So there I was, going to school at the University of Idaho in Moscow, playing in a few bands and teaching guitar lessons.
I got a call from a friend who had just gotten a job in Portland, Oregon. He knew I was looking for a place to go after graduation and offered to let me crash on his couch. I packed up my guitar and a couple of months later I was in the 'big city'.
I was really excited about living in Portland because the scene was so much bigger than where I had come from and some big bands had come from here. I didn't know anybody that played music when I first moved to town, so I basically started from scratch playing open mic nights, going to shows and reading the WWeek and Mercury trying to acclimate myself. I played in a couple of short lived bands and decided I wanted to do my own project with the songs I'd written since moving here. I got a couple guys I'd met in other bands together and I called it Western Aerial.
Within the first six months the original lineup of Western Aerial evolved into a three piece with me on guitar and vocals, my good friend and partner in crime Jimmy 'Keef' Richards on bass and a drummer who was living on my couch and drumming in lieu of rent. We were taking most any show at that point, which started as weeknights playing for beer. We learned alot about the scene, met alot of people, got alot tighter as a band and started a following for Western Aerial. Around this time we met Turner Kirk, a 17 year old bagpiper, who would sit in with us (and still does) most notably on our live CD "Made In Portland". We won a battle of the bands at Satyricon and our three song demo got into the hands of Art Alexakis from Everclear who played a song on his radio show on KNRK. That was the first time I'd ever heard my music on the radio and I'll never forget how exciting it was. Shortly thereafter we won a battle of the bands and got our first chance to play KUFO's 'Rockfest' in front of 15,000 people. We had some momentum; we were getting better bookings, drawing bigger crowds and we needed a proper recording ASAP.
We didn't have a label or a budget, so most of the recording of the first Western Aerial album was done in 'trade' by recording in the middle of the night and paying the the engineers in substance. We couldn't pay our producer (Dan Decker) in the same manner so we ended up doing construction work at his rental properties on Sundays. The whole band would show up tired and hung-over from the show the night before to start swinging hammers, not knowing anything about home improvement. . .just that we REALLY wanted to make a rock record. During the recording sessions it became clear that we needed a new drummer. Our producer introduced us to a drummer by the name of Anthony Tripp who would become our bro, business partner and band mate.
Over the next five years we released three studio albums, one live album and two e.p. releases on our own label. We also wrote and recorded the theme song for a television show, recorded songs for the Portland Trailblazers and licensed original music to film and television. We played the Vans Warped Tour, several radio showcases, festivals and even got a malt liquor endorsement! Over the course of hundreds of shows we got a chance to play with everybody from Alice in Chains and Buckcherry to Everclear and Incubus up and down the west coast and sold CD's all over the world.
In July of 2010 we released "Try To Keep Up" our best album to date. We had the momentum of recent national television exposure, film placement and our first European tour pending. We were also faced with replacing Anthony who, for his own reasons needed a break. We hired a fill in drummer to help finish our commitments for 2010, while we searched for the just the right person for the job. We needed somebody that was a great drummer, a friend that we could write music with and that we could count on to play great night after night and help us take the band to the next level. So it's my great pleasure to announce that we've found him; our old pal Kevin Rankin will be joining us in the studio and on the stage as the newest member of Western Aerial. Jimmy and I are stoked to be making music with him.
Best in 2011, we’ll see you there,