They say you are your father’s son. That really seems to be the case for my 12-year-old Chase. He first got on my drums at 5, trying to play “Life is a Highway” from the movie “Cars.” After a few tries he gave up. Then at 8 Chase wanted RockBand for Christmas and that little plastic drum kit because, “daddy’s kit was too big.” Well, within a few months he had mastered all the high scores on the drums much to our surprise.
That’s when Chase decided on playing real drums. After a month of teaching him he looked up at me and said, “Thanks dad but can I get a real drum teacher?” That’s when Chris McNevin, a fellow New Brunswicker came in. Chase just loved him and soaked everything in that Chris had to give. He was the perfect teacher.
As for music? What do they say? You can lead a horse to water. Chase only liked about half of what I played on my stereo. Things like Toto (Jeff Porcaro), Genesis (Phil Collins), Led Zeppelin (John Bonham), The Who (Keith Moon) and The Beatles (Ringo Starr) he just ate it up. Interestingly his by-weekly drumming at a local club (Ironwood Lounge in Calgary) expanded his taste to Blues and Jazz. That’s when he heard Bruce Hornsby in my car. Chase was on his phone, as usual, in the back seat when he heard Hornsby’s “Spirit Trail” from 1998. By the second tune he asked, “Who in the heck is this?” When Chase got home the internet told him anything I didn’t about Hornsby. He was hooked saying, “This is the kind of music I want to play when I grow up,” to which I responded, “You got the chops, play it now and if you don’t have the skills you will after playing this stuff.”
In October 2013 Chase met Sonny Emory (Pictured with Chase at left) at a clinic. Emory was Hornsby’s newest drummer and already a favorite for him. In November 2014 our little guy did a cover of Hornsby’s “Spider Fingers” with John Molo on drums. Bruce saw the video and wrote this to Chase:
“Chase- I love your drum performance on “Spider Fingers”. You totally copped the very complex, involved drum arrangement, which is impressive, but even more impressive is your relaxed, grooving playing. Developing a “relaxed intensity” is very difficult, but you’ve got it already! And again, your groove is right there, in the pocket. Fantastic- and thanks for sending this! –Bruce Hornsby”
To say this changed Chase’s world would be an understatement. I showed him the comment when he stepped in the door from school, “No way?” he asked in amazement! “Bruce Hornsby wrote to me?”
Being 11 (at the time), Chase wanted to send Bruce a new video every month. He took my advice, however, to consider how busy his favorite new artist was. Now here is a new Hornsby cover. From 1993 it’s “Harbor Lights” from the album of the same name. – by John Beaudin