The Long Drawn Out Version:
I learned the basic fundamentals of a rock beat on my father’s original blue sparkle round badge Gretsch kit in the Bronx at around age 10. My dad was once upon a time in a 60’s garage rock band in Poughkeepsie, NY and he raised me on the sounds of Stax records, The Young Rascals, Vanilla Fudge, Ginger Baker, and Mitch Mitchell.
At aged 12, circa 1989, I was holding the beat while some of my skater friends learned to play bass and guitar and after a few weeks we sounded like Sonic Youth, whom we worshipped. A couple of years later I started gigging in NYC with my best friends in a classic psychedelic rock power trio jam band and sitting in with various young experimental punk, reggae and hip hop acts. Around the year 2000 I started taking drums seriously, and helped form a number of small bands in NY that were relatively unknown but legendary in our small circles. This is when I had my first taste of the recording studio, touring the US, and when I had my first epiphanies on stage and decided this is what I want to do with my life.
In 2004, I took up the drum chair in Jeffrey Lewis & the Junkyard, with whom I stayed for 8 years, recorded 4 albums on the acclaimed UK indie label Rough Trade Records, and performed well over 1,000 shows and innumerable tours all over the US, UK, Europe. We played in every size music venue from squatter punk living rooms to all the big UK festivals and Radio City Music Hall. We travelled as far as Russia, China and Australia.
Jeffrey is a genius and prolific songwriter, lyricist, writer and comic book artist born and raised in the tradition of witty bohemian outsider folk punk on Lower East Side of NYC. Our dynamic live show would span from quiet gentle folk to raucous punk and incorporate all kinds of schtick like comic book music videos, history lectures, poetry monologues, obscure covers and experimental noise jams. We prided ourselves on always pushing the envelope, never repeating ourselves, and being ready for anything when we got onstage. Our persistent relentless touring eventually attracted fans in many well established musicians and resulted in support slots or other collaborations with the likes of: The Moldy Peaches, Jarvis Cocker, Pulp, Dinosaur Jr., Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, The Mountain Goats, The Fall, The Vaselines, Daniel Johnston, Devo, The Cribs, Dr. Dog, Diplo, Dan Deacon, Kimya Dawson, Devendra Banhart, Regina Spektor, Ben Gibbard (Postal Service), Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn, Au Revoir Simone, Adam Green, Langhorne Slim, Herman Dune, British Sea Power, Akron/Family, Peter Stampfel (the Holy Modal Rounders), Tuli Kupferberg (the Fugs), and famous radio personalities John Peel and Bob Fass.
In 2009 I made the acquaintance of British musician and actor Johnny Flynn who was part of a London folk scene that was influenced and inspired by Jeffrey Lewis and the NYC “anti-folk” scene that we were a part of. We quickly became close friends, and I soon joined his band Johnny Flynn & the Sussex Wit, recording his second album Been Listening released in 2010 on Transgressive Records/ in the UK and Europe and Lost Highway Records in the US. We have headlined tours across the UK, Europe, the US, and Canada with support from acts such as Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling, Anna Calvi, Caitlin Rose, Dry the River, and The Melodic. We have played main stages at UK festivals such as Latitude, Bestival, Green Man, End of the Road, Cambridge Folk Festival and the Edmonton Folk Festival in Canada. In London we’ve sold out shows in at The Shepherd’s Bush Empire, the Hackney Empire and the Roundhouse.
Our 3rd full length album Country Mile was released worldwide in September, 2013 on Transgressive Records in conjunction with PIAS/Co-Operative Music and debuted at #28 on the UK Billboard pop charts. We supporting Mumford and Sons at a few sold out arena shows in the USA. Then headlining our own tours of the UK and Europe in the autumn. Another tour of Europe is planned for March/April 2014 and we expect to play many of the major festivals in the UK this summer. We have over 50,000 fans on our facebook page.
In addition to these bands, I have performed with Ish Marquez, Stanley Brinks, Freschard, The Wave Pictures, The R.G. Morrison, Rebecca Maze, The Bloodsugars, The Younger Sister Band, Damian Quiñones Y Su Conjunto, Adrian Freedman, The Generous Lovers, The Urban Myth, Cheese on Bread, Dufus, Toby Goodshank, Lail Arad, Brian Finke, Susannah Darling-Khan, and others. I have also added secondary percussion to live shows for Dr. Dog and Herman Dune.