I've been in bands since about 3 days after I learned my first few chords. Since then it's been one band after another, countless hours practicing, and sometimes a fair amount of success.
When I was fresh out of high school I did the professional full time musician thing playing in bars and just about any place that would have my bands in for a night. That 5 nights a week as a young musician was a lot of fun but I could see it was a tough way to make a living. Great if you want to live in your parents' basement or room with your wacked out musician friends!
I shifted gears a bit and gave it up while I worked on my career as an IT professional. I married, had 4 kids and had that family guy lifestyle going for me. Life was good but giving up on my dream of being a professional musician had always hurt a bit.
2001 rolled around and I had the opportunity to work at ground zero for 2 months re-routing the communications network destroyed by the collapse of the towers. It was sad to see so many lives cut short, so much potential unrealized. I decided then it was time to stop suppressing my creativity, and start doing what I've always loved to do- play music.
I put together a few hours of cover music and started playing the RI and Southern MA restaurants and pubs as a solo acoustic act. It was fun to get back into it again and challenge myself to play each show like it was my last. I had plenty of work but still something was missing...
I had another less traumatic life changing moment while speaking with a friend of mine from New Jersey about being back out in the local music scene. Vic invited me to write and produce songs, (write songs!?), with him and from that time on I've been flooded with song ideas. It's like a lifetime of music had been stuck inside my head and the faucet just opened up to let the song ideas flow.
Vic and I put together a 10 song CD in 2008 called "With or Without You" under the virtual band name - Hookstrumm. It went up on iTunes, CD Baby, etc.. and even though not commercially successful, (miserable sales actually), it was a real learning experience that taught me a ton about production, writing, and the business of music. It also taught me that trying to learn the latest recording tools and recording techniques is a bit much for a novice - it takes way too much time and money to get it just right.
September of 2012
I published my first EP with 5 songs titled "Seventeen Suits". I wrote 4 new songs for the EP and took 1 song from the Hookstrumm CD ( You and I Forget) and re-worked it. The tracks on this EP are super clean, engineered and co-produced with Aleksandr Krepkikh at his Providence studio. We used top notch professionals such as Vinny Pagano on drums, John Leclerc on saxophone, to name a few. The songs took us about 2 years to record, ( you can't rush a good song ), and another 6 months of listening, re-writes, and re-records. It's an intense process but worth it when you have that final master recording in your hand.
My latest production "She Don't Know" is finally released and is also a song I wrote for the Hookstrumm project. Back in 2007 I had the music layed out for it and most of the lyrics but was getting hung up on the direction the song should take. Then my nephew came over with his new baby girl and after seeing the two of them I knew I wanted to step through those moments you experience as a dad - seeing them for the first time, sacrificing for them, protecting them as they grow up, and finally watching them grow into young ladies. I was still hung up on the last verse and asked Victor to take a look at it and within a day the lyrics were finished and ready to record.
The song was inspired by our daughters which is why I chose to re-work it for a single. I still think it's one of the strongest songs lyrically that Vic and I put together for the Hookstrumm CD. I can absolutely see this re-worked for one of the big country artists. Thanks to my Producer Aleksander Krepkikh, I think we've added that little country feel to it I was looking for.
Here I am back in the saddle after 8 months of rest. I had to corrrect some physical issues in the form of light physical therapy to correct a nagging rotator cuff problem i've been suffering with for a long time. Happy to report surgery was avoided. The time off made me think a little more about taking better care of myself in every way. I was getting to a point that i was dreading gigs knowing I'd be hurting from lifting gear and strumming a guitar for 2 or 3 hours.
I also realized that even though there are times when sitting at the bar listening to music is enjoyable, I prefer standing on the stage delivering the music. It's what I've done since I was 10 and the thrill of playing for a live audience feels just as exciting now as it did back in 5th grade when I first brought my guitar to school to play at our class Christmas party!