Thank you for taking a moment to learn more about my journey. As a child of the ’60s, I like many kids, enjoyed listening to music on my 8-track or 45’s. However, unlike a lot of friends back then, I never felt inspired to pick up an instrument. Despite having a father who was an accomplished composer and a brother who was a great drummer, I was too involved in my fantasy of someday becoming a great baseball player to take up an instrument.
The ’80s and learning the guitar
Fast forward to 1980, my sophomore year at U-W Madison, I started playing an old nylon string guitar my family picked up during a vacation. I bought a “learn how to play guitar” book and tried to teach myself some basics. Sadly, it was limited and I was struggling.
Around this time, I discovered a music school and subsequently became a student of a musician named Tom Hynes, who would change my life. Tom was a bit of a child prodigy and an in-demand player in the jazz community in Madison. A former student of Joe Pass and influenced by the likes of Pat Martino and Wes Montgomery, Tom proceeded to teach me arrangements that had me sounding like I had been playing for years. From that day forward, as I said, my life changed.
Growing up, listening to “dad’s music” the likes of Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and others seemed so dated compared to the music I grew up listening to. Like most teenagers of that era, bands such as The Beatles, The Who, Steely Dan, Chicago, Bob Marley, Motown, Supertramp, Earth, Wind and Fire, and more caught my attention. Not this “old-time music, from the 30’s”. However little did I know, without realizing it, I grew up during a golden age of music. From jazz giants to the creation of classic rock to the explosion of R&B, I listened to brilliant music that would come to heavily influence my own taste in performing.
During the ’80s, the likes of Earl Klugh (who would, later on, become a friend of mine), Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Joe Pass, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and a host of other jazz greats would be my daily choice of listening pleasure.
Then came reality. Upon graduation, with only 2 years of playing experience, it was unrealistic to attempt to pursue a career as a professional guitarist. But I was determined to keep my music alive.
Since 2016 and after a fun, but failed attempt to get my Beatles cover band (Sgt.Peppers) out of the garage, I made the decision to return to my jazz roots and seek out gig opportunities. Since that time, I was fortunate enough to land a weekly gig as the only performer at Akemi Restaurant in Berkeley, CA. And through some hard work, I’ve expanded to play many venues, corporate and private gigs around the SF Bay area. It’s been great fun and I have grown as a musician during this time and continue to grow.
But wait, there’s more!
While trying to keep my music alive, I’ve also worn other hats to keep food on the table. For several years, I’d sidelined as an advertising and marketing copywriter – running Ad-Cetera (see menu above) and recently I’ve added another business title to my history: Golf Instructor. An avid player for over 30 years, with one back surgery to thank for it, I’ve taken active steps to try and reduce some of the misery that exists at golf courses in the area. Understanding the demands and challenges of this trying, yet beautiful game, I’m pursuing professional certification to teach golf. In the meantime, I’m actually teaching it with a stable of beginning and intermediate students while I pursue my accreditation.