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My Musical Journey / BIO

  • Age: 38 (eeek!! I'm getting old!)
  • Profession: Lead Electronics Engineer - Functional Project leader
  • Education: B.S.EET Western Carolina University '96
  • Influences:
    • Alex Lifeson & RUSH in general...
    • Joe Satriani
    • Andy Timmons
    • Steve Vai
    • John Denver
    • Ron Thal (Bumblefoot)
    • Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
    • Mattias IA Eklundh
    • Dave Weiner, Sarah Mclachlan, etc...
  • Instruments: Guitar, Keyboards, Bass, Drums, Trumpet, & a little sax
  • Other Cool Facts:
    • I have 3 PATENTS...2 of which are filed in Europe as well. Too bad I don't get the royalties, Black & Decker get'em.
    • I wrote my first program in basic, at the young age of 9.
    • I'm a huge UT2k4, BF2, & GW junkie
    I began playing music at an early age, beginning with the guitar. My dad played and began teaching me. One day he got angry about something I was doing and smashed my first guitar to pieces. I was 7 then, and have no memory of it, but apparently I didn't touch the guitar again till I was 15! Once I did I hardly put it down... I sometimes lament where I'd be if he'd been more patient...

    After the guitar smashing, but before 15 years old....I reached an intermediate level on the piano. While it was OK, it certainly wasn't main-stream in school and so I took up trumpet at 10. Being a quick learner, I was the only one to skip a grade level in music class. I played trumpet primarily until turning 15, when the guitar called to me again. Afterwards I continued trumpet until after college. During high school I took AP Music Theory in preparation for college, and also played guitar in the Jazz band.

    Being the big 80's with Hair metal bands, I formed a band with a friend called "End Game." We did the typical G N'R, poison, skid row, some metallica covers. We tended to rehearse and have fun, more than play, but it was allot of fun.

    In College I became(no surprise to anyone) a music major, with MIDI as my instrument. The professor refused to use a guitar as the MIDI device, and while I could play piano, I certainly wasn't a prodigy on it. I got fed up with the lack of acceptance and dropped music as a major altogether. I'm sure it was also the job market pay was less than desireable too. So I took the route of my other side, that dabled in computers and electronics. So I changed to an Electronic Engineering major. Hoping, to work for some audio company like Digi-Tech, Mesa Boogie, etc. (Little did I know that wouldn't happen to date).

    During college I met another cool guy, my closest soul mate, Russ, who played bass. Russ is to blame for introducing me to the band "RUSH" and still today, my favorite band of all time. We had a Christian Rock band "Rising Faith", and later an Alternative band "Gain". Rising Faith had moderate success on campus ministry, while Gain had the most potential in the real world.

    Our band "Gain" would be one of those bands that you look on with remorse. You knew you had talented guys, that clicked, and most of all had fun. The songs we did were like everything and nothing I played before. While the covers were good, our own stuff was in a custom place by itself. "Fear You" was a song that went from alternative to Jazz and all around the bend. It was so textured like many of our own songs where. All backed by some insane lyrics from our gifted drummer Chris. Only guy I've played with that could pull of Neil Pert's stuff. In the end the drummer & rythem guitarist simply dove into the leaf too much, and we couldn't get anything done. I tried putting a demo together, but they were in the clouds. After several nights, and hundreds of takes, I gave up. We have so many live rehearsal recordings that were done on a POS radio but you could feel the energy we had. That band had, and could've gone somewhere. *sigh*

    After college I got the typical engineering job, in cubicle hell, and became one of those individuals from the RUSH song "Subdivisions". Though while working, I continued to play music and record. In 1998 I did a John Denver tribute album, and gave out as Christmas presents. It went over very well. Personally it affected me deeply, as it was part of my mourning his death. I covered over 10 of his songs. Two of which can be heard here. All of it done via a 4-track TASCAM MKII424.

    Then in 2000 I started to take up the drums and reached an intermediate level before I had to part with the electronic Yamaha DTXpress drumset. In '04 I finally bought A good entry level set. I'm sure drives my family crazy. At least the neighbors thought enough of my playing to ask me for lessons! While not the best example of my drum playing, "Inside You, Inside Me" is my first recording playing them. To me you either need drums or a motorcycle when your frustrated, they both allow you to rip it up and ease the pain. Usually, for any other emotion, the guitar will always be my mainstay.
    In 2005 I returned to the guitar. I wanted to get beyond my limitations, and really become a great solo guitarist. I started lessons with Ney Mello, who vastly (through the teachings of the principles) helped me improve picking technique. I soon had to relocate, however, bringing me back down south. Once there I saw and heard allot about RMA (Raleigh Music Academy) and began continuing my studies with Paul Warren. Paul's a fantastic guy, and fortunetly or unfortunetly has been through some of the VERY SAME technique issues I have. He's already greatly increased my chordal and phrasing vocabulary.

    During all this I attended the "FREAK-FOOT" clinic, where I was totally blown away by Mattias IA Eklundh, and Ron Thal (Bumblefoot). These are two totally god-like musicians, and have deeply influenced me of late. More often than not, you'll see me, along with the RMA staff covering Ron's tunes!
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