Music has always been Blair’s security blanket. As a child, he was chaperoned to sleep by his mom playing the piano, or by a Beethoven Lives Upstairs cassette tape. The compulsively tapping nine-year-old enrolled in snare drum lessons and soon insisted on giving a performance for his third-grade classmates, drumming on a Frisbee taped to a wooden stool. Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” played endlessly on his bedroom stereo. His Discman’s primary occupants were REM, Nirvana, Green Day, and Reel Big Fish (Parental Advisory material courtesy of his older brother).
After a brief stint on the trombone, Blair started learning drum set at age fourteen using a hand-me-down kit emblazoned with “BEEF JERKY” on the kick drum. He purchased a Paiste starter cymbal pack, and while unloading it from the car the hi-hat cymbals slipped from his hands and rolled down the driveway, veering downhill and clattering past neighbors’ houses, finally smashing into a curb. Severely shaken and in tears, Blair feared this calamitous event meant he was destined to fail on drums. Yet, he stayed true to his AOL screen name – CaNtStOpDrUmMiN51 - and trained up enough to make the 8th grade jazz band.
Music soon became a vital source of self-confidence and an outlet for Blair's abundant energy. A summer of jazz trio gigs earned him enough cash to buy better drums. Nothing aided his development more than playing alongside older musicians and having freedom to improvise. While still in high school, he auditioned into the esteemed Bellevue College Jazz Band directed by decorated jazz educator Hal Sherman.
Harking back to his debut performance in third grade, Blair designed a STOMP-like drumming act, incorporating wooden stools, metal pans, and plastic water jugs, for a school-wide talent show. He won first place and the glory of performing for 1,700 students at a school assembly. Blair also captained the drumline of his 215-member marching band.
A treasured photo from college shows New Orleans trumpeter Terence Blanchard smiling at the audience and pointing toward the skinny kid on drums. Blair performed that night with a fractured left wrist; his cast barely fit through his suit sleeve.
Having played various genres over a span of 15 years, Blair’s current focus is on rock drumming with Stubborn Son. To his toolkit of technical proficiency and good ears he has added more punch and visual flamboyance, studying videos of Dave Grohl, Travis Barker, and Josh Dun.
YouTube playlist of Blair drumming