I've been a musician all of my life. Who knows? I may have even started before that. But music has always been with me for as long as I can remember.
I've been a guitarist for over 20 years, now. I taught myself to play, first, by trying to figure out songs by ear and later, by reading every thing I could get my hands on about playing the guitar and music theory.
The first album I owned was an 8-track tape of Love Gun by Kiss. It was a Christmas present from my mom. She probably regretted buying that for me within the first couple of hours on Christmas day. One listen, and I knew that it was my destiny to be a rock musician. I don't imagine that any parent appreciates hearing that declaration from their 12 year old son. From listening to kiss, I gravitated to other heavy rock bands - Judas Priest, April Wine, Alice Cooper, Foghat, Van Halen, Boston, AC/DC, Black Sabbath... anything with a lot of loud guitar playing.
While still in high school, I happened upon a current issue of Guitar Player magazine. Growing up in a small town in the Pacific Northwest, I didn't know that such a thing existed. I immediately subscribed and began to read about all of these musicians that I had never heard of before. There were two issues in particular that had a profound affect on my musical future. The first featured an interview with Steve Morse. The second featured a lengthy interview with Frank Zappa. These two interviews inspired me to begin composing music that was beyond the confines of heavy metal. Heavy music is still the blood that flows through my veins, but listening to Morse and Zappa showed me that there was an entire musical universe that I hadn't even begun to explore.
After graduating high school, I joined a band that was touring the greater part of the Inland Northwest, playing popular songs for drunk people in every sort of dive imaginable. Our sound man loaned me a cassette of Return To Forever's Romantic Warrior and DiMeola's Electric Rendezvous. Listening to Al's flawless technique on the guitar inspired me to buy a metronome and start practicing 8 hours every day.
After taking a 10 year sabbatical during which I immersed myself in the study of Shaolin Kung Fu, I met the most wonderful lady on earth who became my wife. Having trained for years as a classical flautist and pianist, she introduced me to the classical masters and taught me how to tell the difference between a great orchestral performance and a group of drones hacking their way through a score. My CD collection has since expanded to include works by Stravinsky, Mahler, Beethoven, Debussy, Ravel, Holst, Mussorgsky and others.
Today, the music that flows from my soul is heavy, adventurous, technically proficient, and arranged for rock band and orchestra. I call this Music For The 21st Century. For several years, whenever I have been asked what style of music I write, I have responded with, "Imagine Metallica jamming with the London Symphony Orchestra and Frank Zappa is conducting." Who would have guessed that Metallica would go on to perform with the San Francisco Symphony? Go figure.....
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