I met Dom at a NAMM show in Chicago in 1987. He was performing at the Tama drums booth with an electric guitar and drums duo. They sounded like a full band. Quite impressive. He was a great player and was cool enough to give me some of his time.
I introduced myself and asked if I could send a demo of some music I had recorded. Dom asked if I had anything he could listen to right then, as he saw I had a Sony Walkman cassette player. I of course did, and held the speaker up to his ear and hit play. He seemed to like what he heard, and asked what I was doing. I told him I was there with a music store I was teaching at and was saving money to move to Los Angeles from Syracuse, NY where I had just left my band that was signed to RCA Records (and dropped during preproduction of our second album) and was at a crossroads career wise.
Well, Dom called the music store I taught at a few months later and asked to speak to me, and the first thing he said was “I hate to see talent wasted, you should write a book” Seriously. No one had ever proposed such a thing to me. I had massive respect for him and plenty of material and ideas, so I started to write my first book “Complete Modern Drum Set”. It took a few years to get it all together in terms of what kind of book, and all the logistics of creating a manuscript before computers, but in 1994 I finished it and sent it to Warner Brothers, Hal Leonard and Mel Bay publishers. All of whom wanted it, but Mel Bay promised they would have it printed and in stores within a month.
I wrote a few more titles, but probably wouldn’t have completed any of it without his initial encouragement and the success of my first book. My move to Los Angeles was a whirlwind. I know I sent him copies of everything I had published, and thanked him for the inspiration, but rarely saw him in person (with the exception of a NAMM show here and there) as we were both busy living our lives and working.
We should all encourage someone today in his memory.