Though country fans throughout the Midwest known Ryan Necci as the singer and founding member of Buffalo Gospel, the bandleader actually got his start as a percussionist. While growing up in the improbably-named town of Ixonia, Wisconsin, Necci first got behind a drum kit in middle school to play with a group called The Flying Monkeys, before spending his high school years covering Limp Bizkit (and writing some regrettable originals) with a band called Bangkok. From there, he spent some time with a popular western Wisconsin jam band called Fat Maw Rooney, which is where he started to sing and write songs of his own—thus paving the way for him to take center stage with a project that became Buffalo Gospel.

Between tours and during a day off from his new career as a professional songwriter, Necci met My First Band host Tyler Maas at Milwaukee Record headquarters. There, they talked about Necci’s percussive past, buying a band bong with the money from his first paying gig, touring the jam band circuit in his 20s, the unlikely beginnings of Buffalo Gospel, and how music helped him work through the grief of losing one of his best friends and bandmates. Oh, Maas and Necci also talked about going to a Golden Girls-themed drag show together.

My First Band is sponsored by Boulevard Brewing and is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. Music used in this show comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”), Fat Maw Rooney (“River Love Blues”), and Buffalo Gospel (“High Time To Hang Fire”).