gregg Bissonette, and many others.

Equally important to these greats were talented people I got to play along side in band during junior high, high school, college, and grad school. Most of these people are not famous but influenced my playing just the same: Clif Newton, Tommy Mayes, Clay Lowder, Jeff McNeil, Danny Marion, Larry Hess, Greg Vaughn, Bruce Bray, Alan Lawrence, Alan Shinn, Bob Clarke, Lalo Davila, Andy Barrus, Dan Wojciechowski, Steve Fisher, Tony Pia, Randy Drake, and many others.


I learned so much about how to play and teach by watching great teachers. I was very fortunate to have had many great teachers throughout my life who taught me more than just music. I also had a few teachers who were less than great, however, I still learned from these teachers, if nothing else, "How NOT to Teach." Some of the teachers who influenced me in a very positive way were:

Mike McKinney - My first drum teacher. I hooked up with him quite by chance. He was teaching percussion lessons at Jent's House of Music in Lubbock, Texas and we found his name in the Yellow Pages. He was a great teacher and the person who gave me a tremendous musical foundation. Dr. McKinney is now a Baptist minister and college professor in Kansas.

James Beckham - Another very inspirational percussion teacher in my early development. James taught me a lot and also encouraged me to write my first compositions and arrangements.



C. Doyle Gammill - My high school band director. I could write a book about his influence but to boil it down, he taught me that music can be fun and we should laugh at ourselves along the way as we work hard to be our best. He is one of the funniest people on Earth and a lot of the kooky things I do are either inspired by him or are a direct rip off!




Dan Haerle - Jazz legend, musical genius, and teacher extraordinaire. Dan continues to this day to be a mentor and a friend. He taught me to strive to a higher level as a musician, composer, arranger, and teacher



Dr. Robert Schietroma - My percussion teacher in grad school at North Texas. Doc also continues to be a mentor and a friend. He pushed me very hard (sometimes, almost too hard!) to be my best and strive for extremely high standards.



Musical Influences

My greatest musical influences (oddly) came from people who don't play percussion. My top four musical heroes are:



Frank Zappa - the greatest musician who has walked this planet in the past 100 years. That's a pretty strong statement but those who "get it" are very lucky to be able to attempt to digest the massive catalog of music he left us in his brief 53-year period on Earth.





Dan Haerle - A living jazz genius at the piano. I don't know why he doesn't go down in history with people like Corea, Hancock, Tyner, Waller, Monk, etc. Dan is in the same league as any of those guys and is the nicest and most humble person you'll ever meet!




Keith Emerson - Another genius who flourished in more of an electronic rock realm with Greg Lake and Carl Palmer. Emerson broke new ground with the Moog synthesizer which has influenced generations of players. His greatest composition, "Karn Evil 9" (1973) still stands as a masterpiece which has no equal.





Kit Watkins - Kit inspired me by what he was able to do in a relatively simple home studio. He has produced many fine recordings of impeccable quality and creativity which are equal to big budget productions recorded at million dollar pro studios.




My personal musical tastes run very eclectic. I was initially turned onto music by The Monkees and wanted to "someday play drums as well as Micky Dolenz." That's one goal I think I've accomplished! From there, I discovered a lot of other great music that was happening in the late 60s. Then the early 70s brought a flood of wonderful music like we've never seen since and surely will never see again in this lifetime.

In June of 1974 I had a religious musical awakening while watching an ABC TV show called In Concert. On this particular Friday night, they broadcast a concert from The California Jam featuring Emerson Lake and Palmer. For me, this show would be a musical awakening like I had never experienced before. To say that I was blown away by what I saw and heard would be an understatement. It was the most incredible thing I had ever seen!

Karn Evil 9 - 1st Impression
Karn Evil 9 - 3rd Impression

Through the magic of cable TV (in a time when there were no VCRs or DVRs), I actually got to watch the entire broadcast twice that evening and after a totally sleepless night, I got up and went out and bought the Brain Salad Surgery album. I spent the rest of the weekend literally listening to this record over and over again. My life was forever changed after finding this wonderful music and I had a new dedication to devote the rest of my life to music. I haven't looked back since.

When disco took over in the mid-70s I found that it wasn't for me and I started wandering to the jazz section of the record store and discovered a whole new world of music which has been with me ever since. About that same time, I really started getting into The Beatles and then, much later (in the 1990s) I finally discovered the genius of what went down at Motown in the late 50s and most of the 60s. College and grad school taught me to understand and appreciate the classical side of music as well as 20th Century, ethnic, avant guard, minimalism, etc. I was fortunate to have been served such a well-rounded diet of musical styles!

Selected Favorite Albums:




Emerson Lake and Palmer, Brain Salad Surgery
Quite possibly the greatest album ever made! The band is at the peak of their career. Carl Palmer plays some of the best drum parts ever recorded. Keith Emerson was years ahead of his time with his writing and use of custom made Moog synthesizers. The cornerstone of this album is the 30-minute suite, "Karn Evil 9" which is one of the greatest pieces of music ever recorded. Also check out their next album, the three record live set Welcome Back My Friends...

Triumvirat, Illusions on a Double Dimple
This album is an unknown classic. These are prog rockers from Germany who played very much in the style of Emerson Lake and Palmer. I enjoy the synthesizer work as well as the long and intricate song forms. This music fits in very well with Brain Salad Surgery.

Chicago Transit Authority
Chicago's very first album. Drummer Danny Seraphine plays like his rear is on fire and, in doing so, inspired a generation of young drummers. This was one of the first double (vinyl) albums, and that gave the band a chance to stretch out and jam on most every song. Every piece is a classic in its own way.

Steely Dan, Aja
This is the closest thing that there is to a perfect album. Not a single flaw or moment of anything less than brilliant music anywhere. Everything is shined and polished until it is right. This album was made similar to a movie with different musicians coming and going on each song, similar to "actors." Sometimes they would consolidate two different musician's takes into one. This album is more about "groove" and "feel" rather than fast chops. Drummers who performed are: Steve Gadd, Ed Green, Paul Humphrey, Jim Keltner, Rick Marotta, and Bernard Purdie

Synergy, Electronic Realizations For Rock Orchestra
Synergy is Larry Fast, a one man band who played every note on this "symphony" of classic analog synthesis. The entire album features Fast's compositions, which required a massive amount of overdubbing. No drummers are on this album and "no one played guitar". The best all-synthesizer album I have ever heard.

Landmark rock 'n roll from the genius of Tom Scholz who composed, recorded and played all of the guitar, bass and organ parts on this classic album from his home basement. He brought in singer Brad Delp and drummer Sib Hashian to round out the "band." Contains some of the greatest commercial rock music of all time

Led Zeppelin II
My personal favorite Led Zep album. This was a brighter time in the life of the band before the excess of fame and fortune clouded their later albums. Every song here is a classic. John Bonham's thunderous drum work, with both his sticks and bare hands, on "Moby Dick" is essential listening for every drummer.

Pat Metheny Group, First Circle
Metheny is one of the greatest jazz artist/composers alive. This is one (of many) of his classic albums. Every track is solid. The title track has been covered by many a jazz band and percussion ensemble. Contains some incredibly innovative drumming by Paul Wertico.

The Who, Who's Next
This is The Who's best album in my opinion. The band is at their peak, playing, writing and recording. Keith Moon's unmistakable drumming charges through here like the madman that he was. Contains one of the greatest rock anthems of all time, "Won't Get Fooled Again."

Frank Zappa, Make A Jazz Noise Here
There would be too many Zappa albums to list here but this is an incredible live recording from Zappa's last tour in '88. Contains a nice variety of music, and is heavy on instrumental tracks. Drummer Chad Wackerman and percussionist Ed Mann propel the top notch band through many an intricate composition in this collection. Chad Wackerman once told me that this is also his favorite Zappa album.

Weather Report, Heavy Weather
A wonderful album, representative of the best of 70's jazz/rock fusion. Every member of this band is a jazz legend. Alex Acuna (normally known as a latin percussionist) turns out a legendary performance on drumset. Bass legend Jaco Pastorius also plays some great drums on "Teen Town." Contains the timeless jazz/fusion classic, "Birdland."

Jethro Tull, Thick As A Brick
One of the first long form "concept albums" which stretches one song over an entire album. This is Tull's finest work in my opinion. Features wonderful writing which weaves many different stylistic passages throughout the entire effort. The ending finally brings back the original motif. Fantastic, creative drumming by Barriemore Barlow!





Row One:
Emerson Lake and Palmer: Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends - Ladies and Gentlemen, Emerson Lake and Palmer,
Toto: Toto IV, Chicago: Chicago VII, Frank Zappa: You Are What You Is, Return To Forever: Music Magic, Kansas: Song For America, Grand Funk: Caught In The Act, Yes: Fragile, Loggins and Messina: Full Sail

Row Two:
The Brecker Brothers: The Brecker Brothers, The Doobie Brothers: Livin' On The Fault Line, Motown: Hitsville USA 1959 - 1971, The Doobie Brothers: Stampde, Chick Corea: The Electrik Band, Kit Watkins and Coco Rousell: Kit and Coco, Gino Vannelli: The Gist Of The Gemini, The Dregs: Industry Standard, Three Dog Night: It Ain't Easy

Row Three:
Iron Butterfly: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Billy Cobham: Spectrum, The Doobie Brothers: Toulouse Street, The Doobie Brothers: The Captain and Me, The Doobie Brothers: Takin' It To The Streets, The Doobie Brothers: One Step Closer, Buddy Rich: The Roar of '74, Dave Weckl: Masterplan, Little Feat: Time Loves a Hero

Row Four:
Tom Scott and The L.A. Express: Tom Cat, Spyro Gyra: Catching The Sun, Vince Guaraldi: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Lee Ritenour: Captain Fingers, Joni Mitchell: Wild Things Run Fast, Earth Wind and Fire: I Am, Frank Zappa: Zappa In New York, Ozric Tentacles: Spirals In Hyperspace, Edgar Winter: They Only Come Out At Night


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