Bio

I was born in Salem, Ohio into a musical family.  There was always music around.  My mother, Michelle Riles, played and taught piano.  She also played organ at the local catholic church.  She was, and still is, vary inspirational to me.  My father, Jimmie Ginther or Speedy Lee as he was sometimes called, was a professional drummer in the Youngstown, Ohio area.  He played with a well known band called The Crescendos and also played on the road with Lu and the Kit Kats.

When I was 9 my parent were looking for a new life.  My parents had talked about moving to Florida, but my Dad had a gig at Courtney’s Lounge in Youngstown. .  The money at Courtney’s was too good to leave and it was a steady gig.  In the fall of ’76, the local mafia torched the club .  My Dad lost his favorite Rogers kit in that fire (the snare on my home page is from that fire).  My Dad bought a used Camco drum kit to replace the Rogers kit.  With the Courtney's gig being over, in the summer of ’77 we moved to Florida.

Having a father for a drummer, there was always a drum kit in the house.  My father was very instrumental in my playing and we started with lessons when I was ten.  I learned to play on an old Ludwig kit that I wish I still had.  I played my first gig when I was 15.  I used to get the gigs that my Dad got calls for but couldn't take because he was already booked.  I remember sitting in with bands that my Dad played with as early as age 13.

Florida opened many opportunities for me.  I grew as a player in the public school system.  I moved around from school to school for the better drum line or jazz band.  In the fall of ’86, I auditioned for the Suncoast Sound Drum and Bugle Corps.  This was my first taste of the road.  The summer was long and grueling.  I saw the country by the headlights of a bus, slept on gymnasium floors and took cold showers.  It was definitely a learning experience and I grew up a lot that summer.

I played around Florida with several bands from bebop to heavy metal (and some polkas in there somewhere).  I ended up meeting a singer who had a vision and we  moved to LA in January of ‘92.  That relationship didn’t work out, but I got to see LA and found out that I didn’t want to live there.  I left LA with a Top 40 cover band called St. Tropez.  I was on the road with them for a little while and then I went back to Florida.

When I moved back to Florida, I played in a few club bands on the beaches of Clearwater, in Tampa and in the club town of Ybor City.  I also studied with a teacher from Los Angeles named Chuck Silverman who was enrolled at the University of Miami..  I studied latin and afro-cuban rhythms with him for about 13 months.  In 1998, I started looking or something different to do.  I hooked up with an original band out of Tampa called 5th House.  They were a Florida rock band, ala Matchbox 20, 7-Mary-3, etc.  At the time it was exactly what I wanted to do.  The band started getting a good name for itself around town.  The band went into the studio to record in 1999 and that’s where the band ended.  The CD did get finished though.  You can check all of the tunes from that project on the audio/video page.

I lost my day job in September of 2000.  My wife to be and I decided to make a change.  We set our sites on Denver, Colorado.  I remember vividly the first day that I pulled into town; it just felt like home.  I have played in several interesting situations since moving to Denver.  In my first few weeks in town, I picked up a gig with a West African Band playing Soukous and Zouk.  I've had a few other gigs playing Brazilian music and a brief Salsa experience

Since arriving in Denver I have played with several great bands including Bad Little Doggie, The Authentics, Montage, Walker Williams and Raising Cain.