I was rummaging around in the garage the other day and took notice of my old drum set which has been stacked up against the wall covered in blankets since..geeze, I can’t remember the last time I played them.
It got me to thinking about all the years and all the groups and all the gigs we were together making music.
I’ll be the first to admit that my drumming abilities have been pretty much flourish-free but I’ve found that most bands don’t care all that much about stick-twirling or complicated solos..they’re happy to just have somebody who can keep good time and provide the necessary kick to the music when necessary. It kept me working for a long long time.
I also never considered myself to be a mentor to kids but hardly a dance..especially a wedding dance..would go by without kids coming up to the band stand and just staring at the drums and me playing them. Usually, I’d talk to them during break and offer encouragement if they seemed particularly interested in the instrument even giving them a pair of my old drum sticks on occasion. When that wasn’t enough, I’d occasionally let them sit on my lap for a song or two for a drummer’s eye view.
One of those little guys was Brian Steever; son of Lori and Tom Steever. Tom was our guitar player in Mogen’s Heroes and I’m sure he was a little disappointed that whenever Brian was in the audience, his attention was fixed on the drums instead of his dad on guitar. But Tom and Lori did nothing but encourage the boy and his passion for drumming. In fact, it wasn’t too long before Brian would sit-down to my old set and play a few tunes with the band. It was more than a passing fad too. Brian, now a college senior in Kansas City, has spent his entire life honing those skills that were clearly evident as a little kid. His passion is jazz and not only has he been playing professionally since high school, Brian Steever is considered one of the finest up and coming jazz drummers in country.
He and a group of seasoned musicians from KC performed at the Touch of Europe in Sioux Falls recently and were simply amazing.
Off the stage, Brian is still the humble respectful kid he’s always been but behind the drums he’s a monster and NO I didn’t ask to sit in. Here’s a video of Brian working with Sean Hennessy at last year’s Jazz fest in Jefferson City, Mo. He also performed at the Jazz fest in Sioux Falls. Brian is featured at about six minutes in.
It wasn’t just Tom Steever’s boy who was fascinated by the drums, Mogen’s Heroes band leader and namesake, John Mogen’s son, Charlie, would also pay more attention to me at the drums than his dad who was actually making REAL music on the keyboards. Maybe it’s just little boys and noise.
Charlie Mogen’s musical focus hasn’t been entirely on drums, though. He picked up his father’s skills on keyboard and plays marimba in the highly acclaimed Lincoln High School Marching Band. He’s also a long time member of Groove Inc. The Sioux Falls based performance drum line.
Then, last week I received a video via Facebook from my dear friend and former Keloland TV colleague, Beth Hughes. She and her husband, John are parents to three terrific boys who’ve grown into the kind of fine young men who reflect their upbringing in a home environment filled with love and encouragement to be their best. The video is an audition sent by their youngest boy, Evan, to the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston. After watching it, Evan was accepted.
I hadn’t seen Evan since he was a little kid at one of the Kelo picnics. I had no idea he played drums but after viewing this sampling of his skills all I could say was WOW!
Seeing and hearing all three of these extremely talented young men gave me the urge to blow the dust off my old set of Ludwigs that sit quietly in the garage; maybe even see if I could find a gig to play again somewhere.
Wait a minute, that would require a lot of late nights and heavy lifting and I have sworn-off both.