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,
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,
Welk, Tchaikovsky, WLS
(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
and a Framus guitar that I later sold to my girlfriend's brother for $25.
I had once broken
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?
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.
I could go on, but enough about that.
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
piggyback Bassman amp--great guitar amp. But it's ok. Wonder where they
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
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.