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November 14, 2006 > Father passes down musical heritage

Father passes down musical heritage

by Julie Grabowski

From a startup band with his cousin in the 80s, to his current position as drummer for Mystic Rage, Pete Schaaphok has always been immersed in music. Along with his band duties Schaaphok teaches, books shows, runs a studio in Hayward, and is the founder of Bands4Bands, a Bay Area alliance of musicians helping each other succeed through shared information and cross promotion. But this Saturday heralds a first in Schaaphok’s music career, sharing a stage with his 16-year-old son Matt. A drummer like his father, Matt got serious about his own music two years ago, and now has a five-member band called Overdrive, an endorsement with Aquarian Drumheads, and a debut concert at Rooster’s Roadhouse in Alameda. It seems no less than destiny for the boy who was kicking to his dad’s base drum while still in his mother’s womb.

Growing up, Matt was exposed to all facets of the music world, working as a roadie for his dad doing setup and technical duties, and this January will be his third time at the International Music Products Association convention, known as NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants). This early experience has given Matt a great advantage over other young musicians who are just starting out without a road map and everything yet to learn. He already knows the lingo and how to conduct himself at a venue, his dad says. “I think he’s somewhat desensitized; he’s met pretty much everybody.” Schaaphok wants his son to feel the way he does, but to be able to cut some corners too, believing he can save a lot of time with his current knowledge. “Young groups come through all the time with Bands4Bands,” he says, “uncommunicative, looking at their hands; I want them to put together a stage show.”

Since Schaaphok doesn’t play X-box, and his son isn’t interested in sports, music serves as their bond.  He recalls that he and his own father always worked together, but with him and Matt it is the music and humor that they share. “I think this music thing is really tying us together,” says Schaaphok. However, musical tastes and influences quickly diverge. Schaaphok likes everything from Chuck Berry and The Beatles to Judas Priest and Slayer. “If it’s good, it’s good,” he says, and hates when people assume the only type of music you know or like is the type you happen to be working in. Matt has yet to expand his range, distastefully recounting a long, close quarter car trip when he had to endure a Beatles sing-a-long. He prefers Killswitch, Gage, Six Ounce Gloves, and Flesh Assembly.

Schaaphok is excited about the upcoming show; he’s told everyone about it and they’re all eager to see Matt up on stage. “I hope the show pushes them, lights a fire,” he says about his son’s band. He claims that getting in front of people is a good thing because it makes you realize what you want to do, whether music is the lifestyle you really want. After that, getting a band out on the road is the ultimate test to find out if your group works. He also talks about the need to eliminate the “revolving door” in a band, saying that each rotation of members changes a band’s sound, and the lack of continuity will make it difficult to be successful. “When you’re in a group for a long time, you become more of a family. You understand life gets in the way, but you work things out.”

Matt seems unaffected by his debut. He acknowledges it will be a good memory simply because it’s the first show, but doesn’t see it as a big night because the venue isn’t as notable as others are, such as San Francisco’s Warfield. “This new generation is much more laid back,” muses Schaaphok. “We were thrilled at our first gig.” Matt’s idea of thrilling is opening for Slipknot, his favorite band. But right now his goal is simple: “I just want to show people what I’ve got.”

When asked about possible collaborations between father and son in the future, Schaaphok says, “I would love to do stuff with them down the line.” Matt only comments with the slightest shaking of his head. When you’re 16, your dad is still your dad, and Matt is more interested in independence; he has plans to build a studio in a friend’s backyard so his band will have a place of their own. Schaaphok just listens and chuckles, saying he will always be there if they need or want anything. “He’s still feeling his way, so that’s good.”

Both bands plan to record in the New Year; Mystic Rage is working to complete a full-length album by March or April, while Overdose will prepare downloadable songs from their MySpace page.

For now, they anticipate a good crowd at their shared show November 18, and look forward to keep on doing what they love.

The concert is for all ages; doors open at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $8 at the door.

Mystic Rage and Overdose
(Along with Devil’s Walk, Stigmurder, and Flesh Assembly)
7:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 18
Rooster’s Roadhouse
1700 Clement Ave., Alameda
(510) 337-9190 

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