August Work

The last few weeks have been a busy blur, so I thought I would give a little update as to what I've been up to.

Two years ago, I helped develop the drum book for Pryor Rendering, a new musical by Frank Schiro. We did a reading and recorded a few tracks in the studio. The show is about to receive its world premiere in Oklahoma and I have been working hard to prepare the drum book for the percussionist. Here is the smallest of previews:

Keeping with the music notation theme, I was contacted by a fellow drummer and Phish fan who came across my transcription of Limb by Limb and asked me to write out three more Phish songs -  It's Ice, Twist, and Mike's Song.  On the surface, I thought these would be easy. They were not. The intricacies of Jon Fishman's playing are unparalleled and I have even more respect for him now than I ever did before. If you are in need of transcription services, please get in touch. Here's LXL in case you missed it the first time around:

In recording news, I tracked 6 songs for Craig Miller with engineer and guitarist extraordinaire Chris Takita. We recorded in my apartment and the drums sound incredible. If you are in need of some drum tracks at studio fee free prices, let us know. Here are a few pics Chris took from the session:

After three years of hard work, Trumpet Grrrl's EP Just Listen is now out. We played a live show at Silvana in Harlem to celebrate. Christina wore a space suit and I smiled a lot. Grab this disc now

In PitchBlak news, we recently signed with Hoplite Booking Agency and have a slew of upcoming dates, including two this weekend in Western Massachusetts and Burlington, VT. Last night was the 8th installment of the 2016 PitchBlak Playlist and as usual, it was a blast. JusMoni killed it and I am obsessed as ever with her track Axela

Is that it? I think that's about it. Hope to see you in the city or somewhere on the road!



Weekend Getaway

A Picture at Nectar's

PitchBlak traveled to two of my favorite towns this weekend - Portsmouth, NH and Burlington, VT. A bunch of us had t-shirts made in Portsmouth. I designed a Phish "lot shirt" based on a song from their Chilling, Thrilling Sounds from the Haunted House set this past Halloween. Here I am at Nectar's (where Phish got its start) with the shirt and a picture of the band from one of their shows at Randall's Island last summer (yes, I was there. So was 3/5 of PitchBlak!).

At Nectar's we opened for Tauk, an incredible band with one nasty drummer! Their sound engineer, Devin, took this picture of me during our set. Devin is actually roommates in Cleveland with my friend Kirk who I went to Maryland with! Small World. 


Practice tips: iPod Shuffle

So I was out of town at my parents' place in Maryland over the weekend and upon returning to NYC Monday night, I realized I hadn't picked up a drum stick for almost five days! I just wanted to play. No grooves to build, no music to study, no licks learn, just play.

It was a little late to call friends for a jam session, but who needs friends when you have access to hundreds of top tier musicians on your iPod (actually, there's nothing better than playing with real, live human beings!)? So I got out my iPod (err, iPhone), hit shuffle, and played a long to whatever it threw at me. Here's what came up (yes, my iPod is Phish heavy...):

Phish - Bouncing Around the Room (A simple, basic Latin groove that never changes. Can you stay as steady as Jon Fishman for the entirety of the tune?)

Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime (I tried to play all the percussion parts with the drum set part. Pretty doable!) 

Phish - Round Room (How many ways can you play a pattern of nine and still fit within a song?)

Radiohead - Morning Bell (The 5/4 version from Kid A)

Phish - My Mind's Got a Mind of Its Own (Traditional bluegrass number played here by Phish. Again with the steady-as-Fishman bit.)

Steely Dan - Rikki Don't Lost That Number (typical Steely Dan studio perfection with Jim Gordon on drums.) 


Suddenly it was 10pm (quitting time at my apartment) and I was feeling much better after getting to hit some drums. Always keep it fun! If it's not fun, why bother? 

Drum Jam: Sugar Shack

Last night, I didn't have a gig so I hit the practice room instead. I had a good time jamming along to an underplayed Phish song, Sugar Shack, from their 2009 album, Joy. It has some fun latin grooves and alternates between 4/4 and 9/4 (or 9/8, 4/4+5/4, etc... depending on how you want to look at it). I decided to come up with my own part rather than recreate what Jon Fishman plays. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!