I come from the Midwest. I was a punk when I was in my teens, but I listened to free jazz and Xenakis too. I moved to Chicago in 1990. I started playing with Hal Russell in 1991 and formed the Flying Luttenbachers with him in December of that year. That band lasted until 2007 and went through 20 members and numerous stylistic changes over the course of 16 albums and more than 300 live shows.
During the 1990s in Chicago I vacillated between the weird experimental rock scene and the improvised music scene. For better or worse, I was a major catalyst in both. At the time I played with Ken Vandermark, Jim O'Rourke, Kevin Drumm and others. I moved to Oakland in 2003. Since then I've played and recorded with Marshall Allen, Henry Kaiser, Marc Edwards, Peter Evans, Mary Halvorson, Mario Rechtern, Marco Eneidi, Damon Smith, Gianni Gebbia, Vinny Golia, John Lindberg and many others. I run a record label called ugEXPLODE. I don't really fit in anywhere. I get the sneaking feeling people will love my music after I'm long dead, but will ignore it while I'm alive. things are funny like that.
Drums, bass, guitar, reeds, electronics, etc.
When were you happiest?
I never stop to smell the roses. Being "happy" is not as interesting to me as being stimulated, engaged, busy, etc.
What is your greatest fear?
What is your earliest memory?
I no longer retain insignificant information about the past because I eventually realized that I'm not the center of the universe.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? The inability and lack of motivation to perform the transgressions necessary to succeed in society and the music business. I'm not making things easy for myself.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Stupidity.
What is your most treasured possession? My life. Part of the reason why I appear to be so prolific is because I don't take life for granted. I expect to drop dead any moment, so it's better to have done a lot of stuff you want to do rather than to regret it.
If you could go back in time, where would you go? I would have been born in about 1958 or so, so I could have had a better music career. Things are pretty fucked up right now and have been getting that way for a long time.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
Money. Opportunities to do things in music where I don't have to do all the work or where I'm not being ripped off. You know, things that are hard to get.
What keeps you awake at night?
Heartburn, or thinking about how much crap I have to get done.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
Login to your All About Jazz member account to submit articles and press releases, upload images, edit musician profiles, add events and business listings, communicate with other members via personal messages, submit inqueries or contribute any content.