I've been learning music for about as long as I can remember. My parents aren't super musical. My father dabbled in singing and guitar in high school, and my mother claims he is a natural talent, but I've only ever heard him sing “Happy Birthday.” My mom would threaten to sing at us when my brother and I weren't being compliant. But they were always very supportive. My brother is a supremely talented guitarist doing the band thing in L.A.
I went to a K-12 school where music was compulsory until 9th grade and encouraged through high school. I started playing flute in school band and learning formal music stuff when I was 11, and I picked up the saxophone at 12. I didn't really stick with the flute. I spent all of junior high, high school, and college playing in school jazz bands and studying jazz in some capacity. I majored in Music Performance at Tulane (and Psychology!), taking saxophone lessons briefly with Ward Smith and chiefly with John Doheny. Doheny and John Dobry (two John Ds, what are the odds?) were the two professors I spent the most time with at Tulane, but I learned a few things from other notable Tulane professors and New Orleans luminaries like John Joyce, Evan Christopher and Jesse McBride.
That said, be careful not to mistake me for a real jazz musician.
Zack and I met through Tulane's jazz combos probably about a week after the school reopened following Katrina. We played music together in a few settings over the course of a few years. Zack started a cool band with some dudes and quit jazz band. A year or two later we kind of reconnected in our Psychopharmacology lab (Zack was also a Psych major) when we teamed up to inject rats with ethanol and scopolamine and watch them fail at obstacle courses. Early 2009, Zack asked me to sit in with the band on a cover of Jamiroquai's “Virtual Insanity.” I spent the next six months or so sitting in and expanding my role in the band, and by the fall, just before we went into the studio to record Vital Signs, I was a full member.