I was born on Easter Sunday, 1960, in a catholic hospital in the Bronx across the street from Woodlawn Cemetery. As far back as I can remember I was attracted to being a musician. In 1964, as with many a musicians story, I saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. I immediately asked my parents for a guitar. I also requested a six shooter, but that’s another story for another day.
However, it wasn’t until I went to my first concert at the age of twelve that I knew I wanted to be a musician for the rest of my life. It was the summer of 72. It was Gaelic Park in the Bronx. It was Humble Pie. But it was mainly Steve Marriott who stood me up jaw dropped and wide eyed. He had it all and that’s who I wanted to be.
Fast forward to 1978. Boston, Massachusetts. Berklee College of Music. Up until this point I was self taught, trying to write songs, and playing in mostly garage bands. While I was never a good student, just being at Berklee became another eye opener. Here is where I was able to take my song writing to another level, mainly because my harmonic abilities grew exponentially. Chords and more chords. “Jazz chords.” Lush voicings. And by this time I discovered Joni Mitchell and Steely Dan. I remember the first day in harmony class. Paul Diaguardi, the teacher, in his raspy New York City accent said, “Put away the book, you know all that stuff.” He then proceeded to write out the score to Joni’s “Paprika Plains” on the black board. We were off!
At that time, I was also reconnecting to what I was always listening to as a child. Soul music. Marvin Gaye. Sly Stone. Stevie Wonder. This was the music that dominated AM radio and unknowingly creeped into my young bones. And then there was the music of Burt Bacharach that pointed me to Brazil and the sounds of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto, and Milton Nascimento.
It’s now 2020 and I have been a professional musician, in one way or another, all my life. I have made a few records and have played a few stages in a number of countries. I have had the honor of sharing some of those stages with the likes of Graham Parker, Steve Forbert, Chris Whitely, Freedy Johnston, Annie Haslam, and even Norman Mailer, to name a few. I have also produced and engineered a few records for other artists. But now I need to start over. Just myself and a guitar. Of course, in time, a band will start up again and there will be new recordings. But for now “Change is the only sound” and it’s from the ground up…again.