A little about me:
I was born in Queens, New York, and grew up in Bay Shore, a relatively small, quiet town on the south shore of Long Island.
I remember being fascinated with music and instruments at an early age; staring with wide-eyed wonder when someone would strum a guitar, hammer away at a piano, or bring the rhythm on the drums. It was magic to me.
Like many kids, I joined the high school band in middle school, playing the clarinet. Can’t say it was all that inspiring to play. But at least it started me with a little bit of knowledge of music and music theory. But a little knowledge can be dangerous, they say…..
In early high school, I wound up befriending a couple guys who happened to be guitar players. And once I heard the sound of an electric guitar plugged into an overdriven amp, I was hooked.
But I knew there had to be a starting point, and I had never really played guitar before. So I convinced my folks to shell out maybe $75 for an acoustic guitar, and made the proclamation that I did NOT want to take guitar lessons. I wanted to noodle on it. I wanted to do my own thing; to learn what I wanted, how I wanted. If I had some dude show me how to play “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and then critique it, I would have flipped. That kind of thing wasn’t for me. I was into rock and metal music, and”Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” was far from metal…..plus, I felt as though I could just do it on my own, and that the learning process would be far more enjoyable….and isn’t that what it’s all about, anyway?
On a side note, I should admit that I originally wanted to play the bass. Most likely that disposition was peer-based, being that a couple of my friends already played guitar, and bands need bass players….you get the idea. It was my father who steered me toward the guitar instead, with the very basic argument that the bass is not really a “solo” instrument. That a person can play guitar and entertain people, but with the bass that’s not really possible. Now artists such as Les Claypool, Michael Manring, and Victor Wooten would probably disagree, but I will begrudgingly cave and say that yeah….he was right.
So I set out on a mission to see what I could do with the guitar (still wishing it was a bass, but so be it….). All the while knowing that this was about having fun. And if I ever got frustrated beyond the point of fun, I’d probably put the thing down. But an interesting thing happened: I found that I really have an ear for the instrument, and music in general.
At this time, I was working as a page at my local library, and came across a fairly large collection of songbooks – some with songs I actually wanted to learn, like Van Halen and a few others. And these song books had little chord diagrams in them. Like this one (C major):
So reading music (which I can do, but veerrrrrrryyyy slowwwwwwwwly) wasn’t necessary. And it didn’t take much time to start to recognize the voicings of the more common chords. Add to that the “power chord” that my buddies showed me (which is the basis for just about all rock and metal music) and I was well on my way.
I continued to develop my ear as well, which I believe is the MOST important thing in music. If your ears can hear it, eventually you can make your muscles play it. But hearing it is the most important factor. I’ve known lots of great technical players who still couldn’t hear that their guitar was a few ticks out of tune. Again, the ear is really the key.
My repertoire of songs grew – I wrote a few, but mostly learned tunes that I and my buddies loved and could sit around and sing while knocking back a few beers. Lots of Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Collective Soul, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd….those genres. Most of which I just figured out how to play by listening to them. That pesky ear again…..
Sometime in my early 20′s, and with maybe 25 or 30 acoustic songs (mostly cover songs) under my belt, I played my first solo acoustic show at a little bar in Bay Shore called (at the time) Parrotheads. One of my roommates was the manager, and I played for free. On a Monday night. But the owner of the place was there, and really liked what I was doing, so he hired me to come play a “real” gig that Friday. The gig went well, and that began a stint playing Friday nights – mostly during summers – at Parrotheads, and I even stayed on as the ownership changed hands and the bar was renamed The Golden Leaf.
Fast forward several years to 2004…..hating the New York winters, my wife (now ex) and I decide to ship out to Arizona. Played for a about a year at a local watering hole called Sluggo’s (now defunct and in it’s 4th iteration as yet another sports bar – who can keep track…..). Around 2010 Skully (good friend and lead guitarist in my rock/metal project, Cobalt Fall – and an Arizona native) brought me into this little wine bar in Gilbert, Arizona that has live music on weekends, and it was a perfect fit. DownUnder Wines and Bistro is now a regular, twice-a-month gig for me, and it’s like hanging with family. If you’re ever in the Phoenix area, please stop in!
Through my shows at DownUnder I’ve made some great contacts in the local scene, and have booked several other venues through a great network of acoustic acts and solo artists. My schedule is filling up…..
Which is where we’re at today. I pick up other local shows and of course I’m always available for private parties, bars, clubs, weddings, etc. So feel free to email me if you’d like to discuss your acoustic needs!
Rock on, everyone! \m/ (><) \m/