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Blah Blah Blog (FAQ Part 1)

What kind of music do you play?

Mostly rock. I dabble in all kinds though. I love Latin and jazz drumming, played in the Jazz Band at UWO, have donned the tuxedo to take the stage with a symphony orchestra and wind ensembles, worked on a Childrens’ musical a few years back with Dinah Christie, and played with every kind of band under the moon – country, funk, jazz, bluegrass, dance, even a juggler. I’ve played on big stages at festivals, actual hay wagons, in art galleries, bars, theatres, pizza joints, reservations, in front of grocery stores, at The Captain’s Ball on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. I’ve produced and recorded folkies, blues guys, country singers, childrens’ performers, audiobooks, mad spoken word poets, and stuff I can’t even remember.

That being said, my albums and shows are all about that big slammin’ beat, deep funky groove, and lots of raw guitar tones. All that other stuff gets mixed in there somehow, but mostly I like to rock. And I love it loud.

Do you have a band?

For my solo stuff – no. I record all the instruments myself. I spent the first part of my career as a kind of all-purpose sideman. I could play the drums, bass, guitar, or keys, and I could sing harmonies or leads. So I got lots of work and was able to develop a personality on all these different instruments. When I started recording myself this way it was only so I could have a demo version of a cover show I was hoping to take to the clubs. I knew what I wanted, what would work, so I recorded the show as a learning tool for the band I would hire. I never ended up finding anyone. I enjoyed the recording experience so much that I pretty much dropped everything and started writing.

I am hoping someday the stars will align, and the right people will appear, and the clouds of COVID will part, and I will get to play this music as it was meant to be – live and loud. But until that day comes I’m cool with it.

I am in a band though. It’s called The AB3, and you can find out all about it at TheAB3.com

Which instrument is your favourite?

Tough question. These days I tend to think of the different instruments as tools in a toolbox. Just like you can’t build a house with just a hammer, you can’t make a whole rock album with just a guitar. It takes drums and bass to make the foundation, guitars of course for groove and colour and flash, and vocals to make it sing. So you could say my favourite instrument is the music as it manifests itself in me – the writing, the creation. That’s why I write my lyrics on the fly at the mic. I don’t like to sit and think. That’s why I don’t define myself by a single instrument anymore. I love to play them all.

What is your musical background?

I got my first drum set for my 3rd birthday. My Dad taught me chords on the piano when I was 5 or so – I started writing little pieces right away. I started singing to Air Supply and Michael Jackson records when I was around 10. I got into both senior bands in my first year of high school, then started formal lessons with Bob Hughes at Western University when I was 15. That’s also when I started playing, singing, and even writing and recording in rock bands. All through high school, we put on our own dances at the local arena, and even played a bunch of bars (and got paid!) I attended Western University in London and got a Bachelor’s degree in Music, then I hit the road, starting my career as a singing drummer. After playing in a bunch of bands as a sideman (including Thundermug), I switched to guitar. Six weeks after picking up the instrument, I had a band, and a record deal. “Grow” was released with Attack Records. The solo thing didn’t last long however and I switched to bass to rejoin Thundermug. That turned into Big on Venus, which turned into Popjoy, which became The Joys after I dropped out.

Why did you “drop out”?

I just really wanted to write more. With a band there’s serious competition, and as a drummer or bass player, which I was, you tend to get pigeonholed. As in “shut up and do your job . . . making us genius guitar players and singers look good.” I’d work my ass off and maybe end up with one cut on an entire project. Then when the record is done you work it – playing the same songs over and over and over again, travelling all over the place, never sleeping, trying to sell things, schmoozing, working your product. And it might be years before you get to record again, and then you have to write a certain style that your fans will like, and . . . yuck. That’s not art anymore.

I made the right decision too. Since “dropping out” I have written and recorded a bunch of albums I really am proud of, with people I love and respect, in a studio built just for my music (Just B’s House of Rock). I get to stay in my home area, where we still live nice and slow, and the cars and the pavement haven’t completely taken over. I’ve had lots of fun making videos with my friends, hosting open mics, playing for charity, and chilling out on this beautiful little piece of the planet.

Why have I never heard of you before?

Two reasons: Firstly I’m pretty incompetent when it comes to the business part of my career. I’m a really bad manager and promoter. Secondly, that’s just the way I like it. My goal is simply to make my stuff available to those who might enjoy it. Music is very powerful and can shine a light into your life. I hope people can feel that from my stuff, and I want them to have it. I’ve been mostly just hoarding it for myself and a bunch of friends. But I do hope and pray things will stay small. I’m naturally a very private person. The idea of being famous absolutely terrifies me. I don’t like crowds, and I don’t like traveling. On stage I love attention – offstage I do not. That’s why I say, I’m back and I’m ready to face the music. I have a website now, and a radio show airing, and an international release . . . things could get hairy. Luckily, the chances are minuscule. I hope. Oh crap, ABORT! ABORT!