Podcast Music By: Andy Galore, Album: “
Out and About“, Song: “Chicken & Scotch” 2014
http://andygalore.com/ https://www.facebook.com/andygalorebass Subscribe, Rate & Review: I would love if you could subscribe to the podcast and leave an honest rating & review. This will encourage other people to listen and allow us to grow as a community. The bigger we get as a community, the bigger the impact we can have on the world.
For show notes and past guests, please visit If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes? It takes less than 60 seconds, and it really makes a difference in helping to convince hard-to-get guests.
For show notes and past guests, please visit:
Sign up for Joe’s email newsletter at:
For transcripts of episodes, go to:
https://joecostelloglobal.com/#thejoecostelloshow Follow Joe: Twitter: https://twitter.com/jcostelloglobal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jcostelloglobal/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jcostelloglobal/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUZsrJsf8-1dS6ddAa9Sr1Q?view_as=subscriber Transcript Part 1 – Nate Morton Interview: Joe : All right. I’m super excited to have my friend Nate Morton. The amazing human being and on top of it, the drummer for The Voice . And I was lucky enough to become friends with him. I don’t even remember how it happened, but I’m sure glad it did. And we’ve, we’ve stayed in contact, I’ve gone out to the , he had me there as a guest. We’ve gone out to dinner and drinks multiple times. A few of those times we probably can’t remember what happened at the end of the night, but it was fun and ah…welcome, my friend. I’m so glad you could do this and I really appreciate your time. Nate : Joe, it is a pleasure being here. Thank you for inviting me. Thank you for having me on and I look forward to whatever path our chat may go on tonight. Joe : Yeah, it’s gonna be perfect…I know, I know this, the capabilities of your storytelling. Nate : Oh, dear. Joe : This is amazing and that’s why I was so excited to do this with you finally, so… Nate : All right. Joe : So, like I said, you there’s no, there’s no strict format, but I think you are super interesting and we’ve had conversations and you’ve walked me through the beginning of where you started, how you…like, I think, I don’t know if we went back to really young years. I don’t know if we went…I know… I think there was drum corp may be in there early, but we went back to, like, at least where you decided what you were doing college wise, but we can go deeper… Nate : Sure, Joe : We can go back Nate : Sure, Joe : A little further because I knew you were on a completely different path than where you are now. So just, just like we’re sitting down at one of those great meals that we’ve had, just give us give us the scoop… Nate : So how far back you want to go? Joe : You can go back, as far back as you think is interesting. Nate : So last week, I was… Joe : I was afraid of the. Nate : Recording some tracks at my studio…that’s about as good, that’s where it gets it now. Well, I started playing when I was very young, just by ear, just listening to records and playing along and I had a toy drum set after, you know, building drum sets for however long, I don’t know…months or something like this. Somewhere on my fifth Christmas, my parents got me a drum set and it was a Muppet’s drum set from Sears, which I, oh man it was great. But I remember, I remember feeling really bad every now and then, I’ve told this story a few times, but every now and then, as I tell it, I remember little details and so this is one of the details that I remember. I felt really bad because I came downstairs, you know, Christmas, there’s the drum set. I was so thrilled, but I’d just been making drum sets out of garbage. I don’t know what I’m doing and so I walk up to the front of the kick drum with one of the drumsticks and I whack it. It’s a drum set from Sears. So the front kick drum head is paper. So I just went [ripping sound], so the very first time I struck the drums, that I basically destroyed it. Nate : So then we tape it all back together. Then I you know, I played it for however long and it wouldn’t have been very long because I actually, ultimately did destroy it. But not through being destructive, like tearing the front head off or open but more through just playing it till it was dust and so I just played it into the ground and played and play and played. And then the following Christmas, I guess that was my sixth Christmas, my parents got me an actual drum set, actual drum set, actual wood, heads all that, the real deal, not paper on the front head and then I just always played. And so that was the, drums were the first instrument that I played. Piano was the first instrument that actually had lessons on. So I took piano lessons from the time that I was about eight, all the way through high school. So, somewhere along the way, I gradually started to hate piano. I started to really not like it. I really started to love playing drums. And so I begged my mom one day to give me drum lessons. I said, “Mom, I hate piano when to quit and I hate it, please give me drum lessons…I don’t play piano, I want to play drums.” And in one of the more genius moves my mother has ever pulled off in her life, her response was, “Sure, I’ll get you drum lessons, but you have to keep playing piano and taking piano lessons.” Nate : So starting from, I’m going to say around middle school, that’s when I start taking drum lessons. So drum lessons, middle school through high school and beyond but over the course of time, between beginning of middle school and the end of high school, I was studying both piano and drums and I don’t play piano anymore. Well, I have one in my house and I sit down and I play on it occasionally but I would never say that I play. But just the gathering of that musical knowledge helps inform every musical situation that you’re in. If you learn to play, if you spent six months, taking lessons on sitar, if you only played sitar for that six months, that knowledge that you gained, even if you lost your sitar technique, would remain and would work with you and be in your in your in your folio going forward. So, what are we up to now? We’re somewhere in high school, I guess so call it high school and I played in, you know, high school, you know, garage bands, rock bands and so on. I played my high school garage band and we were literally a garage band because we literally rehearsed in the garage of our bass player, Kurt Dutra was called Akamilli and I don’t know if any of your listeners are familiar with a band called “TV On The Radio”, are you familiar the band called “TV On The Radio”, Joe? Joe : I don’t think so. Nate : It’s OK. They’re kind of a little bit of an indie band, but very popular, you know, well-known in indie circles and one of the founders of that band is a guy named Dave Sitik. So currently, Dave is, is like a super producer. He’s working with everyone from Trent Reznor to Jane’s Addiction and just lots of really amazing people. And, you know, amazing, amazing artists, many, many of whom you’ve heard of, some of whom you may not have heard of, but all amazing nonetheless. I was in the band room one day and I’m just playing drums, just playing the drums of the band room and this dude pops his head in the door and he goes, “Hey man, you should come over to my house and we can jam sometime.” I was like, “Oh, OK, cool!” Like, I’m, I’m like I don’t even know if that is right? I’ve spent my whole life up to that point, just playing in my closet or something with the drums and long story short, many, many of my friends, by the way, Joe and you may join this listen, have banned me from saying, long story short, because it never is. Joe : That’s alright…that’s theNate Morton I love… Nate : It’s long story long… Nate : I’m sorry. So anyway, let me let me try to bring this in for a landing. So so the person who popped their head in and said, come, come to my house was Dave Sitik and so Dave was actually the first other musician I ever played with. He was the first other dude that it was, I’m playing drums and there’s another musician there, it this guy Dave and so that was Akamilli and that was what I did throughout high school. So you alluded to the fact that I was on a particular course and then my life, my life went a certain other way. So let’s rewind for one second back to my early piano experience. OK, so my life with Akamilli and Dave was much of my life through high school in terms of my playing and I was still playing piano. But now you you alluded earlier to the idea that my life was on a particular course and then it kind of went a different way. Just for context, I just want to, I want to speak to that. So I want to flashback to my early piano days. When I was around eight or nine, I started taking piano at eight, so I guess this would have been about 10 or so. At one point we were renting a piano and at one point the piano just needed to, to go away I don’t remember the reason why. But at the time I was living at my grandmother’s house and my grandmother told me subsequently that all she could remember about that day was that when they came and took the piano, I threw myself on the ground and was crying and screaming “There goes my career!” So, so, so, so pretty much. Joe : Oh, my gosh! Nate : I was born a musician. I was born I was born wanting to be a musician. Now you you remember, obviously, that I said I eventually grew to hate piano, but that was partly because I grew to love drums. So flashing forward somewhere in high school while studying with the esteemed Grant Menefee, who is my, he was my instructor then. He’s gone on to be a very dear friend of mine, and I consider it like a family member. So, Grant, I would have been, I’m going to say I would have been a sophomore or a junior in high school somewhere in that neighborhood and Grant said, “You know, I don’t say that to a lot of guys but if you practice really hard at this and you were really, really dedicated, there’s a chance you might be able to make a living doing this.” That was it. That was it. So there’s a chance…”So Grant, could I be a professional drummer?” “Well, if you practice harder than you’ve ever practiced and you dedicate more time and more energy to it than you ever have, there is a point five percent shot you can make it. Nate : So you’re saying there’s a chance Joe : Please tell me he gets a Christmas card Nate : So you’re saying. So Joe : Please. Nate : You’re saying Joe : So you’re Nate : There’s Joe : Saying Nate : A chance. Joe : There’s a. Nate : That’s what I got, so that’s what I got from it and so that was all I needed. So, yes, he is a dear friend. I, I um, yeah, so anyway, as I veer along my little road here, coming out of high school, I thought to myself, I know I want to be a drummer but I also know I want, like, guaranteed employment. Like, I want something that I know I can fall back on. So to fall back, I went to school and I studied engineering. Joe : Yes, Nate : To fall back. Joe : The back, Nate : Right. Joe : The dreaded Nate : I thought I Joe : Fall-back. Nate : Just thought I just thought I’d just choose a, you know, a real just cream puff. Major Joe : Right. Nate : Like mechanical engineering. Stupid Joe : Right. Nate : In retrospect. Joe : Yes. Nate : Eight a.m. calculus, three mornings a week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Joe : Like Nate : Eight a.m. engineering Joe : Gosh! Nate : Calculus. And like so, so I’ll tell the calculus really quickly. I took calculus in high school so in theory, I was like, I got this thing. So, so, yeah, so like the first whatever, four weeks or whatever, we get a quiz. I fail it D, I get like a D minus. So I’m like, Oh, OK. I guess I should know, put more effort in. So then then I started going to class more frequently, I didn’t cut classes like so I went and then the next day that we got for like the next little unit or whatever like, D plus. I’m like, OK, so I went from totally, barely showing up to, like, busting my butt and I didn’t even improve a letter grade. So then I was like, I am really going to hunker down. I’m really gonna hunker down. I can do this. I can do this. I took this in high school. This is math, I can do this! Went to study halls, actually put the time in, actually took the effort, next test, 52 percent…F! Joe : Oh, really? Nate : Yeah! So I was like, OK, maybe maybe this isn’t my my chosen course. So that was one thing that sort of happened that made me start to realize, like, “I don’t know, man, I don’t know if you’re gonna complete this major to fall back on.” And… Joe : And where was all this because where it was engineering Nate : Right. Joe : School, Nate : Sure. Joe : Where Nate : This Joe : Where Nate : Was Joe : Did you go? Nate : Good. University of Maryland, I went to University Joe : Ok, Nate : Of Maryland Joe : Ok, Nate : In College Park, Maryland, just outside of D.C., Maryland Joe : Ok. Nate : Terrapins and like I said, I’m trying to bring this in for a landing, but I’m just not good at it. I’m so Joe : It Nate : Sorry… Joe : This is perfect! Nate : So…engineering, So I… Joe : So Nate : Spoke Joe : You sucked Nate : To Joe : at calculus. Nate : My Joe : That’s where Nate : I Joe : We’re Nate : Suck. Joe : At right now. Nate : Precisely. And I and I, and if you can believe this, if you can believe this, I was actually on an engineering scholarship because I’d done halfway OK in math and science in high school. So I had a scholarship adviser and I can’t remember her name now. I wanna say it was Sharon something or other, I can’t remember. She called me one morning and she said, “Hey,Nate!” actually, she wouldn’t have said “Hey,Nate!”, she would have said, “Hey, Nathaniel!”. Because Joe : Right. Nate : I’m still Nathaniel then. “Hey, Nathaniel, I just want to talk to you a little bit.” “Okay. Hey, what’s up?” “Yeah, are you gonna make it to the Young Engineer Society breakfast on Sunday morning?” I was like, “You know what I have ah, I actually have a church gig.” “Oh OK, well, I just wanna let you know that, you know, so and so who designed the so and so is giving a speech on Wednesday at seven o’clock.” And I was like, “Right!, I think I have a band rehearsal.” And then there’s another thing or something that had a gig. So she says to me, I will never forget this conversation. I can’t remember her first and last name, but I remember the conversation she said to me, “Hmmmmm, it really doesn’t sound like you’re very well rounded, everything you’re doing has to do with music.” And I said to her, every now, as a kid, I said a bunch of stupid stuff but every now and then I said stuff that I look back on as an adult. I go, “Huh? that was kind of more insightful than I would have given you credit for at the time, Mr. Nate : Morton.” But I said to her, I said to her, “Well, you know”, I said “there’s a fine line between being not well rounded and simply being focused” and in that moment, I realized, OK, you are focused just not on anything having to do with engineering, you’re focused on music. So that was the that was the thing, so what you’re referring to, which is the conversation that I had with my father, where I called them up and I basically said, “Hey, I need money for a chemistry book that I’m never gonna open” and he said, “Why aren’t you going to open it?” and I said, “Because I hate being an engineering major” and after a long pause, he said, “OK, change your major tomorrow!” and I said, “OK!” And the rest is history, I change from nature to music and I transferred a semester later to Berklee College of Music and which was the, which is tied for number one, number one,[holds up two index fingers] well, this is this is two things tied for number one. Joe : Those of you who… Nate : Number Joe : You Nate : One. Joe : Who are those who have Nate : Number Joe : You Nate : One. Joe : Are listening. He’s holding Nate : Yes. Joe : Up two fingers and saying the Nate : Yes. Joe : Word number one… Nate : Yes, exactly, well now, well now I’m holding up one finger in each hand and I have number one Joe : They got. Nate : Left Joe : Ok. Nate : And right. Number one’s, the two number one’s, of the two… Joe : This is Nate : No Joe : A man that Nate : One’s. Joe : Plays on national TV and plays some of the hardest songs in the world. Nate : Stop that… Joe : And Nate : That Joe : It’s Nate : No, no, no, I count to four over and over Joe : Yeah Nate : And over Joe : Right… Nate : And over again. So the two things that I consider most important in my musical career are, number one, going to Berklee College of Music and number one, moving to Los Angeles, California. So in a tie Joe : Ok. Nate : For first place, Joe : Ok. Nate : Those two things. Joe : So this is the, these are the little things that I have to pull out for the listeners/eventually viewers that see this on YouTube is, doesn’t Berkley have an audition process that’s not like necessarily the easiest in the world or if you just have the money, you can go? And I honestly don’t know, I’m asking this like Nate : Oh, Joe : A sincere. Nate : You’re good, you’re good! I’ll be honest with you at the time that I went, getting in was easier than staying in. So in other words, there were players who got in because, you know, mommy or daddy said, oh, you know, Joe, you’re so good at guitar in his bedroom, let’s send him to music college and so there’s Joey and then you find out, like, what that looks like and then Joey is gone a semester later. That’s what it looked like when I was there about two and a half decades ago. Flash forward, it’s become much more competitive to even get in now and so yeah, so that aspect has changed. Joe : I mean, did you have to do an audition Nate : I did have Joe : On Nate : To audition. Yes, Joe : Snare Nate : I Joe : Drum, Nate : Did have Joe : Timpani, Nate : To audition. Joe : Marimba? Nate : No, Joe : All Nate : No, Joe : Of that stuff? OK. Nate : My my audition was only on because it’s not because Berklee doesn’t center around classical music, Berklee centers around a variety of genres but it’s not like going to a state college where your primary playing experience is going to be in the orchestra of that college, right? So, you know, Berklee, so my audition was on drum set. And I’m probably not going to accurately recall, but my vague recollection is sight reading, maybe soloing, maybe time, and maybe versatility, maybe those are the four categories, I’m a little hazy because it was a little while ago. But basically you’ve got a number one to seven, this is the way they worked while I was there. Like, with many things that happened when I was younger, it’s completely different now. But when I was there, that was what you did and you got a number for each of those categories and so you might come out of there three, four, five, four, right? Which means you have three in reading, a four in improvisation, a five in, you know, time and a three in versatility…whatever I said, you know. Joe : Yep, yep. Nate : So then you take those four numbers and you are able to sign up for the ensembles based on what your numbers are, based on what your audition level is. So and ensembles where levels one through seven. So if you wanted to be in a level seven ensemble, you had to have the majority sevens in those categories. So in my sense, I went in and I came out with I don’t even remember what fours, something like that. So then the process is that you go back a semester later and you audition again for your ensemble ratings, you know and that was part of the auditioning process to get into the school and also part of the auditioning process to get into the ensemble is that you want to get into it. And Joe : Was Nate : So Joe : Your Nate : That’s Joe : Major Nate : The way that. Joe : Performance or. Nate : My major with performance of Joe : Ok. Nate : The reason is because I was perhaps foolishly but it was my attitude at the time was I was dedicated to playing and the way for you to get the most private lessons, the most ensembles, the most playing experience as a student, there was to be a performance major. You got twice as many private lesson hours, you know, twice as many allowed ensembles to go towards your major, all of that. And the reason why I say perhaps foolishly, is because I could have studied songwriting, I could have studied more compositional things like that but I was a little bit, what’s the word looking for? I mean, I hate to say old school, because that’s such an overused term, but I was a little bit old school as very much like I’m dedicated to playing. I want to be a player, I want to be playing, I’m not concerned about sitting around and writing horn, you know. Joe : Charts and arrangements. Nate : Yeah. Horn Joe : Yeah, Nate : Charts and transcribing and transposing to all Joe : Yeah. Nate : The different registers for all the different words and all of that. So I, I spent the majority of my time playing. I was I was in a practice room many, many, many, many hours for my first couple of semesters and then my subsequent semesters that I was fortunate to be doing a lot of playing. And Berklee is a kind of college that makes allowances for that sort of thing. Like if you show up to your lesson and you’re like, I’m really sorry, I’m not quite prepared with this. “Well, why not?” “I was playing Philip’s senior recital, I had a gig at this place and I had a cruise ship, you know, I had a dinner, brunch thing, you know, gig this day.” Joe : Yep. Nate : “Ok.” You know, I mean, and that’s not to suggest that they were lax. It’s just to suggests that the instructors that I had anyway, had an understanding that I was gaining hopefully anyway, real world experience, doing real world gigs and on some level that had value equal to, if not greater than sitting in a practice room learning exercise. 17 B on page thirty five, thirty five or whatever. So yeah, so that’s my story man. I finished Berklee, I hung around Boston, I played a bunch of gigs there, eventually I found my way to L.A… Joe : Ok, wait, before I go any further. Couple Nate : Stop. Joe : Of questions. Nate : Yes. Joe : Did you find Berklee? I don’t want to say easy, but did you, did you struggle while you were there? Nate : I had the great advantage, if you recall, I mentioned my drum instructor, Grant Menefee Joe : Yeah. Nate : Grant Menefee happens to be a graduate of Berklee College of Music and Grant’s whole intent, unlike a lot of instructors…well, you know, let me not do that because I don’t want to put instructors, I don’t want to overgeneralize, but there are instructors out there, let’s put it this way. There are instructors out there who studied their whole lives, practiced very hard, were unable to obtain a level that they wanted to obtain as a player so then went like. “All right, I guess I’ll teach.” Right? Joe : Right? Right? Nate : Grant was the opposite Joe : We all know, we’ve all had them Nate : You’re Joe : All had them, Nate : Sure. Joe : And that’s just Nate : Right. Joe : That’s Nate : And Joe : Just Nate : It’s unfortunate. Joe : Life. Nate : But it happens. Joe : It’s. Nate : It’s just Joe : Yeah, Nate : Life, right? Joe : Right. Nate : It’s life. Joe : Right. Nate : So Grant is the opposite of that. Grant really wanted to go to Berklee College of Music, learn all that he could, absorb it all like a sponge, and then move back to Catonsville, Maryland, which is just a little bit outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and basically become the best, most well-known, well-respected drum instructor in all of Maryland, which he has succeeded at doing. And for my dollar, I mean, he’s among the best drummers instructors out there, period. And it’s interesting because when I studied with him…I’m getting a little off track, but I’ll, I’ll get back to where Joe : No, Nate : You were Joe : It’s fine. Nate : When I studied with him, I remember thinking to myself, I, like, I remember realizing the level of knowledge that I was gaining being with him and studying with him and understanding the importance of it and just hoping, like I was hoping, please let me obtain some level of success. So that I can, A., tell the world how great this guy Grant Menefee is and B., sort of be a billboard. I want to be like, WOW!, that guy, like the way that people went like, oh yeah, you know, so-and-so studied with Freddy Gruber, oh so-and-so Joe : Right. Nate : studied with this guy, studied with that guy, Dom Famularo, this guy and it’s like, I wanna be the guy who it’s like man, “Who’d you study with?” “Grant Menefee.” And at this point, you know, I think that it speaks volumes that Grant does a great job by virtue of the fact that he’s got several known name players out there, making a living doing this. So that’s a lot more than than your average drum instructor teaching in a suburb outside of a city, you know, can and can claim credit to. Joe : Right. All right, well, so one question Nate : Where the heck Joe : I Nate : Does Joe : Want. Nate : All that leave us? Joe : So well, the other question I wanted to ask about Berklee is while you were there has… Nate : Oh, shoot! Hold on, hold on, I didn’t even answer your question. Sorry, sorry. Golly, Joe : All right. Nate :Joe. Joe : Was it hard for you? Nate : Right. Joe : That’s right. Nate : Right. Joe : You didn’t. Nate : So, so, so here, let’s pick that up. So the whole reason that I gave you that Grant Menefee backstory Joe : Right Nate : Is because Grant basically prepared me with exercises, grooves, fills, you know, all sorts of things, that were very much like what he knew I would see when I went to Berklee, if that makes sense. So, you know, whereas there are players there who their instructor puts something in front of them and says, “Hey, are you familiar with this? Check this out.” And they “Go, oh, no, this is the first time I’ve ever seen that.” I’m going like, “Oh, yeah, me and Grant, we were up to page 37 of this book.” I mean, that kind of thing. Joe : Yeah, yeah, yeah… Nate : So was Berklee easy? No! It was definitely not easy, I definitely practiced hard, I definitely, you know, grew a lot,I definitely learned a lot of things that I would not have learned had I not gone there. I learned a lot of things the hard way at Berklee, so I didn’t have to learn the hard way in the real world. So in that regard, no, Berklee was not easy. However, I will say that I felt very prepared for it by virtue of having said he would Grant Menefee. Joe : Got it. Perfect. OK, cool. So Nate : So Joe : Here’s Nate : You can piece Joe : That Nate : All that piece, all that together, Joe : Perfect. Nate : Make some sort of cogent answer. Joe : So here’s the last piece that I’ll ask you about Berklee was, while you were there, now that you’re out and these other people that were there are potentially out in the world, were there any people that were there while you were there that are now famous out in the world today, which I would assume the answer is yes, because so many people come through there but I was just if you had a couple of names that say, “Oh, yeah, he was he was there while I was there.” And… Nate : Well, when I when I’m asked this, it’s often in relationship to drummers and so just I mean, well, first let me preface this by saying when I was there, there were two thousand students, little over two thousand students, and I did not know all of them. So there is any great possibility that any number of them have gone off and done amazing, wonderful things. And I’m not I’m just not familiar because I didn’t know them. But Joe : I mean, Nate : Drummers. Joe : Like John Mara wasn’t there when you were there? I don’t know. I was just a. Nate : I feel like he’s a little bit younger than me, so Joe : Ok, Nate : I feel like he would have been there after me, Joe : Got it. Nate : Right? But for example, little John Roberts, drummer, was there when I was there. There’s another drummer who’s out here now named Steve Hass, who’s a killing drummer. He was playing with Manhattan Transfer Joe : Yeah, Nate : And Joe : I know. Nate : He was in school when he was there, he was playing like that. Bass player Reuben Rogers, sax player, Teodross Avery, some other drummers Johnny Rabb was there when I was there, John Blackwell was there when I was there, rest in peace, John Blackwell. Joe : Yep, yep. Nate : And there are others. You know, I hate this question because invariably I forget someone. And then Joe : No, Nate : We Joe : No, Nate : Finish Joe : No. Nate : This Joe : I don’t mean Nate : And I Joe : To Nate : Go, Joe : Put Nate : Oh, Joe : You. Nate : Shucks, Joe : But Nate : I Joe : I wasn’t Nate : Forgot Joe : Even Nate : That Joe : Trying. Nate : Guy. Joe : I wasn’t even trying to pinpoint on the drum thing because I know, like, did you like your drum buddies? Don’t want to be you want to Nate : Well, Joe : Be sensitive. Nate : Do you know? Joe : It was just like maybe some bass player, maybe some guitar player or some Nate : Sure. Joe : Piano player or whatever. Nate : Well, do you know Cheche Alara was, was, was my piano player when I did the Bonnie Hunt Show. And so, yeah, there are definitely my path have definitely repeatedly crossed with people that I was in school with and there are definitely people that I was in school with who have gone off and done many, many wonderful things. I mean, it’s hard to point to a, it’s hard to point to an institution, musically, that is more successful at putting the volume of contemporary musicians successfully out into the world. Does that Joe : Yes. Nate : Make sense? Joe : Absolutely. Nate : So whether whether it’s film scoring or whether it’s jazz composition or whether it’s beaten on drums like a cave man like I do, or Antonio Sanchez composing Grammy Award winning jazz records, Right? So across the board, there are any number of people doing any number of successful things in any number of sort of avenues and genres, so yeah man, it’s, it’s like I said, it’s, it’s, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done! Joe : Call. Nate : And, and I consider it to be hands down, hands down, I consider it to be the best contemporary music school on the planet. Joe : Awesome, well, and you did four years? Nate : I managed, well because I did two semesters at University of Maryland, I had a few credits transferred. So I did about three and a half years. Yeah. But I definitely my, my, my both of my parents, my mother, my father are first generation college students, right? They were the first in their and their families to go to college and so, you know, both of them, primarily my father was like, “Oh, you’re finishing college!” Joe : One way Nate : That was Joe : Or Nate : Not. Joe : Another. Nate : That was, oh yeah, “Oh, you’re getting a degree! Like, I’m not going to be like the beginning and the end of this trend right now.” So yeah, I finished, I finished in seven semesters. Joe : Ok, cool. And it was cool because the story I remember is use, that phone call about the book that you would never use, you know, I don’t know if you expected him to be so supportive. Maybe you did, but it just sounded like he’s like, yeah, if that’s what you’re going to do, you want to play music, then… Nate : I Joe : Am Nate : Don’t. Joe : I making him sound Nate : No, Joe : More Nate : No, Joe : Supportive Nate : No, no. Joe : Than he Nate : Let Joe : Was? Nate : To get this right, hold on, I wanna get this right! I want to get this right! I don’t know how much of it was support and how much of it was concession. [laughter] Joe : Ok,Ok Nate : Isn’t that the way it was like, all right, you know what? This is just trending this way, so I’m either gotta, either got a jump on this bus or get run over by it, so, ok, fine, I’ll get on the bus…I was like that. And my dad is a huge music fan, I mean, he’s, he’s in great part, the reason why I am a musician, because he doesn’t play an instrument at all, but I grew up in a household where pretty much if he was in the house, music was playing, basically. If he was in the house, music was playing. And it could have been across all a number of genres or all manner, rather, of genre and so he’s in great part why I am a musician. But like any parent, there was definitely that like, “Ok so how are you gonna make a living at this?” You know, because for people who don’t know the other side of, of what we do, Joe, you know, it’s hard to to understand. I mean, it’s hard! It, is, it’s, it was interesting when I finished college and I walked across the stage and Sting handing me my degree and the next morning I kind of woke up and I was like, “All right, well, I don’t have Art History 201 today, what? what do I do?” Joe : Right. Nate : Yeah, it is. Joe : Right, right. Nate : You know, I mean, so Joe : Right. Nate : There’s, there’s, it’s, it’s not like a degree where you go four years, you come out with a engineering degree and you solicit different companies that do whatever number of engineering Joe : Right. Nate : Situations that there are, right? You look in the back of the of the of the help, not the help wanted, but, you know, The Wall Street Journal for employment or whatever it is, I don’t, I Joe : Right. Nate : Don’t know. See how little I know about, Joe : Yeah, Nate : Actually getting a real job. But you look in the back of whatever paper, one of those papers that has jobs in the back Joe : Right. Nate : And, and, and, and you see who’s hiring. In my dad’s case, it was a, my dad was an educator, so in his case, there was this paper called The Chronicle and it was a whole paper about education and in the back there were all, you know, hiring positions for Vice Presidents of Student Affairs at campuses and administrators and, you know, history professors and things of that nature. So that’s, I don’t know, that’s my experience with that. But I guess my only point is that as a musician, you come out with this degree or you don’t whatever but either way, whenever you jump into it, it’s kind of like all on you to find your course, you know? And so there are definitely some mornings early on when I was, you know, “Ok, What do I do?” And I adopted this attitude of, I adopted an attitude of, what can I be doing right now to get a gig, at this exact moment, what can I be doing to get a gig, you know, and… Joe : And this is why you’re still in Boston right after you graduated. Nate : This is what I’m still in Boston and I had just graduated, but, but that persisted, I mean, that persisted for years, I mean, that’s that’s been my motivation, I mean, it continues to be my motivation. I’m in my studio right now and written on my dry erase board says “At this exact moment, are you making the best use of your time?” And then under that, it says “Small picture and Big picture.” At this exact moment. Am I making the best use of my time? I would say “Yes!” I was chatting to you is a very good use of my time, because if it enables me to share anything that I’ve experienced or knowledge that I’ve gained that helps to influence anyone else or that anyone else gains anything from, then that’s a great use of my time. So Joe : Well, Nate : The answer Joe : Awesome, Nate : Is yes right now. Joe : Awesome. Nate : Yeah. Absolutely! Joe : All right, so you graduate, you’re in Boston, I assume you’re gigging to make the rent and eat and all of that other stuff, right? We’ve, you’ve told me this story and then all of a sudden you decide to go to L.A.? Nate : Well, there’s a few more details in there. When I finished, I was playing with the top 40 band, I was playing with a rock cover band and I was getting around, I was even playing in a couple of original bands and I got an opportunity to travel to Hong Kong and play with a Cantonese pop artist named Faye Wong, this is 1994. So 1994, I go to Hong Kong, I play with Faye Wong. And when I went to Hong Kong to do that gig and I was there for several months, we were there for several weeks rehearsing and we came to the States and did several weeks touring, then we went back to Hong Kong, did several weeks rehearsing and then did a, did a a stint at the Hong Kong Coliseum. I think we played about 35 or 40 straight shows at the Hong Kong Coliseum, which that’s kind of the way that touring, at that time anyway, that’s the way the touring happened in Hong Kong. You didn’t travel around, Hong Kong is five square miles, so… Joe : Right. Nate : Right? It’s the population of New York City, it, is, it the population of New York City in a five square mile block and so you basically set up shop at the Hong Kong Coliseum, which had another capacity is probably around seventeen or eighteen thousand and you just Joe : Everybody Nate : Play there. Joe : Comes to you. Nate : Yeah, everybody comes to you. It’s like, it is, it’s like, it’s like, it’s like a Vegas residency, that’s exactly what it’s like a residency. Only people aren’t flying in from around the world, it’s just that many people live there. So, so after, so my plan was I’ll go Faye Wong, when I come back, I’m going straight to L.A. And what happened was, when I came back, I realize that there were some things in Boston that I missed, that, that I wanted to return to and so I wound up back in Boston for another two or three years before moving to L.A. in 98. Joe : Oh, I didn’t know it was that long after you graduated. Nate : Yeah, I was I was there from, accepting the handful of months that I spent in Hong Kong or toured with Faye Wong, ah yeah, I was there, I left in late 98 and moved to Los Angeles then. Joe : How did you get that gig there, where did you, somebody, somebody see you? Nate : Faye Wong? Joe : Yeah. Nate : So Faye Wong is, I think she’s probably still, I think you’re still making records and still current and those doing things. And so she was kind of the like at the time anyway, kind of a wild child of, of, of, of Cantonese pop artists, right? And part of being the wild child was, I’m going to have these, I’m, I’m crazy, I’m going to have these American musicians in my band. I’m going to diversify and have these American musicians. So she was having auditions and I just heard about an audition and I, and I wound up at an audition in Montreal, Canada, of all places, and was fortunate to get the gig and wound up, you know, a few weeks later in Hong Kong doing rehearsals. Joe : Wow. Wow. Nate : Yeah. Yeah. Joe : That’s crazy. Nate : Do you ever, do you ever, do you share any photos or anything and how you present this? Cause I probably could find some photos of Faye Joe : Go, Nate : Wong Joe : Yeah, Nate : And Joe : I’ll Nate : I. Joe : Take it. Yeah, sure. Nate : Ok, yeah, someone asked me for earliest pictures, pardon me. Someone asked me, OK, let’s pick up. Someone asked me for earliest pictures of me playing drum set and literally, I don’t have any because, I mean, think about it, If you flash back further than 15 years, 20 years, Not everybody had a cell phone constantly in their hand. Joe : Right Nate : Right. So.. Joe : Now you sound like an old man! Nate : To take a picture Joe : Like an old man? Nate : Like? [laughter] So, yeah, so taking a picture was more than a notion, right? You know, so um, so you don’t have really any pictures of that era of me, the earliest pictures I have or like I don’t know, probably high school or something. Joe : I would like to see that picture of you taking the drumstick and just jamming it through the head of the bass drum… Nate : Yeah, oh, yeah, well, that would have been…. yeah, let’s see, what was that? [mumbling numbers] That would have been 1977 [laughter] So what was the state, what was the state of the cell phone development back in 1977? Joe : That would have… Nate : I Joe : Probably Nate : Think we had we didn’t have like a wind up [makes funny sound] like, I don’t think we had the military wind up friggin, you know, “Come in Commander!” phones… Joe : But wait… Nate : That Joe : That might Nate : The. Joe : Have been Polaroid time still, maybe Nate : A Joe : No. Nate : Little later, a little later, because I do Joe : Ok. Nate : Have some Polaroid pictures. Joe : Ok. Nate : I do have Polaroids Joe : You see, Nate : And Joe : I Nate : That Joe : Don’t Nate : Was around Joe : Like. Nate : That was when, I was that was about four or five years later and I only remember this because I recently came across a photo album where I scanned in a bunch of Polaroids from Joe : Ok, Nate : From, from the era of my life when I was at about, Four…, fifth grade. Joe : Got it, ok, so, yeah, I couldn’t remember. Ok! So you’re back in Boston, you stayed a couple of more years and then I know, I know there’s a part of this story that there’s a girlfriend involved in Boston, but you’re leaving and it’s, I’m… Nate : At Joe : Going. Nate : That time, I was definitely all about music. I was definitely like, you know, I didn’t, I definitely felt like, I didn’t just spend all this time and energy and effort going to this music college, I didn’t start playing drums when I was six years old so that I could finish a music college and stay in Boston and play, in you Joe : Club Nate : know, I Joe : Dates. Nate : Mean, cov, cover bands, I mean, Joe : Our Nate : With Joe : Club Nate : All due respect Joe : Dates, Nate : To cover Joe : Sir. Nate : Bands. Joe : No, Nate : Yeah. Joe : I Nate : Don’t Joe : Just Nate : Get me Joe : Called Nate : Wrong. Joe : It, you know, just. Nate : Right, Joe : Yeah. Nate : Exactly! I was, I definitely, I had eyes on sort of a a bigger level, I wanted to be touring the world, I wanted to be on television, and I just sort of came to the conclusion that, like the chances of me, of that finding me in Boston, are lower the chances is that I’ll have if I go to find it, which to me felt like Los Angeles. And again, I don’t mean to, I don’t mean to put down cover bands because, hell, I play in a cover band. But yeah, I definitely knew that like at age, wait when did I graduate? Twenty two, somewhere in that neighborhood, I wasn’t quite ready to like settle in, I didn’t want to feel like Ok I’ve, I’ve maxed out my potential now. Joe : Right! Ok, so then what happened? What was the trigger? Nate : Well, that was it. I would be I would be watching guys on TV playing and there’s you know, there’s a new artist playing that I’ve never heard of, whoever that new artist might have been. And there’s a guy playing drums and I would think to myself, that guy is playing drums on that gig because that guy lives where that gig is! Ya know, and there are exceptions, there’s exceptions, there’s times when people who live in Duluth, mail in a tape of them shedding on drums to some guy in L.A. and then they wind up on the gig. And I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens even more frequently now with the Internet obviously, right because it has made the whole world much, much smaller. But at that time, the idea of a manager in L.A. calling me in Boston to do what, you know, you’re going to call me on a Tuesday to fly out to L.A. and audition for a gig on a Thursday and that’s going to work how? Right? So I just knew that I had to be or at least I felt that I had to be there. When people call me or text me or message me or whatever, e-mail me and they’re like, you know, I’m the best drummer in Topeka, Kansas. I have all the gays in Topeka, Kansas. I’m like, Topeka, Kansas is version of Vinnie Collaiuta, how do I get to the next level? Get out of Topeka, Kansas, move to L.A. You know, I mean and that’s, I don’t mean to sound callous when I say that, because Joe : No, Nate : I Joe : No, Nate : Know that Joe : No. Nate : People, Joe : It’s. Nate : People and not everyone can do that! And so for me at the time, it was definitely that thing of like, sometimes I meet people or I have that conversation with people and they say, “Oh, well, you know, I’ve been married for five years, my wife and I have a three year old, she has a great job.” And I’m like, “Oh, ok, that’s not practical.” So then let’s reanalyze. Joe : Yup! Nate : Right? But for me at the time and in terms of what you’re saying and my and my girlfriend, someone at the time, it was definitely like, I want to be in L.A. And I was very fortunate, too, because I pretty much was like, look, I really want to go there, I really want to max this thing out and see, you know, what, what it can do and it will be great if you would join me. But if you don’t want to, I also understand and she was like, well, literally, she was like, well, “Boston is the only city I’ve ever lived in in the United States, so, sure!”. And then there you go, that’s how that, that’s how that went. Joe : Cool! I couldn’t remember she came with you or not, so now. OK, cool. Nate : She Joe : All Nate : Did. Joe : Right. Nate : She did. Joe : So now this is when we’re in L.A. you move to L.A. up what year? Nate : We are really, like this is like really my whole life story! Joe : I told Nate : If I ever Joe : You. Nate : Decide, if I ever decide to publish the book of my life story, I could just put out a transcript of this conversation. Joe : And I’ll have it done for you because, it, it goes, it’s part of the whole podcast thing, so it’ll already be done! Nate : So. Joe : No, I told Nate : So where Joe : You it. Nate : Are we? So Joe : Yeah. Nate : Where are we? Joe : So, Nate : What Joe : You know, Nate : Are we doing? Joe : Who’s the guy? Who’s that? Is it the Dos Equis guy? The most interesting man in the world? Nate : Yeah… Joe : That is that is who that is? Nate : Yes. Joe : You know, the guy with the beard and Nate : Yes, Joe : He’s like. Nate : Yes! Joe : Or Nate : Yes! Joe : Is that Nate : Yes! Joe : Him? Yeah. Nate : Yes! yes! Joe : You’re, you’re my, you’re my version of, I hold you on a higher pedestal than Nate : That’s Joe : The Dos Equis guy. Nate : That’s really sad for you, I would not admit that out loud, I would not admit that out loud. Um, so okay, so what are we doing? So we came Joe : So Nate : To L.A. now. Joe : Where in L.A., you and your girlfriend, it’s what year? Nate : 90, end of 98, near the end of 98, going into 99. 99 by the time everything, all the dust settles, in terms of moving out and having a place and settling in and all of that. And my earliest gigs came by way of auditions that I made my way into that were held by a guy named Barry Squire. And so Barry is still on the scene, although like most of us who work in this crazy music thing, even what he does has been changed by technology. So whereas once upon a time, was once upon a time, it was like, oh, Alanis Morissette is having an audition, picking up the CD at this particular executive’s office, the auditions on Saturday at noon. And so you go there and there’s 50 of the CDs and you grab one of them, there’s three songs and you learn three songs, you show up and there’s, you know, twenty five guys on every instrument. And they cycle through you all and you play it. Now, you know and you play it in a room with other musicians, right? Whereas now it’s send me links. Everything is sending me links. So even Barry now I’ll see that he’ll post, you know, “New artists looking for keyboardist that sings, age, 25 to 37, send links to” and there’s an email address. Joe : Right. Nate : Right. Joe : He does Nate : It’s. Joe : Them on Facebook now. Nate : He does them on Facebook. It does them Joe : Yeah, Nate : On Joe : And Nate : Facebook. Joe : It’s so funny and, and, when I’ve heard of his name and what he did and he was the the connector of getting all of these great musicians on these great gigs for these touring artists, the moment I found his name, I was already above the age limit on every single Nate : Right. Joe : Post. It’s like Nate : Well. Joe : That, that ship had sailed already. Nate : Well, Joe : So. Nate : One of those things I did, I did the thing once where someone called in whenever I was, it was some sort of gig that I was in the running for and then they said, “Are you 26 or younger?” And I said, “As far as you know, you!” [laughter] Joe : Right. Nate : Know. Joe : Right, right and it’s so funny because all his posts now are like, and, and and, be honest about your age or proof of age or like he’s very adamant about when he posts them. If you say you’re this, make sure you are that, not that you just look it and blah, blah, blah. So. Nate : Interesting. Well, I have it, I you know, I had lunch with Barry because I have students who, ask me, how do we get a gig? What’s an audition like? Etc., etc. and I realized I hadn’t talked to Barry, I don’t know, maybe fifteen years or something. And I reached out to him not too, too long ago, just like “Hey man, I just want to have lunch with you and pick your brain about what the current state of audition’s looks like, what the current state of getting, getting a gig looks like” Because I have students who ask me and all I can do a sort of speculate as to what that looks like now, and I don’t really know. And so, you know, we, we talked for a while and part of his thing was, for example, now Ableton is a big part of it. Like, that’s a big part of multiple gigs and I don’t know Ableton like. If I had to go and do an audition today and I had to have a knowledge of Ableton, I’d be sunk. Joe : He puts up a lot of posts like that. You need to be able to run tracks, write tracks, multi instrumental, blah, blah, blah, ah play electronic drums, play acoustic drums… Nate : Even Joe : But. Nate : How about even this, Joe? So currently the state of a touring band. So the first audition I did that was a Barry Squier audition was for a young woman named Billie Myers. And she had a single called “Kiss the Rain.” It was really big, it was like the biggest single that that summer. And the original band, you’ll laugh at this. You, you, you, because we are closer in age, you will laugh at this and people who are younger than us, won’t even be able to fathom it. So the audition and this is for a new artist, this is a new, this is not an established artist. The audition, so Billie Meyer’s band in the end ended up being, bass, drums. keys. Two guitars. Two background singers. That was our band, Keith, bass, drums, two guitarists, two background singers, that’s a normal band, like for me, that’s a normal band for my age group, that’s a normal band. Nowadays, it’s drummer, multi-instrumentalist and the third musician is Ableton. Joe : Yup Nate : Right? It’s Joe : Crazy! Nate : A drummer and a guitarist running Ableton, or it’s a drummer and a keyboard player running Ableton. And it’s really, it’s interesting, I had a conversation with a guy recently named Ray because I did a gig and the band was myself on drums and Ray on guitar. And I was like, Ray and Ray’s younger, but he has a little bit of older school, old school mentality. You know what I’m sayin’, ike Ray would love to be on stage with, with, with five dudes playing instruments. But Ray basically pointed out and sort of hipped me to the fact that, these days, if you can move a crowd with a drummer, I’m going to circle back to Barry, by the way, but if you move a crowd with a drummer and a guitar player, let’s say. If the budget does go up, if your record is successful or your music is successful and you do make money, the first place to invest money oftentimes isn’t expanding the band. It’s not oh, we’re, we’re, we’re bass, we’re drums and guitar now, let’s add a bass player. Oh, we’re drums, bass guitar, let’s add a keyboard player. It’s let’s add video screens, let’s add four dancers, let’s add cooler stage set and it’s like, WOW!, OK. So, you know, there are times, now circling back to Barry, he did point out that in ninety nine percent of cases, even though it is only two guys, one of those two guys or girls is typically a drummer, because if you’re playing on a bill somewhere and all the other bands have a drummer and you get up there and you’re a guitar player and a bass player, it doesn’t look like there’s a live band on stage. Joe : Right. Nate : Right? Joe : Yep. Nate : Drums are part of that and it’s even funny, my brain, I’m on, I’m on like a weird like stream of consciousness thing right now. It’s interesting, too, because that reminds me of when I was in school and my father would take me to see bands. He would take me to see, like at the time, George Howard or Najee or Hiram Bullock or Spyro Gyra. And I remember going and hearing those bands and those are all like, they all live in like that instrumental jazz, I hesitate to say smooth jazz, I won’t say smooth jazz, but they live in that jazz universe. So it’s like the keys are going like, [makes keys sounds] and guitars are going [makes guitar sounds] and the bass is going [makes bass sounds] and the drums are going [makes drums sounds]. It was like a totally different texture, it was a whole different texture and that’s what drew my earl I was like, oooooohhhh, Joe : Yup. Nate : Now I’ve played drums earlier than that, but that was so exciting to me, was that, the drums were the one like aggressive percussive thing, even in that context. So take all of that, flash all of that forward to the knowledge that I’ve gained from Barry [Squire] now where he’s basically saying essentially the same thing, which is that if there’s not drums on the stage, it doesn’t feel like a live band. So in that respect, drums Joe : And he’s Nate : Are Joe : A Nate : A Joe : Drummer Nate : Fortunate Joe : Himself. Nate : Instrument. Joe : So he’s Nate : He Joe : Also. Nate : Is a drummer. He is a drummer himself. Joe : It’s in his heart, right? Nate : Yeah. Joe : So. Nate : Yeah, for sure. So I don’t even remember what the question was, Joe, or Joe : Well, Nate : Where Joe : So Nate : We are Joe : It’s not Nate : Or Joe : Ok. Nate : What time period. Joe : I’m even, I’m keeping track of it all, so this, only because these are all the things that I’m selfishly interested in. So I’m keeping it on track in my own brain as as we’re talking. So you moved you moved to L.A. with your girlfriend, you get all settled and you go there with no gig upfront? You like, you have no work when you land? No, just the money in your pocket and whatever? Ah, oh… Nate : It, it sounds very bleak when you put it that way. [laughter] Joe : No, hey no. Nate : But yes. Well, you Joe : Ok. Nate : Remind me of the time, so, so my mom, as I said, you know, her genius move was play piano and drums at the same time. However, you know, there have been times when my mom and I opinion wise or phila…philosophically have been at odds. Go figure! Side note, I went to see, I used to go see a therapist. That’s ok, I’m mental, it’s obvious. I need you to see a therapist, of course I did. And at one point they were like, so tell me, you know, what’s going on and I was kind of like, well, sometimes my mom and before getting presents, I went, “It’s always the mom.” [laughter] Joe : Yeah, yeah. Nate : She is at once, she is at once your greatest nurturer and at the same time also causes some of your greatest Joe : Yes. Nate : Anguish Joe : Yes. Nate : Ya know… Joe : Yes. Nate : So my mom is a lovely woman, she’s a lovely woman. But sometimes she says things that I’m just like, “Ahhhh” So one of the things was when I was about to leave Boston to drive across country to move to Los Angeles, she said, “Well, Nathaniel, how long?” How did she say it? I think you said something along the lines of “How long are you gonna…how long are you going to fail before you give up?” Or something along those lines? “How long you gonna struggle before you give up?” Joe : Yeah. Nate : And that was it, “How long you gonna struggle before you give up?” My answer was “As long as it takes!” Like, I don’t have a plan B and it’s important that I emphasize, Joe, that I am by no means encouraging people to, like, dive headlong into some kind of insane life changes with absolutely no parachute to save them should they fall. Even though that’s what I did. But I’m not, I’m not advising it. I’m not saying it’s a great idea. I’m just saying, like, it’s kind of like when I do lessons, I kind of go, this is what I did and you can take the knowledge from it and do what, with it, do with it what you will. Right? So for me, moving to L.A., yeah I just jumped and it was like a total leap of faith. And it’s that thing, its’s that thing it’s very funny. I don’t how many people who check this out, will have made such a sort of transition, but is definitely funny like. You move somewhere like that on a leap of faith and you have a lot of conversations that go like this, “Oh, man, you moved here?, Dude!, I wish you were here last month because I needed a guy for so and so and so and so”, and it’s like, “OK, well, it’s not last month, it’s this month, you have a gig for me?” Joe : All right. Nate : Yeah, man. Joe : All right. Nate : You know, it’s like there’s a lot of those, like before I moved here, it felt like, like, WOW!, it’s kind of like, it’s kinda like when you’re married and you feel like every woman wants you, you’re like, “Man!!, Joe : Yes. Nate : It’s a shame, Dang!!, I’m married because that cute girl really thinks I’m cute.” Joe : Oh, Nate : And Joe : My Nate : Then suddenly when you’re Joe : God. Nate : Single, crickets [cricket sound] your like looking around, “Where is everybody?” Joe : Oh, Nate : But Joe : God. Nate : I mean, I mean, I’m making a joke but you understand what I’m saying, right? So, so, so, so when you don’t live here it’s like, “Man, I wish you lived here because I have so and so and so and so.” And then you move here. “Oh man, yeah, last Joe : Right. Nate : Week.” Joe : Right. Nate : So that was my experience, that was my experience and so I moved here and again to the, to the, to my credo of “What can I be doing at this exact moment to get a gig?” That was the way that I approached everything. It was very daunting, it’s very daunting when you live in L.A. and you’re like, the person at Jamba Juice and you’re just like “Hey, can I have a razzmatazz?” and he’s like, “Oh yeah, cool!” and maybe you’re wearing a music shirt. “Oh, you’re a musician?” “Yeah I’m a musician, I play drums.” “What about you?” “Oh, yeah, man, you know, I just graduated from M.I.?” Joe : Yeah, Nate : And Joe : Right. Nate : They’re giving you your smoothie and you’re like, oh, my God, really? Like, it’s very daunting to feel like there are that many musicians here who are not, you know, doing what they want to be, you know, living their best life, as they say. But at the same time, the flip side of that is, it actually becomes in a way, sort of, very ahhh, the music culture can be very vital in the sense that, vital is the wrong word, vitality, the vitality. What I’m trying to say is, you get to this point where you realize that an opportunity could come from anywhere. An opportunity could come from the person who makes you your razzmatazz and hands it to you and they go, “Oh, what do you play?” “I’m a drummer!”, “Dude, I have a band, do you want to come play with us sometime?” “OK.” And you do, and cut too, and that band becomes “Death Cab for Cutie” or something and then there you go. And then you tell the story about how you met a Jamba Juice. I have no idea what Death Cab’s story is, but I’m just making that as an example. Joe : No. Nate : You know what I mean?, Joe : Yeah, Nate : It’s Joe : No, that’s Nate : So. Joe : I think a lot of people miss that they, they, you know, they get down on where they might be at, at the moment and you never know who’s gonna walk in the door or what door is gonna open and it will only happen if you stay super positive and and expect those things to happen if Nate : Hundred Joe : You’re. Nate : Percent. Joe : Oh, yeah. Nate : Hundred percent. And I really got to say to a lot of the gigs that I’ve done, some of them, some of them were you go in, you do the audition the next day, there’s a callback, they say, “Congratulations, you got the gig!” The vast majority of them, however, were, “Hey, you did a gig once with a guy who knows my cousin, who used to work at so-and-so and then when they were at Sony Records, they said, this guy.” And it’s like a connection, after connection, after connection, after connection, that leads you and you realize that that gig that you’re doing today, came through some gig that you did eight years ago with some guy that you stayed in touch with. And, you know, I mean?, It’s really, really relationships and I mean, I’m covering, I will admit, Joe, I’m covering stuff that I’ve covered before, but it’s important! It’s important stuff, it’s important to understand? I love this one, “Hey,Nate, when did you realize you’d made it?” I’m sorry, what? Joe : Yes. Nate : What? Do I, Do I live in Beverly Hills? Is there a Ferrari in my driveway? No! What are you talking about? Made it!? Right? So for me, there was never like a, like there was, I’ve been working in ProTools a lot because I’ve been recording myself a lot and in, in here, in my studio. And, and, and so you can do things and ProTools where you create automation, where the volume is going along and then it just jumps to here and then goes on there or it’s a fade. My whole life has been a fade, my whole life has been a long fade. There was ever a point where it’s like, “Oh, this sucks, oh this sucks, wow sucks, wow this sucks. wow this sucks, I made it!!! Joe : Right. Nate : Right. Joe : Right. Nate : It’s like, it’s like, ok, now I’ve got a little bit better gig, ok cool, Oh, know I’m playing a little, a little bit higher cal…, caliber of musician. Oh now I’m playing a little bit bigger venues with this person. Oh now I have a TV show, oh it’s canceled though, ok. But here’s another TV show that’s here and ya know what I mean, it’s always gone like that, so at no point have I, at no point have I ever felt like I’ve quote/unquote “made it!” Because at no point have I ever felt like, I don’t have to work from here on. I don’t have to work anymore. I’ve done it all. I’ve gotten to a level where I no longer have to work anymore. No, and it’ll never happen! It’ll never happen! You can ask me if I’m fortunate to be here 30 years from now, 20, 20 years from now, it’ll still be the same answer. Joe : Actually, that would be a really funny video for you and I the time, the next, when you do get to that point where you don’t have to work anymore and you’re just dancing around that studio and you just going like this [motioning to throwing money in the air] would put one hundred dollar bills all around Nate : There’s a great, there’s Joe : This. Nate : a great, there’s a great, what are the kids call it a gif? I think the kids call it a gif or a gif. What’s Joe : Jeff Nate : It, what is Joe : Yeah, Nate : You. Joe : Yeah, Nate : It’s a GIF Joe : Yeah. Nate : GIF. Oh, friggin’. Joe : I think it’s Nate : know! Joe : A. Nate : But there’s one and it’s the dude, I’m sure anyone who messes with all this junk, it sends goofy gifs or GIFS or whatever they Joe : I Nate : Are. Joe : Do, I do. Nate : Ok, Right? You may recognize this one because like the dude and he’s in like the bar and he has one dollar. He goes [motions to throwing one bill out]. Joe : Yes. Nate : It’s like one bill. Joe : Right, exactly…? Oh, my God! Nate : So, yeah, so I’m mean every, everything, every, everything is led from one thing to the next? It’s been like I said, it’s been you know, a new artist. OK, this next new artist actually had a record that went platinum. Oh, that’s really cool!. Oh, this next artist is music that I really, really, really love and I’ve been a fan of forever. That’s really cool! Oh, this next artist is actually a nationally known artist that people know, right? Oh, is that so? It’s just been a progression. And… Joe : Yep, so. So start with you land there, right. How do you know Barry Squire is the guy you got to get a hold of? You just hear it Nate : When Joe : Through Nate : I Joe : The Nate : First Joe : Grapevine that he’s the guy? Nate : Look, when I when I landed, I have a very good relationship with my cymbal company Zildjian and I called Kirsten at Zildjian and I said, “Kirsten, Kirsten, I just moved to town, what do I do?” And she said, “Well, there’s a guy named Barry Squire, I can give him your name, you know, who knows what will happen there.” And so, “OK, cool!, that’s exciting, great!” And at the time, I was also doing some some teaching work at M.I. And at the time M.I. had a career resources department and if memory serves, the guy used to run at the time, his is, this is the name that’s in the, in the brain splinter was his name was Jerry Cartwright, that name is in my, in my brain. And I went to Jerry Cartwright and I said, “Jerry, Jerry, I just moved to town, how do I get a gig?” And he said, “Well, there’s this guy named Barry Squire and I give him your name.” I said, “That’d be rad!” And there was someone else, I want to feel like someone that I knew, that maybe that I went to school with that was working at a record company at the time, and I said, “I just moved to town, how do I get a gig?” They said, what is Barry Squire, I can give him your name.” Nate : So I get a call from Barry Squire and he says, “Hey, I got your number from this person, this person and this person, so I thought I’d give you a call and, you know, I’m having an audition for this particular artist, this particular day and I’m pretty sure we’ve already got it sewn up but just to meet ya, come on down and audition.” And I was very fortunate to get the gig and that was an artist named Billie Myers. The audition process was all day, two back-to-back days. We auditioned, first, first call was all day, let’s say a Saturday and the second call, the callbacks, were all day that Sunday and by Sunday, she had a band in place. And at the end of that night, late Sunday night, 10:00 or 11:00 o’clock at night after I’d been there from 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning, her manager or she or her manager, one of the two said to the remaining seven people, right? This is the band that was keys, bass, drums, guitar, two guitars, two vocals said to the seven of us, “OK, ummm, we’re playing Vibe tomorrow with Sinbad.” Sinbad Joe : WOW! Nate : use to have that show Vibe, Yeah! “Congratulations, you’re the band, tomorrow we’re playing Vibe.” It was literally that and like, you’re going, WOW!, that was, that was me, that was me having just come from Boston, having just done my first audition and the end of the night of the second day of those auditions, the manager says, “OK, tomorrow we’re playing on a national TV show on network TV.” Joe : Now, Nate : Late Joe : How Nate : Night Joe : Long Nate : Network Joe : Was Nate : Tv. Joe : That after you got to L.A., did that audition come up? Nate : I was super duper fortunate, Joe. I think that that was within a couple of months of being in L.A. But I was like I said, I was really fortunate and that was not at all something that I had anticipated it would happen. I was just very, and, and I didn’t really know it at the time but if memory serves, I moved here, either the very end of 98 or the very beginning of 99. But it’s the beginning of the year, January, February, March, when people are putting together, those summer tours, those tours that start in late April, May and run through the summer. And so I just, I just happened to arrive at a very fertile auditioning period in L.A., you know, it just happened to be very good timing. Joe : What were you doing club dates up until that audition to Nate : I Joe : Just Nate : Was not Joe : Pay the rent? Nate : I was not, I was not. Joe : Ok. Nate : I was doing, I was doing well. Well, yeah, I was doing club dates, but it wasn’t paying the rent, I mean, paying the rent was the teaching work that I was doing at M.I. Joe : Ok. Nate : And my CapitalOne Visa card.[laughter] Joe : Oh, Nate : I Joe : The Nate : Mean, Joe : Do you… Nate : Hey, look, hey, I’m not going to lie, man, I’m, I’m not going to lie to you, I’m too old, I’m too old to be anything but honest. So between the time that I moved to L.A. and the time that I was fortunate to wind up in the band playing with Billie Myers, I was doing a combination of things. So I was gigging, but my time spent behind the drums was more, in terms of going and doing sit ins and jam sessions and the bulk of my rent was paid by the work that I was doing at M.I., doing some TA work, teacher’s assistant work and some teaching. And the combination of that and my CapitalOne Visa card. So, I mean, I don’t again, again a lot of this, a lot of this is like, I don’t advise it, you know what sayin’, I’m just saying Joe : Right. Nate : That’s what I did, that’s what I did, you know? So that was it, that was it, so I was doing that. And then I was fortunate to get the Billie gig and kind of the ball started rolling from there.
Joe : So just, that gig happened for however long, so can you sort of give the bounce from there to what were the next cool auditions that you did? Were they all through, Barry, or some of these recommendations? I know you, there are other people that I’d rather have you mentioned than me mention of the auditions that you had and how they went and all of that stuff.