VP: How did you first become aware that you wanted to be a musician?
SM: I grew up in a musical family. Mostly brass. My father plays trombone, brother and uncle play trumpet. Dave Taylor (bass trombone extraordinaire) is my second cousin. Those that didn't play music made/make visual art. My father's dad played tuba, mother's dad played violin. Jazz on my father's side, classical on my mom's.
I sucked in school being somewhat dyslexic so basically, I had no choice.
I always played trombone but when I was 11 I told my folks I wanted to play drums, so they got me a guitar (not wanting to deal with the noise) but eventually they gave in and I got my first set when I was 14.
VP: So you where exposed to a lot of different music and art from and early age. Do you feel that it was natural for you to take musical experimentation as a given or where you interested in a more rooted approach?
SM: As a kid I started taking regular ol Trombone lessons, at the time I liked big band jazz, Blood Sweat and Tears & Chicago (the band) but soon after I was rocking out on drums with records & headphones (self taught).
I was also plagued with problems with my teeth: first losing the front 2 on a trampoline when I was around 11 (after years of getting them "straightened out") then when I was 18 and going to Berklee for trombone, I had my then newly capped teeth punched out by a passing stranger which also cut deep into my bottom lip. This severely fucked my trombone playing. Luckily I had the drums to maintain some semblance of sanity.
VP: Quite possibly the most bizarre reason for switching instruments I’ve ever heard! It seams to have worked out well in the end! So did you stay at Berklee or did you venture out on your own?
SM: I always wanted to play drums (and trombone) but the punch in the mouth helped seal the deal and I put the bone down for a few years.
I went to Berklee for 3 semesters and just kinda hung out there for the 4th, not enrolled in school. At that point my musical interests had little to do with what was going on there.
I had my drums set up in a rented space in an indoor garage near Berklee and I was jamming with my friend Peter Borno who introduced me to a lot of cool music. We played together for many years in NYC.
VP: How did you meet the members of Alice Donut?
SM: An ad in the Village Voice: "Rock band seeks drummer. We have gigs." Sounded good to me so I went. They liked me, I liked them. They had a band called The Seabeasts. I was in "Giant Metal Insects" but the gigs were too few. After my second audition I lit a bone when we were packing up. This may have helped them with their decision... The name Alice Donut came later.
VP: Your still with them to this day. Most bands don’t last two years, what’s the reason behind the longevity?
I guess it's cause we love what we're doing and care about each other. There are no big ego trips or drug issues to get in the way. We're like a family together and it's been that way from the start. We're supportive of each other and know our individual strengths and weaknesses and understand that we all have both.
VP: What bands are you into right now? What is keeping your interest in music alive?
SM: Sleepytime Gorilla Museum completely blows my mind. I listen to them all the time and continue to hear new stuff [in the music] that knocks me out.
I also listen to a lot of 60's + jazz... Miles, Trane etc.
My interest in music is still alive because I still haven't gotten it where I want it. I'm still reaching for it.
VP: I guess that’s always the goal, isn’t it. Trane himself always claimed to be searching for something. What’s in the future for you now?
SM: Alice Donut continues to write new stuff. Michael and Dave (the guitars) and I get together every week to play and write, while Tom and Sissi (singer and bass player) who live in N.C. do the same and mail ideas back 'n forth. That's how we wrote and recorded the last album Ten Glorious Animals.
I have a trio called Lambic Jones playing gigs around N.Y. (Percy Jones on bass)
There’s one or two groups I play with once in a while and I'm working on my solo thing DRUMBONE. I do some gigs here and there and I've got a bunch of stuff "in the can" but it seems to be taking WAY longer than I'd hoped to finish the CD. Oh well.