Influences & Interests

In this big blue world of eclectic arts, there’s nothing more exciting than randomly happening upon something new.  All artists seek inspiration – here’s a random collection of ear and eye candy…bits and pieces of what’s inspired me and caught my interest along the way…in no particular order…

CROSSROADS GUITAR DUEL.  This is the one.  1986.  I saw this movie and I knew I had to play guitar.  Took a while for me to figure out what I really wanted to play, but that didn’t matter then.  It was all about the excitement.  Didn’t know whether to hammer out the blues, dress like Steve Vai, scream or go blind.  Either way, I was hooked.  The blues sound was a new thing to me and the “Crossroads” movie was chock-full-o-nuts.  All sorts of stuff I had never heard and instantly loved…

BOB DYLAN.  My parents were Dylan fans and my brother, sister and I got hooked on Bob at a young age with some of the lighter kid stuff like “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” and “Man Gave Names To All The Animals.”   When I got a copy of documentary Don’t Look Back and saw Dylan playing “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” in a solo spotlight to a stadium as if he was practicing in the mirror, I was blown away…

HENDRIX:  I once watched a Hendrix video where he stood on stage and got it on with his amp…I mean literally went through the motions of having sex with it on stage.  I was watching the video with my grandfather who declared it disgusting and horrible.  The Jimi Hendrix Experience was part of my experience from there on…

VAN HALEN:  My focus wasn’t always acoustic.  Old-school Van Halen (pre Hagar) seemed to combine some great stuff:  blazing guitar, crazy drums and simple lyrics about your high school teacher being hot.  My favorite part is how nearly every other song had a breakdown.  Somewhere in the middle of the track a little acoustic riff always shows up and then just when you’re dying for it, it all blows up again.  Gotta love it…

As you can see from above, I was at least a little confused.  But I was writing and performing and it was fun.  As cover bands go, we were playing everything from Dylan, Elvis, and Hendrix to Van Halen, The Steve Miller Band, Bad Company and Motley Crue, back to Paul Simon, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Creedence Clearwater Revival.  Throw in some original music, season with Nirvana and you get the picture.  Basically underage kids playing whatever we could come up with to bars full of other drunken underage kids.  Not a bad gig.

With college came The Dave Matthews Band, Rusted Root, Phish, and everything else you listen to in college in the 90’s.  One band really stuck with me long-term though, and that’s Yolk.  Not the DJ who’s got the clips on YouTube, but a band that was working college towns up and down the east coast around that time.  Here’s the song that got me hooked on Yolk:
So This is Heaven

When all is said and done, my interests are all over the place.  My lyrics will always be rooted in Dylan.  His way of taking complex concepts and putting them into simple terms, but glazing them underneath the surface just enough so that you’re not sure if you heard what you just heard – something to aspire to.  If I could weave a story-line over top of some perfectly simple Jack Johnson-esque chords, and send a little love to the people in my life at the same time, I’d be happy with that every time.

Speaking of Jack Johnson, here’s one more influence and a tribute to our web designer.  I was supposed to play this song for Annie and Justin at their wedding, but the band forgot to bring a guitar – I’ll have to play it next time we’re back their way.

 

 

 

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