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The Metaphysical Experience of Making Music:
A Glimpse at the Journey of Dave Laczko


Dave Laczko is that vital spice that makes the sauce complete. He’s that kick, that surprise, that part of the experience that makes it unforgettable.

It was Bill Austin of Tower Records who knew that Oteri and Laczko had to meet. You know the feeling? You meet someone and at some point while they’re talking or doing whatever they do you just know they’ve got to get together with another friend of yours. It’s exciting. It’s even more exciting when you get to see how right you were. In the case of Oteri and Laczko, it was a meeting that lead to endless creativity, success, travel, and musical adventure because Willie Oteri + Dave Laczko = WD-41.

Dave Laczko on Trumpet I asked Oteri, “What’s it like working with Dave Laczko?” I can picture the smile on Oteri’s face when he answered, “Dave has a super great ear and sense of timing and is open minded about style and genre. Great sense of humor too. We spend about a third of our rehearsal time joking about TV shows, movies and life in general.” Laczko was easy to work with. He had enthralled himself in music for every decade of his life, had played in Swing bands, and had been the Jazz radio DJ. Working with Laczko was a natural no-brainer to Oteri, but Laczko himself never imagined he would ever be touring the world with Willie Oteri, “I considered his musicianship on a different level than mine so I never imagined we might play together….I never thought I’d ever travel to Italy or Germany, let alone play music there!  Those trips blew my mind and I met some of his friends in those countries and now they are my friends too!”

It wasn’t long before the two musicians got together to jam as a duo of guitar and trumpet. As Oteri tells it, “After the first try I knew we had something.” Laczko describes working with Oteri as nearing a telepathic experience, “9.99 out of 10 times we play and it doesn’t matter if it’s a gig or a rehearsal.  We both learned to play our instruments by ear and I think that makes a good combination.  We both know how to listen.  The shared philosophy we have about the professional aspects of music makes a huge difference on stage too.”

It’s impossible to have a conversation with Laczko about music without getting goosebumps listening to the way he experiences playing. He told me, “…what it’s like when the music is playing and you’re not there, just the music playing through you, when the groove is so irresistible that you just play without thinking about it.  I love that.” It’s the kind of experience that removes our illusory sense of time, the thing that visual artists and other professionals like myself refer to as Flow. “I love being called a musician,” says Laczko, “I always wanted to be one, to be able to express things musically that I didn’t have words for.” When Laczko describes his experience with music he shares a metaphysical experience, he talks about how he loves listening to musicians listening, “ You hear someone play something that catches you and it makes you laugh.” he says, “I love playing better than the last time I played.”  

His adoration of playing music is akin to the greatest experiences of making visual art, and likely—doing so many other things that people do with the whole of their intent. It’s the kind of experience that delivers that deep and mysterious, wonderful, sense of meaning and joy.

I asked Laczko about some of his most intense and favorite moments with music. One of his answers (which went over my head) was, “learning to play a walking bass line”. If you can relate I’m sure he and the other musicians reading this would love to hear your comments below.


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