To say that 2009 has been important in my life would be the biggest understatement i’ve ever made, and believe me i talk a lot of non-sense. When I look back at where I’ve been, people I have met, things I’ve seen and things I have learned and experienced I can only say THANK YOU. I don’t know where to begin and/or end so excuse how loose this blog entry will be. I guess I can separate things in a few different blocks such as professional experiences, personal, etc but the way I think about it they are all interdependent and it would almost go against how I see life if I were to even suggest that they aren’t.
It all started in January when I got asked by guitarist Richie Kotzen to be his drummer for his European Tour. Right before I went out on the road I spent a couple of weeks in Venezuela with family and friends. They were all aware of how much I liked touring let alone with someone I had been listening to for literally years, so to see how happy they were, almost more than me was a trip. The tour was incredible… all of jan through feb… Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Denmark… i think i’m naming them all. My dear friend David Filice played bass on the tour and all i can say is that it was a tour to remember. I can’t even begin to say what an honor it is for me to have played with those guys… what followed were 4 shows in Brazil and one in Argentina, followed by 2 in Costa Rica. Buenos Aires was particuarly special for me because I got to see an old friend, Charlie, whom I hadn’t seen in over 5 years… those were some good days in an incredible country with amazing people, same as Brazil, simply amazing. After the shows in Costa Rica we did 3 shows at House of Blues hollywood, anaheim and san diego with none others than PAUL GILBERT and GEORGE LYNCH. Kick ass… nuff said.
I have to mention how incredible it has been for me to see lots of friends all over the world. Just the fact that I can say that is something that I’m thankful for…Another thing i’m grateful for is the fact that I got to perform in front of people i look up to and “only” visualized. I say “only” because I’m a firm believer in the power of visualization but thats a whole different thing. Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden), Steve Lukather (Toto, Michael Jackson), Jason Becker, Billy Sheehan and Pat Torpey (Mr. Big), Extreme, Frank Bello from Anthrax, etc… just rad man!! it has been such a trip looking up in the crowd and seeing “familiar” faces… as in people on cd covers hahaha. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to return in some way, shape or form their influence… i just hope they liked what I did hahaha.
School Of Rock Hollywood has been a HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE part of my life, not only since I joined the faculty but the last year has just been insane. I can say that it’s an HONOR to be part of the group of teachers there… teaching alongside guys like Jody Delli Santi from Supercreep, guitar virtuoso Neil Rambaldi, one of my fave singers songwriters Pablo Signori and one of the most badass musicians i’ve ever met in my life Carl Restivo, is just sick. Furthermore knowing that I have an impact on such amazing kids’ lives is something I appreciate immensely and I thank every single parent and every single kid. I love and miss you very much. Also would like to extend my thanks to Wendy Winks, not only cuz she’s my boss… the coolest boss ever 😉 but because she has shown as much support for me as anyone has, so thank you!
Aside SOR, i have many private students and I want to thank YOU for all the things I have learned from you and your families. I was saddened by the news of a girl i cared lots for, which you can read on another entry, lost her life and among the things I can learn about the whole experience is the never ending necessity to not take life for granted and be very vocal and demonstrative of the love you feel for someone, be it a friend, a loved one, a woman you are dating, a celebrity you like, you get the point. I wish i didn’t get reaffirmed this way but life has a f’ed up way of working sometimes.
Living in LA i’ve had the chance to work with numerous artists.. nothing new there BUT i considered myself a sort of exception in that the people I have been working with lately, actively, beyond being great musicians, they are all GREAT PEOPLE, which, at the end of the day is the most important thing for me. I don’t care who you are… if you are a idiot i don’t want to work with you, simple as that. I don’t mean that in a proud way, i just know myself and I would be dying inside dealing with someone i truly disliked day in and day out. I could write separate blogs for each one but I just wanted to take this chance to thank Jamie Alonge, Native Sun, Vida Espia, Kashmere, One Tribe Nation, Streetlight Manifesto, Paul Austin, SonSoles, Selena Garcia, Neil Rambaldi, Jody Delli Santi, Carl Restivo and last but certainly not least Richie Kotzen for allowing me to be part of your artistic vision. I am touched and it has been nothing short of a privilege and I hope the rock keeps on rockin’
October 5th marked the beginning of ANOTHER european tour with Richie, spanning 2 months, 42 shows and many many anecdotes. I got to see London and the emirates stadium, home of ARSENAL FC… unforgettable experience… This time around Daniel Pearson played bass… all i can say is holy sh!t this cat is GOOD. funniest mofo too.. what a trip!!I got to see so many old friends… Pedro in Madrid, Valen in Italy… 5 of my BROS in Barcelona … the list goes on and on… i just can’t believe I’m even saying all this stuff… surreal.
Without wanting to sound too esoteric I have to say how massive POSITIVE THINKING has been in my life, specially the last year. I spend an extensive amount of time meditating and visualizing my life, what I want to experience, people I want to perform with, places I want to go, things I want to achieve, people I want to meet, etc… all i can say is that it works FOR ME. Reading/watching/listening to James Arthur Ray (whose book HARMONIC WEALTH is a must have if you ask me), Bob Proctor, John Assaraf , The Secret and most importantly Anamelia Arriaga has been as important to me as practicing, being on time and so on.
My mom always says that “the beautiful thing in life is not to make your dreams come true, you find the true beauty when you make your life a living dream” I can’t name you all but i want to THANK YOU for making this year truly unreal, surreal and most of all very very very REAL.