My desires to make music started at an early age playing Drums, Vibes and eventually lead to Organ and Piano. I began my professional career in 1973 playing my first paying gig on Hammond organ at the age of 16. As a child music could always hold my attention. I loved hearing it on the radio, records and watching it performed on TV variety shows. I don’t remember much I didn't like about it because it was all fun and new to me. I wanted to play the drums so after a few years of me beating on boxes, at the age of 9 my parents got me a drum-set and lessons. Off I went to play along with the radio and records. When I got to Jr. High, my father (who in his younger days played guitar and worked as a gigging musician), suggested I learn a melodic instrument called the Vibraphone. He knew where he could get a used set and since I was beating on the drums, I might try hitting on the vibes. I began taking lessons and playing vibes in the Junior High school jazz band. The band director (Robin Stringer-Crest) who was a really great teacher and knew how to inspire students, gave me the piano parts and told me to just play the chords with 2 mallets and improvise an occasional solo in what ever key we were in. That was my introduction to playing jazz.
While in High School at the age of 14 my father suggested I start playing keyboard and bought me a Baldwin spinet organ that came with 6 free lessons. It didn't take me long to realize that I liked playing organ but the Baldwin was the wrong organ. It didn't have sound I heard on most records I had been listening to and. I was remembering the organ I heard when my father took me to see Ray Charles in 1968. That was a great inspiring musical experience for me. I had seen and heard Ray Charles on TV and radio but I had never heard the guy that opened the show. I learned later it was Billy Preston playing a Hammond B-3 and that was the sound I wanted to hear from an organ. The Baldwin eventually was traded in for a Hammond spinet and 2 years later I got the real deal, a 1961 Hammond B-3 which is the same organ I gig with today.
In 1973 at 16 years old I began gigging for money, this included playing lot of bars, private parties and events. I became a working keyboardist at that time and I've continued to do so ever since.
Here are some of the fine musicians I've worked with or currently working with;
Guitarists / Randy Vincent - Mimi Fox - Jeff Massanari – Danny Caron - Terrence Brewer - Gary Vogensen - John Garcia
Drummers / Terri Lynn Carrington - Allison Miller - Leon Joyce – Kent Bryson - Wally Schnalle – James Levi
Vocalists / Maria Muldaur - Mary Wells – Pamela Rose - Alex Call
Bands / The Johnny Nocturne Band - Legion of Mary
During the 1980’s new technology in music and especially keyboards began making the use of a B3 more of a novelty rather than a necessity. On most the gigs I was playing it made more sense to leave the organ at home and use digital keyboards. Fortunately time and inspiration have a way of coming together and in 2003 I decided to put my B3 back to work and stop compromising the overall playing experience and sound of the instrument. This has resulted in me performing and recording on the B3 more than ever.
I received my early musical education through private teachers, High School band, Jr. College and a number of years with the highly respected San Francisco Bay Area pianist Don Hass. This gave me an important start and great foundation to work from. However, my real training has come from hands on playing with other musicians, continuous practice, listening to recordings, making huge mistakes, recovering from the mistakes and moving forward. Learning and playing music is an ongoing process that seems to always bring forth new challenges.