Hello everyone, I would like to start that with some graciousness and gratefulness for still being here, making music.
I would like this first entry to be a thank you
to just a few of the people I can think of who have inspired me, supported me, given me their feedback, stabbed me in the back, shared ideas, stolen ideas, been a mirror for me and sometimes done things to help me far beyond what the average friend or relative would be inclined to do.
My fiancee Anna. She keeps me in check, outwits me frequently, loves me completely and contines to write, record and perform beautiful songs with me in our band The Dearest
. We are in the process of mixing 8-10 songs with our musical collaborator and recording/mixing/drumming guru Dano Capristo
Dano recorded and mixed all of the songs for The Last Dancers
album Pre-Revolution out of a simple passion for doing so and he has won our hearts as a person, producer and musician. Thank you Dano.
I moved in with Eric McFadden
and Paula O'Rourke
in San Francisco sometime around 1993. I was heart-broken. No. It was more than that...I was caved in and spiritually spooned out. And Paula could tell. I don't think there was even really space for me in their 1 bedroom apartment on Fell st. but Paula must have convinced Eric it was a good idea to have me move in to the small bedroom and have them occupy just the living room. I spent many late nights in front of an old moldy typewriter, not sleeping, instead trying to get everything down on paper so it made some kind of sense. During this period of healing, Eric asked me to come and play his happy hour sets every Thursday at The Paradise Lounge. I had nearly convinced myself to quit music forever but I couldn't say no to him, who could have? I was well below his skill level as a guitarist but he didn't seem to mind, instead he would call out things on stage like..."Ok, this is a 1, 5, 4 with a quick 4 in the chorus" and then start the song. A crash course in Rhythm guitar that literally saved me from abandoning the one thing in my life that, at the time, gave me real inner peace. Also how I discovered the genius of Jim Campilongo
who played after us every week on the same stage upstairs "above paradise". Thank you Eric and Paula.
Sometime in 1994 or 1995, Eric had a show at Slim's with his band Liar who were getting major acclaim from the S.F. Press. On the bill was a slight, southern gentleman named James Hall
. We stood in the main room watching him soundcheck without his band by playing "Don't Talk, Put Your Head On My Shoulder" by The Beach Boys while we thought to ourselves and somehow communicated silently to each other, "who the hell is this freak?"
He was strangley kind while we talked before the show and we weren't used to kindness being San Franciscan's so we held our hearts at bay until he took the stage with The Pleasure Club
. The songs, the band and James pretty much cracked out chests and performed open heart surgery on us right there in the venue. I left after the show on a mission to redeem myself by the power of song, come hell or high water...oddly I experienced both where I went next. I had the good fortune to spend a lot of time with James in the following years and we have now written and recorded 3 or 4 songs together. I don't think I would still be writing had I not met him that night. Thank you James.
Soon after, I met a woman at The Stardust Lounge in SOMA and we played a game called "Either/Or" that we made up (I guess) on the spot for nearly 3 hours. I would ask a question, "asleep or awake" and she would reply "awake". And then she would ask a question, "fried or boiled" and I would answer "fried". Naturally, we became quickly acquianted and decided to flee the city of San Francisco just as the dot com invasion doubled all of the artists' rent for the only other place we could think of that equally interesting...New Orleans. We later knew each other as Husband and Wife and lived in Algiers Point, Louisiana where Memphis Minnie wrote "When The Levee Breaks" for nearly 5 years. When The South became too much to bare with the rampant violence, racial tension, perpetual partying and persistent hurricanes, we moved to Portland, Oregon and tried to keep our marriage alive. Toward the end I was moved to write "Mystified
" on an old Gibson LG-1 that Hank Ballard
had given her. When we parted, she gave me the guitar and I have probably written 200 songs on it since then. Thank you Tasha.
A single man in my late 20's booking/managing and pouring whiskey at Dante's Inferno
in downtown Portland, I had nearly completed my first record which would later be referred to as "Gracious Living". I put a band together with Addison Elliot, James Beaton, Nikki Colavitto, Paula Flasker, Joe Sanders, Maya Noah, David Graham
and Storm Large
and named it Gruesome Galore. People hated the name, Thrasher Presents ignored us but Frank Faillacce gave us opening slots at Dante's whenever he could and despite the name, people who heard us liked the music. Enough so, that I decided we would make a record and go to Spain on tour, which we did several times between 2000 and 2006 in various forms. Our final tour in Spain as Gruesome Galore was probably the most blissful diasater of my life. We lost $10,000 Euros to the management company and played 22 shows in 17 days. It was glorious and tragic and I did the best with what I had, some of us are good friends and some of us don't speak at all. Thank you Frank and to everyone in that band for playing all of those shows and touring in Europe for essentially no money. I will forever appreciate that greatly and hopefully, one day, return your generosity in full somehow.
The production of that album would not have been possible without Judy Galbraith. Thank you Judy.
When I left Dante's and opened the indie art factory Audio Cinema with Ilan Laks in late 2005, I had no idea what I was getting myself in to. My brilliant friend Mona Superhero
warned me not to do it but there were a number of reasons in my heart that said I had to. None of them make sense to me now but at the time they did. Back in Barcelona I had spent an evening with Eric McFadden and pat mAcdonald
drinking whiskey and twsting words. pat had a songwriting festival brewing in Wisconsin with Jackson Browne and a small group of other writers who would all inhabit The Holiday Motel
for a week and write songs in an effort to save The Michigan Street Bridge. pat invited me to Steel Bridge Songfest
the first year of the songwriting intensive and although I had felt at many times in my life a performer and singer and guitar player I had never truly experienced the honor of feeling like a Songwriter. At the end of the week, I had experienced that feeling many times over. Thank you pat.