The Same Ghost in the Machine

Last month I had the pleasure of meeting a rather remarkable young lady. Her name is Carly Fleischmann and she taught me a great deal. The street behind the house in which I grew up had a family with a mentally handicapped child. I admit now that as kids we treated that child very poorly. I remember that I never made fun of the child but I definitely felt that I was superior to him and that I need not take him seriously in any way. As an adult I realized that I absolutely wasn’t superior to anybody, however I came to think that people in that state simply lived differently than the rest of us and they could never interact with us in the same way as “normal” people. Ms. Fleischmann and her amazing story taught me how wrong we all are!

Carly is an autistic person who is non-verbal. Physically I think she is quite pretty. She isn’t able to sit still for very long, she hums and moans and her hands may flay about uncontrollably from time to time. If you were to pass by her on the street she would be the kind of person that I would make sure to not stare at as my parents taught me. I may have even felt a little pity for her. I will never think like that again! Carly has been able to prove us all wrong. There is an intelligent, funny, charismatic, and talented person living in that machine that is her body.

Please watch the following video to help you understand.

We met for a very cool reason. The RADD Collective, the production team that I work with, recorded and produced a song that Carly wrote along with Kaitlin Kozell, a wonderful aspiring country music singer. That was one of the most special days I have ever had. We recorded the bed tracks the day before and we were able to basically have fun with Kaitlin and Carly the following day when they came up to Chalet Studios to track the vocals. We also met  Lil Jaxe who is an incredible rap artist. He has a very severe speech impediment but when he performs he is like Jay Z.

Check out the video that we produced from those sessions.

I am overjoyed to be part of this project. It’s very important for people to see what happened and is happening to Carly Fleischmann. She is helping to educate the world about how people with autism live their lives. She is helping us all understand that they are in fact just like us, except they have the added burden of having to deal with how they were born. Carly makes our lives richer by helping us understand her. Please share her music video so her message can get out to as many people as possible!

 

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I am Truly a Dreamer

Last April I had the honour of being invited to Woodshed Percussion, which is the headquarters for Dream Cymbals, in Toronto. They filmed me for a promotional campaign called “Live from the Woodshed”and we had an absolute blast!

While speaking with founder Andy Morris that day we came to the very cool realization that I have been with Dream for close to ten years! It’s really been a great time being involved with the company. I remember walking into Woodshed that first day, on the recommendation of drummer Julia Cleveland, and having a discussion about a place very similar to Woodshed called Percussion Pluswhich is located in Montreal. Going to Percussion Plus while at McGill University was an important part of my life in Montreal, and the fact that I was able to reminisce about that place with Andy made me feel relaxed. I knew that we had a chance at a great business and artistic relationship. Andy grew up in Montreal as I did and yes, he is totally a Montreal Canadians fan! He told me that Steve Shut from the Canadians lived down the street from him. Can you imagine that!

I feel like Andy Morris has created a cymbal company that is truly focused on the artistry of all drummers. I never get the sense that it’s about getting a one up on the competition, or about some kind of marketing campaign, or that it’s only business. It’s first and foremost about creating the colours that a drummer needs to paint with on a musical canvas. It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or a world famous time keeper, you will feel like Dream cymbals were made just for you.

I always feel that if I am going to be in a business relationship with a company like Dream it is very important to do whatever I can to support and promote the company. In the case of Dream, the relationship is more one of friendship, the love of percussion and art. Promoting the cymbals is natural and effortless. I am so glad that I was able to film these video clips and stay tuned for more to come in the near future.

 

 

 

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Drum Month

May is international drum month and the Long and Mcquade chain music stores is featuring many drummers from across Canada. I am fortunate to be representing Sonor drums, Dream Cymbals, Vic firth sticks, and Remo drum heads on a small drum clinic tour in southern Ontario during this period. We have completed three of the clinics and they have all been successful.

I decided to present these clinics with my new project “On Topic”. Kim Ratcliffe and Brad Cheeseman are happily contributing to the subject matter at hand and I am ecstatic about that!. The audiences have responded very positively. I have them singing along, counting out loud, and I make sure to invite at least two drummers to come up and play during the clinic. It has been a lot of fun.

It’s also been great having the opportunity to promote “On Topic” to the clinic audiences. Here is a little taste of the band at our clinic in Waterloo Ontario on Wednesday May 11.

I feel like I have struck a good balance between being informative and entertaining during these clinics. I just don’t want them to be the typical format where the drummer gets up on stage, plays a couple of terrific solos, plays to backing tracks and answers questions for the next hour. Instead I try to treat the clinic like a genuine workshop where hopefully people will go home and think about what they should practice in the morning.

Please refer to my events calendar on this site to find out where and when the next 3 clinics are going to be presented. I hope to see you at one or more of them!

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My Return in 2016

Hello everyone:

I hope this little update finds you all happy and, especially, healthy! It’s been well over three years since I last communicated with you and I do apologize for that. However I had an extremely good reason for my lapse. On January 7, 2013 I had a kidney transplant lovingly donated by my wife Julie. I was very ill leading up to the operation and it took me until now to not only recover from the ordeal, but to also get myself back on the scene in a meaningful way. I was going to write a long update of the whole event but decided instead to lead you all to a short blog that sums up the drama. Go to the following link if you want to take a peek.
http://ontopictrio.com/kidney-failure-a-love-story/

There is also a short documentary which was filmed for OMNI television that can be seen in Canada at:
http://www.omnitv.ca/on/en/videos/4125102954001/

Life is thankfully now back to normal and I’m introducing you all to a brand new project that I’m very excited about called ‘On Topic’. It’s a collaborative trio which consists of :

Kim Ratcliffe – guitar
Brad Cheeseman – bass
Aubrey Dayle – drums

We have only been working together since last summer but we already have our first CD called “Second Time Around” completed. It is currently ready for download at the following link. Please join us and you can receive some free music as well.

http://www.ontopictrio.com

On Topic Front a

We will be performing a series of concerts and drum clinics in April and May and if you are close by, we’d love to see you there.

I’m back and feeling good.

IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE!

April 16th
Warkworth Town Hall
40 Main Street,
Warkworth ON
8:00pm

May 3 (Drum Clinic)
Long & McQuade
7789 County Road 2
Cobourg, Ontario
K9A 4J7
7:30pm

May 5 (Drum Clinic)
Long & McQuade
902 Simcoe St N
Oshawa, Ontario
L1G 4W2
7:00pm

May 18 (Drum Clinic)
Long & McQuade
725 Fanshawe Park Road West
London, Ontario
N6G 5B4
7:30pm

May 19 (Drum Clinic)
Long & McQuade
28 Roy Boulevard
Belleville, Ontario
K8N 4Z5
7:00pm

May 25 (Drum Clinic)
Long & McQuade
129 Aylmer St.
Peterborough, Ontario
K9J 3J7
7:30pm

May 26
Cafe Resonance
5175 Av du Parc
Montréal,QC H2V 4G3
9:00pm

May 27 – 28
Options at the Brookstreet
525 Legget Dr
Kanata,ON K2K 2W2
8:00pm

May 31 (Drum Clinic)
Long & Mcquade
Geneva St, St.
Catharines,ON L2R 4M5
7:00

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A New Electric Jazz Trio and Free Music

On Topic It’s another amazing day, and another new and exciting project called ‘On Topic’ has come to life while on what is my life’s journey. I see life as though it has been an adventure that has been separated into two parts. The first part consists of childhood that flowed into early adulthood. My mode of transport on that journey was shiny, new, and powerful. Suddenly I was forced to slow down almost to a halt due to a significant challenge with my health. I was seriously ill for ten years, but now I’m back and traveling at full speed with ‘On Topic’ at the forefront of all the new activity. You can get FREE music and become part of this new adventure at www.ontopictrio.com

One of the things that I had to do to keep going during my unhealthy period was to stay focused. I had to focus on being able to maintain a family life so that my children felt as happy and secure as possible. I had to help my wife as much as my health would allow. I also had to stay focused on improving my musical endeavors in that I worked as hard as I could on continuing to improve my drum set performance as well as my compositions. I had to stay ON TOPIC! I brought the name to the band thinking that this idea of staying on topic is something we all try to do in some capacity.

This new trio has revitalized the joy and optimism I felt when I was younger, and living in New York City. I feel like fantastic things are on the way for us. Kim Ratcliffe is an amazing person and outstanding guitarist. He has the unique ability to interpret a piece of music like he had been dreaming about it for years. We have been friends for a few years and he played in my group called ‘My id’. I’m thrilled to be working on an intimate project such a great musician at this time in my life. Brad Cheeseman is a fresh, exciting, and virtuosic bass player. I have worked with many of the best bass players in the music business and he easily fits into that club. I’m happy that he is into playing with Kim and I.

 

Make sure to go to the home page on this site to pick up some free music. We’ll be able to also stay in touch with you so you can follow us on our new journey. Lastly; click here to check out a really nice interview that Brad and I did in Hamilton Ontario in January 2016. It really sums up the voyage that On Topic is on. Thanks for listening!

 

 

 

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