Category Archives: My Kids

Conundrum 2013 Recap


Holy cow! Am I the luckiest drum instructor or what?! Conundrum 2013 went off without a hitch. My talented, hard-working and brave students amazed friends and family in our annual recital-turned-rock concert. Every student inspired and engaged the audience. A few highlights for me were having my very shy 4-year-old son join his older brother on tambourine for Weezer’s “Undone” and having Dave Dederer of Presidents of the United States of America join two of my students on PUSA classics “Peaches” and “Lump.” At the end of the show, Dave sneaked up and asked if I’d like to do “Lump” one more time but with me on drums… how could I say “no”?! Ended the night fulfilling a college-aged dream! I’m exhausted, but looking forward to Conundrum 2014! See you there.

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Last week I went to my son’s third grade class to do a workshop on percussion. We had a great time experimenting with different types of percussion instruments, learning about the differences between membranophones and idiophones, and attempting (and succeeding!) to play some simple group rhythms. The best part of doing the Art Docent role for his class is the post-workshop feedback I get. Check these out:

The rhythm is awesome.

I like how he could play different kinds of instruments.

He could switch instruments really quickly.

He’s good at the beat and the rhythm to keep it steady.

I remember the song you made in first grade.

It must take a lot of practice to be really good at it.

He knew so many different kinds of music – from different time periods and different styles.

The cow bell was really hard to play without a mallet.

I like how he played the drums. It was really loud.

How can somebody keep a beat with you? It’s really fast.

I liked how we beat the closets. It made a good beat.

The punk rock picture was really embarrassing.

Did you try to embarrass Calder?

Music Madness!

You are really good at the drums.

I liked the drum I played.  It was membrane.

I liked playing the closet.

I really liked playing the xylophone.

The closet really hurt.

I liked playing the boom whackers.

I loved it! It was loud!

Musical Bucket List Complete!

The Boys

L-R: My dad, David Byrne, Jherek, Calder, me

2012 is off to an AMAZING start! My 8 year-old son (Calder) and I just returned from a week-long trip to New York City for a musical adventure made possible by my ultra-talented brother Jherek.

Jherek, a multi-instrumentalist (whose main instrument is bass), composer, arranger and producer has just put the finishing touches on his upcoming album Composed which features a diverse lineup of guest vocalists including old friends like Zac Pennington of Parenthetical Girls to legendary musical impresarios like Caetano Veloso and David Byrne. As a way to celebrate the accomplishment and get some attention for Jherek’s amazing work, David Byrne hooked my brother up with the producers of the Ecstatic Music Festival at the Kaufman Center in NYC for a live performance of the album, start to finish.


Rehearsal at Merkin Hall, Kaufman Center, NYC


A photo of Jherek taken by Calder.


Calder hitching an elevator ride to rehearsal with his idols (other than the Beatles).

The concert featured most of the same vocalists as the album (it was too expensive to get Mr. Veloso here from Brazil) along with the Wordless Music Orchestra (NYC) and a gaggle of cohorts from Seattle. The percussion section included Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), Seattle’s Paul Kikuchi, my very own dad, me, and… Calder! That’s right, Calder played NYC with Jherek and David Byrne at 8 years old! Sure, it was for only one gong hit, but boy was it worth the cost of bringing him across the country!

The concert was a huge hit, completely sold out and, extremely well-received. The promoters had done a fantastic job ahead of time and there was extensive preview coverage in Time Out New York, New York Magazine, and on WQXR including interviews and live streaming of the concert.

Byrne, Jherek and me!

That's me on the far left, Jherek poking out to the right of David, and Steven Reker in the track jacket amongst players from the Wordless Orchestra.

Take a listen to the entire archived recording of the show here:!/articles/q2-music/2012/feb/04/live-merkin-concert-hall-jherek-bischoff-wordless-music-orchestra/

But, back to that bucket list mentioned in the title of this post… you see, Jherek and I were basically raised on David Byrne’s music. Sure, there was some Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna and Beatles thrown in, as well as a bunch of bizarre music my dad was into. About 8 years ago, Mr. Byrne was playing a show that the company I worked for was producing and I took Jherek. The next day he and I left on a two week-long tour with The Dead Science and brought David’s latest CD along in the car. I remember driving in a hot, un-air conditioned car through the California valley to Merced for a show out on a rice paddy (really!). I said to Jherek, “you know, if I could just play back-up for David Byrne on one song, one time in my life, I could continue my musical career a success.” Jherek replied with a drawn-out “totally.” Well, consider my goal met, and as a bonus, I got to play TWO songs with him. I may have been one of 4 drummers onstage alongside 50 other musicians, but consider me fulfilled!

press junket

Calder being interviewed for a documentary about Jherek.

School note

Calder getting an excused absence note for school from David Byrne.

the note


Sunday, August 21: Tots-n-Tunes at Seattle Center

I’m getting really excited for Tots-N-Tunes at Seattle Center‘s Mural Amphitheater on Sunday, August 21! Not only will all six Kindiependent bands be there, but so will award-winning, critically adored family indie musician Justin Roberts!

I’m particularly excited for this event because I’ll also be playing drums for Recess Monkey as their drummer will be out of town. Luckily I already know most of the songs because their latest album and YouTube channel are on constant repeat at the Bischoff household. I did have one condition for doing the sub gig… that Garner’s favorite song “Marshmallow Farm” be on the set list.

11-11:30 Caspar Babypants

11:45-12:15 Harmonica Pocket

12:30-1:00 Johnny Bregar & the Country Dawgs (me!)

1:15-1:45 Justin Roberts and the NR4NP

2-2:30 The Not-Its!

2:45-3:15 Board of Education

3:30-4:00 Recess Monkey (me again!)

Tickets: Kids are FREE. Grownups are $10 each

Calder took this funny photo of me setting up for the Moore Theatre show in front of Recess Monkey's backdrop.

Conundrum 2011 Wrap-up

Calder's drumming debut!

Did you miss Conundrum this year? Or did you go and can’t wait to relive the evening? Well, videos are in and I’ve compiled them all HERE. Check it out!

Northwest Folklife Festival

We had a great time today at the Northwest Folklife Festival playing with the Bregar/Ahearnes on the ferry and playing with Johnny on the Fountain Lawn Stage. All six Kindiependent bands played (The Harmonica Pocket, Board of Education, Recess Monkey, us, The Not-Its and Caspar Babypants). Highlights of the day were meeting all of the other bands, seeing The Not-Its (and Hank!) for the first time, and having Chris Ballew (Caspar himself and singer for the Presidents of the United States of America) join us for our whole set.

Garner rocking out to Recess Monkey.

Chris Ballew blowin' a killer melodica solo during our set.

Conundrum 2011 is almost here!

It’s just a little over a week until Conundrum 2011. Every year we top ourselves and this year will be no different. If you’ve never been, this event is the culmination of a year’s worth of work for each of my students. It gives each drummer a chance to show their feats in front of a supportive audience filled with friends and families while up on a real stage, with real lights, being backed by real professional musicians. My students have pushed the envelope again this year with song selections from bands as diverse as The Beach Boys, My Chemical Romance, Nirvana, Dizzy Gillespie, Green Day, and Maroon 5. Some of these drummers have been playing for years, and others only for a couple of months.

I have a few treats for the audience this year too! There is going to be a ROCK STAR COSTUME CONTEST with prizes for best student costume and best audience costume (child AND adult categories). All that plus getting treated to the sounds of Jherek Bischoff and Johnny Bregar backing these kids up.

I’ve set up a page specifically for Conundrum. I’ll start to keep an archive of videos and photos as people post them to YouTube.