migrated west to California
INDIE MUSICIAN & VISUAL ARTIST -
The Ram in His Own Words
I stole my first guitar. As I was leaving the farmhouse, my brother caught me red-handed when I was leaving with his ax. I told him how I saw girls create a circle around a classmate as he played Dylan and Lou Reed songs at parties. Right there I made an oath to learn this dark magic and share it with my brother when I returned for Christmas. He smiled, nodded approval, and I was on a train back to school with his blessing.
I spent my youth up & down the Eastern Seaboard. From rural Pennsylvania up into New York & Vermont. Before music, I was (and still am) a visual artist. I took up figural drawing & painting and earned two visual arts degrees in New York and Philadelphia. Don’t believe me? Cool, check out a gallery of my work. Between my stints in university, I moved to NYC to found a jazz band in Brooklyn while finding my voice as a visual artist. Spent time in Harlem across the street from a jazz guitarist who played in the army with Curtis Fuller and the Adderly bothers. He played the shit out of the guitar and made it all look easy. I left the guitar I had stolen from my brother all those years before for him to play. Bill Lewis.
The summer of 1996 was spent making a prolific amount of art & music in Bar Harbor Maine. By winter I’d moved back to the family farm, leading to a 2-year fine art program in Philadelphia. East Coast turned to the west coast, “art & music” became “love of the ocean & surfing”. Quintessential California culture immersion, San Diego style. D Street, Boneyards, the Saloon, First Street, Encinitas, Home.
I sold paintings to a friend, the architect Alberto Campo Baeza, before leaving for the west coast. This was a blessing. I used the money to buy my first computer and my love for computing ushered in a new era of creativity. Learning languages, looking at a browser or device monitor as all blank canvases I was hypnotized immediately. My first computer ran ProTools along with all of my design software. Whenever I had free time, I recorded and explored the computer as a tool to make art. The latency and stability of early ProTools DAWs, for me, was a bit of a letdown.
Then Garage Band changed everything.
Fast forward to 2019. I’ve spent the past decade working in tech startups, raising a family, surfing, and writing music to relax and unplug. For years I struggled to stay organized in a manner that helped retain ideas as they came to me. I’d often forget the melody, the lyrics, the lick, and the chord changes unless I wrote them down as the idea was unfolding. To prevent the loss, I became a master cataloger (is that even a word?). Mobile phone cameras are perfect for capturing song ideas on a guitar. I film the neck of the guitar, make a statement about what tuning the guitar is in, then make a bunch of videos that show the evolution of the verses, chorus, and song sections.
This site’s sole purpose is to organize all of the notes, videos, and snippets on a song by song basis and have them available to me for reference, and for musicians, I am playing with. With a little bit of organization and planning, I can bypass hours or weeks of frustration tied to losing recordings, lyrics, or song ideas. I can also text tutorials to bandmates easily, having charts, demos, and neck tutorials make being a bandleader easy.
INSPIRATION DRAWN FROM BOTH THE OCEAN & MOUNTAINS -
Writing music is about catching a wild animal,
then having the courage to let it go.
Nothing fires up the creative spirit more than putting oneself out there in the unknown.
It’s why I surf.
It’s why I make art.
It’s why I perform.
The mountains and & the ocean have always come to represent the spirit of the unknown. This spirit is everything: from fear to a deeper understanding of love and strength.
So many metaphors I’ve heard concerning the act of creating music. Keith Richards once compared it to being in the middle of a river or catching a ghost in the room. Robert Hunter best described it as hunting and capturing a wild animal for a time, studying it, then releasing it back to the wild for it to take on a life of its own. The song is there whether we write it down and perform it or not.
Catch and release.
My music influences are a continuous contradiction where opposites blur. I’m inspired by all formats of Jazz bands (the great American art form) and the heroic stories behind the people that played Jazz in the 20th century. I often look back to the influence Classical and world music (Africa/Cuba) had on the Jazz world, but I feel most at home with the down-home Country & Blues (the soil of our farms and blood that runs in the American veins). Just a reflection of how I was raised I guess.
Any song I’ve written can be put to any beat depending on the musicians I’m playing with. Nothing is ever set in stone, genres are a mechanism of control and as I said before the songs I write are wild, untamed, uncaged animals; with their own free will and their own intentions of being heard.
Contact & Bookings
Solo Acoustic or Full Band
For bookings, please include the show date, location, and as much info as you have.
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