I got my first acoustic guitar and first little drumset on the same Christmas Day when I was fourteen. My first heavy musical influences were drummers. Buddy Rich was my very first musical influence followed by the showmanship of Tommy Lee and the musicianship of Larry Mullen Jr of U2. Over many years I have fgured out that my true calling is to play guitar (and I humbly do the best I can), but I don't think it would hurt any musician to know how to play drums.
What was the first concert you ever went to?
I saw Willie Nelson when I was a junior in high school. It was on some sort of field trip. It was free. I didn't appreciate it at the time, but now I'm really proud of that first show. He was great.
What gear do you use?
I play mostly Fender guitars--Strats and Teles. For Dirtbag Charlie, I have a Mexican Tele with a really nasty bridge Seymour Duncan pick-up that I like to use.
Who was your biggest musical influence growing up?
I mostly listened to drummers growing up, and the list is endless, and to this day, I listen to music from the rhythm section forward. As for guitar players, my all time favorite is Neal Schon from Journey. To me, he's the totally well-rounded guitar player, songs, chops, musicallity, tone, rhythm, lead....his quality of playing is everything I aspire to. Also, I would like to give my deepest rockin' respect to the legendary Mick Mars of Motley Crue. I believe that he has written some of the nastiest riffs and most memorable solos in all of rock and roll, and it baffles me that his greatness is routinely dismissed. I think he is one of the most underrated guitarists on the planet (right along with Malcolm Young who I think is one of the fuckin' best as well). Mick is a GIGANTIC influence in my rock mentality about stripping away the crap to get to the most rockin guitar part possible.
Aside from Neal and Mick, I tend to think of my heros by their best albums (in my mind anyway) like Van Halen I, 1984, Blzzard of Ozz, Diaryof a Madman, No More Tears, Deepest Purple: The Very Best of Deep Purple, Early Metallica, Motorhead, All AC/DC, All Motley, All Ratt and Dokken, All Led Zepp, Appetite for Destruction...that was my musical landscape growing up.
Are you in a band? Have you been in bands?
I'm currently in the rock band Dirtbag Charlie playing guitar and doing limited backup vocals. I write a riff or a solo thing here and there,but the songwriting is largely done by Jamie Ignao and Turhan Caylak.
Dirtbag Charlie started in the summer of 2010 when Jamie and myself were selling guitars at Sam Ash music in Manhattan. He and I clicked in our musical sensibilities and Turhan (the drummer) was Jamie's roommate. Turhan brought our bass player Erek Finger (his real name) into the band from his job and Dirtbag Charlie was born.
We currently do live shows around the city and we keep a catalogue of our best performances on DirtbagCharlieTV on YouTube.
We are also currently in the studio in NYC recording our first CD.
If you could jam with anyone, who would it be?
Hendrix.......and then everyone else. Slash,Zakk,Warren Haynes,Clapton,Schon,Arlen Roth,Santana,Trey Anastsio, Paul Gilbert, EVH....I guess any of the blues based rock players that like to improvise and seem like mellow people.
You're stuck on a desert island and only get to bring one album with you. What do you pick?
Deepest Purple: The Very Best of Deep Purple. I grew up with it, and it has everything I like about music...great guitars, great drums, great vocals, huge songs that rock, one after the other. But let's face it, everybody knows this is a dumb question and I'm bringing ALL my music AND a guitar to that stupid desert island!