I was born in Oakland,
California, then raised for my first six years in the nearby town
of Antioch and at age seven the Botts family moved to Sacramento.
This is where my fascination with music and drums started to become
a "hands on" reality, thanks to a school system that
had a music department and for the ecouragement and guidance I
received from a grumpy but caring old music instructor named Mr.
Wolfe. While I continued my formal music education in school,
my informal education came mainly from the local radio stations.
By the time I was starting high school, I was also starting to
play gigs around town with local bands and had developed a particularly
strong interest in Jazz and Rhythm & Blues.
It was during this period that I was listening to everything from
Miles Davis and John Coltrane to Little Richard and Fats Domino.
By the time I had entered college I had become a "large fish
in a small pond", so to speak. It afforded me some great
playing opportunities such as working for a short time with Jazz
greats like guitarist, Wes Montgomery and organist, Jimmy Smith,
as well as being first call on some of the best gigs in town.
But deep down I knew that if I was going to continue to grow and
find new musical horizons I would have to leave Sacramento.
It was during my second year of college that I was offered a few
casual summer gigs with a group based out of Los Angeles called
the Travelers Three. A few months later they called me from Canada
to say they were going Electric, they needed a drummer and offered
the job to me. We all got along great. I enjoyed the music and
besides, it was my ticket to Los Angeles and The Road, so of course
I accepted. Being in L.A. soon gave me the opportunity to break
in to recording.
With some networking and recommendations by a few close friends,
I was able to do more and more session work in between the college
and club tours with the Travelers Three. As the group started
fading, my career as a session player started getting brighter.
In fact, it was at a recording session for the Travelers Three
that I first met David Gates. David had been brought in to produce
some recordings of us for Capitol records. The record company
passed, the group broke up but I continued to run into David occasionally
in various recording sessions around the city.
Over the next couple of years, outside of being a member of an
ill fated group called Joshua Fox, I pretty much focused my energy
on developing a career as a studio musician. It was during this
time that I got a call to do a session with Bill Medley and ended
up working with him for the next two years. So, between touring
with Medley and all of the session work, I was staying very busy.
And just when I thought my career had stabilized and I was really
locked in, I got a call from David Gates. David wanted me to come
by to meet the other guys in BREAD and hear their first album.
Having been soured by previous group ventures, I have to admit
I was less than enthusiastic. But after hearing the music and
meeting Jimmy and Rob, I agreed to become a member. After all,
even if the group failed I always had the studios and Bill Medley
to fall back on.
Well, little did I realize what was about to happen. I was able
to balance BREAD, Bill Medley and recording sessions pretty well,
at least for awhile. Then while I was doing a series of concerts
in Hawaii with Medley, I got another call from David. He had called
to tell me that "Make it With You", was climbing up
the charts and we had a hit on our hands. At that point I knew
I had to make a choice. So, with the understanding and encouragement
of Bill Medley, I flew back to L.A. to be a full time member of
BREAD soon became the all consuming part of our professional lives.
We were either in the studio or on the road from 1970 to May of
1973. That's when the group decided to take a hiatus from all
the pressure and pursue some individual projects and goals. It
was shortly after the breakup in 1973 that I started working with
Linda Ronstadt. I recorded and toured with Linda for about two
and a half years. It was an absolute ball working with Ronstadt
and what a band !! Fortunately, I was still able to balance my
studio work and my obligations to Linda until I got another call
from David in 1976. David called to tell me that he, Jimmy Griffin
and Larry Knechtel had been discussing a possible reunion. Well,
within weeks of Davidís call, I had sadly given notice to Linda
Ronstadt and was back in the studio with BREAD cutting tracks
for the Lost Without Your Love album.
The band continued to tour through 1978 but unfortunately some
irreconcilable differences within the group eventually involved
all of us in litigation and caused the group to disband once again.
Over the next few years I continued doing studio work with various
artists. At this time, I also began trying to develop my production
and songwriting abilities with some measure of success. Outside
of a short tour of the U.K. with David in 1980, I devoted most
of my time to recording and developing my talents as a musician,
writer and producer.
By 1982, I was feeling that old urge to hit the road again . So
when Karla Bonoff invited me to join her band for a summer tour
with James Taylor, I gladly accepted. After that I proceeded to
work with Karla on and off for the next couple of years. In late
1983 I formed a group with Andrew Gold. I first met Andrew while
working with Linda Ronstadt back in 1974. Although we had all
the ingredients for commercial success, the group (Houdini) became
a victim of what I call a spontaneous internal combustion, which
was ignited by the third member of the group. Unfortunately, It
never got off the launch pad. Oh well, Se la vie!
By 1985 drum machines and computers had been introduced to the
music scene. It soon became evident that this was not a fad or
novelty and that they would be incorporated into all areas of
music. Consequently, I had to become a computer programmer as
well as a drummer. Becoming at least somewhat computer literate
not only helped me in studio work but was also an enormous help
in developing my songwriting and production abilities over the
next few years. From 1985 through 1990 I was almost totally involved
in recording as a player, singer, writer, and producer. The only
exception was a short tour to Japan with Richard Carpenter in
1989. But other than that, I stayed in L.A. and concentrated on
expanding my talents and abilities in other areas of music including
some video production and direction.
In the summer of 1991 I got an opportunity to tour and record
with Dan Fogelberg. After the previous five years, the gypsy in
me was more than ready to start touring again. Because Dan usually
goes out on tour only once or twice a year, it was, once again,
easy for me to balance touring with session work and other projects
I was involved in.
That brings us to '96'. I had just released "Double
Platinum Drums", my first CD rom of drum samples
and loops, I'd started working on a recording project for the
NBA and was waiting to get a phone call from Dan Fogelberg regarding
a possible tour. Well, I got a phone call but it wasn't from Dan.
It was from a man named Selwyn Miller, who very politely informed
me that he was representing, guess who? That's right, DAVID GATES!
And that became the beginning of an extensive two year world tour
to celebrate the group's twenty-fifth anniversary.
After completing the world tour with BREAD, I began diligently
working on my first solo CD effort, "Adults
Only". Although it took quite a while to complete,
it's now finally available and I couldn't be happier or more satisfied
with the results. I had the invaluable help of some of the best
musicians and engineers around and they were indispensable in
helping me turn my musical vision into a reality. The whole "Adults
Only" CD project became a wonderful personal
experience and a genuine labor of love. I hope you enjoy it as
This was followed by the great 'Na Kama Hele' (the Travelers)
"Slack Key"project which was just plain fun. The original
members of the 'Travelers 3' reunited along with Rick Cunha to
record two CD's, "Ki Ho `Alu Journey"
and "The One They Call Hawaii". They're
a collection of some of the great classic songs of Hawaii done
in the traditional style of "Slack Key" guitar. You
can check out both CD's while sipping your Mai-Tai at www.nakamahele.com.
I've most recently been back working with Dan Fogelberg again
and having a great time. Dan has always put together excellent
bands and this last one was one of the best. We completed an extensive
U.S. tour during the summer of '03 which I later chronicled in
my tour journal. A couple of months
later the tour was followed by a special taped "live"
performance with Dan and the band for the Chicago based PBS music