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Sean T Lane seated at a drum kit


can be hard to qualify especially when it so often comes double-edged. Somewhere in the dust of Central California, an old Ford Taurus was left to bleach in the summer sun. To the boy who found that car on an errant bike ride, it may as well have been sat squarely beneath a rainbow. 


Doors ajar, trunk open, he rifled through it as any tween staving off boredom would do. In it he found not gold, but bronze high hat cymbals, tucked under the refuse in the trunk. 


Sean T. Lane was a child who couldn’t keep still. Always tapping, always moving, and always had a rhythm in his body that needed to get out. This was finally channeled into a homemade drum kit when some friends decided to start a band. 


Born the son of a little-known songwriter and stained-glass glazier, money was scarce and if he wanted something, he had to make it himself. Not unlike a young Leo Fender with his penchant for tearing radios apart, Sean religiously studied drum brochures and built his first kit with whatever was on hand in their tiny Atascadero home. 


A coffee can filled with marbles for the snare, an arrow through the center of a music stand to work his high hats, a kick pedal he fashioned himself out of wood - he spent countless hours trying to replicate the sounds and patterns he heard on records. 


By the time he could finally afford a used kit, he’d already taught himself to play the drums. In them, he found a freedom of expression and learning that was unavailable to him in school. Time, space, sound, and rhythm - elements that could be felt and intuited made far more sense.


While friends grew up and graduated to institutions of higher learning, Sean cut out for the Mecca of some of his favorite bands, Seattle. He worked in various drum shops and studios as a drum tech helping artists and producers manifest the sounds they heard in their heads.


In those early days tucked away in the mist of the Pacific Northwest, he met friend and mentor Gregg Keplinger. Gregg had been a long-time drum tech and snare drum builder for some of Lane’s idols, but most importantly he was a sonic madman. Cut from the same celestial cloth, he obsessed over sound and tonality. Contact mics and effects pedals made steel sing in unusual ways and the two formed a fast friendship over their shared niche interest. 


Eventually, those studio tech gigs turned into sessions where Sean was invited to play drums and often came with his signature instrument “The Bike” in tow. The bike is aptly named as a host of bells (a gift from Keplinger), rods and wheels have been fastened atop a bicycle frame. Not only can it be percussive, it features a string that’s bowed and modulated with pedals.


It creates sounds that can lull one to sleep or send them right out of their skin. A metal shiva. A creator and destroyer of worlds. An instrument that requires one to react intuitively in the moment, from the very moment you touch it as there are no notes to fret or theory to guide the way to safety. No rules. Just a conduit for human emotion. 

While several artists and musicians have requested Sean to craft instruments for their projects, he has not parted with any of his personal creations. However, the bike has left its mark on various records by artists such as Ann Wilson of Heart. This instrument stands as a workhorse among the hundreds in his collection, each at his disposal for recording sessions.


Sean's craftsmanship extends beyond his personal projects; his work has been prominently featured on both records and live performances. Collaborating with a diverse range of artists, including Heart, Ann Wilson & Tripsitter, Pedro The Lion, David Bazan, Perfume Genius, Noah Gundersen, Yppah, SYML, and many others, his influence resonates across the music industry.


Describing Lane simply as a drummer might be an understatement. More than anything, he is a true creator, skillfully painting with the canvas of sound, tone, and texture. His unique perspective, enhanced by his synesthesia, allows him to visualize sound in vibrant colors, influencing his musical creation process. He takes immense joy in the transformative act of crafting something out of nothing, embracing the profoundly human quality of venturing into the void and emerging with art.


While the journey of any creative is often punctuated by times of difficulty, he undoubtedly feels gratitude for the path that guided him to the trunk of that old car in California.

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