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Van Romaine Biography
When I was on tour with Blood, Sweat and Tears in 1989, I was contacted by Dave LaRue about auditioning for Steve Morse. Dave and I were in a band called Stretch in New Jersey and we had developed a great chemistry together. I learned Ice Cakes, The Odyssey, Night Meets Light and Cruise Missile and the three of us got together in New Jersey while Steve was on tour with Kansas. A month or so later we went on tour to support High Tension Wires and the rest is history.  We’ve enjoyed quite a collaboration over the years and continue to record and tour when the schedules permit.
I started working with Enrique in 2001. After two days of rehearsal we were asked to perform on the “Tribute to the Hero's” telethon along side Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Bon Jovi, Cheryl Crow, Billy Joel, Paul Simon and many others. More important than all the celebrities in attendance was the cause and the feeling at Sony Studios that night which is something I'll never forget. Since then we’ve supported several CD’s world tours and have playing most major TV shows and arenas around the world.
The first tour I had done with Nena was in 1998 before I became her musical director. I loved this rhythm section with Tony Bruno on guitar and Bruno Ravel on bass. This was quite a come back tour for Nena in Germany and Austria where she has her biggest audience. The Nena-Live CD was recorded live in Dusselldorf, Germany from this tour from two sold out nights for 60,000 fans with the German band Pur. I was really amazed by Nena's spontaneity and energy on stage and I've never seen anyone have so much control over an audience. It has been an incredible experience after 3 CD's and many tours to see her fan base and CD sales sky rocket since that first tour. She just keeps getting better.
I first became aware of Pitbull after hearing him on " I Like It", the first English single on EI's Euphoria CD and his career has sky rocketed since then. He's joined us for many TV appearances- The Latin Grammy's, the AMA's and is also joining us on tour with his bad ass band. Our back stage area will never be the same!
I was fortunate to play on duet Cuando Me Enamoro from EI's Euphoria CD in it's demo form. I was blown away when I heard the final version that Enrique and Carlos Paucar had come up with featuring Juan Luis Guerra.  Apparently so were a  lot of other people - the single stayed at #1 for 19 weeks on the Spanish charts. He has also joined us on stage for many concerts and is now one of my favorite singers of all time.
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This was a very different experience for me. Although I had been listening to a lot of rap back in '91, I hadn't recorded any. I got a call by my old friend Dave Bellochio to do a session at his studio with some guys neither one of us heard of. The first thing I had to get used to was doing 8 second takes. Since they were looking for loops we only needed to get one or two good measures then move onto the next groove. After the session was over I went on tour for 3 weeks and came back home to hear the track everywhere. There was also a feature in Rolling Stone about Naughty's success where they gave a lot of credit to Dave Bellochio and myself for coming up with the grooves that inspired this track.
Nicole was another featured artist on EI's Euphoria CD and their duet Heartbeat has become a huge international single. She's joined us for many shows including a legendary Captial Radio performance at Wembley Stadium.
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These guys are something special and I expect to see big things from them. While our schedules didn't sync up for me to tour with them I did have an amazing time doing their shows when it lasted.
Ok, it was one gig, but it was at Madison Square Garden and Bill and Hillary Clinton were in the front row. Apparently Liberty couldn't make this one so I was honored to fill in. Billy was incredibly funny and relaxed which made the show even more fun for me.
I had to put Joan's name in here even though I played with her before she became famous. From 1990 to 1992 I was touring with Morse or home doing sessions and playing with Joan at night. She got to the point where she'd sell out 1500 seat venues without a record deal. She was always an incredible performer and some of my most treasured musical moments were playing in small packed clubs with her.
This was my first "real gig". I auditioned for B,S&T in New York City about a year after I moved to there. The band featured the legendary David Clayton Thomas and great session musicians from the Big Apple. My first show was a 4th of July festival in South Carolina with Hall and Oates for 250,000 people and no rehearsals. I remember Clayton telling me two things before the show. One, have a good time, and, two, don't read any music on stage. There's some very tricky sections in songs like Spinning Wheel, When I Die and You Made Me So Very Happy so I had to duct tape all the charts on the drum riser so that Clayton couldn't see them. I toured Japan, Australia, and Europe and all over the U.S. until I got the Steve Morse Band gig in 1989.
I got to be a fan of Kansas after the SMB opened for them on a few tours. Their energy was amazing and they played every show like it was their last. Phil Ehart called about a month after our last show with them and asked me if I could fill in for him which would enable him to concentrate more on managing the band. Phil had been an essential part of their sound and the only drummer they’d ever worked with, so I knew it would be quite a challenge. I started off tuning my drums like Phil and playing almost all of his signature fills to make the transition as smooth as possible for the guys. It wasn’t until a month into the tour that I started to add more of my sound to the shows while still paying tribute to Phil’s drumming and the sound of Kansas.
Though I'm not a member of the Dregs I have been fortunate to play double drums with Rod on two tours in the last year. Yes, I've played quite a few notes with the Morse trio over the years, but it was a totally different feeling playing the Dregs songs with the band. T Lavitz and Jerry Goodman were on this tour in addition to Dave, Steve and Rod and it was incredible. Rod and I got together in New York to work some things out before flying to Florida to rehearse with the band. When we stared doing shows our double drum thing took on a life of it's own.
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My earliest influences musically were, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown and Parliament Funkadelic. Bernie Worrell and Boosty Collins were the musical backbone of the Pfunk sound. When Bernie came to see me play in Greenwich Village and asked me to join him on the road, I couldn’t believe it. The band was a combination of his friends and mine, which included bassist Wintson Roye, guitarist Dave Fuzinski (Screaming Headless Toursos), keyboardist Lamar Mitchell and vocalist and multi instrumentalist Catherine Russell. We toured Japan, Europe and the U.S. until it became too difficult to keep the band together with everyone’s schedule.
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I started working with TM after he came to see me play with Mona Lisa Overdrive at the China Club in NYC. TM had decided to go solo after working with James Brown (Livin' in America), The Pretenders (Get Close), Joe Cocker, Miles Davis, Steve Vai, Billy Joel and Mahavishnu Orchestra. I've always had a special chemistry with TM and touring and recording with him was a blast.
The band's name started out as Mona Lisa Overdrive. There was a lot going on for me at this time. I had just got the Steve Morse gig, was still doing tours with Blood Sweat and Tears, and was very busy with studio work in NYC. Adam Holzman had just left Miles Davis to pursue a solo career and was doing some gigs in New York with his new band Mona Lisa Overdrive featuring Steve Logan on bass (David Sanborn, John Scofield) Kenwood Dennard on drums and a variety of guitar players like Hirom Bullock, Drew Zingg and Dave Phelps. Adam and I were both hired to play a showcase for an artist in New York and started jamming at sound check. Both Adam and I had been experimenting heavily with funk grooves spiked with trippy electronic sounds and he instantly asked me to be in his band. What I loved about this band was the combination of funk, musicality and most of all, humor. I can remember many occasions when a stuffy jazz club would turn into an MTV dance party.
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I joined Goat's band in NYC in between tours and records with Steve Morse, Nena, Bernie Worrell and others around 1998 and  am thrilled that there was time to make it happen. When we started gigs and showcases Goat, a happily married dude, would often perform with a dress and a cod piece and you never really knew what you were going to get with his performances aside from 100% commitment. He played a midi grand through a distortion pedal and into a Marshall stack and the bidding wars started. During my stay we were signed to Interscope then Sony, released Great life then took a break. I came back a few years later to produce his single Angels from the Wildfire soundtrack and other TV and film music.
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I got asked by my University of Miami buddy John Hart to play on this cd. Jack is one of the founding fathers of the Hammond B3 and wanted to put some hip-hop grooves on this project, which was a departure from his jazz approach. It featured a six piece horn section, Jack, John Hart on guitar, Winston Roye on bass and myself as the rhythm section for the funk tunes and another rhythm section for the swing numbers. Joey DeFrancesco was a guest soloist. This session was a departure for me because I hadn't recorded and entire record in one day with no overdubs for quite some time. It was the old school approach of showing up with sticks and cymbals and sight reading the music that was going to tape for eternity.
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