Born into a musical family, I was raised on the classics and Rock and Roll. Being the youngest of five children, some of my earliest memories were my brothers and sisters debating the virtues of Elvis Presley, the explosion of the first Beatles album and the incredible new music coming out Detroit (Motown!).
My Mother was a well-known singer and voice teacher in the Washington Area singing in all the major venues in D.C. including Constitution Hall. She taught voice at both Catholic University and George Mason University while maintaining a private studio as well. My Father sang Tenor in various Washington Churches – I heard music all the time.
Typically, I started piano lessons when I was six only to quit when I was ten.
Then, I found out you could make friends if you could play Rock and Roll! A major discovery!
I started banging away on the piano playing the Doors, the Beatles, the Stones, Procol Harum, Santana, etc., and learning to improvise the Blues. So that I could fit in anywhere, I also picked up the guitar, the bass, and even a little drums and mandolin. And – oh yeah – someone had to sing!
After talking my Mother into buying me an electric piano (and not a very good one), my first official band was a cover band specializing (get ready) Procol Harum, The Steve Miller Band, Santana, Traffic and The Beatles. Not your typical Top 40 Band. We managed to gig pretty regularly anyway. This was “GRACE.” We moved on to be the band in the first U.S. Production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” only to be shut down for copywrite issues – Oh Well! Fun while it lasted – good money too! The end of GRACE.
I then had the good fortune of being introduced to “Country Rock” by my friend (and current Choir Boys bass player) Dave Rees. Not a lot of need for keyboard in this set up, so I switched to bass and vocals. We did a lot of Eagles and Byrds, some Beatles and even more obscure stuff (old Fleetwood Mac and Fairport Convention – if my memory serves me well). This was FENCE – really fun and it gave me a great appreciation of the power of harmony. This is when I started to become a bit of a musical “handy man”. If we needed a bass, I would do it, piano?, I would do it; guitar? – that’s me!
While this was going on, Dave, John and I sang in our High School Choir – recognized as one of the best in country. With this choir I sang at the Nixon White House – I’ll tell you that story in private if you ask. Don’t want to get arrested! As a result of associating with this choir, I was also lucky enough to do two seasons with the Washington Opera Chorus at the Kennedy Center. (WOW – this guys all over the map musically).
I met John during the FENCE days – a true San Francisco Hippy (or so I thought) with a really cute sister. He liked to improvise – something I didn’t do a lot of. This was a new angle to playing for me – lots of adventurous musical fun, and sometimes it even sounded good!
I won’t bore you with every band I played in. (Ed. Note: Like John did. -John)
The only other one I’ll mention is “Tomorrow Morning.” This was a touring cover band who played some originals. Based in New York City, it was headed up by my brother Michael. We toured the midwest mainly and had some minor success.
I’ve written a bunch of songs that I still want to get produced for people to hear. I’m hoping you’ll listen if you get a chance.
Playing Rock and Roll, I’ve learned a few things that I live by musically. If it isn’t fun, it isn’t worth doing. There’s nothing worse than serious Rock and Roll.
I started this most recent group – The Choir Boys – as an outlet for that fun and to have that vocal group I’ve been dreaming of for years. I can’t think of better people to do this with.
I hope you’ll come see us to share the fun and enjoy the harmonies!