What was it like growing up in New Jersey?
We lived in a nice neighborhood and new quite a few of our neighbors. In fact, I used to baby sit for some kids across the street when I wasn't out getting into trouble with band mates or girls. It was pretty safe to go all over on bikes, or get rides and go to rural areas or city. When I wasn't rehearsing with a band, I was usually hanging around downtown with friends. There was at times civil unrest and riots in the neighboring town, that my girlfriend and I remember hearing gunshots on the way to her house.
What inspired you to get into music?
I think it was an escape for me as was art also but the music allowed me to meet girls and be a part of a group of musicians that I identified with more than anyone in school. I would lock myself in my room for hours listening to John Lee Hooker and John Mayall records, and play harmonica along with the songs.
You play many instruments. Did you take lessons for all, or are you self taught?
My first instrument in school and in marching band was trombone. I got an acoustic guitar later, but that was an on and off love hate relationship then. I took lessons to play classical for a very short time. Harmonica was an early on, self taught obsession, as was the flute also. I am self taught on piano also. I took voice lessons from Ray Gold, who was an amazing vocal teacher and piano player. He actually recorded music for player piano rolls in his day. He is also the one who turned me on to vocal excersises that I would play on a reel to reel in my room for hours each day. My brothers would tease me doing them, but I wanted so badly to sing well. Paul Rodgers was also a big influence of mine as a singer.
At what age did you release your first professional song?
I think that's a bit of a trick question because when I was about nineteen I was working with a band called "Skate" with guitarist Burt Conrad, and we were recording at Record Plant Studios in NYC. I was going to art school on 23rd St. It was the same time that John Lennon and Yoko Uno were putting the strings on "Imagine." Lou Reed was also recording there. We recorded a few songs but they were never released. There was no internet then, and we were not picked up by a record company. So, I would have to say the first would be my debut EP with "Chase Me Down" and "Rivers Run" on it, just a few years ago.
Do you currently live in Cali?
My wife and I just moved back to Oregon from San Diego, CA. a few months ago and just recently bought a house here.
What is the music scene like in San Diego? Is it over-saturated?
I was playing a lot there as a solo, but since we lived in a condo, I didn't feel I could start a band which is what I will do here, now that we have a house to work in. San Diego has a tremendous amount of excellent singer/songwriters and a lot of places to play. I think they cater to the younger players more. I feel that it is a lot harder for someone to get back into the scene, especially when you are older but I was happy getting to play all the places I did play.
Do you like the path the industry has gone, compared to when you first started out?
I think it would have been easier to go somewhere with the music back when I was in my twenties, but I was not writing complete songs then. I was mostly singing and playing harmonica. There are advantages now though because there are so many ways to present yourself as an artist, and many marketing tools that are relativly easy to access.
Do you play live often?
In San Diego I was playing out once or twice a week at times. Here in Oregon I have to reestablish connections and go out and meet people. My wife and I have been going to venues, introducing myself and dropping off promo packs. I also try to play at open mics as often as possible. These are the things I did to get playing around San Diego. My wife Shannon has been an amazing promoter and inspiration for my music career.
Tell us about your latest project.
I have two new CD's that we recorded in San Diego at Track Star Studios before we moved here to Salem and my wife is working on the graphics, as she is a graphic designer. We are hoping to release one in the next few months. I also have been recording originals in my home studio. I'm working out arrangements and production elements
What can we expect from you in the future?
Hopefully I can put together a good band to play my originals and some covers. I also would like to assemble a more blues style band project, to play that genre. So I will be looking for players on keyboards, bass, drums, percussion etc. I am not opposed to joining a project as an electric guitar player because I play lead, rhythm and slide. Ultimately I would love to tour with my songs.
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