My first band was HUMAN SEXUAL RESPONSE, then THE ZULUS, then CONCUSSION ENSEMBLE and THE COUNTRY BUMPKINS. Then came STEVE WYNN, TANYA DONELLY, FRANK BLACK & THE CATHOLICS, THE CORONET PREMIERS and THE BLACKSTONE VALLEY SINNERS. Then moved to Nashville and after a few years started playing with EILEEN ROSE & THE HOLY WRECK and THE SILVER THREADS. Started recording solo records during this time. And got married to Eileen. Now, Eileen and I live in Maine and continue to record and tour with EILEEN ROSE & THE HOLY WRECK.
I’ve always loved music, from my earliest moment of consciousness. My parents were aware of this early on and got me my own personal record player when I still a toddler. Supposedly whenever a babysitter looked after me, all I wanted to do was play her my 45s on my record player. In grade school I joined school band and took up the trombone, that was what my older brother played so that’s also what I wanted to play. But it never really took, my arm couldn’t reach 7th position on the slide for starters.
But, I listened to the radio all the time, saw The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, and pretty much anytime there was someone on TV that was playing music I sat right on front of the TV and soaked it up. My parents gave me a $1 a week allowance, so I would save it up and every 3 weeks go the the record store and buy an album. They were $2.99 for Mono and $3.99 for Stereo. When we got a stereo in the house, I had to save up another week, but I was ok with that.
When I was about 14 my brother brought home a Tesico style guitar with mile high action that hurt to play, but I still dug in and learned how to play Gloria and House Of The Rising Sun. Those were the essential songs to know how to play. About a year later my parents gave me a baby blue SG copy made by Kay and that’s when my guitar playing started for real. I got the books with the chords in them, made friends with the couple of other guitar players in my small Illinois town and every night just went into my room and played guitar. Around this time I got my first amplifier as well, a Silvertone Twin Twelve. I had a pretty good ear, so I started learning to play things that were on the records in my collection, putting the needle down on a specific section, then trying to figure it out, then putting the needle back down, then trying some more etc etc. I think that’s pretty much how everyone my age learned to play guitar back then. I also took piano lessons around this time so that got me to know a little better what was going on theory wise. Anyway, all through high school I knew how I was going to spend my life, and that was as a musician. I never considered anything else.
The high school jazz band teacher recommended I look into Berklee School Of Music in Boston for college. He wrote a recommendation for me and I got in. Next thing you know I’m in Boston, a city I’d never been to and don’t know a single soul in. But it was fantastic, so exciting to study music and live in a city that was filled with live music. I majored in composition, but after 3 years I started to get restless. I looked at the alumni board and realized that most of the famous alumni who went to Berklee never graduated, they went anywhere from a semester to 3 years tops and then went out into the world. So I decided to take a year off. And that is when everything changed.
That summer I saw a flyer in a used record store of 4 singers looking for musicians. There was a list of influences, that were wide ranging and super interesting, but I think the one that really got me was “MC and Jackson 5”. I called them and a few nights later met them at one of their residences. The 4 of them, Larry, Dini, Windle and Casey, sang and performed about 4 or 5 songs for me acappella and I was stunned by how great they were. I was in! That’s how I ended up joining HUMAN SEXUAL RESPONSE. From that moment on, my life changed. We became popular in Boston quickly and before you know it we’re making a record and going on tour. We ended up recording and releasing 2 LPs, Fig. 14 and In a Roman Mood. After about 5 years, we broke up due to the usual scenarios, personality conflicts, record label conflicts, different creative directions, etc.
Next came THE ZULUS, which was myself, Larry, Chris and Malcolm from HSR. After a couple of years, Chris left and was replaced by Rich C. THE ZULUS were a more hard rocking band and also ended up being quite popular in Boston and the surrounding areas. We put out a EP (titled THE ZULUS) and later an album Down On The Floor and did a bunch of touring. However in the early 90s we decided it was time to call it a day. Nothing conflictual, just time to move on.
So next up was CONCUSSION ENSEMBLE, an all instrumental force of 3 standing drummers, a standing percussionist, 2 guitars and bass. It was a powerhouse and also became quite popular in and around Boston. We recorded and released an album, Stampede and recorded and later released 3 Sun Ra songs with Barrence Whitfield.