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
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.