Eddie Metz, Jr
Eddie Metz, Jr. got his first pair of drumsticks when he was just 3 years old. Although he didn’t have any drums at the time, little Eddie spent countless hours playing what he now refers to as his P, P and P (pots, pans and pillows) set. “Mom says I set them up on the floor like a regular drum set and played along with a bunch of Dad’s records,” he says.
Eddie Metz, Jr. – The Early Years
By the time he was 9, Eddie had a real drum set, and at age 12 he got his first professional jobs, playing occasionally with a band his dad played piano in. When he was 15, Eddie was “doing jobs without Dad there, which made Mom pretty nervous.”
Throughout high school Eddie was, by his own admission, “a music geek,” playing in his school’s marching, concert, symphonic, and jazz bands. Most of that time, he also had a regular Friday and Saturday evening job playing with a dance band at a supper club for $75 a night. “That kinda got me hooked,” Eddie says. “I thought, ‘Wow. Here I am getting 75 bucks a night and I haven’t even gone to college!’”
But go to college he did, at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, majoring in business. “Dad thought I ought to have a regular job after I finished college and just play music as an avocation the way he had,” Eddie explains.
After three years of marginal academic performance while he continued to play drums any time he could, Eddie dropped out of college and took a construction job. But eight months later he returned to Eastern Michigan U. as a music education major and compiled a straight-A average. Although music clearly was Eddie’s niche, the idea of teaching just didn’t appeal to him and he left the university again. This time, it was for his first full-time job as a professional musician, working seven nights a week at the Grand Hotel on Michigan’s Mackinac Island.
When the island and hotel closed for the winter, Eddie enrolled in the highly acclaimed jazz program at New Jersey’s William Patterson University. His tenure there was interrupted for a semester and a half while he traveled with the Count Basie Orchestra (after the Count himself had personally called to offer him the job), but Eddie left William Patterson in 1984 with a degree in jazz studies and performance.
A year and a half later, he moved to Orlando where his rock-solid time and swinging approach to music soon made him a highly sought-after drummer. Within a year of landing in Orlando, Eddie was a full-time musician at Walt Disney World. That job lasted 14 years, until live music became almost totally a thing of the past at Disney facilities. Since then, Eddie has had little trouble finding work. As a freelance musician he’s in demand for all sorts of gigs including festivals, cruises, recording sessions, and occasional jobs at Disney.
During his impressive career, Eddie has toured with many well-known bands and orchestras including those of both Dorsey brothers, Les Brown, and Les and Larry Elgart. The lengthy list of entertainers he’s worked with includes jazz giants Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Williams; such popular singing groups as The Mamas and The Papas, The Platters, and The Shirelles; and many other celebrities including Bob Hope, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Steve Allen.
Although Eddie Metz, Jr. didn’t join the BACJB until 2008, he was no stranger to his fellow band members. He first played with Bill Allred as a high school student in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Bill was there to do a recording with a Detroit-area trombonist, and Eddie’s father had been hired to back them up on piano, together with a drummer from Detroit. “The drummer didn’t show,” Eddie explains, “so Dad threw my drums in the car, pulled me out of class, and told me we were gonna do a record with these guys.”
In 1997, Eddie Metz, Jr and his dad recorded a father-and-son(s) album entitled Side By Side with Bill and John Allred, Warren Vaché, and Warren’s two sons Allan and Warren, Jr. By the time he joined the BACJB, Eddie had also been the drummer on all but one of John Allred’s recordings, Bobby Pickwood’s solo album, the Terry Myers Orchestra’s Tribute to Benny Goodman album, and more than a dozen other recordings produced by Charlie Bertini and/or that also include Charlie, John Allred, Terry Myers, or two of the three of them. Eddie had also performed live with one or more BACJB musicians more times than any of them can remember. Many of those gigs were with the Terry Myers Orchestra, which Eddie has been keeping time for almost ever since Terry put the ensemble together in 1994.