Q How long have you been playing the guitar?
Since the mid sixties.
Q Can you tell us about how you got interested in music?
Well in my family there was always some music being played by
someone. My mother and sister both played the piano, my brothers the
guitar, and my father played the trumpet. Dad played in the big band days,
Tommy Dorsey, Glen Miller, and the like. He must have
been quite good for he was offered to play in a big name band at that time,
but he didn't do that. Instead, he played his way through dental school and became a dentist.
As a boy, I played the trumpet in the school band. I remember that in 7th
grade I was playing in the High School band, sitting in the second chair
next to juniors and seniors. My father's influence and tutoring played a
large role in that.
Q How did you get interested in the guitar?
When I was 12 years old, my father died. From then on, I found it hard
to pick up the trumpet. Still I had that inner desire to make music. My brother,
Tom, had an old Kay guitar laying around the house, so I started picking it up
and plucking around on the old thing.
|Q So did you take lessons to learn to play?|
No, I never have taken any lessons. What I would do is listen closely
and watch others as they would play and learn by what they did. Also, I
would buy song books, read and study them. At first, I would listen to and
try to play anything by the Beatles, just like every other red blooded
American boy. That was in my High School days.
Q Isn't your style more finger picking and acoustical though?
Yes it is. Iím not sure why, but my leaning was toward the acoustical
sound of guitar. To me it's always been pleasing and relaxing to listen to
the soothing melody of a well played and well built acoustical guitar. Even
to this day, I never seem to tire of the rich natural tones that come from
simple strings and wood.
Anyway, I began to get interested in those who had that kind of sound.
Peter, Paul & Mary were big in those days, and they had a huge influence on
me. Gordon Lightfoot, Simon & Garfunkel, John Denver, James Taylor, and
Croce were some others that I loved and that shaped my taste and
style of music. I would listen to these artists and others, then try to play
their songs as closely as I could to what they did.
Performing in 1978
| I understand that you went to Indiana State University on a|
scholarship as a gymnast.
Yes I did. That's a whole other subject, but it does relate to my music.
I was really into gymnastics in High School, and I had won the Maryland
State High School All-Around Gymnastics Championship three years in a
row. One day Coach Roger Council called me from Indiana. He said he
would like me to come out there to go to school, and that if I did, I could
have that scholarship. So I went. That was a big change in my life. I
wrote a song about that experience. It's on my second CD,
The song is called Destined For The City.
The caliber of gymnastics at I.S.U. was the kind that I had only seen on
T.V. or in magazines. Kurt Thomas and I were Teammates for a couple of
years. When I was a senior, I was the third All-Arounder at I.S.U. Kurt was
the first, although only a sophomore. Of course, as you probably already
realize, he was one of the best gymnasts this country had produced up till
then. That time had a large influence in my life, and it was the beginning of
when I started to take guitar playing more seriously. In fact, it was in those
years that I developed the style of finger picking that I frequently use today.
|Q How did your style develop?|
Well, in those days I ate, drank, and slept gymnastics. Music was a
love I couldn't give much time to. However, it was more of an escape for me. There was a guy, though, on the gymnastics team that played guitar and liked the same kind of music I did. Bob Melin and I got ourselves some nice guitars and
started to get together and play regularly. This is when my style really
developed. We learned some finger picking patterns, and we would
practice together in the stairwells of the dorm because of the acoustics.
The whole building would be filled with our picking and vocal harmonies.
From three floors below us, people would comment about how they liked
Bob and I played some coffee houses, and weddings and that kind of
thing. We used to talk about how one day weíd
like to play professionally.
Q So did you and Bob do that?
No, we never did. After graduation, Bob got married and he thought it
would be irresponsible to try to make a go of the music. But I did make a
go of it. For years I played professionally, playing and singing in
restaurants and Inns in the Midwest. My agent booked me in places that
took me out west. I traveled to Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas,
Nebraska and Wisconsin. My music has taken me places and allowed me
to see and do things that otherwise I never would have done.
|Q What about now? |
Iíve always wanted to write and record my own music. Until recently, I
haven't done much of that, but thatís what Iím up to now. My first CD,
Relax And Reminisce, has eleven songs by some of my favorite artists. Then,
there are three that I composed. Iím putting the final touches on my second
CD, Eastern Shore. Iíve completed the recording and mixing. Currently
I'm working on the mastering. It is registered for copyright. So it will be
published and available soon. Eastern Shore has three songs written by
Gordon Lightfoot. The rest are mine.
Destined For The City, Taken A
Spin and Brisky Winds are songs on that CD that I wrote back in the 70ís. The
other songs I've done more recently. Right now though, as far as recording
goes, Iím working only on my own creations. It's what I want to do. Others
have been telling me that's what they want to hear, so thatís what I'm doing.
|Q What will the future bring?|
Well, I hope to have another CD made after Eastern Shore that will
feature more of my original songs. Iíve recorded a number of them for it
already, but Iíll keep you posted through my Website and e-mail.
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