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Hal Aponte - Drums & Percussion      

Hal began his musical career at age 13, literally banging away at the pots and pans. Soon after, he obtained a used drum set from a family friend, practiced for a summer, and promptly joined his first band.

Hal cut his chops on classic Stones, the Beatles, Zeppelin, etc..., playing birthday parties, clubs - anywhere and everywhere people would listen.

Eventually, "Stages" was formed - a rock trio that, in addition towriting and playing original progressive music, covered material from acts like like Triumph, Rush, and Yes. The band went on to play local clubs for years, garnering radio airplay as well as TV appearances.

When Stages disbanded, Hal jumped from band to band for a while, finally joining "The Lost Souls," a Queens-based prog-metal act in the Mercyful Fate, thrash-prog vein. The band's following grew, and eventually opened for the likes of Biohazard and Cursed Earth, some other notable local products.

In 1991, Hal joined Turbo Music recording artists "Cold Steel," a Long Island thrash band in the Testament-Anthrax mold. He was chosen to take over live shows and future recordings shortly after the band's debut album, "Freakboy," was released. After a year of writing and gigging, the band split, citing extreme musical differences as the reason.

During this period, Hal also decided to pursue original progressive music again.He auditioned for ICE AGE in 1993 - after hearing their demo for the first time, he knew he had to be part of the band:
"A band with monster guitar riffs and chops? Intricate and beautiful piano compositions? All wrapped up around rapid band-runs in odd-time? Home."

On the topic of early influences, Hal touches base on what really motivated him to persue a musical career:
"To me, the turning point of my life was listening to Rush's "Exit Stage Left" for the very first time - specifically, the extended drum solo on "YYZ." I just couldn't believe what I was hearing," Hal says. "I was completely blown away. Neil Peart, with his flawless execution and precision timing, will always be my main influence. He's the reason I'm playing today.

Others on my infinite list of influences would have to include Bill Bruford, Scott Rockenfield, John Bonham, Liberty Devito - the list really does go on forever.

"At this point in my life I've become a great fan of music and drumming. Since every drummer or percussionist is unique in style and level I believe we can learn something from everyone. I don't believe in someone being the best at anything. No matter what the subject, there is always someone better than you are. I think that we should all try to satisfy our own personal goals and dreams and feel that's what keeps everyone going."

While taking some time off to map out his next move, Hal joined "Run For Cover," a motown, R&B, funk band, which covered the classic tunes of Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Tower of Power, and B.B. King, among others. The band played all over the tri-state area, and went on to record a version of the Beatles' "Let It Be" for a compilation issued by Raven Records.

 

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