I was born in a small town in the "show me" state
of Missouri. But New Orleans, Louisiana has been my home since I was a small
Growing up in my parents' home I was exposed mainly to blues,
soul, Motown, and R&B. And then in my mid teens I discovered rock-n-roll
music by accident. One day as I flipped through the channels on an AM radio,
I heard Deep Purple's song "Smoke On The Water" for the first time
on the legendary "Beaker Street" program on KAAY 1090, a high-powered
AM-radio station broadcasting from Little Rock, Arkansas. This was a watershed
moment for me. Something about that song struck a real chord with me. I was
suddenly drawn into listening to more and more rock-n-roll music, such as Led
Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, etc. It wasn't long before I was a complete rock-n-roll
I bought my first guitar, which was a cheap electric guitar,
and dove into teaching myself how to play. Then one day as I walked passed a
local poster shop, I saw a poster of a guitar player who I had not yet heard
of. The poster was of Jimi Hendrix
and the caption read "The late great Jimi Hendrix". I didn't know
who Hendrix was, but I did know that that picture of him with that upside-down
Fender Stratocaster guitar was the coolest thing I'd seen in my life. I immediately
went out and bought one of his albums and got totally into the Hendrix mystique.
But I stayed away from learning Jimi's music or anybody else's at that time.
I'd been playing guitar for only 6 months at that time; but
I just had to have that upside-down Stratocaster look. So I went to a few local
music stores to try to find a left-handed Stratocaster so that I could flip
it over to right-handed, which I am. None of the music stores had the lefty
Stratocaster and would have had to order it. But being young and impulsive,
I did not want to wait long to get the Jimi look that I wanted. So I bought
a right-handed Stratocaster, flipped it over to left-handed, and have been playing
guitar left-handed ever since. That was many long years ago.
Over the years I have alternated between taking music slightly
seriously and at other times just flat out goofing off with it. Now that I'm
a lot older, I've come full circle and now take my music very seriously. But
for many years I had a bad gambling habit and there were times where I'd go
months without even touching my guitar. To overcome gambling took mammoth willpower
on my part. I call this Phase 1 to musical enlightenment - you can't have vices,
such as gambling, that consume every free moment if you're serious about music.
Though I've always been blessed with many creative juices,
I've always had a "tin" ear when it came to hearing music. Even though
I was in the know as to all the musical intervals that make up popular music,
I could not readily hear and pick them out in actual music. What this means
for those who don't know, is that I had real problems playing music spontaneously
with other musicians. I just could not follow the flow of the music fast enough
for improvisation. About three years ago I gradually grew into the routine of
listening to a song on the radio, then after the song would end, I'd keep humming
the bassline of the melody to myself and try to analyze the musical intervals.
To my surprise I got pretty good at doing this in just a few weeks. I started
analyzing what all the instruments where doing in a song. I continue this routine
still today, and now I have a pretty good musical ear, though not as sharp as
the musicians who've had the sharp ears all their life. But my musical hearing
is getting stronger everyday. Phase 2 to musical enlightenment - to be a good
musician you must have a good, if not great, musical ear.
As I said before, I've been blessed with a creative spark when
it comes to music. I've always been able to write fairly unique melodies and
songs. But, and this is huge for a man who always wanted to be called a lead
guitar player, for years I was a minimalist at best when it came to playing
guitar solos, and there was no real passion and power in my playing. But about
five or six years ago I started really learning the songs of my heroes such
as Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Robert Cray because I started a power trio
cover band. And through learning those guys' lead guitar licks and rhythm playing,
the passion and power started creeping into my lead and rhythm guitar playing
as well. I think that now the passion and power can be prominently heard in
my music. But you listeners out there are the ultimate judges of this. Phase
3 to musical enlightenment - there is always a value to learning from those
who came before you.
At the present time I am a solo artist. I'll tell you why.
I started taking music more seriously when I started my rock-n-roll power trio
cover band about five or six years ago. From the start I hooked up with a great
drummer who fit perfectly with what I wanted to do. But I had major problems
with bass guitar players. It became a revolving door of bass players. There
was the bass player who, at rehearsals, would rather argue about bible and religion
than practice. Another one who would stop playing mid-song because he felt his
bass guitar was actually talking to him; and this same guy would spray mosquito
repellent as air freshener in the rehearsal studio. It turns out that he was
crazy and on medication to keep him in check. Then there was the string of bass
players who wanted to totally change what I wanted to do musically, and the
ones who were professionals and were looking for bands that were already making
money from gigs. Since they made their living from music, they wouldn't stay
even when they really grooved with the drummer and myself.
With all the bass player problems my power trio only gigged
three or four times in three whole years. The drummer finally called it quits.
I found another dynamic drummer. But the problems with bass players continued,
and after a year my second drummer moved on.
So I decided to fly solo. And in doing so I was able to complete
and release my first CD, "Songs From The Index Of Fools" as a result.
With all the bass player problems, my power trio just never could get to that
point. So for me I'm at a great point in my new found musical quest.