The music bug bit me early. When I was about eight years old, my sister and I would sneak out of bed, creep through the house (past my mom) and listen to Led Zeppelin and Alice Cooper records with my dad.

My performing career started in 3rd grade, when I played the lead in our class musical Melvin the Magnificent. There is no known video from that event, but I’m told that, as Melvin, I was a good singer. This may or may not be true. Either way, puberty soon hit and my singing voice was never the same.

In 6th grade I began playing the drums and I knew I’d found something I loved. Since then, I’ve played in many bands and recorded three albums. Below are some highlights.

Stillhouse Burning: Denver, Colorado | 2006-2007

Stillhouse Burning was the first serious band I’d formed in about five years. I felt very lucky to find some excellent musicians in Denver, which was a new town to me at the time.

James Bentley, Stillhouse Burning’s singer is an extremely talented songwriter, who had tried to make a name in Nashville for a while.

This was also my first foray into country music. Although I am still passionately against “new country,” playing in this band gave me a new appreciation for classic country music, especially “outlaw country” artists like Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Merle Haggard.

Fluent Blue: Kalamazoo, Michigan | 1998-2001

Fluent Blue represented my best chance to reach my rock star dreams. This was my band for most of college. In our three and a half years together, we played a few hundred shows, recorded two albums, and opened for national acts like Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise and Credence Clearwater Revisited.

Our mix of rock, blues, jazz, and funk carried a fairly original sound and we always drew strong crowds. Other than myself on drums, Fluent Blue featured Mike Struwin (vocals and guitar), Jason Singleton (lead guitar), and Mark Robinson (bass guitar).

Fluent Blue - Kalamazoo Band

InnerMission: Kalamazoo, Michigan | 1998

I would say without hesitation that InnerMission was the most original sounding band I’ve ever played in. The band’s mastermind was John Redmond, a friend from my hometown. We’d bonded in middle school because I was so awesome at playing Wipeout on my desk during class.

Our singer, Rachel Hinsdale, was an opera major who we’d basically forced to sing with us. Through our distinct influences, I think InnerMission was a very unique band. We recorded three songs in our basement and, although rough, listening to them always takes me back.

During this time I also played guitar and percussion in a band called Mr. Doilywhipple. Although I have no recordings from that band, there is no question it was the greatest band in the history of the world.