contemporary acoustic and electric guitarist
Contemporary American Folk Music

 

ABOUT ME


I was born in southeast Kansas, Ft. Scott, to be exact. Spent most of my first 20 years down the road in Pittsburg. One grandfather was a judge, the other was a candy maker. The latter and I used to sit together and eat raw onions. The judge's father ran the trading post in Shawnee Mission, Kansas, before it was shopping malls. I grew up hearing Hank Williams, Ray Conniff, Lawrence Welk, Tchaikovsky, WLS radio from Chicago (Beatles, Yardbirds, Bonzo Dog Band, Buckinghams, Animals!!), and. . . late night radio from Texas/Mexico way. I toured Europe in 1965 with the School Band of America. Most of the other clarinet players came back from Paris with nice new Buffet clarinets. I came back with a Hofner Beatle bass and a Framus guitar that I later sold to my girlfriend's brother for $25. I had once broken the neck off in a fit of frustration and rage. It was repaired, and the little brother grew up to be the bass player in a big name L.A. punk band. Ain't life grand?

Lasting impressions:

I was maybe 10 years old, on family vacation in Oklahoma. I wandered up to the swimming pool to find out what the otherworldly sound was. The pool was unpopulated; Elvis was singing "Don't be Cruel" through the big fiberglass outdoor speakers. Strange and great.

Sitting in a shaft of sunlight in my parents' living room watching dust motes wander through the air. "Happenings Ten Year's Time Ago" by the Yardbirds was bouncing around the room from the radio. Fantastic.

We were out on someone's back porch in the summer, lots of people around, stereo playing the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows." Like a freight train. Amazing and disorienting.

Well, I could go on, but enough about that.

I started out doing folky stuff with acoustic guitar (Kingston Trio, PP&M, etc.), then rock bands playing tenor sax and bass. Wish I still had my '62 Precision bass and my blackface piggyback Bassman amp--great guitar amp. But it's ok. Wonder where they are?

Played guitars in bars and bars in lots of bands with some great people, recorded and shared the stage with some terrific players and writers, and learned a lot on the way. I suppose it never ends, eh?

A word or two about visual art. I've been photographing and drawing most of this time, and particularly like these people's work:

Robert Frank, Tony Ray-Jones, Manuel Alvarez-Bravo, Helen Levitt, Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier-Bresson (around 1933, in my humble opinion), Roy DeCarava. They are all great photographers.

Saul Steinberg, William Steig, Edward Hopper, Milton Avery. . . I could go on all day.