The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

‘Carey’ing the family tradition

UW-Eau Claire sophomore and music liberal arts major Colin Carey’s family has always been involved in music, and he is no exception. The percussionist from Lake Geneva has been playing the drums since fourth grade and is pursuing possible paths that would keep him involved in music – either as a performer or a teacher.

“You can’t be completely sure what’s going to happen, but hopefully I’ll be doing both, but more on the side of performing,” Colin said.

Family matters
Everyone in Colin’s immediate family is, or was, involved in music in some way. His father, an elementary school music teacher, and his mother, a onetime choral major, met in college.

“… We’ve always had music in the house and have always had music around,” Colin said, adding both of his siblings are musicians.

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Colin’s father, a vocalist, used to sing and listen to music or play musicals with him, something Colin said played a big part in the development of his passion for music. Colin’s sister is also a musician, but he said she did not have the same influence as his brother.

“I saw her sing a lot, but I didn’t (think) that I want to sing like Shannon does,” Colin said. “She had more of an impact in a personal way – more of being a person than being a musician.”

As Colin’s older brother pursued music – jazz in specific – he began to follow suit.

“I just kind of got lured into that in middle school. When I got to high school I started playing and I really liked it and I had a really good band director,” Carey said. “I’d come here when I was in high school and see him perform in Eau Claire. I heard such great things about it and Sean always sounded really good.”

Colin’s fondness of jazz music coupled with the fact that his brother, Sean, played in the UW-Eau Claire Jazz band eventually drew Colin to Eau Claire after a one-year stay at the University of Minnesota. Sean, a December 2007 graduate of UW-Eau Claire, is probably the most well known and most successful Carey to date. He traveled to China with the Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble in 2006 and, more notably, currently serves as the drummer for the Eau Claire-based band Bon Iver, which has sold out concerts around the world. The band’s debut full length album “For Emma, Forever Ago” has sold over 100,000 copies and peaked at 64 on the Billboard Top 200 list last year. Their recently released EP “Blood Bank” has received great reviews from various different publications.

“I think Sean has had the biggest influence on me of any drummer – it’s kind of like the stereotypical littlest child looking up to the older brother,” Colin said. “I’ve really followed after how he plays and what kind of music he listens to.”

Bon Iver and influences
Colin is connected to Bon Iver through more than just his brother. His roommate recently worked as a stage manager for the band, and the two of them currently live in lead singer and band founder Justin Vernon’s old house in Eau Claire.

“I really like it . it’s nice to have a house that you can play the drums at,” Carey said. “I haven’t played anything with (Bon Iver), but I’ve met all of them and hung out with them.”

While Colin has been able to regularly hang out with Justin Vernon and all the other members of Bon Iver, he said that – with the possible exception of his brother – they were not his biggest musical influences.

In high school, Colin said he listened to a lot of Duke Ellington and other traditional big band swing musicians, and they were big influences in his Jazz playing. Brian Blade and Joshua Redman are two modern drummers that Colin said influence him.

Musical projects
Playing music is something Colin loves to do and, as an aspiring performer, he’s always looking for outlets for his music.

“In high school I had this band called Guyana. It was just alternative, straight ahead rock. It wasn’t punk rock, but more of the simpler, not jammy, but more like Pedro the Lyon – lyrical and just relaxing.”

Despite the fact Guyana was basically a garage band, Colin said he and his bandmates took it seriously. The band never seriously recorded any material but did host small shows and enter in band competitions. When Colin graduated from high school and began college at the University of Minnesota, he continued to find outlets for his music.

“Recently I’ve been working with (my friend) Joe Kruse. He and I lived on the same floor (at the University of Minnesota), and we played a little bit and had a really good time. I just helped him record some of his newer tunes.”

Here in Eau Claire, Colin’s focus has been on Jazz band and improving as a drummer. Once the summer comes around, however, Colin said he hopes to play small combo jazz with some friends from high school.

“I’ve been spending a lot of time with school, and I’m just working on that stuff,” he said. “Recently I’ve been working on my classical playing because when I got here, I got my ass kicked. I’ve been working more on the mallets and more of the concert band aspect of the music. That’s the extent of what I’ve been doing right now – living and playing some music for the school.”

Colin said that he plans on returning to Lake Geneva for the summer where he will perform with his friends in a small combo jazz group. Colin did say that he also hopes to perform some shows in the Eau Claire and La Crosse area with Kruse and some other friends.

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