I had hoped to be able to get a Loincloth CD into Bozzio's hands personally, but I decided I'd have a better chance if I explained how long I had been waiting for the opportunity to his wife and left the CD with her. While there are almost no polyrhythms on 'Iron Balls of Steel' or even extended sections with off time cymbal work, I can still say that it is a good example of me following my own vision which began to come into focus after hearing what Bozzio was able to create by going down his own musical path. In the same way that I always appreciate people telling me that our music has inspired them, I hoped that explaining to Mr. Bozzio that there is music out there that might never exist were it not for his example could make him feel like he has passed along something incredibly valuable; the spark of inspiration. Mrs. Bozzio was very sweet and thanked me for the gesture. I figured there might be a better chance of him hearing the CD if his wife told him of our encounter than had I just handed it to him seconds before he went on stage. As it turned out, there never was a chance for me to speak to Mr. Bozzio, so I'm really glad I decided to talk to his wife. I never saw her again either, even though I sought her out at the very end of the clinic to thank her once again for indulging me. For what it's worth, everyone who had any contact with either of them said they were as nice as you could hope for, and that's always good to hear about someone who has so many adoring fans.
This was the third time I have had an opportunity to see Terry Bozzio deliver one of his drum clinics. Way back in the early nineties I saw him on two different occasions. One of those times was here in Raleigh, at the club where I played my first show with Confessor. I'm sure he could feel the pressure of being in a club with such historical significance. The first chance I got to see Mr. Bozzio was in Charlotte a couple of years before the Raleigh performance. To my surprise I got to choose where we sat, and I insisted that we sit behind his kit. His drums were set up in the middle of a room and everyone ahead of us had elected to sit in front of his behemoth set. No one had thought about how much better you can see what a drummer is doing from the back of their kit, so we sat about fifteen feet behind him right by the aisle so I could lean around if I had to. It was phenomenal! After the clinic, or as Ignignokt of Aqua Teen Hunger Force would say, after the "pride obliterating bitch slap", everyone had an opportunity to have him sign something and say "Hello." I had written a note thanking him for a lifetime's worth of inspiration and stuck it inside a copy of Confessor's first album, "Condemned". I gave him all of my contact information at the time and wrote that on the outside chance he felt as though I had lifted anything a little too directly from his work, his lawyers would be able to find me at the address I had provided. He first grabbed the CD thinking I wanted him to sign it, but once I explained that it was a small way of saying 'thank you' and that the music would have been very different had I never been exposed to his work, he was clearly touched, and very appreciative. It was nice to be able to give something back to the guy who showed me that thinking outside of the box was always worthwhile. I have no idea whether he ever listened to the CD or not but I did receive a newsletter, so someone at least read the note.
I have to say that I prefer the kinds of things Terry Bozzio was doing when I first got turned on to him. His ostinato work highlighted his independence ( the ability to play one pattern on one hand or foot while playing a completely different pattern with the other hand or foot ) much better before his patterns became so evolved. When he held down the unchanging pattern with one hand and soloed against it with the other it was much easier to hear, and even see the patterns come together and flow away from one another. Now that he holds the unchanging patterns with his feet, he has freed himself up to solo with both hands, but those patterns are so busy that you tend to forget that there is what amounts to a bass line being played on the bass drums and hi hat. You forget that there is a relationship between the two whereas before it was clear that the relationship, with all of its expansion and contraction, was the entire point of the exercise. I'm sure Bozzio would have grown very tired of doing the same thing for all of these years, and it is quite clear he has evolved since the time I first began to dig into his work, but I still prefer the jarring, aggressive, angular nature of his earlier ostinato patterns. It just suits my own tastes more. I like a little tension in my music. I like an edge.
There were plenty of dropped jaws at The Pour House while Mr. Bozzio showed us all that on the planet he comes from, drums are played in a very different way. I ran into a bunch of guys I hadn't seen in a long time and even though everyone was there to see Terry Bozzio, I spoke to several people who were very complimentary of my own small body of work. I'm always caught off guard when that happens, and I certainly didn't expect it at a Bozzio clinic. It makes me feel pretty warm and fuzzy inside, and I truly appreciate any amount of praise. I have been amazed at times at how much Confessor has impacted some people. I was so removed from the music scene that I really thought no one could possibly care about what we did, but as one drummer said that night, it seems like Confessor comes up in conversation more now than back in the day. It is an honor to be thought of with such high regard by some people after what feels like a lifetime has passed. I think of Confessor as just a group of dudes who hang out every week, so it almost feels surreal for other people to think of us as something different, or even special.