Well let’s see if I remember this correctly… I received a telephone call from
sometime in late September 2002. He wanted to know if I was interested in playing
a gig that was to be a tribute performance of
The Shaming of the True
(TSOTT), a rock opera, composed by the late songwriter/musician
Most of the musicians in the show would be from the
Mike Keneally Band
Of course I agreed immediately – any chance to play alongside Bryan is always a
welcome opportunity – the guy is a monster bassist! He explained the general concept,
then handed the phone to someone he identified as “Nick”. I listened intently as
Nick discussed the gig – but he also said that there were other drummers he had
in mind to play the show. I was an unknown player to him, though Bryan and Mike
were familiar with my playing and personality.
Though I didn’t realize it at that moment, Nick was
– the fantastic drummer in Mike’s band and progressive
. Nick had worked extensively with Kevin on recordings and in
live performances. In this tribute Nick would be singing lead vocals and
playing guitar for much of the show, so another drummer was needed.
After that initial correspondence, I was very excited about getting the gig. It
wasn’t official until I could get Nick some samples of my playing. I sent
him a copy of Yogi’s
Any Raw Flesh
CD, which I feel is a good representation of my technique in
a hard rock format. Nick was totally trusting of Bryan and Mike’s opinions, but
as a drummer himself, I’m sure he wanted to get a sense of my feel – which was
completely understandable. Within the first few days of October, Nick and I
finalized the plan.
I would play the show, and I would also learn some of
Nick’s songs from his solo CD Karma
and some classic Spock’s Beard
selections. Three rehearsal nights were scheduled for the last week of October
with some additional dress rehearsals a few days before the show on November
10th. What followed for me was an intensive three and a half weeks of writing
charts, practicing patterns, and discovering a sincere appreciation for the
music I was studying. Without question, Kevin Gilbert is one of the most
creative and emotionally stirring writers I have ever heard. And Spock’s Beard
is exactly like the bands with which I have always wanted to be involved. I
love progressive rock! From a technical standpoint, learning Nick’s drum parts
really had me concentrating on the executions. They definitely required a lot
of practice. He’s awesome – completely inspiring!
I traveled to Los Angeles for the first group of rehearsals on October 28th –
30th. For these rehearsals, only a core band (most of it) would be involved.
That included Mike, Bryan, Nick, and me. I had seen Bryan and Mike a couple weeks
before at one of their Taylor guitar clinics in Seattle. We had talked about the
upcoming rehearsals, which was helpful before playing together. We assembled at Bryan’s
company, SWR, in the amplifier testing room. It had a nice Drum Workshop drumkit set up.
This is where the Mike Keneally Band rehearsed for the 2001 Dancing tour. I
auditioned for that tour April 2001, but the gig went to NDV... This whole
production was starting to feel like one of those “full circle” things. I won’t
deny that I was a little nervous, even though I was very prepared for the list
of songs - my notebook of charts faithfully at my side.