10

Tris Imboden – Drums

Well let's see, I grew up in a home that was nearly always filled with music... my Mother being an accomplished pianist and my Dad being a jazz lover and a great "dashboard drummer"! I used to marvel as a child at how well he could play on the dashboard of the car! Both my Mom and Dad had nice voices too. I grew up listening to everything from Big Band Jazz, Dave Brubeck and Miles Davis, to Harry Belafonte. Also Polynesian drumming on records like "Drums Of Bora Bora" having an Uncle who had sailed to Tahiti and returned with these fascinating recordings. I had my ear constantly glued to my old turquoise colored plastic Motorola radio for all the latest rock and roll records as well.

I knew at a very early age that I wanted to be a drummer after having witnessed a parade where, as the drum section went by, I was so moved I didn't know whether to laugh or cry... but I honestly knew right then that that was what I wanted to do, play the drums!!

I am sure I drove my Mom nuts playing on pots and pans in the kitchen with the handles of her wooden spoons! Finally I was given a practice pad and a pair of real drumsticks, most likely to preserve their sanity as you can't make quite as much noise with a practice pad! In grammar school in Huntington Beach California we were allowed to join the school band in the sixth grade. The only problem for me was that everyone wanted to play drums in the band and there was no room in the drum section. I was forced to choose another instrument as I still wanted to be in the band so I decided on trumpet. I actually got good enough to become second chair trumpet player before there was finally an opening for me in the drum section. Our band director, Mr. Kidder, knew how badly I really wanted to be a drummer and slid me in when it became possible.

My folks got me a snare drum not long after that but what I really wanted of course, was a whole drum set!! They finally acquiesced after a couple of years of begging and I started playing in some "surf bands" in the neighborhood in my pre-teen years. I actually had my first "professional" money making gig playing at a pizza parlor when I was twelve I think. By the time I was in high school I wanted nothing to do with the school band... I wanted to Rock!!! I was also making pretty good money in the bands that I was playing in at the time. I had started to sing while playing as well, so I was kind of digging the additional attention from the females at school once I had started doing it. One band I was in – I was actually the lead singer as well as the drummer. That band actually opened for Stevie Wonder when I was just a Sophomore.

After graduation from high school I was asked to join a band that was forming that already had a record deal! So much for College! That band, Honk, went on to score a #1 hit in Hawaii and became pretty well known in Southern California. We went on the road opening for the Beach Boys and opened for everyone from Loggins and Messina to none other than Chicago! In Honk's heyday we actually sold out a week at The Troubadour which was then a real big deal. The Troubadour was where Elton John was discovered in America.

When Honk broke up I moved to LA from Laguna Beach in hopes of becoming a "studio musician". It actually was going pretty well for me working my way up the ranks doing mostly publishing demos and the occasional album. I had been working with an English singer songwriter named Ian Matthews, whom I'd recorded a couple of albums with, when I heard about auditions for Kenny Loggins. Rumor had it that he had an incredible new album, his first solo album without Messina. I really didn't think I had much of a chance of getting the gig as everyone in town, it seemed, was auditioning.

Well they kept calling me back and one day I got a call from Kenny himself asking "how would you like to join a rock and roll band?" I couldn't believe it! I knew they had looked at over 120 drummers and many of which were my heroes. I guess the chemistry was there and it just felt right. Anyway that year we went on the road opening for Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors" Tour. The following year I scored my first real national hit record with "Whenever I Call You Friend" which was a duet with Kenny and Stevie Nicks.

After that Kenny's success just seemed to keep growing. I had the honor of playing on records of his like "This Is It", "Heart To Heart", "I'm Alright" from the movie Caddyshack, "Footloose" from the movie of the same name, "Forever", and "Conviction Of The Heart". Through all of this I had caught the ear of other artists and producers and was being called, when not working with Loggins, to record with many other artists. I scored hits with other artists like Gary Wright, Richard Marx, David Foster, Firefall, Neil Diamond, Howard Hewitt, Julio Iglesias and Stevie Wonder.

I also got to scratch my jazz itch as I was asked to join The Al Jarreau band in 1986.I have worked in the jazz world with such artists as David Sanborn, Bob James, Herbie Mann, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Ricardo Silvera, Michael Paulo, and Clare Fisher to name a few. In addition I have been blessed to have worked in the RnB world with such artists as Chaka Kahn and Anita Baker.

There has been no greater honor, however, than to have been asked to join the great musical institution known as Chicago. From day one they have made me feel like a part of the family and these past 26 years have been some of the most musically rewarding and satisfying of my life. I am deeply grateful for the privilege of playing with this "The Band of Brothers"!