Hal began his musical career
at age 13, literally banging away at the pots
and pans. Soon after, he obtained a used drum
set from a family friend, practiced for a summer,
and promptly joined his first band.
Hal cut his chops on classic
Stones, the Beatles, Zeppelin, etc..., playing
birthday parties, clubs - anywhere and everywhere
people would listen.
was formed - a rock trio that, in addition towriting
and playing original progressive music, covered
material from acts like like Triumph, Rush,
and Yes. The band went on to play local clubs
for years, garnering radio airplay as well as
When Stages disbanded, Hal
jumped from band to band for a while, finally
joining "The Lost Souls," a Queens-based
prog-metal act in the Mercyful Fate, thrash-prog
vein. The band's following grew, and eventually
opened for the likes of Biohazard and Cursed
Earth, some other notable local products.
In 1991, Hal joined Turbo
Music recording artists "Cold Steel,"
a Long Island thrash band in the Testament-Anthrax
mold. He was chosen to take over live shows
and future recordings shortly after the band's
debut album, "Freakboy," was released.
After a year of writing and gigging, the band
split, citing extreme musical differences as
During this period, Hal also
decided to pursue original progressive music
again.He auditioned for ICE AGE in 1993 - after
hearing their demo for the first time, he knew
he had to be part of the band:
"A band with monster guitar riffs and chops?
Intricate and beautiful piano compositions?
All wrapped up around rapid band-runs in odd-time?
On the topic of early influences,
Hal touches base on what really motivated him
to persue a musical career:
"To me, the turning point of my life
was listening to Rush's "Exit Stage Left"
for the very first time - specifically, the
extended drum solo on "YYZ." I just
couldn't believe what I was hearing," Hal
says. "I was completely blown away. Neil
Peart, with his flawless execution and precision
timing, will always be my main influence. He's
the reason I'm playing today.
Others on my infinite list
of influences would have to include Bill Bruford,
Scott Rockenfield, John Bonham, Liberty Devito
- the list really does go on forever.
"At this point in
my life I've become a great fan of music and
drumming. Since every drummer or percussionist
is unique in style and level I believe we can
learn something from everyone. I don't believe
in someone being the best at anything. No matter
what the subject, there is always someone better
than you are. I think that we should all try
to satisfy our own personal goals and dreams
and feel that's what keeps everyone going."
While taking some time
off to map out his next move, Hal joined "Run
For Cover," a motown, R&B, funk band,
which covered the classic tunes of Aretha Franklin,
James Brown, Tower of Power, and B.B. King,
among others. The band played all over the tri-state
area, and went on to record a version of the
Beatles' "Let It Be" for a compilation
issued by Raven Records.