- ED HAM
Q:From whence do you hail? (where are you from?) …birthdate …town …country …city
A:London ON Apr.06/60
Q:Any moving that went on? Ie. Switching of cities etc. before coming to the Toronto area?
A:Moved to Toronto in 1982.
Q:What caused you to become interested in music? –and particularly your instrument(s)?
A:My oldest brother John was in a band called “The Futuras”. Seeing them play in Grand Bend ON when I was about 6 or 7 yrs old got me hooked on the idea of learning an instrument. It didn’t hurt that my other brothers were starting to take music lessons either. I tapped their brains for info on what they were learning etc..
Q:How long have you been playing your instrument?
A:I started banging around on drums when I was 8.
Q:Are there any other instruments that you play?
A:Guitar since 16 years old, and piano since I was about 20.
Q:. What are/have been your influences in your style of playing? (include favourite artists of today)
A:Steve Gadd, Russ Kunkel, Carlos Vega, Jim Keltner, Keith Knudson.
Q:State your musical history ….ie. bands previously played in, styles performed, education etc.
A:I’ve played R&B, Rock, Big band jazz, Country, Country Rock,
Bands: River Streetband (Springsteen Tribute), Tommy Hunter, Gordie Tapp, Carroll Baker, Stripes, Terry Sumsion,
Q:Any awards/accomplishments of note?
A:Played on Carroll Baker’s Country Classic TV special in 1994. Opened up for Southern Pacific at the Western Fair in London ON in 1987 or 1988 (I forget) while with Terry Sumsion. That band had John McFee and Keith Knudson (of the Doobie Bros.), the lead singer was the guy from Pablo Cruise, and the bass player was from Creedence. I was in heaven …got to talk to Keith all night (great guy) he offered to let me use his drums (big thrill for me). All the guys in that band were very friendly (no egos) and very grounded. It was nice to see that –knowing what accolades each individual member had already achieved in life. My respect for them increased ten-fold. Keith and I talked like we’d known each other for years.
I had a small article (with picture) about myself appear in the June 2000 issue of "Drum!" magazine, and another small article in the June 2000 issue of "Drum etc." It was nice to be mentioned on the same pages as Steve Gadd, Nigel Ollson, Dennis Chambers and many other drummers that I have come to respect over the years.
Q:Please list the gear you use.
A:Gretsch cherry red Catalina Elite 5 piece kit (10, 12, 14, 22 w/ 14" wood snare), mahogany shells, a mix of Sabian and Zildjian cymbals, Roland R-8 drum machine, Norman B-20 acoustic guitar.
Q:Why did you join Those Guys?
A:Rod and I had kept in touch over the years and I always knew that he was a good player. So when he asked me if I’d be interested in starting a band with him and some other good guys, and he mentioned the type of music he’d like to play, I couldn’t resist.
Q:. Describe briefly something about EACH band member.
COLLECTIVELY: Those guys is a “musician’s band”. It’s the kind of band that musician’s would come to see. People will come out to see us and make comments like: “They do that song truer to the record (while playing live) than the original band ever did”. One night we were just starting our second set with Steely Dan's "Peg" and a friend of mine had just gone into the washroom. He overheard one guy saying to another: "When's the band coming back on again?" After my friend informed them that we were already playing, they didn't believe him right away ...they "thought it was the record". Hearing comments like that makes me feel like all those rehearsals really paid off. Every person in the band cares enough about the way they play to really put the extra effort into it. We do “hard to play” songs for ourselves, while at the same time playing very recognizable/danceable songs for the audience. As Mark so aptly put it one night; “We’re not playing ‘Tush’ and ‘La Grange’ here”. I’ve never been in a band where someone will bring in an extra keyboard to use on one tune only. Or an extra guitar because “it sounds better for these 3 songs”. We take our music seriously enough to want to sound flawless, yet we’re old and wise enough to not let those few mistakes that do happen get the better of us. The bottom line: If it’s stops being fun, if the love of playing and sharing of these friendships gets lost …then that’s the end of it. That’s what we’re in it for –we all love to play music, we want to share all the work we’ve put into it with the audience, and we’re all pretty well grounded guys that enjoy each other’s company immensely. God knows we’re not doing it for the money. :)
A:Anecdote on each band member:
ROD: Great guy, very good player, heart of gold, head of skin (rather than hair)… and man, can this boy sing! He’s always been a good player, and he’s always ready to dive into whatever it is we’re doing musically. Rod’s the motivator of the band. We met while working for the same company in 1982 …we used to waste time talking about everything but work whenever we had the chance and became good friends –we’ve kept in touch ever since. Rod’s the only other guy in the band (besides me) that has a visibly retractable hairline. Some others are on their way, but we’ve got them beat in that category right now. When we had the poster done for this band, the person that was doing the printing for us painted in some hair to fill in the donut hole on the back of Rod’s head. When the guy brought this to Rod’s attention, he thanked him. When the guy said “do you want me to give the other guy hair there too?” (meaning me) …Rod said “naw, forget about it …he won’t mind if you don’t” Thanks a lot buddy.
MARK: Mark is another great guy …talk about TONE! …He’s a real perfectionist when it comes to his playing. And he's diving into this whole music thing like it’s new to him or something. He’s the guy that teaches me “modes” etc. (on guitar) …he’s always trying to better his knowledge of music and his playing ability –when others at his level of playing might not feel the need to. I met him through Rod when the band formed. I always thought he was a good guy, but this was confirmed when all the guys in the band started imitating his answering machine message one day (‘Hello, you’ve reached “MARK” (in a montone voice)) and he was able to see the humour in it without taking it personally. He changed his message the next day. :)
JIM: I met Jim when the band formed as well. He’s a great keyboard player. Real nice guy too. Sometimes I listen to the tunes that we’re going to learn and think to myself “how the hell is Jim going to play those horn parts while playing the piano parts?!” …and then, we get to rehearsal, and sure enough, he has them all down note for note –both parts. He’s a pretty even keeled guy. I keep bugging him to show me how to play certain things on piano and he’s always ready and willing to let me pester him about that.
MIKE: Mike and I met when we both played for Terry Sumsion in the the ‘80’s. We had been in touch for awhile after that band split, and then hardly at all for over 7 years or so. I always remembered him as being a great guy, and a great player, and it was nice to find, that after not having been in touch for that long, nothing had changed. Our original bass player had to leave Those Guys at the last minute and we had our first gigs coming up. So, rather than canceling the gigs, I tried to think of who I could get to fill in on a moments notice –and Mike was the only guy I felt could pull it off. I sometimes wonder if the ball ever would’ve got rolling if we had’ve canceled those gigs. I knew he’d fit right in personality wise, and I knew he was more than capable of playing these tunes and playing them well.
Q:What are your other interests/activities?
A:Scuba Diving, Baseball, Table Tennis, Golf.
Q:State whatever you think I’ve forgotten to ask that may be of importance?
A:Secrets to technique: I try to find a happy medium between being too loose (relaxed) and being too rigid while I’m playing. Sometimes I feel I’m more one way than the other. I guess one thing I do is constantly analyse how I’m playing and think about ways to improve that (even as I'm playing).
Bad Habits: Almost never practice my rudiments!!!!! When I do, I can do them, but they don’t come as easily to me as I feel they should, so I give up on them rather than push myself more.
Most Embarrassing moment in music: I was playing with the River Street Band one night at Tony’s East and had a bunch of friends out that night. We got an encore pretty much every night because everyone was right into Springsteen at the time and we were a Springsteen Tribute band. I don’t drink that often, and when I do, I never drink enough to make myself look like I'm learning how to walk. This one night I hadn’t been drinking anything but straight Coke (meaning Coca-Cola) :) and we were being called up for an encore. I was the first guy back on stage (I love playing) :) and as I hopped up, I didn’t quite lift my foot up high enough to clear the last step and fell flat on my face in front of all my friends and the rest of the audience. I’m sure they all thought I was about 12 sheets to the wind, but I wasn’t. And it was just one of those things where you’re not being careful enough. I felt pretty smart after that.
Worst musical foul-up: Ask Rod & Mark if I know how many times a certain guitar lick repeats in Ramblin’ Man now.
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