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  1. Protect Your Magic – Ash Bowie/Charles Chace
  2. Knots – Kelley Deal/Mike Montgomery (R. Ring)
  3. Twin Collision – Stuart McLamb
  4. Plants – Ben Felton
  5. And Again – Nora Rogers/Jenny Waters
  6. Lurk On Me – Juan Huevos
  7. SS Grandmama – Mac McCaughan
  8. Let It Shine – Ryan Gustafson
  9. Pretty Sure – Casey Cook/Ron Liberti
  10. Spleed Splick – Tegucigalpan

In 2016, venues in Chapel Hill and Carrboro started hosting weekly residencies. Charles Chace and his free jazz experimental group, The Paul Swest, were scheduled for one at the Station when he asked me to open a show. I hesitated to say “yes”—honestly, I wasn’t sure what I would perform as a solo drummer. Finally I agreed because I figured it would be a fun challenge to figure out.

What I figured out was that I wasn’t going to play solo. In 2014, I played with the group IIII in Raleigh. It was a huge production—two people performing a composed synthesizer set and sixteen drummers playing full kits. As luck would have it, Tommy Simpson and I played next to each other and had a complete blast, and even had some follow-up conversations about playing together as a drum duo. I pitched him the idea of playing together for the upcoming set at the Station. Tommy jumped onboard immediately.

More wild ideas: why not play an improv set facing each other and sharing the same kick drum? We went for it in our first practice—instant chemistry while playing nonstop for 30 minutes. Playing a single show was no problem. But a one-off performance turned into requests for more shows. We became Speed Stick!

While we’re at it, let’s make a record! We set up in Charles’s Beep Wave studio in January 2019 to record some double-drum tracks. We’ve played in our fair share of bands, so our plan was to hand over our tracks to friends for their contributions. We recorded each track with a specific collaborator in mind but without any certainty about what they would record. Tracks were sent. And then we waited.

In the meantime, Charles and Ash Bowie joined Speed Stick as permanent members. As a quartet, we have never practiced for a show. For that reason, every show is full of surprises and verges on a transcendent experience.

Eventually, we got the tracks back. Like every show, each song was a welcome surprise—we were so uncertain, and so excited, about hearing these wholly new pieces of music! Everything came together and the result is this record: Speed Stick – Volume One. – LK