A Brief History...


I started playing drums in the 7th grade. I played along to the hit's on the radio, like "Downtown" by Petulia Clark and Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, by the Ohio Players. Oh sure, I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan when I was six, but didn't really discover them until I was in high school. But I had the Monkee's, and that’s when I knew I had to be in a band!

My first real band came in 1970, when I met my friend Larry Bourneuf. We were both nerdy freshmen at a suburban St. Louis highschool, and quickly formed a strong bond, and a band. We played dances at the local high schools and junior highs, function halls, and private parties. We did the hits of the day, by groups like the Guess Who, Loggins and Messina, and the Doobie Brothers. I went on to play with Larry for the next 8 years in various incarnations. Our last band together was called “Chance”, and we still did the hits of the day (by this time it was Fleetwood Mac, Pat Benatar, and Van Halen). We played the local rock clubs and colleges, and even traveled a bit.

I met Tim Robert in 1982 and joined his somewhat rag-tag band, which we quickly transformed into one of the most popular "New Wave" cover bands in St. Louis. We called ourselves Newspeak. We played a lot...3 to 5 nights every week and 4-5 sets a night, and we gained a large local following...it was a lot of fun. After two years of this we really wanted to do our own music, so we recorded an album, changed our name to Common Ailments of Maturity and embarked on the adventurous road of original music.

We soon realized we wanted to be in a more thriving musical area, so after much deliberation we settled on, and in, the environs of Boston, Massachusetts. We arrived in January of 1986, and it was from here that we started to develop our edgy and poly-rhythmic sound. Originally a quartet, our bassist Ed Ruprect returned to St. Louis to attend to his family's business after only a few months in Boston. So along with synth player Dennis Parrish, guitarist/singer Tim Robert, and myself, we became a trio, and started crawling our way up to the middle of the Boston rock scene. In 1989 Dennis left and was replaced by Chapman Stick player John Breglia , and the third and final installment of CAM was born. We toured extensively around the East Coast and continued to record and release our own LP's, but in May of 1993 we officially called it quits.

During this time I was also meeting and starting to play with a lot of other local musicians. One of the first was Des from the Bentmen , who pulled me into that wild group and introduced me to a whole new world of Boston music. I remained with the Bentmen for eight years, 1987-1995. Another early supporter was Roger Miller , of Mission of Burma fame, who became a great fan of Common Ailments, and invited me to record on his album “Win Instantly!”. These were all very big deals for the Little Drummer Boy from the Midwest.

Later during this time I met Mark Sandman, who would turn out to be a musical big brother to me. We recorded and jammed together often, and some of our sessions made it into movies and Morphine albums. He introduced my to many top notch musicians, and great music from around the world. I will never take for granted the nurturing and support I received from Mark. More than anyone else, he put me on the map here, and I will always be in his debt.

One of my biggest thrills of this period was being asked to join Concussion Ensemble , a power house instrumental band led by one of my all-time favorite guitarists, Rich Gilbert . CE was already headlining the big clubs when I joined, and it only got better from there. We were a top local act for many years, but were never able to translate that success nationally. But Concussion Ensemble is still legendary in the hearts of its Boston fans. We played our last show in December 1996 to a sold out show at The Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge

Another highlight of the past decade has been my involvement with Boston Rock Opera . My first show with them was their 1996 production of “Jesus Christ Superstar”. 14 sold out shows with Gary Cherone and Kay Hanley in the lead roles! I had loved this album in high school, so this was a real treat. I’ve gone on to do two more productions, “J.C. Superstar” again in 2000, and “Abbey Road” in 2001.

When Binary System started in 1996, I was already playing with Roger again, doing some of his “elemental guitar” shows. When he released his solo piano cd “The Benevolent Disruptive Ray”, he decided to add my drums to some pieces for performance. We quickly realized we had something there, and so did SST Records , who brought us out to LA to record our first cd “Live at the Idea Room”. We have since released two more cd’s on Atavistic Worldwide - “From the Epicenter” in 1999, and “Out of the Invention Box” in 2001.