Reverb Revisitations: John Fate is a Pathmaker of 2011 - Reverb

Reverb Revisitations: John Fate is a Pathmaker of 2011

Indie-rock drummer and audio engineer John Fate is a Pathmaker for 2011. Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post.

Indie-rock drummer and audio engineer John Fate is a Pathmaker for 2011. Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post.

With the economy still a wreck, the word “musician” will no doubt continue to be synonymous with “barista” or “waiter” in 2011. So how great does John Fate feel making a living in music?

“It feels like nothing else, man,” Fate said. He gets it.

Music dominates everything Fate does, from the tattoos that cover his arms and torso (mostly Clash lyrics and rock iconography) to his last name (an acronym taken from the name of one of his first bands). His primary goal in music is simple: to make people sound good.

He’s the drummer for two of Denver’s most exciting indie rock acts, Hindershot, and Jim McTurnan and the Kids that Killed the Man. And while he’s not much of a songwriter, he supports those he believes in with his time and passion. And that leads into his paying gig in music … and musical theater.

Fate, who will graduate from the University of Colorado at Denver in May with an audio engineering degree, works the board at the Littleton Town Hall Arts Center, where he has run sound for the past two musicals (edgy “Rent” and traditional “White Christmas”) and is on deck for the next production, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

“With the amount of talent that’s out there on the theater’s stage, it’s an honor to be able to turn up their talent,” Fate said. “I’m just a rock ‘n’ roll drummer, and that’s it. But these people are singing and dancing and I’m enhancing what they’re doing.”

Fate owes his current happiness to his past, which included three years of nonstop touring with Florida-based hardcore bands Five Across the Eyes (F.A.T.E., get it?) and Twenty Four Hours to Live. After ruining himself on off-balance PAs and a Taco Bell diet, Fate’s parents persuaded him to give college a try. And with that, he moved to Denver, rented an apartment a couple blocks from Denver rock hub the Hi-Dive from his grandmother — who remains one of his greatest inspirations — and enrolled at UCD.

“The whole reason I got into the music program was because it was the closest thing I could find to drumming — and I’ve always wanted drumming, or just being in a band, to be my job,” said Fate. “We know that that doesn’t pan out most of the time, so this is the second-best thing for me.”

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Ricardo Baca is the founder and co-editor of Reverb and an award-winning critic and journalist at The Denver Post.

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