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Jay On The Drums (Bolder CO)

Artist Name: Jay on the Drums

Age: 30

Date: 4/22/13

Are you an
instrumentalist only?
Yes

What instrument do you play? The Djembe

Where do you reside? Boulder, CO

What inspired you to start singing and Playing?

I’ve played the drums since I was
15 when an old friend asked me to do it. At some point I discovered the band
Incubus and saw that their front man Brandon Boyd played the Djembe. Since that
time I was captivated by all the different kinds of drums. I just have a
natural want now to make people groove, and drums allow me to do just that.

 

How long have you been performing publicly?

My first ever performance
drumming was New Year’s Eve 1997 going into 1998. Playing the Djembe live for
yoga classes has become my own form of yoga practice.

 

How long did you play before you stated gigging?

Not long! I started drum lessons
on November 12, 1997 – so pretty much only had about a month of practice before
getting out in front of people. It felt natural at the time and to this day I
still get the butterflies just before playing.

 

How long have you been playing the drums?

My first lesson was November 12,
1997 at Hix Bros Music in Aurora, IL. I remember it like it was yesterday!

 

How did you learn to play the drums?

I actually took lessons for four
years straight, every Thursday from David Jennings. He was great, and taught me
how to teach myself.

 

Have you taken lessons if so do you take lessons now?

David taught me very well and I
was able to stop taking lessons in 2001. I’m currently on the look out for students so I can teach and give
back. I received my Bachelors Degree in Education in 2009 from Aurora
University in Illinois.

 

Where was your first gig?

My first gig playing the Djembe
for people was back in 2012 at Riff’s Acoustic Music in La Jolla, CA. I met the
teacher just minutes before the class began and we pretty much improvised
together.  To clarify, I play the Djembe
while the yoga teacher instructs their students and I match my rhythms to their
energy and flow. It’s great because I can tailor it to the moment, something a
pre recorded track can not do.

 

How did you get it?

Riff’s had just opened and my
friend Brendan from the band The Stircrazies had ‘liked’ them on Facebook. I
simply looked at the page, understood I loved yoga and music and then promptly
emailed the owner. A couple seconds into my audition they said I had the gig.

 

How scared were you?

Honestly just a little. It was
something completely new, and I had been use to playing behind a drum kit my
whole life. For this endeavor I would be standing up with a new style of drum
strapped to me! I felt so weird standing, drummers are meant to sit! After a
couple minutes I was lost in the performance as usual and it was off to the
races.

 

How do you get gigs?

Finding gigs is something I do
everyday. I’m out there looking up different websites, searching for people on
Facebook and just talking with people through my job as a barista. It’s really
all about networking with people and I love that part of it.

 

Do you use an agent, if so how did you get that rolling?

I have yet to use an agent.

 

What do you use for equipment?

I play a Remo Djembe.

Do you use a monitor?

Only if the teacher requires that
I play with an audio track.

Do you have any tips you can share as far as setting up your equipment for a gig?

Always
get there with enough time to make sure you aren’t rushed. There’s nothing
worse, especially as a drummer, than having zero time to set up. Drums are all
about the feel and if you are not comfortable, your performance will lack.

 

How long were you longest gig?

The longest Djembe performance
was 90 minutes, and it was just me without an audio track!

 

How long was your shortest gig?

I think about 30 minutes, again
completely solo.

How do you choose what songs to learn?

With yoga drumming I work pretty
close with the teachers.
I look at myself as being an extension of them and then I add my energy to
what they are doing. During Valentine’s Day a teacher wanted a love theme so we
talked about different songs that would fit. That day, we settled on ‘Love is
my Religion’ by Ziggy Marley and Melissa, the teacher, actually played guitar
along side of me for that one!

 

How do you learn new songs, by ear, You Tube, books?

I do it all by ear now thanks to
my teacher educating me so well years ago.

 

Who are a few of your favorite artist?

There are so many great drummers
out there, but the first that come to mind are Chad Sexton (311), Chad Smith
(Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Dino Campanella (Dredg).

 

How often do you play out?

Since moving to Boulder it’s been
at least once a week which has been so great.

 

Do you have any CD’s out?

I am currently working on a
Djembe themed yoga album but have other CD’s available for free download at my
website that features me on the drum kid. www.JayontheDrums.com

 

D0 you have any aspirations to take you music further than your current success?

Oh yes! I
brainstorm all the time and am committed to making this my career. On the
horizon are several gigs providing live percussion for DJ’s at a couple of
nightclubs both in Boulder and Denver. Aside from that I want to continue to
drum at yoga classes in the area. Colorado is a hot bed for yoga. The other day
I was looking into getting booked on a cruse line!

How far will you travel?

I would travel the world if
offered.

How far have you traveled to do a gig?

3 hours.

Can you recall you best show?

The best show performing with the
Djembe was March of this year only a couple of weeks after arriving here in
Boulder. I was able
to drum for a yoga class at Om Time Yoga over on Pearl St. It was the most
people I’ve ever done that for, about 20 – which for yoga is pretty good. We
just had such a great time and a received a lot of compliments after from people
that absolutely loved it.

 

How about your worst show?

I guess the worst would have been
my first one back in California only because I didn’t really have any knowledge
of what to really expect. And me being a professional, I love to be prepared.

 

Do you have any advice for a person just getting in to gigging that you would like
to share?

Simply do what you love.
If you can do that, then you won’t have any regrets because you will have used
your time to be happy. Aside from that, just be who you are. If you can be
authentic then you don’t truly have any competition as there is only one YOU.

 

When you practice do you go through a P. A. or just you and your guitar?

It’s just me and my drum.

 

Anything else that you would like to share?

I’d like to share my gratitude to Tim Heenan
for this opportunity. Also,
please find me at www.JayontheDrums.com
, www.facebook.com/jayonthedrumz and
www.twitter.com/JayontheDrums