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Entry date: 8-16-2022 - Rhythm and Bros (plus a couple Sis's) - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

When we left off yesterday, Claire had just joined Hillbilly Devilspeak and had become part of my sixth rhythm section. The story continues…

Claire stepped in and we had to write a whole new batch of Hillbilly songs because, as good as she was on drums, she either refused to or couldn’t play the old songs. When we tried, it was a bit of a trainwreck, so we just wrote a whole new batch. I’m happy with the songs we churned out. Almost all of them are on the last HD record, Lies … As Told By The White Man.

A great drummer and a heavy hitter, Claire was really fun to play with as well. Probably the best technical player I had jammed with up to that point, she could go in whatever direction we threw at her. We did a ton of jamming in practice that was a lot of fun. Ray and Steve would often have a competition before we started to see who could smoke the most pot (well, it was definitely some sort of subconscious competition), so the practice room would be full of smoke and we would all be blazed, usually Claire and I from a contact high.

When Richie left NSK, we got Jason to fill in and he is another excellent drummer. Such a great dude, Jason is also a heavy, creative hitter, and he is also a vocal band member who speaks his mind about how to make the band better. Lucky number seven, for me, in so many ways. I just love the guy and wish we could have played together more than we did.

On a side note, Jason and I were the rhythm section for the last ever Mob 40’s show, too. That was quite an honor.

I was in bass player heaven for a good long while playing with Eric, Claire, and Jason. I had more than a few people tell me how lucky I was to be playing with three of the best drummers in Phoenix. That fact was never lost on me and always appreciated. They made my life so easy. As I look back, if it wasn’t for the three of them, I probably could not have pulled off playing in three bands at once.

When Hillbilly semi-retired in 2005, things started to slow a bit and I was able to do a few other things on the side. My friend, Zeb, decided to move away from Arizona at one point which disbanded the excellent locals, Blanche Davidian, and they tabbed me to fill in for a show at Hollywood Alley.

If I remember correctly, the first time I played with Blanche, I paired with Mike (AKA Bam Bam) to form a fun rhythm section. It was a blast to play with him and I love the guy dearly. Growing up, if you would have told me that I would get to play with both him and Michael, I would have laughed at you. I’ve even got to do a song with Brian, too, when he joined The Father Figures for a JFA classic one night at the Alley but that’s a different story. Just need to play with Don…

Anyhow, Mike is such a great drummer. Even though he was not as fully engaged in the project as he might have been a few decades before, he added great stuff and was fun to play with. A few years later, we would jam together again when my friend, Chris, brought him and Tony and Vince down to my practice room and we jammed some stuff including several Rabid Rabbit songs. That was a blast and an honor, too.

In 2009, we formed The Father Figures and I got to play with Bobby again. That was also one of those amazing moments and our chemistry started building from day one. We had tried Bobby out one night when Eric and I weren’t seeing eye to eye in Pinky and it was a colossal failure, but when we started TFF, it all just clicked. Bobby is another one of those guys who fits into the “Best drummers in town” club and I am very fortunate.

Playing with Bobby is great, too, because he contributes riffs to the band, as well, so he’s looking at the songs from another angle that some drummers do not do. I have a ton of respect for that and when he gives me a great bass line to play (since he writes on bass), I have to honor it and make it as good as it can be. We both have a “feel” (for lack of a better term) for the songs that really work for us and it is fun to be part of that connection.

I’ve lost count, but I think pairing with Bobby makes rhythm section number nine.

Ten would another Blanche show we did with a dude named Josh who I didn’t get to know very well. Solid drummer. Staying on the Blanche path, we also did a show with Marco, who had played with Nick and Mike before, and he would be eleven. There was supposed to be a show with the OG Blanche drummer, Joel, but he wasn’t able to play. I loaded my gear and went down to Chop and Wok, but no dice. I was not happy, but whatever. It’s funny now, I guess.

We did do a show with my good pal, Mike (AKA Monkey) who is also an amazing drummer. He would be number 12. Earlier this year, he and Andrew and I jammed in our living room, and it was so fun. We made about 10 minutes of great jams, and I would love to do that again.

When I did the Freeze and Bombs stuff in 2017 and 2018, I got to jam with two more drummers, numbers 13 and 14. Aaron from the Freeze is a lot of fun to play with and a hell of a drummer, too. Would rock with that guy any time. Phil, who played in the Bombs, was fun to work with, too, and I am glad he got to do that gig. I think he liked it. Haven’t talked to him in a while.

Also, last year, I got to record a song with my friend, Mark, in a one-off studio thing that was lots of fun. Rhythm section number 16…and no, I didn’t lose count. I just remembered that my buddy, Andrew, who is a musician’s musician (meaning he can play a little bit of everything), filled in for Bobby when he was having some back stuff going on. Andrew was number 15.

Amy and I have jammed, too, so that’s number 17. We tried a couple of different times with both Jim and Todd. Apologies for vagueness, but I try and honor people’s privacy. Some of you will know who I talking about and if you don’t, just know that everyone I have mentioned is a person that is pretty darn cool and a good player in their own right.

That’s a lot of drummers. Sheesh. Luckily, I didn't hate any of them.

Good thing I’m taking about rhythm sections this week.

See you tomorrow.

Michael, Bobby, and I looking important. Not our best picture, but I like it. Thanks Jim for the photos that day!

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