My favorite music tells a story, not just with words, but with the emotions, imagery, texture and energy that the sounds create. It doesn’t have to be complex; sometimes the simplest music is the most effective. It mostly has to be real and true. When the story takes me somewhere, makes me feel something, connects me, involves me, makes me want to take action… I am on board.
This kind of music cuts across disparate genres, and so my influences are from diverse corners of the music library. I draw heavily from hard rock, blues, pop, punk, jazz, folk, electronic, world music and country. And in the interest of being real and true, I tend to follow the stories that emerge from me and develop music that naturally harmonizes with the ideas. I end up with an eclectic body of songs, and perhaps few people would like all of them. But perhaps many people would like some of them.
I’ve been involved in many bands, and contributed songs that fit the sound each project aimed to develop. Some notable projects:
- Talismen: harmonic rock with progressive leanings, along the lines of Squeeze, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Cars, Boston, Yes, The Police, INXS…
- My Shiny Machine: alternative rock, along the lines of Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, etc.
- Ultrawide: a hard rock 3-piece journey with influences like Tool, Deftones, Metallica, Soundgarden, Incubus, Rage Against the Machine, etc.
- The Long Run: a polished Eagles tribute that also played classic rock hits with lots of harmony
- The Colfax Cannonballs: a high-energy rockabilly band playing hits from the 50’s to modern day in a punk-charged rockabilly style
- Never Been to Texas: a blues band that edges toward jazz, influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Bonamassa and Ray La Montagne.
- Gold Mine Arcade: my current original blues / soul band, bringing uplifting grooves that tap into our love of Stevie Wonder, Melissa Etheridge, Earth Wind & Fire, James Brown, Steely Dan and Ohio Players
Throughout my musical career in these projects and many others along the way, I’ve continued to write the music that I’m given, whether or not it fits with the music that preceded it. Of course some patterns emerge: the heavy riff-oriented guitar music, the dissonant harmonies, the harmony-driven acoustic stuff, the electronic textures, the sometimes silly captures of everyday life… but I couldn’t tell you what the next song I write will sound like…
Instruments: piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass and vocal chords
Influences: Swervedriver, Soundgarden, The Cars, Tool, Dieselboy, Bad Brains, Crowded House, Ozomatli, The Living End, Rage Against the Machine, Stevie Wonder, Muse, Soul Coughing, Deftones, Queens of the Stone Age, Incubus, Ride, The B-52’s, AC/DC, Suzanne Vega, Luscious Jackson, The Beastie Boys, Led Zeppelin, Toy Dolls, Queen, James Brown, Ohio Players, Indigo Girls, Tracy Chapman, Nine Inch Nails, Alice in Chains, Gotye, Wallflowers, Toad the Wet Sprocket, David Bowie, The Black Keys, Underworld, AK1200, Seal, Black Sabbath, Miles Davis, Kings of Leon, Cake, Downset, Self, Brendan Benson, The Grays, Peter Gabriel, The Eagles, The Kinks, The Police, Sonny Rollins, Henry Rollins, U2, Morningwood, Medusa, DJ Dara, Kemistry & Storm, Daft Punk, Youth Brigade, Talking Heads, Sade, Tom Petty, Steve Miller, Brad Paisley, Cheap Trick, Dire Straits, Pearl Jam, Paul Simon, Stray Cats, INXS, Hank Williams, Creedence Clearwater Revival, They Might Be Giants, Devo, Billy Joel, about a million others.
Favorite Singers: Chris Cornell, Janis Joplin, John Fogerty, Bruce Dickinson, Ella Fitzgerald, Bono, Mike Doughty, Sealhenry Samson, Freddie Mercury, Florence Welch, Björk, Annie Lennox, Tina Turner, Steve Perry, Steven Tyler, James Brown
Favorite Guitarists: Mark Knopfler, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, John Scofield, Edward Van Halen, The Edge, David Gilmour, Steve Lukather, Jeff Beck, Prince, Dr. Know, Steve Stevens, Nile Rogers, Brian Setzer, Johnny Marr
Favorite Bassists: Tony Levin, John Paul Jones, Paul McCartney, Steve Harris, Victor Wooten, Bootsie Collins, Billy Sheehan, Jaco Pastorius, Ray Brown, Lee Sklar, Flea
Favorite Drummers: John Bonham, Stewart Copeland, Danny Carey, Dave Abbruzzeze, Clyde Stubblefield, Mitch Mitchell, Keith Moon, Jez Hindmarsh, Jeff Porcaro
Favorite Keyboardists: Stevie Wonder, Tori Amos, Billy Joel, Thelonius Monk, Freddie Mercury, Greg Hawkes, Billy Preston, Richard Wright, Chick Corea, Brett Tuggle, Rick Wakeman
Favorite Lyricists: Sting, Joni Mitchell,David Byrne, Mark Knopfler, Suzanne Vega, Emily Sailers, Amy Ray,Billy Joel, Traci Chapman, Zack de la Rocha, Charlie Tuna, Beck, Glen Tillbrook, George Harrison, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, Neil Finn, Bob Dylan, Jakob Dylan, John Lennon, Roger Waters, Mike Doughty