Capital Region Timekeepers: Interview with George Lipscomb -By: OP Callaghan

Written by on October 2, 2022

After a four-year hiatus to pursue higher education, I returned to the Capital District, anxious to re-immerse myself in what was a thriving local music scene. I grabbed a copy of a local music magazine, and like a starving man opening a menu, began to metaphorically salivate at the possibilities.  

My anticipation led to disappointment as many of the venues and bands from four years earlier were no longer around. New clubs, and new bands had taken their place. In an attempt to salvage the night, I ventured over to the QE2, where I had spent more than a few nights sneaking past security in an attempt to experience the raw, loud, debauchery of underground music.  I was now an adult, of legal age, with a valid ID and a new determination to hear something new and inspiring.  There was no cover charge (what?!?), and I quickly got myself up to the stage to get my fix. 

 I learned from eavesdropping on a nearby discussion, that the band onstage was a new group, called The Staziaks.  Their infectious power pop and well-crafted songs immediately caught my ear, as did their drummer, whom I recognized from playing in a band called The AD’s. I had seen the AD’s play a bunch of times at 288 Lark, Duck Soup, and at least one Lark Fest performance.  I liked the AD’s; especially their drummer, who hit hard, had great timing, and played like a f*&#g gladiator. He smashed, kicked, pounded and slapped his way through an all-too-short set. After their set, I caught up with the drummer, and kicked off a more than 30-year friendship with Mr. George Lipscomb. So, ladies and gentlemen, let’s hear it for George!

RRX:  Alright brother, let’s kick it off. When did you start drumming, and why?

GL: I started playing when I was 11 years old. I saw The Beatles and The Rolling Stones on Ed Sullivan and was hooked. Music was always being played around my home and my grandmother’s home, so rhythm was instilled in me at a very early age.

RRX:  Who were your influences then? And now?

GL:  As I mentioned The Beatles and The Stones, so Ringo Starr and Charlie Watts, definitely.  All of the Motown drummers.  Now, my influences are John Bonham, Joey Kramer (Aerosmith) and Max Weinberg (Bruce Springsteen, Conan O’Brien).

RRX:  Are there any local drummers who inspire or influence you?

GL:  Joe Daly and Al Kash.

RRX:  Who? Just kidding, and I couldn’t agree more.  Do you play any other instruments?

GL:  No, just drums.  They’re my babies. Next to my daughter.

RRX: Tell me about some of the bands that you’ve played with, and those experiences.

GL: I have played with many over the years, starting in the early 80’s. The Extras, The AD’s, The Tea Bones, The Side Winders, Coal Palace Kings, and my favorite, The Staziaks. I currently play with Black Belt Jones.

RRX: Cool name!  How did you come to play with The Staziaks?

GL: I was looking for a new band, and I was approached by Jim Powhida, who was a guitar player. He told me that his brother John was starting a band, and I went to check them out.  The rest is history.

RRX:  One of my favorites. John is a great song writer and player. I enjoyed sharing the stage with you guys over the years. We always had fun, and got into just the right amount of trouble. Tell me about your drum set-up.

GL: I play a five-piece Ludwig kit, with Sabian cymbals.

RRX: What was your first kit?

GL:  A blue sparkle Kent kit!

RRX:  Do you write music?

GL: I contribute to my current band, Black Belt Jones.

RRX: Best gig ever?

GL: Larkfest 1997 with the Staziaks, Washington Avenue Stage.

RRX:  I was on that same stage with The Decadent Royals that year.  A great crowd, great bands, and a great day.  I just listened to a song by Black Belt Jones called “Save You”.  It’s a great tune, with great drumming.  What is your biggest personal criticism of you as a drummer?

GL:  Overplaying!  You’ve got to keep it simple and rhythmic!

RRX: Is there a band out there that you’d like to join as the drummer?

GL:  Rival Sons!

RRX:  When is the next time we can see you play?

GL: October 26th, at The Hangar On The Hudson, for a Staziaks reunion, “Rock Out for Scott”, in memory of Scott Dorrance and to benefit Juvenile Diabetes. There will be a bunch of other bands, including my new band, Black Belt Jones, The Chris Busone Band, and the incredible The Lawn Sausages.  The show kicks off at 3 PM sharp.  Scott Dorrance played guitar in The Staziaks and a bunch of other fortunate bands. We miss you, Scott.

See you all there. 

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