Drummer Dylan Elise discusses losing "everything," then getting it back, ahead of the Saturday concert.
Blood Sweat & Tears drummer Dylan Elise still remembers the chilling message he received in 2016.
“I got a phone call that the house was on fire,” Elise said. “We had lost everything.”
These days the New Zealand native, who moved from his home country to join the legendary band in 2015, has managed to regain nearly of all of his belongings that the flames took, with the exception of photographs, he said.
Ironically, when Elise sits his bulky frame behind a drum set, he performs like a man on fire, bringing an intensity to the stage that’s reminiscent of prodigious percussionist Jon Theodore, from Queens of the Stone Age fame.
Blood Sweat & Tears, founded in 1968, is known for experimenting with jazz, fusion and rock.
The band’s second album, “Blood, Sweat & Tears,” topped the Billboard charts, beating out the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” for Grammy Album of the Year; BS&T produced three major hit singles: “You Made me so Very Happy,” “Spinning Wheel,” “And When I Die.”
The band’s latest incarnation is led by frontman Bo Bice, runner-up to Carrie Underwood in season four of “American Idol.”
The 27-year-old Elise will headline with Blood, Sweat & Tears at Harrington Raceway & Casino on Saturday.
What was going through your mind when you got the call your house was on fire?
Everyone goes through stuff. I just figured it happened. There’s nothing we can do about it. It’s time to rebuild and move on. I tried to get on with it pretty quickly. But, of course, you go a month, two months down the road and you remember something you used to have at the house, something so simple as having an umbrella; and then it rains. It’s crazy, there’s things you forget about. But it wasn’t too bad, man. At the time it was scary and I didn’t know what to do. But you figure out how to move on.
How did you join the band?
Bobby Colomby, the original drummer and one of the founding members of the band, was on YouTube and was looking at some of his favorite drummers, which happened to be some of mine as well. I guess one of my videos popped up next while he was watching. In the videos he saw me playing on the street, where I used to busk.
I was busking after a big, international rugby event. It was like a World Cup for rugby. I guess a lot of people took videos (of me) and posted them to YouTube. These weren’t videos I posted. But the way that a guy titled them managed to get a lot of views. Bobby saw one of those videos and emailed me. He got Larry to email me as well. They flew me out to The States to play one song and come sit-in with the band.
I learned one song and then I did a solo. There were four shows. And the incumbent drummer at the time would play the rest of the show. So I did that for four shows and I flew back. That was at the end of 2013. I was 23 at the time. Then they flew me back out in 2014 to do the same thing.
They had a run of shows and the drummer had thrown his back out overnight, while I was flying. When I landed I figured “Cool, I was going to catch up with the one friend I had in Los Angeles and it’ll be a super chill night.” Then I learned the drummer injured himself and I had to learn the whole show. That was Thursday night and the show was Saturday.
I had to learn the whole show in pretty-much a day. Because I was able to do that from the hotel room, it kind of proved to them I had what it takes to be out here full-time. After that they offered me the job.
How has Bo Bice helped to make you feel comfortable in the band?
Bo’s awesome, man. He’s from the south. He’s super accommodating, super courteous and generous and [evokes] everything that comes with what you know of the south; and that’s very true about him. Coming from New Zealand, you hear about southern hospitality and that’s Bo 100 percent.
I’ve been down to his place. I stayed there with his family. He’s a really sweet guy and a phenomenal frontman. I actually watched him on “American Idol” back in 2004, when I was 14. It was season four and I was watching this guy with the long hair, man. I was like, “If we could vote, I’d vote for that guy.”
Do a lot of Americans mistake you for an Australian?
Yeah, everybody actually. There’s a couple people that will pick New Zealand. But it’s very rare.
When I first moved here, Canadians and Americans sounded the same to me. Because I’ve lived here long enough, now I can pick out the differences. Some people think I’m English. I’ve also gotten Indian, because of my appearance. I’ve been called Italian, which is cool. I dig that. Some think I’m Samoan, which is half of what Dwayne Johnson is.
A lot of people think I’m maybe half black. They have no idea. Sitting down they think I’m maybe Hispanic. When I stand up, I’m 6-foot-2, so I’m a little too big to be Hispanic. People speak Spanish to me. I get all sorts of things.