Short Version: I'm a Chicago based musician, producer, and drum instructor. I have played drums, guitar, keys, bass, mandolin, percussion, and or provided vocals on over 200 recorded songs and have been playing live shows since 1998. I currently play drums with Katie Kadan,, Uncle Jesse & The Rippers (90's tribute), and I sing lead in Peephole, Chicago's very own System Of A Down tribute. As of 2020, I am currently in the process of recording multiple albums with Stampy and my own solo project, Electric Villain.
I have self-produced roughly 10 full length albums throughout my career and have performed on over 20. I have played live with (either on stage or a shared bill) and or recorded with Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake/Trans Siberian Orchestra/Cher/Night Ranger/Rock of Ages), Jim Peterik (Survivor/Ides of March), Jimi Jamison (Survivor), Klem Kayes (Survivor/Van Ghost), Jason Schimmel (Estradasphere/Secret Chiefs 3), Marcus Rezak (Digital Tape Machine/The Hue/Stratosphere All-Stars), Mike Keneally (Dethklok/Steve Vai/Frank Zappa/Joe Satriani), Bryan Beller (The Aristocrats/Dethklok/Steve Vai/Joe Satriani), Howard Levy (Bela Fleck & the Flecktones), Fred Breitberg, Reverend Horton Heat, Bailiff, Don Barnes (.38 Special), Murder By Death, Fareed Haque, The Heavy Hearses, Ideamen, The Dancehall Twigs, Radiofix, Lobster Newberg, Jim Ward (Sparta/At the Drive-in), Lisa McClowry, Josh Woodward, Psychic Temple, Kick the Cat featuring Kris Myers (Umphrey's McGee), & Chris Siebold, Paul Wandtke (Trivium / Smells Like Nirvana), as well as Cory Wong of Vulfpeck, among others. I am currently available for private drum lessons and or freelance studio session work on guitar, drums or production. Send me a message for booking/drum lesson inquiries.
Long Version: I started playing music at an early age in northwestern Ohio. I got a drum set from my cousin Dave when I was maybe 5 years old or so. After a few years of trying to figure out what I was doing I started to really get into rock and roll music (thanks to my Mom). Bands like Zeppelin, Floyd, Beatles, Stones, AC/DC, Def Leppard, Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Tool, STP and Metallica helped formulate my early love for music. Once I started to learn how to play songs I realized I needed to play with people. I started my first band in 8th grade (13 years old - I think this was in 1998). We played together until we were all about 20 years old. During that time period we played a ton of live shows and tried recording quite a bit. In the early days I began experimenting with recording techniques and tried producing a few solo albums. It took me a long time to learn how to record and perform well. Something I'm still learning (and will surely never master - there is always more to learn). Those years were so important to my musical education. I learned a ton of "what not to do's" during those days. Eventually everyone in the band started to grow up and move on so In late 2005 I found myself living in Cincinnati, OH and needing a fresh start.
I made my way out to Arizona in 2006 where I met Corey Kamerman. He and I played together in a band called Radiofix in the southwest for a couple of years, recording one album together. I had my first real, professional recording experience with that band. Before that I always recorded in people's basements or home studios. We recorded a full length album in 2007 at the Saltmine Oasis studio in Mesa, AZ.
After two years of playing together, Corey and I decided to move to Chicago (his hometown) to join Colin Peterik and Phil Miller in the progressive rock band Lobster Newberg. I was very fortunate to be in that band as I made a ton of great Chicago connections, and learned a lot about recording. I was consistently challenged as a drummer. I was able to play in some amazing venues with them such as the Whiskey A Go-Go in Hollywood, CA, the Phoenix Hill Tavern in Louisville, and the McAninch Center for the Arts in Glen Ellyn, IL. I was also able to share the stage/bills with some amazing musicians while in Lobster Newberg including Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake/Trans Siberian Orchestra), Don Barnes (.38 Special), Jim Peterik (Survivor/Ides of March), Rik Emmett (Triumph), Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger), and Jimi Jamison (Survivor). At one point we recorded a cover of Leon Russell's Tightrope on which Howard Levy (Bela Fleck & the Flecktones) played harmonica. We played together until 2009. Our final live show was at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago. We shared the bill with the Phat Cats, The Hue, and Mike Keneally (Dethklok/Steve Vai/Frank Zappa/Joe Satriani) and Bryan Beller (The Aristocrats/Dethklok/Steve Vai/Joe Satriani). That was one of the best shows of my life.
Soon after I began playing in multiple projects within Chicago with Corey includling the psychedelic progressive rock bands The Big Rubber Band and Philenious Rx until around 2010. After Corey's move to California, I decided to start collaborating as much as possible with other songwriters and musicians. Chicago houses some of the most amazing talent in the world. It would have been crazy not to jam with as many people as I could. For a small amount of time I played drums in a heavy metal band called Glass Chariot with Brian Gilmanov (The Hue), Marcus Rezak (Digital Tape Machine/The Hue/Stratosphere All-stars) and Matt Longbons (Ghettobillies/Led Zeppelin II). I also played in the wedding/cover band circuit for a couple of years with a band called Who Knew which featured some incredible musicians. I gained a ton of live experience at that time and got to play some really cool gigs including a wedding at Soldier Field.
From 2011 to 2016 I played drums in the Pilsen neighborhood based band SMOKER. I recorded a great deal of music with the band including our 2013 full length album Strange Ways and numerous songs for Monchu: 24 songs/ 24 stories. With SMOKER I have appeared on Chicago's JBTV, Vocalo.org, and numerous episodes of Local Anesthetic hosted on 93.1 WXRT. I have gotten to travel quite a bit with SMOKER. We played everywhere from New York City to Duluth to Philadelphia to Knoxville, Kansas City, and many, many more cities. We've were fortunate to have also played at some of Chicago's best venues numerous times including the Double Door, Hideout, Empty Bottle, Subterranean, and Reggie's Rock Club.
In 2012 I formed a project with my friend Erin Murphy called The Dancehall Twigs, which are a fusion of live, instrumental psychedelic music and contemporary modern dance with an occasional burlesque twist. The project began with myself (guitar/co-producer), Jason Matula (bass), Paul Roots (drums), and Bethany Smoker (keys), who are all featured on the audio recording of the song ¡Tocar!. The band had the goal of writing music that would carefully balance out the creative & mesmerizing choreography of Erin and perform it live together. Since 2012 the group has put on multiple shows with the lineup consisting of Cheryl Lawson (bass), Andrew Doney (keys), Phil Miller (lead guitar), myself (guitar), & Chris Palmerin (Antony & the Tramps/Comasoft - drums). The 2018 cast of musicians included Zachary Drummond, Phil Miller, Matthew Salvatore Coglianese (from Zoofunkyou) and Christopher Palmerin. The Dancehall Twigs hope to record a full length album at some point in the future.
In 2014 I released an album called Fin with a psychedelic metal project called The Heavy Hearses. The album featured appearances from local Chicago musicians Phil Miller (Ideamen/Lobster Newberg), Jason Matula, Jackie Rada, Jacki Gilliam, Phillip Benett, Ashley Klingler, Julian Harris, and even my longtime friends Corey Kamerman and Josh Woodward. My friend Randy Hill and I spent four years making this album in his basement (initially starting in 2010). We were planning on releasing a couple of demos but instead went for a full length. We took our time and experimented with different recording techniques and genres. The process was long and at times exhausting, but we committed to it and worked diligently until we got the songs and material that we wanted. I learned a lot during this time period. We releaesed the album in July of 2014 at our only live performance alongside Ideamen, More Killer, The Blind Staggers, and SMOKER. The finished album can be found right here.
In late 2015 I joined forces with Sean Briskey and Kevin Campbell (from the bands In La Kesh/Great Sky Band), Ian Engels (Great Sky Band) and Charles Williams (The Localvores/Arclight) to form the jammy/proggy/poppy band Stampy, for which I play drums and sing. On June 2nd, 2017 we released our debut album which we had been recording to tape at Treehouse Records, a killer Chicago studio. We were able to achieve this by starting a GoFundMe campaign to finance the album. In just two months we raised over $5,000! We were able to afford CD pressing as well as new merchandise. Our album also contains a few guests such as Pat Mallinger (saxophone) of famous Chicago band Sabertooth, Parris Flemming (trumpet) from The Heard and The Tomorrow People, Raphael Crawford (trombone) from LowDown Brass Band, Julian Harris (trumpet), and Katie Kadan (vocals). Our album was mixed and mastered by legendary Chicago producer Fred Breiterg, who is known for his past work with Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Curtis Mayfield, and more. He even recorded the Chicago Bears' 1985 Super Bowl Shuffle! We released the album on vinyl in December of 2018. We celebrated with a release party at Martyrs' with guitar virtuoso Fareed Haque and his band Math Games. We were even fortunate enough to have a jam session with Fareed himself, which was filmed. We have been playing shows in and around Chicago and have already played great venues such as Chicago's famous Double Door, Emporium, Tonic Room, and even Mr. Blotto's famous annual summer festival, Blottopia and winter festival, Hotel Blotto. Expect a whole lot more from this project in the very near future. Stampy's second album titled 'Expectations' is due out on August 24th, 2020. Videos of Stampy can be found in the video section, including our very first official music video for our song 'The Frame', which I directed. Read and learn more about us on our very own website.
In 2015 I began playing drums in Uncle Jesse & The Rippers, a 90's tribute band consisting of Chicago's best musicians. Jarrett Donoghue (guitar), Lynnea Malley (vocals), Evan Walker (vocals / guitar) and Mike Morgan (bass) fill out the roster. As of 2019 I am still playing around the Chicagoland area with this band. On occasion a few of us also perform in a stripped down, acoustic trio version of the band where I play guitar and sing rather than play drums.
Additionally over the years I have played drums in Of Evermore: The Music of Led Zeppelin which is an offshoot of Uncle Jesse & The Rippers consisting of Jarrett, myself and Lynnea alongside our friend Walter Keifer (bass / keys). We've played a few shows around town and hope to do more in the future.
From mid 2015 to November 2016 I played drums with my longtime friends The Blind Staggers. Lead vocalist Laura Zielinski used to sing in the Phat Cats back when Lobster Newberg was playing around Chicago along with Jason Matula. She also appeared on my Electric Villain album in 2016. The Staggers family consists of some of my oldest and best Chicago friends. During my time in the band we released a brand new album on vinyl (with John McGeown on drums), performed at the 2016 Do Division Street Fest in Ukranian Village, Chicago, recorded two songs with legendary Chicago producer and engineer Fred Breitberg (known for his work with Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfeild, and more), played awesome shows in Colorado, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, and even played a Halloween tribute set to Alice Cooper. We played a ton of shows together, and I'm very happy to have spent the time with them that I did. The band's most recent album can be heard right here.
In August of 2016 I released the debut album from a new psychedelic, electronic-ish project called Electric Villain with a few special guests including Laura and Tony from The Blind Staggers, Zachary Drummond, and Joel Hoekstra from Whitesnake. I played nearly every instrument, and completed the entire album on a 2008 MacBook using Garageband '11, a Tapco USB 2 channel interface, and one Shure SM 57 microphone. The album has already been featured on numerous podcasts and has been purchased more than any other album I've released on my own. Please listen to and purchase the album right here. I will forever appreciate it!
From 2016 to 2019 I played drums in Mr. World, a Rage Against The Machine tribute band including Phil Miller (guitar), Jacki Gilliam (vocals) and Mike Myra (bass). We had a blast playing that music. We played in and around Chicago and southern Wisconsin, often at The Brat Stop. We played everything from garage parties to small festivals.
In 2018 I began playing drums in Katie Kadan's live band, and also recorded drum tracks on her debut full length album, which you can hear on Spotify, Apple Music, and everywhere else you listen to music.. She is a powerhouse vocalist who has already released one EP, and has also appeared on the Stampy debut album, as well as the forthcoming second album. Most recently she placed 3rd on season 17 of The Voice on NBC. Since then, we've been playing live shows including a sold out night at House of Blues Chicago in February, 2020. I've known Katie for many years so it is a truly great experience playing in her band. We have plans to continue performing live, so keep an eye out for any upcoming dates in your city!
In 2018 I started singing lead with Peephole, Chicago's System Of A Down tribute. SOAD has always been one of my favorite bands so I consider it an honor to sing their music for fans to also appreciate it. This band can be found playing in 2020 throughout Chicagoland and midwest regions. The band's lineup consists of Evan Walker (from Uncle Jesse & The Rippers) on drums, Mike Morgan (also from Uncle Jesse & The Rippers) on bass and vocals, and Curran Allenstein on guitar.
In 2019 and 2020 I played some live shows on drums with Smells Like Nirvana, the midwest's number 1 Nirvana tribute featuring Paul Wandtke of Dead Original, formerly of Trivium. These shows included a headlining show at House of Blues Cleveland, City Winery in Chicago, and multiple shows in the New York and the Chicagoland regions. Be sure to keep an eye out for when they're playing live.
On May 1st, 2020, both Stampy AND Electric Villain released new music. Stampy's first single from our second album was released on all streaming platforms. I also recorded a 5 song EP with Electric Villain called 'Making the Best of It, Vol. 1', which was completed thanks to many GoFundMe donations. This album was made in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is currently available everywhere.
On August 10th, 2020 I released the debut single from Snake Dealer, an original music project formed with the guys from Peephole: Tribute to System of a Down. The song 'Blood Night' can be heard on all streaming platforms and on my music page.
I'm excited for the future and want to continue making great music. Hopefully you'll hear new music sooner than later. Please reach out if you'd like to collaborate. Thank you for reading and for your time and support.