Jason Gachette, Eastside’s Drum Aficionado

A deeper look into the life of Eastside’s generational drummer

While Eastside is a relatively small school, there remain a few certain places on campus you may never step foot in if you’re not a part of the focused curriculum taught there. One such place is the band section, consisting of a room and a hallway filled with a variety of ever-changing instruments. The history of Eastside’s band is long and filled with rich memories of high achievements and talented students. While there has recently been a little controversy with the band, its legacy of producing skilled musicians has certainly not faltered. One such musician is Jason Gachette, the drum captain. Jason is not only an integral member of the Ram Band, but he is also the drummer for a jazz band, In Full Swing, as well as the newly formed band, Side Table.


Jason first got involved with drumming at the age of three, after attending African dance classes with his mom. At these classes, the women would often dance while the men would be drumming, so naturally, as he attended more and more classes, he began to pick up the art of drumming. While African drumming is still a large part of his life (he goes to the class once a week), he can now adeptly play a much wider selection of percussion instruments. Along with the xylophone and marimba,  he has experience with 17 different drums, ranging from marching drums and orchestral drums to the drum kit. 


As drum captain of the Ram Band, Jason takes on a lot of responsibility to make sure that his section is capable. Especially this year, as the Eastside’s percussion experienced a flux of new, inexperienced members. Jason helped to get his peers in shape for football season and with his teaching, they fit right in. He’s not only a leader and a mentor, though, but a figure of fun and laughter. I spoke to some of his fellow band members and they said that the band would be “miserable and sad” without him in it.


Jason has been drumming for over 14 years, so it’s only natural that at some point he joined a band other than his school’s. This opportunity came in the form of Eastside’s student-run jazz band, In Full Swing. His friend, Isaac, started the band and needed a drummer that had the prowess to drum the complicated rhythms and beats that makeup jazz. Jason took on the challenge and joined the band. So far, In Full Swing has performed at least seven times since Jason joined. You can see them at local venues like One Love Cafe or Thornebrook.


After having such a good experience with In Full Swing, Jason is looking forward to forming bands after high school. Jason says that while jazz is his favorite genre to drum, “the type of jazz the band is playing is not what [he] is accustomed to. Right now, it’s a jazz ensemble with solos and a set rhythm, but the jazz [he’d] rather play is more freeform.”


It’s clear that Jason has a strong passion for drumming; this stems, however, from his deep love for music in general. He says that he will often just, “sit and listen to music for hours.” For him, the songs don’t need lyrics as long as they strike some chord within him. For this reason, Jason’s “liked songs” span over 20 different genres. As a result of this wide array of music, he is exposed to a diverse mix of instruments. If he were to choose another instrument to play, Jason says it would be something low brass. But, he’d like to “learn how to use a mouthpiece in general, because mouth pieces for brass are almost all the same. It’s very easy to learn one and apply it to another. That’s what happens with drumming too, I learned one style of drumming and was able to easily learn other styles.”


If you’re looking to form your own band and are worried about getting started, don’t be. Jason has learned a lot about the music industry since joining In Full Swing and says that, “It is a lot bigger than most people think, it’s huge. Everything you go to there are people who have connections who are always there. Even small bands have ways to go and places they can go.” Often, once the band reaches out to a venue once, that venue asks them to come back and play, so don’t be afraid to approach people about a gig!


Jason would also like to encourage more Eastside students to join the band, especially percussion! Of the band, he says “it’s a very fun experience that I have done for the past 4 years and I have loved every moment.” One of the things that makes drumming special to Jason, however, is its ease of access. You don’t need to carry around an instrument, “you can drum on anything, at anytime, anywhere, any day, with anything on anything.”


If you can’t tell by now, Jason is a fantastic drummer. He spends his time practicing with three different bands, and is an inspiration and a leader for his peers in all three. If you want to see him live, follow @_in.full.swing_ on Instagram to be kept up to date on their shows. His newest band, Side Table, formed by Eastside senior Adriel Bolocon, will hopefully be releasing new music soon, so keep an eye out!