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The Past...

The year was 1974 and the song was "Black Dog" by Led Zepplin. I didn't know what Jimmy Page was doing to make that guitar sound like it did, but I wanted to be able to do that.  My parents bought me my first electric guitar, an Alex (cheap Strat copy) and my first amp, a Gibson G-10. My father had taught me some of the basic, open position root chords. I wasn't even using a pick. I was just having fun making noise. I tried to emulate the Zepplin song. I had no idea how to do this and was bending strings where I should have been fretting successive notes and vise versa. Then came Black Sabbath with Sabbath bloody Sabbath and its songs like Spiral Architect. Funny thing about my introduction to Black Sabbath was that it came from a friend that was the son of the local Pastor!

Anyway, I doodled around making noises with my guitar for the next 2 years or so. Then, I stumbled upon the "power" chords and was copying everything Black and Led that I could. Myopic. If I wasn't out riding my dirt bike, I was riding the fret board.

It was 1976. I had just graduated high school at the tender age of 16 (I got my credits in and got my early parole!) and was off to college. Sixteen years old and a freshman at Ohio State with a guitar and an amp. Look out! I was introduced to many other guitarists who began jamming with me, trading riffs and fuzz boxes. Oh, I think it would be so cool to have all of those old fuzz boxes now in my collection!

By 1979, I'd picked up a lot, including some very bad, non-musical habits. It was all about the guitar and very little about anything else. I dropped out of college and picked up a crappy day job. I started jamming with other musicians and we began assembling song lists. The first garage band, Max McGraw, stepped out into the light and began performing anywhere for nothing. Pool parties and such. I began the never ending process of buying, selling, trading and collecting guitars and equipment. That train never stops.

In 1981 and '82 I was playing in my very first, semi-professionally paid band, Dionysis, playing the biker bars. I'd been 'getting around the block' so to speak and knew quite a few musicians by '82. I was recruited by another, more prestigious band that year. That particular group, Palantir, ended up playing together for 4 or 5 years total, but this go-around was a 2 or 3 year stint. We had our heads way up our asses and assembled play lists of only the songs that we wanted to play. Stupid. We rammed crappy, overwritten originals down the throats of the audience. It was all about big hair and spandex. We were getting big gigs in big venues, such as The Ohio State Fair. We were "touring" around in a tri-state area. We played almost every weekend and moved a very large PA (a.k.a., the wall) around with us as we went. I had a giant wall of PA equipment. Thousands of watts. Finally, the drummer, Randy Hollen, quit and the band split.

The bass player, keyboard player and myself found a new drummer. Actually, he was the drummer from my 1979-80 garage band, Van. Really, his name was Harold Vanus Schraeder, but he was known as Van. Great drummer! As far as I know, like me, he had no idea, musically speaking, what he was doing. He just did it. We found a new vocalist. This new band, Escape, tried a little harder to play more top-40 material. Van lasted about one year in that band before he got an opportunity to play for another local group that was making more money. So, we recruited Randy Hollen (the drummer from the previous band, Palantir). That particular line-up lasted from '85 through '87.

On the side, I'd also hooked up with the best vocalist in town, Frank, and began what would turn out to be a very long, 5 year collaboration to write and record original material and market it to the big record labels. It was Frank, Randy and myself in the studio. We really had some awesome recordings with some big name people (such as David Sanborn) performing on some of our demos. That was also a long, painful lesson in the real frustrations of the music industry.

In 1988, we were back to the singer, Ron and the bass player, Marty from Palantir, along with two brothers, Mike Gainey on drums and Mark Gainey on guitar/keys. The band was named Witness. The formula was semi-successful for us. We played weekends and made a few dollars. We were still lugging around "the wall".

In 1989, we were back to the line-up of the original Palantir. Everyone had matured enough to know it was no longer spandex and originals. For this go-around, we would be a cover band in jeans and T-shirts. This version of the band was named Signals and worked well for the next year. We went in with the goal of just playing together for a year. We did just that and played every weekend. After the year was up, as agreed, we called it.

Then, I took off a couple of years to clean my act up, drop my bad habits and finish my second degree. During this time, I had a few "projects" going on in the basements. I spent most of the time concentrating on the recording efforts of my collaboration with Frank and Randy. We kept getting the stories form the record execs that the material was good...they just wanted to hear another demo. Whatever.

In 1992, I was recruited into a very well established/respected/paid band, Second Nature, that really had its act together. No drugs. No alcohol. Just a very professional attitude that paid off quite well. All top-40. No originals. We were playing some high society parties, high school proms, weddings and the brewery district yuppie bars. Good money. That band was a lot of fun. The singer and I were the two most steady musicians in the band while the other members were pulled in on an as-needed basis. We had several different bass players, keyboard players and drummers that stayed in the band for varying lengths of time. We were well enough established and paid that we could always call in real musicians to fill in on a moments notice if any other member wasn't able to make a gig or had just decided to move on.

In 1995, I decided to relocate to Austin, TX. I'd had enough of OH and since you only live once (but if you do it right, once is enough) it was time for me to move to a climate that allowed me to do more of what I really enjoyed, which, of course, was mountainbiking. It was tough to leave the band.

But that wasn't the end of my music. I had become inspired to write my own music, so I traded "the wall" for all of the recording gear that I needed and I've been recording ever since getting here to TX. I have about 5 albums of songs done now. These are complete productions.

The first 15 or so had keyboard and drum parts composed on Korg M1 sequencer, with all of the vocals, guitars and bass parts finished and mixed down through the use of a Tascam multi-track recorder (tape - "old school" technology these days). Those were all written in a very "pop" music style where I'm going for a "hook" and something catchy. There are really no pyro-technics or what I prefer to call 'musical-masturbation'. None of that, "Hey! Look at me! All these notes; so little time!" I mean, that would be fine if it was tasteful like Pat Metheny or Eric Johnson, but even that doesn't really fit into pop music.

The Present...

Now, the tunes are all being written for mountain biking videos. These are all instrumental tunes in a very wide variety of styles. I used a wav loop program to create these. All of the music was done with samples that were sampled directly to my PC through a software package called FruityLoops and a wave editor for capturing my guitar. Amazing!

I really have no misconceptions about where this music is going. I spent enough time in the music industry to know better than to believe that anyone would buy it! If you want to have a listen, I put some of the biking videos out on youtube.com. There are links to those videos in the "Mountain Biking" tab above.

So, here I am, many years later, recording my own music in my own studio and managing QA Departments for a software companies.