Cheerleader Literally Backflips For Music

playing guitar and drum

I didn’t like music as a kid but was forced to play it. Mom just about dragged me to the music store in tears, but I became hooked, and that was when a friend told a friend who told another friend that I could play drums. This was news to me, since I’d never owned a drum set. But some guy heard me drumming on my lap at lunch, and all of a sudden his smiling friend is coming up to me asking if I wanted to be in their band.

I told him I wasn’t a drummer because I didn’t even own a drumkit, but he shrugged it off and invited me to their practice space after school. They had a shiny green drum set just itching to be banged on. I took a seat at the drum throne, and they called me a natural. I can’t remember much of the next 4 years after that.

My clearest memory is my sophomore year, when our new band played at an outdoor school event as the sun was setting. After our set, out of thin air, the hottest cheerleader walked straight up to me. My friends and I were admittedly and proudly loners, but this type of thing began to happen to us…

This cheerleader made me a deal: she’d backflip for me if I handwrote my band’s lyrics on a sheet of paper for her, and the next thing I know this girl is literally backflipping for me. She landed square on her feet 2 feet away from me, and now my eyes were open: This musician thing is my path.

I expanded my musical reach beyond drums at that point because I saw my lead singer/guitarist getting most of the girls. I asked him to show me some chords on guitar, and I began splitting my practice time between acoustic guitar, singing, drums and bass– this was my real homework, and music was my high school…

cheerleader backflipSenior year was ending when I began dating this cheerleader’s friend. I was bummed we only had 3 months together over summer break, when suddenly I heard a melody in my head. In a trance, I grabbed some paper and a pen and started humming the melody over and over again as I jotted down a few words. I told my sad story to the blank sheet of paper and the truth became clear– she was leaving, but music would never leave me. I started singing my lyrics, grabbed my guitar, and after about a half hour I couldn’t even remember why I was sad.

After she left for UCLA, I proudly dropped out of city college and became a vampire who wrote songs while the world slept. I began playing them at open mics, then at monthly singer/songwriter showcases and eventually I became the front man and lead singer of a band with serious hustle. We set up national tour after national tour and soldiered on to eventually meet producer Oz Fritz, who engineered the Grammy winning Tom Waits album, ‘Mule Variations’ and Bob Marley’s ‘Legend.’ It was a real honor that he was now focused on our new album, and when we finished it, he told us to go kick some ass.

We packed the Great American Music Hall with fellow band New Monsoon, sold out the Fox Theater with friends Hot Buttered Rum and signed on with manager Chris Sabec, who was Dave Matthews Band’s former lawyer. We even spent the night in jail as a band, got our tour bus towed and survived an earthquake together, (I have that on film) but we were utterly dedicated to touring!

I didn’t even like music as a kid, but thankfully my Mom forced me into it 🙂 . I once didn’t own a drum set, but was labeled ‘a natural’ after being caught drumming on my lap at school… Singing and playing guitar was the only way I ever got a girlfriend, and I wrote my first song only because she dumped me!

This musical path has found me reluctant from the start, but after getting encouragement from Boyd Tinsley of the Dave Matthews Band and advice from Bono of U2… after playing with members of the Grateful Dead, Sly and the Family Stone, and doing private gigs for Chris Tucker and Venus Williams… after traveling at least 100,000 miles on tour, and playing at least 1500 gigs and 10,000 hours of music in at least 75 cities in over 25 states, 7 countries and 3 continents traveled to, I’ve learned this for sure: it’s the people I meet in person, or online… It’s the way they make me feel that I remember about this journey.

So perhaps even more importantly than the journey, it’s YOU, the listener, that makes all of it matter.

I look forward to many more sometimes hard, sometimes ugly, always worthwhile experiences along this musical journey. Here’s to hopping that you are a part of that journey.

If you’d like to hear the the most recent milestone of that journey, click here to listen to my latest album, Natural.

Thank you for being a listener and for making it all matter.