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     DOB:  6/25/74
     Location:  Buffalo, NY
     Hair:  Brown
     Eyes:  Brown
     Height:  5'10"

     Mario Calire
     Jimmy Calire
     The Wallflowers
     :: lilyput ::

     Nick Maurer
     Will Clinger

Mario Calire played with the LA-based rock group The Wallflowers from 1995 to 2003, which led to many other opportunities for this amazing drummer. In 2003, Calire joined LA band Ozomatli, a band which fuses the sounds of latin, hip-hop, funk, rock and reggae. Ozomatli released a full-length LP, "Street Signs", in 2004 for which the band has recently won the 2005 Grammy for "Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album". Calire's diverse styles of playing has obviously lead to the success he is today.

I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Calire after watching Ozomatli perform at the Chicago's Folk & Roots Festival this past July (2005). I was impressed by the band's performance & immediately wanted to know more about their music. This was my first Ozomatli experience, although, I have heard their music blasting on the radios of neighboring cars during traffic. When Mario mentioned that he was the previous drummer for The Wallflowers, I became more intrigued. After a little online research, I discovered that there was more to Mario than a few drum beats. His amazing talent has led him through a timeline of music background. I was so glad that he took the time to answer a few of my questions.

When did you realize that you wanted to become a drummer?
I don't remember a specific event but I remember being attracted to the drums at a young age. My father is a great musician and I was always around music being made. I loved the energy of live music and at some point I just knew the drums were for me.

Who are your music influences?
My father Jimmy Calire (pianist/composer) would be at the top of this list and then as far as drumming goes here's some of my favorites: John Bonham, Zigaboo Modeliste, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Keith Moon, Melvin Parker, Clyde Stubblefield, Al Jackson, Jr., and on and on...
One musician who always inspires me is the bass player James Jamerson - He played on a lot of the Motown hits and there is a freedom and expression in his playing that says so much and yet never ceases to serve the music unselfishly. A real model of what can be accomplished from the rhythm section.

How did you hook up with The Wallflowers?
Some of the band was familiar with my playing from groups around LA I worked with and their manager called me to audition when they needed a new drummer.

What made you decide to leave the band?
I decided to move on for many reasons, it was time for me to explore other avenues in music and life.

Who else have you performed with?
Liz Phair, Rickie Lee Jones, Taj Mahal, Minnie Driver, Joe Henry, Ozomatli...

You are now the drummer for Ozomatli. How did you come to join their band?
It was a fluke- I was home and heard from my friend Cougar Estrada (plays drums for Los Lobos) that Ozomatli was looking for a drummer. I was a fan of their albums and already loved the music. I contacted one of the guys and the very next day had an audition. We went right to work learning songs, playing gigs and making records. I love playing with people who give it their all every time they play, these guys will sweat blood for the music if that's what it takes.

How has performing in bands of different genres influenced your drumming style?
My father taught me that in order to work, I needed to be versatile. My drumming style really depends on the music I'm playing - different music brings out different aspects of my personality.

Is there a specific genre of music you prefer to play?
Not really, but playing with Ozomatli keeps things interesting for me because there are so many types of rhythmic feels within their catalog.

What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?
Get good at your craft and find quality people to work with and grow with. Keep an open mind and listen to as much music as you can. Do it because you love it and play it like you mean it!

Believe Street Signs Released 2004 (Quicktime)

Saturday Night Street Signs Released 2004 (Quicktime)