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On the Kit and On the Go with Byron Cage

Somebody said, once that “if you want to really get to know a man, then work with him.” In my case this is often true. -And in this story this notion exists.

Grammy nominated, SAMMY-celebrated, CNY-loved, globetotting drummer Byron Cage

I’ve played about 35 minutes set-time with Byron Cage over two ocassions. Yet, We’ve only had about 15 minutes over those same two ocassions to visit, chat and actually get to know one another a bit. Busy guys. Even still, on these ocassions, because of the music —and not so much the chit-chat— we’ve become pals. Sometimes, that’s how it goes in the music biz, getting to know people, this way.

What I do know about Byron Cage is that this grammy nominated, SAMMY-celebrated,
CNY-loved, globetotting drummer is as solid of a dude as he is one of the very best drummers, anywhere. He tours internationally, and plays the circuit, here. He plays for a variety of folks and he also is his own recording artist. Prolific, dedicated, diverse and decidedly positive, his success in professional music is nothing short of inspiring. In all occasions, he’s a consummate gentleman, which is also part of his success.

The last time we ran into each other, we jammed a few tunes at the open jam at the Liverpool Limp Lizard, and decided to get to gether for this article.

Chuck Schiele: Hey Byron. Thank you very much for visiting with us here at Table

Byron Cage: Thank you, Chuck. It’s my pleasure.

CS: How long have you been playing music? How did you get started?

BC: I grew up in a musical family so I have always been involved with music in one way or another. I got serious about a career in music when I was close to graduating from college. A couple off years later I was offered an audition in Nashville with a touring Blues act. Have been on the road ever since.

CS: Who and what influences what you do?

BC:  My father was my biggest influence. He sang, played, directed and was very well respected in all of those things throughout the state. He passed away 3 weeks before I started my first national tour. His memory is the main reason behind my hustle. Other than that, I just love what I do.

CS: What do you love most about music? or – Why do you do this?

Jammin with the band.

BC: I love that music is the universal language that has brought me around the world several times. I have been places that I would have never touched if not for music. I’m happy that I can offer some enjoyment to people during a time when the political climate and state of the world are questionable at best. It’s the ultimate escape —or therapy even— for me. I do it because I know it’s important to make people feel good. And I know I was built for this.

CS: With whom are you working with now?

BC: Right now I’m working with a bunch of artists locally and nationally. The two national/international acts that I am with regularly are Joe Louis Walker and the Otis Taylor Band. Locally I am working with Melissa Gardiner, Seth Marcel, Zainep ‘Zz’ Abdelaal, Anthony Saturno, Jess Novak and the list goes on for a while. I am actually about to release my second full length album and start touring with my own band so I will be devoting most of my time to that.

CS: Please share with us some of your career highlights.

BC: If I start from the beginning I would have to put my time working with Boyd Tinsley of the Dave Matthews band. I still have the recording or the unreleased project and I’m not sure it will ever be “officially” released but, something may end up leaking eventually. Fast forward to most recently being featured on a Wikidrummers interview on my last tour in France, to earning a Grammy Nomination for drum/vocal performance on Joe Louis Walker’s last record, being inducted into the NYS Blues Hall of Fame and having 4 SAMMY awards under my belt for work with several artists in the area. This is year 10 of professional play and I haven’t stopped to look back so without
taking up too much time or space I will stop there for now.

CS: You tour a lot, so, that means you have funny sories … my favorite part of conducting these interviews. Please share with us a funny anecdote from the road.

BC: Well, there have been plenty. Most noteable was while playing a festival in northern California with Tommy Castro. End of the night and of the set. Just got in to the drum solo and I put a hole in the bass drum head. I’m trying to make it happen in front of 2k people with a drum tech between my legs tapeing up the bass drum head in hopes that I can finish strong and it doesnt break again. Worst possible time for that to happen when the only sound being heard was coming from me.

Byron Kidd Cage on Spotify, CD Baby and all major streaming platforms instagram: @kiddcage1

CS: Eesh. Yup. That’s a good story. What are your thoughts on Syracuse music and it’s community?

BC: I think that Syracuse has a great scene. It has really come alive in the past few years and I’m proud to be part of that. There are a bunch of great musicians and artists here that support one another. That support is what it takes for the movement to grow. I just hope we can export our talent a bit more with all the new projects that are coming out.

CS: Who’s in your current listening scope, right about now: Globally, locally?

BC: I’m listening to Kyle Dion, Moses Sumney and Elijah Blake a lot, latley. Locally I’m supporting all my people, but truthfully I have been consumed with finishing up my own project.

CS: Advice for up and coming musicians?

BC: My advice would be to keep doing it. Play as often and as long as possible. Make lasting connections and don’t burn bridges. Study your gig and show up EARLY. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Remember, that every genre and musical situation has value to your development as an artist.

CS: What are your near future music plans?

BC: Most important is the release of my new project. ‘Very proud of the way it’s
shaping up and the potential for placement from it. Other than that, I will be enoying festival season while it’s here and getting ready to head back to Europe in the fall.

CS: Is there a way for us to stay in touch with you and your music?

BC: Byron Kidd Cage on Spotify, CD Baby and all major streaming platforms. I promise I will be updating the youtube channel soon and you can always see where I will be or have been on instagram@kiddcage1.

CS: Thank you very much, Byron. I appreciate you taking a little time to chat with us.

BC: Thank you, for including me, Chuck.

Chuck Schiele
Chuck Schiele is an award-winning musician, art director, producer, editorialist, artist, activist, member of SaltCityChill.com and fan of the CNY music scene. To be considered for this column, please write chuck.schiele@gmail.com.