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 discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.