Hey, everyone! How's it goin'? My name's Jonny Gifford, and I play drums and other percussion in the Ethan Bell Band. I live in DeKalb, Illinois, and am finishing school at Northern Illinois University. I'm originally from Boylston, Massachusetts, a small town 45 miles outside of Boston. I got my start in music by taking piano lessons when I was eight years old. I started playing percussion in school bands when I was nine, and I picked up drum set when I was 11. I chose NIU because I heard about its percussion program from a music teacher at the school back home where I received my musical education. I first heard about the Ethan Bell Band when my good friend, Mike Schwebke, played with them. When he moved to Colorado, he referred me to Ethan. I auditioned for the band, and - as the saying goes - the rest was history. Outside of the band, I teach drum lessons and play afro-Cuban music and in a steel band. I like to play frisbee, wiffle ball, video games here and there, and attend trivia night at Fatty's. Usually, if I'm not out on a gig, I'm spending a night in with my girlfriend binge-watching Netflix.
Jonny's Two Cents to the Budding Musician
If you want to become a gigging musician, expose yourself to as many different kinds of music as you can. There's a whole world of music out there; the more you know, the more marketable and enlightened you'll be. You'll be able to bring more to the table in any given musical setting.