I was fortunate to be raised in a musical family. When I was 11 years old I started playing the drums. By the time I was 13, I got my first set and had the opportunity to join a drum corps for four years. I also played drums in school starting in the sixth grade and all through high school. This was a big part of my drumming education. I started teaching at the Dean Markley music store in Santa Clara, CA when I was sixteen and at nineteen I started to travel the U.S. playing in two different cover bands. After getting married, I needed to stay local so I came back to my hometown, Santa Clara, to teach at the Starving Musician music store when it opened in 1985. At that time I also joined a prominent South Bay band, “The Garcia Brothers Band” and played alongside my brother, Jerry Cortez, currently the guitar player with Tower of Power. I was endorsed by Tama drums as a clinician from 1982 to 1986. I’ve been involved in numerous recording sessions, including some radio and television commercials. I was a voting member for NARAS (Grammy Awards) from 1987 to 2003.
I love teaching and making it fun for my students in hopes that they will be excited about attending their next lesson. I teach all styles and all levels from beginning to advanced.
My biggest influences are David Garibaldi (Tower of Power) and Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience). I also love John Bonham, Dennis Chambers and many others that I will share with my students during their lessons.
My wife and I moved to Santa Rosa in 2015. Currently, I play drums twice a week in my church and I am excited to be on the staff at Stanroy Music Center thanks to Pat O’Connell.