Interview with Jonathan Mover
By: Eddie McCloud
for Bitchin' Entertainment

Eddie: What are your earliest music memories, growing up in Peabody, Ma.?

Mover: My earliest musical memories were aural and visual. My first musical recollection was seeing 'The Point' on television when I was quite young. 'The Point' is an amazing story, record and animated film by Harry Nilsson, and I was completely consumed by the experience. From there, the aural memories were related to what I was hearing around the house growing up.

My father was a musician and really into artists like Kenton and Ferguson, my older brother was into Iron Butterfly, Steppenwolf, Band of Gypsies, etc.. My older sister was into ELP. 'In-A-Gadda-Da- Vida' got me interested in drums from hearing Ron Bushy's solo, but it was ELP's 'Karn Evil 9' and 'Tocatta' later on that really got me interested in drums and music more seriously.

From ELP, I was led into the entire English and prog rock scene, a la Genesis, Yes, Tull, Zeppelin, Floyd, Gentle Giant UK, Crimson, and later into Zappa, Beck (Jeff), Utopia,Fairport Convention, The Tubes…etc.. Visually, I was heavily influenced by two local drummers in rock bands that were playing in the neighborhood. A cover band called Circus, who played some Tull and other cool tunes. I remember hiding outside the band house, sneaking behind the bushes and peering through the basement windows to catch a glimpse of them playing, especially the drummer, Mike Miano. Eventually, I finally got invited inside and got to watch them up close, which was very exciting.

Later on, the same thing happened with a band called Points, but to a much greater level. They were a heavy progressive originals band with four of the best players in the Boston scene. I listen back to the demos that they had done and these guys were right on par with groups like Yes and Gentle Giant. The drummer was Ron Stewart, who became a great friend and influence to me as a child. He had a huge double kick set up, with gongs and octobans, tuned percussion and all, which was very intoxicating for me at the time and instilled a passion and drive for me to explore all of it. Hanging out in their practice room and watching these guys pull off mini epics and long prog pieces was all I needed… ron later went on to join the Joe Perry project.

Eddie: What was the local music scene like, where you grew up?

Mover: The local scene was amazing while I was growing up, but seemed to be pretty much over by the time I graduated high school. On a pro level, we had The Cars, Aerosmith, J Geils, and Boston to name a few, and there were some really great local bands at that time too, like Berlin Airlift, Luna, New Man and The Lines. Very good players and very good compositions. But, by the time I was ready to jump into it, the clubs were closing and the scene was drying up. That's when I decided that I was going to have to move in order to pursue music professionally and jumped the pond to London.

Eddie: Who were your earliest influences?

Mover: Like I said, locally it was Ron Stewart. On a pro level, almost all of the prog rock drummers out there… Phil Collins, Carl Palmer, Bill Bruford, Barriemore Barlow, Prarie Prince, Mark Craney to start, then later on Simon Phillips, Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta, and then came the guys like Andy Newmark, Dave Mattacks, Bonham, Gadd the Marottas, Steve Jordan, etc. I still listen to them all, but Bonham is my main man, along with Andy Newmark and Dave Mattacks. What they do on a four or five piece kit, just slays me.

Eddie: What was the first instrument to which you were attached?

Mover: Drums for sure, from hearing "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, but it didn't last long. I heard that song and told my parents I wanted to play drums. So, they signed me up for lessons in my elementary school. Needless to say, that was a disaster and not at all what I was interested in. I got a pair of sticks that were like two baseball bats and was told to play snare drum, standing up and in the back row of the school orchestra. I had it in my head that I was going to be sitting behind a kit and jamming with a band, so I passed on drums for the time being. Not long after, I heard Keith Emerson's moog solo at the end of 'Lucky Man' and was once again interested in music. Investigating ELP, led me back to drums after hearing Carl Palmer, especially his solo in 'Tocatta', on Brain Salad Surgery.

Eddie: I've talked to a lot of young aspiring musicians who believe there are many advantages in attending a music institution like Berklee? As a former student of Berklee, what doors did it open for you?

Mover: Berklee wasn't a great experience for me, but that's not to say that it wouldn't be for someone else. The biggest disappointment for me was that I was going there specifically to work with Gary Chaffee and not necessarily for the degree in music. When I got there, gary had already given up the seat as chairman of the percussion department and was no longer at the school. I wasn't too happy with the teachers that were there, going over stick control and syncopation again for the 10th time. Fortunately, I found out that gary was teaching privately in the boston area and sought him out for that. After a few weeks of private study, I made the decision to leave berklee and just continue with Gary on my own. I studied three times a week and practiced around 8 to 10 hours a day. After six months or so, I decided to move to London.

Eddie: You chose Gary Chaffee to study with. Any specific reason for that and do you believe now, years later, he was the right choice?

Mover: The specifics about studying with Gary were due to his working with Vinnie Colaiuta and my dream to have played with Frank Zappa. I wanted to learn polyrhythms and prepare myself for a gig like that. It was definitely the right choice, but unfortunately for not long enough. Even today, I wish I had the time to go back and study with him again.

Eddie: You've been fortunate enough to perform with some of my favorite musicians. How did you hook up with your bandmates in GTR?

Mover: The GTR hookup came from first playing with steve Hackett. I auditioned for Steve's solo band expecting to go out on a European tour, but soon after got the call from Hackett, saying he was shelving the band in order to do a new one with Steve Howe and wanted to hang onto me. As he said, it was to be a new version of the old Yardbirds. Hackett brought max bacon into the camp and I brought Phil Spalding.

Eddie: It certainly had to be a dream come true, playing with alumni of two legendary groups like Yes' Steve Howe and Genesis' Steve Hackett. Was there a tremendous feeling of letdown after the project disbanded?

Mover: It certainly had it's disappointments, but all in all, was a great experience learning about the positive and negative aspects of the industry at an early age and all at once. I would've liked to have seen it continue for another record and tour, because the new material that we were writing and recording was really great. But the two Steves were already off in opposite directions and I didn't want to do it with one and not the other, so I chose to move on.

Eddie: Are you still in contact with any of the guys from GTR? Any plans for a GTR reunion?

Mover: Phil spalding and I keep in touch and have played on some other sessions together. I just spoke with Hackett recently while he was in new york promoting his new cd, it's been a while since I've spoken to Howe, but we say hello through mutual friends from time to time. As for a reunion… I would say it's unlikely, but you never know.

Eddie: What's the latest with your "Einstein" project?

Mover: I actually have another record written and ready to go, but haven't found to the time to record it yet! I'm so busy with sessions and productions, that my project gets the back burner for now. I'm very pleased with the new material though, so I would like to get it on tape by the fall.

Eddie: We hear so much sampling in music today. Has it affected you personally?

Mover: I think the music industry in general has been very affected by a variety of issues. Sampling, downloading, over spending, videos, etc. etc. something has to change, and hopefully it will, but for now, it's not looking too bright. As for me, the sampling thing hasn't really hurt too much, as I'm still called on for my live playing in the studio and/or on stage. I also do programming, so I haven't really been replaced, but the opportunity for almost anyone to go out and buy a small protools rig for their home/apartment, has taken away a lot of work for a lot of people. I think it's great that those tools are available, I just think it's a shame that people will spend the money on the rig, then not knowing how to use it, won't spend the money on a great engineer or at least a great room/studio to get the basics down. That's like saying, if I go out and buy a Steinway, I'll know how to play it, without really studying and putting in the time to learn. Some of the recordings that I've heard from artists who have their own rigs, are absolutely atrocious.

Eddie: What kind of drums are you using these days?

Mover: I have a pearl masters solid mahogany as my primary kit. Although it has just about one of everything in it, my basic set up is a 26" kick, 12" tom, 16" floor, 14" snare. A tom or two might be added, depending on the session, but for the most part, I'm constantly on the big four.

Eddie: If you walked into a music store and saw a kid picking out his first set of drums, what one thing could you say to him that would make him a better drummer?

Mover: Listen… listen to the great drummers out there from all genres of music. Listen to the artists and band-mates that you're working with and don't forget to listen to yourself.

Eddie: What great projects are you working on now?

Mover: Recent projects have been a mixture of producing and playing. I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to produce and play on 3 songs for the latest Fuel cd for international release. I also had the opportunity too compose and produce jingles for Stetson and Hampton Inn. On top of that I played on the new Everlast recording, some sessions for They Might Be Giants, playing and producing a new artist named Kirsten Dehaan and this week laid down drum and percussion tracks for a gospel/blues artist named Calvin Earl, tomorrow I'm booked on a Tina Turner session.

I've also been cataloguing and transferring to digital, my entire history as a drummer. Sessions from when I was 13, up to recent. A mixture of recordings that either has not been released or are not available any more. As soon as I have a few open days, I'm going to put them together on a few cds and make them available through my website, Jonathan Mover.

Eddie: After all is said and done, what is the one thing you want people to say about Jonathan Mover?

Mover: He was an influence.

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