Featured Musician – Dave Cornette

Dave Cornette
Blues Disciples

Tell us a little about your history as a blues artist.  Bands you’ve played with, how long etc.
I have been crafting grooves and keeping the time on the bandstand for 40 years. At 15 years old, the calling to drum set and percussion was undeniable after also pursuing piano, baritone horn and voice. He brings a groove mindset to every ensemble he accompanies laying out a great rhythmic platform to highlight the song as well as his fellow musicians.

I have performed with various musical acts and artists in the folk, blues, R&B and jazz genres both live and in the studio including The Blues Disciples, The Danny Miller Band, Paul Stillen Jazz, Inside Sky, The Chesterfield Kings, Roxi Copeland, Jimmy and the Flamethrowers, The Persuaders, New Living Spaces, Scott Sharrard, Larry Thiess, Susan Julian, Billy Flynn, Perry Weber, Steve Cohen, Stokes and many more.

What do you do for fun when you are not playing?
Furniture refinishing and custom painting/finishing.

Who are your biggest musical influences?
Too many to name and many in different genres. Drumming influences would be (to name a few): Art Blakey, Brian Blade, Steve Gadd, Hal Blaine, etc.

Tell us about your first paid gig.
At 15 years old (I am 55 now) I played drums on a folk-rock gig with older musicians every Thursday night at a small club in Shorewood Wisconsin. My parents needed to accompany me.

What’s the most important skill to have as a musician right now?
Intense listening skills to allow the best support of the fellow musicians on stage with me. Also, a sense of what to play and not to play to best support the band and the groove. This is acquired through mileage in performance. I call it creative sensibility.

If you could change one thing about the music business, what would it be?
Better pay. Financial compensation in this business is nowhere equal to the compensation in other walks of life. Also, the pay rate never changes to compensate for inflation. That does not happen in any other profession.

What is your opinion about covers?
I see no point in playing a cover exactly as the original. Although some purist fans that go to hear cover bands would disagree. Playing a cover with a musical group’s style and creativity infused into it makes it a completely different song and makes it completely unique even though the form and lyrics may be exactly like the original version. Music is meant to be creative and interpretive. If a group is covering songs exactly like the original, then save the cost of a band and play the original CD instead.

Tell us about one of your music teachers.
I have had a few different teachers/mentors with different instruments, voice and in the percussion realm. Larry Theiss was a vocal teacher of mine. He is particularly memorable as he had a significant impact on my choice to pursue music and always had a gentle, nurturing approach to pull the best out of you and to inspire you to perform better. You never know who your next teacher might be. One of my favorite pastimes is to observe a band/drummer. I learn something every time.

What are the benefits of listening to music? Playing music?
Both activities can be a sort of out of body experience where I am fully in touch with my creative side. While performing, there is an incredible creative collaboration with the other musicians and transcendence from normal reality that I have never been able to duplicate in other aspects of my life. Performing clears and unclutters my brain and leaves me with a contented feeling especially if the band/group was really connecting on stage. It sort of completes you.

If music were removed from the world, how would you feel?
Empty. Like someone took away my favorite food or person.

Karaoke –  Yeah, or nah?
Yeah, because even though it can be brutal for musicians to listen to, it is a venue where non-musicians can touch the joy of performance. Everyone should experience that in their lifetime!

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