JM: Steve came in to play drums on a couple tracks on my second record, Heavier Things. To be honest, at the time I was still learning what a good drummer is, but when Steve was playing, I just knew. It was like, Wow, I feel supported. This is bringing life to my ideas.
I didn’t see him again for a couple years, until we both walked in the studio to play on this Herbie Hancock track called “Stitched Up” [on Hancock’s 2005 album, Possibilities]. Until that day, whenever I would record with a rhythm section, I’d always think of my performance as a scratch track that I would replace later. So when drums and bass were playing, I was playing guitar without any consideration for it ever being on the album. Steve, however, insisted that I play my actual take with the band, which was incredibly frightening to me. In the end, however, I discovered it was so much more fulfilling. He taught me that everybody in the same room playing really matters. Getting “the” take.