University professors by day

6-10-Q-and-ABy Rae Arnett
Staff writer
rarnett@pntonline.com

Neil Rutland is the drums and percussion player for the Blackwater Draw Boys.
The band is comprised of professors at Eastern New Mexico University.

Other band members include Travis Erwin, Roger Gatchet, John Barr, Ed Avila, and Richard Schwartz. They teach in Digital Film Making, Com-munication, Music, and English departments.

How did the Blackwater Draw Boys form?
I actually did not start with the band. Travis (Erwin), John Barr, and Roger Gatchet had been getting together to jam and then they wanted to play more events so Travis asked me to join and play the drums.

How long have you been playing the drums?
I teach percussion at ENMU so the best answer would be all my life. I was in junior high band and I was attracted to percussion from the beginning.

What is your favorite performance you have done with the Blackwater Draw Boys?
Travis and I have played together for 10 to 12 years. We played pop, rock ‘n’ roll, and jazz. I would not pick a favorite performance. We are all good friends and it is really good and fun to play with good friends.

When did you become interested in blues and jazz?
As a professional musician I play whatever people pay me to play, but jazz and blues have always been fun. The audience usually gets into it.

How many events do you usually play a year?
It varies. At our busiest we play three jobs a month. Usually we only play around one every other month. We all have families and professional lives. Right now we are pretty busy since it is the summer.

Were you in any other bands?
I was not in many established bands. I was in a jazz band at ENMU, the High Winds Quintad. Mostly I have played with pick-up groups.

Who are your favorite groups and artists to cover?
Travis and I will lean toward jazz. Miles Davis is one tune that comes to mind that we play pretty often. Roger knows all about blues, he is really passionate about it. We also play pop and rock oldies, like The Beatles, because it is just something everyone knows and loves.