First 45 single owned – the Bacharach/David penned, “Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head” by BJ Thomas (explains a lot, actually).
Inspired by equal parts KISS, my dad's Herb Alpert LPs and Monkees re-runs, I fashion a drum kit from cardboard boxes, tin pie plates and chop sticks.
A bicycle mounted AM radio fills my pre-teen ears with eclectic summer soundtracks – Cheap Trick, Beach Boys, Doobie Bros, Genesis, America, Looking Glass, Pilot, etc. FM radio inspired obsessions with The Beatles, Who, Jimi Hendrix, and The Doors soon follow. Bad poetry is written.
I spot The Ramones through UHF static on “The Uncle Floyd Show”.
After several failed attempts at formal music lessons, I teach myself how to play guitar (sort of).
A VCR arrives in my household. Every SNL musical guest and music video show is recorded and obsessively studied. Anyone remember the UK instructional music program, “Rock School”? Yes, I admit, I watched that too.
Enamored by the mind-blowing, one-man-band exploits of Pete Townsend and Prince, a teenaged me procures a Fostex 4-track cassette recorder (X-15!). Cheap drum kits, basses and keyboards are also purchased and experimented with. I realize I might be able to sing too. Many bad songs are written/recorded.
High School basement band is joined (me - bass, background vocals). I’m rocking spiked hair and parachute pants. Singer listens to “Surf's Up”, sports leather trousers and writes great songs. I’ve found my Jim Morrison. We’re oddly pretty good. Much Colt 45 is consumed, local gigs are played, a few girls are kissed.
The Police, Elvis Costello, Squeeze and Cars records are wearing out the speakers. Hall & Oates too (not ashamed, love those dudes).
High school band becomes college band. Guitar player and I set up makeshift 8 trk reel-to-reel recording studio in his parent’s basement. Many recordings are made, we become the ‘Jam & Lewis’ of the neighborhood producing local talent beneath the rumble of the A train. Studio skills are honed, cash is made, more equipment, records and beer are bought.
Every genre of music is explored/listened to with self-absorbed intensity, from Jazz to Rock to Classical and everything in between. College ends, band disintegrates, ‘solo’ recordings begin to emerge.
Several years and 3 self-releases later, my Pop Job EP gets the attention of US independent record label, Parasol. A 3-page contract is signed and the recording of Pop Job…the long player! is off to the races. Full-length album is released Nov. ’98. People seem to like it, press is kind. Live band is assembled, gigs are played. A Japanese company licenses the album and releases on vinyl - life is complete.
2003 finds the release of The Million Dollar Milkshake album on Parasol in the US and the Nippon Crown label in Japan. Expanding on the guitar based power pop of PJ, Milkshake adds horns, strings and things to the mix. Once again folks seem to like the record, press is kind, gigs are played. I make a TV commercial to promote the album referencing country singer Slim Whitman (long story).
- The ensuing post-Milkshake years find me assembling my private studio, writing/producing for others, collaborating with various esteemed producers as well as composing for TV/film. Yeah, basically shilling for the man.
- As spring 2010 begins, my new album, Queens English is born and released into the world on the DreamCrush label. Self-produced and two years in the making, it’s sort of a love-letter to NYC and life in its outer-boroughs. I'm pretty proud of the record and excited to finally get it out to everyone… No commercials this time, I promise (sort of).
To Be Continued…