By Leah Middleton - Writer (and happens to be my awesome little sister)
Meshem's first drum kit came to him at age 8 by way of a friend of the family's unfortunate house fire. Sensing that he had a talent for percussion, tapping along to his father's tambourine in church, the smoke-damaged Pearl set was passed on to him, and his lifelong relationship with drumming began. He played consistently through his school-aged years: concert and jazz band in junior and high school, swing classics for a lunchtime Glee club, and self-learning rock from hours of careful Walkman and vinyl listening. Meshem took a hiatus from drums while he raised a family, and ran a graphic design and sign manufacturing business. His drumming practice was reignited in 2006 when a friend asked to store a drum kit at Meshem's office space in exchange for letting him play it whenever he wanted...which turned out to be many hours a day. This prompted him to cruise Craigslist to find some other musicians to play with and lead to the formation of Makeshift, which gigged regularly on the weekends from 2007 to 2009. Next up was Kousefly, a shift in sound but a solid project that thrived for the next two years.
Meshem has quickly gained a reputation for fearlessness in his approach of new material and styles, and also for being a lightning fast learner. In 2011, when the local reggae band 2nd Hand Soldiers needed a drummer for an upcoming show, Meshem accepted the opportunity and proceeded to learn 25 new-to-him songs in 5 days...and he had never played reggae. It went so well they kept him on as their regular drummer. At that show, he was spotted by a local promoter and musician who began to hook him up with drumming gigs. He's been a regular face behind the kit at Bend's Spring Festival, Summer Festival, Fall Festival, Bend Roots Revival, Munch 'n' Music and many clubs around Central Oregon.
His adaptability to style is diverse, able to perform rock, funk, R&B, metal, reggae, blues, jazz, and latin. He was able to move his entire professional focus to drumming in the last few years, and is currently Head of the Percussion at Cascade School Of Music, teaching ages 8 - adult. His own musical inspirations include Gavin Harrison, Neal Peart, John Bohman, Buddy Rich, Brian Blade, Stanton Moore, and many, many others.
On how drumming has impacted his life:
Drumming has had a huge impact all my life but especially since I began teaching. I put aside a long career in graphic arts and sign manufacturing to pursue a life of music with performing and teaching. The support I've received has been overwhelming. My family and my drumming are my life, my passion, my well being, my balance, me.”