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22 Jun 2017

The Lucky 13: Jeff Bowman, Drummer for Unsound, Mondo Generator and Others

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Jeff Bowman. Jeff Bowman.

Jeff Bowman is downright intense behind a drum set. He’s played in various groups, including legendary desert-rock band Unsound, Mondo Generator, The Agents, Waxy, and Mighty Jack. He was kind enough to recently answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

It was my two favorite bands at the time, Anthrax and Iron Maiden, 1989, at the Long Beach Arena. I can still picture it in my mind. Ah, such a great night for a young metal head: “Scream for me, Long Beach!”

What was the first album you owned?

Kiss, Alive. I got it in kindergarten. I would sit and listen to it on my little yellow record player and study the double-album cover. I was fascinated by everything I saw and heard.

What bands are you listening to right now?

My kids have got us on a Beatles kick right now, and it’s been great to revisit them and watch my kids fall in love with them. Such a great variety of music from one band. I really don’t have enough time to explore new music these days.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

The first artist that comes to mind is Bob Dylan. Sorry if that offends anyone, but I don’t get him, and I’ve never been able to tolerate listening to him long enough to try to get him. So I may just never get him, and from what I’ve heard, I’m OK with that.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

I’ve been lucky enough to see most of my faves over the years, but I would have loved to have seen the Waters/Gilmour-era Pink Floyd. If you could stretch the definition of “defunct” to “dead,” it would be Johnny Cash.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? 

I own a double CD of dance/electronica music called Fired Up that I purchased after hearing it on a late-night infomercial. I bought it right there off the darn TV. It gets me fired up.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Viper Room in Vienna, Austria, is awesome. It’s a place like no other. I was told by a guy who worked there that the building is about 600 years old, and it was originally a monastery. The stage is underground, and the ceiling is arched, so it’s like playing in a cave. The bass tones literally rattle the plaster off the walls and ceiling! The staff and catering were so amazing, though, and there’s a Starbucks within walking distance.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

I just volunteered to play a few kids’ church songs on bass guitar for an end-of-the-year “chapel jam” at my daughter’s preschool, and I listened to the songs over and over again so I could learn them for the one 15-minute performance, and now I can’t stop singing: “Whether it rains, whether it pours, wherever I go, I will trust you, Lord.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t listening to music or singing along to songs, but I can narrow it down to one piece of music that changed my life as a musician: It was the guitar solo part of the live version of a song called “She” on Kiss’ Alive. I was very young when I first heard it, but it completely filled me with the power of music, and made me feel that, for me, it wasn’t enough just to listen. It made me want to play. It made me want to participate in what those freakin’ guys were doing! I had to learn how to do it. I had to teach myself how to play those instruments. … To this day, I still just play with the pure, simple power and heart of a little boy listening to and emulating Kiss.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

I’m asking Glenn Danzig to strongly consider dumping the overqualified and presumably overpaid Dave Lombardo and let me play drums for the Misfits!

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Synchronicity II” by The Police. It’s pretty humbling to know that the exact moment I die, many miles away, there will be some creature swimming around in a dark Scottish loch that doesn’t know or care the least bit ... .

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

It so depends on mood, but I’d have to say Pink Floyd’s The Wall. I was in first-grade when I got the 8-track, and it’s been part of the soundtrack of my whole life. I just got the re-issue double album from my kids for Father’s Day.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

The song that reminds you of being in love with your soulmate. Listen to it, and fall in love again and again. It should never get old. That’s Sting, “Fields of Gold,” for me. (Scroll down to hear it.)

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