UMPHREY'S MCGEE ANNOUNCES NEW DRUMMER

Local Drummer Does OK: Kris Myers Joins Umphrey's McGee
Winter Tour to Begin in the Midwest in January

Umphrey's McGee is pleased to announce the addition of Kris Myers to the band's line-up. Myers, originally from Palatine, IL and now residing in Chicago, is a drummer/percussionist with a master's degree in Jazz Studies from DePaul University and a bachelor's degree in Music from Elmhurst College. He has performed with many major artists including Dianne Schuur, Clark Terry, Nicholas Payton, Randy Brecker, Ronnie Cuber, Bobby Shew, Mark Whitfield, New York Voices, Paris Delayne and Jim McNeely, to name a few. He has studied with renowned music instructors such as Bob Rummage, Joel Spencer, Ed Soph, Chad Wahckerman, Rick Lathem, Steve Houghton and Carl Allen.

Myers's experiences at Elmhurst College took him to esteemed events overseas including the Montreux Music Festival in Switzerland and the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy. One of his earliest influences was Doug Beach, the jazz band director at Elmhurst. "He exposed me to jazz, and opened up a whole new mindset to me about the role of a drummer in an ensemble like a big band," says Myers."

Before joining Umphrey's McGee, Myers was active in several recording and performing projects including Blue Logic and the Chicago-based jazz-fusion group Kick the Cat. Myers explains, "[Kick the Cat] brought me to a whole other level of playing with other musicians in terms of improvising and actual listening to arrangements of complex music." It seems as though Myers is now well primed for Umphrey's McGee's music.

When Umphrey's McGee was informed that their current drummer, Mike Mirro, was going to follow his dream to become a doctor and attend medical school, the band immediately posted the news about the drummer position on their website as well as community websites JamBase.com, Jambands.com and PauseRecord.com. Umphrey's McGee received an overwhelming response: about 250 packages from prospective drummers. After many auditions, the band decided on the very first package they received - from Kris Myers, whom the band felt was the best of the numerous talented candidates being considered.

The match of band to musician seemed to be destined from the start. While Myers used to see Umphrey's McGee in local listings, he was unfamiliar with the band before the auditions. A friend who thought he'd be good for the job informed him of the open spot. "He thought I'd be very adaptable to what they were doing."

Up until that point, Myers had never heard any of Umphrey's McGee's music. All it took was a couple of tracks from their website to make him want to give it a shot. "I knew right away, I could definitely dig this."

Now the Umphrey's McGee story continues with a new character added to the plot. The comfort level between the band and new drummer Kris Myers is surprisingly high for the short time that they've known each other. Similarities in family background and upbringing, Catholic schooling and the memories associated with that all result in a common thread that runs throughout each band member. And with that common upbringing comes that dry Midwestern humor that shines through everything that Umphrey's McGee does. Myers found that he could relate very well to this attitude and lifestyle. "And we like to have a good time, all the time."

Umphrey's McGee will tour throughout the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast during early 2003. See tour dates here.

[Published on: 12/20/02]

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