I began playing in 1969, at age 18, on a guitar my sister gave me when she moved away. Already I had become a devoted Kinks fan and was very much interested in songwriting. I studied some music theory in college, continuing a long course of self-training on guitar that usually led to new melodies rather than real technical development.
My Rosetta Stone was a songbook of pre-disco Bee Gees hits that about doubled my chord repertoire and gave me the names to match what I'd picked up already. Now I was ready to incorporate my influences in the creative sector, pretty much devoting my time to songwriting by the time I was nearly comfortable playing out.
What was the first concert you ever went to?
The Kinks, October 1969, Fillmore East in NYC. It was the night after the Miracle Mets won the '69 World Series and the local band that opened, being the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, dedicated every song to them. My date was a fish, but that was OK because we didn't have to stay for the so-called feature act, Spirit. I went for The Kinks and didn't care who knew!
What gear do you use?
Alvarez MF-80 Acoustic-Electric ("Haley")
Takamine G Series 12-string acoustic electric ("GiGi")
Art & Lutherie cedar-top folk acoustic ("Tawny")
Samick dual-pickup hollow body electric ("Kitty")
Mahalo ukulele bass (Thumper II)
Crate Acoustic guitar Amp CA112.
What are you looking for from Fandalism?
This question wasn't presented when I came on board, so I'll have to answer it retrospectively. I signed on to Fandalism as a casual member in 2012. About a year later I was moping on Facebook about the disappointing performance of one particular original song on YouTube and a highly supportive real musician weighed in with, "Say, you haven't checked your Fandalism lately, have you?"
The closest thing I can compare to seeing the stature of "Beholding You" here is an oak grove smothered in yellow ribbons.
Who was your biggest musical influence growing up?
I had many infuences that would be well familiar to anyone who knows how many dials were on a transistor radio. But none like The Kinks. Ray Davies didn't mince words. "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" was and remains my anthem. The opening verse couldn't have been more addressed to me if it came handwritten in the mail. I think what I love and admire most about them is that beyond the Mod clothing early on they never bought or sold into the lucrative but fleeting fads with which so many talented but misdirected acts slipped clumsily into the past.
Are you in a band? Have you been in bands?
I am investigating an opportunity to join a re-formed 60s band I played in for four years while it remained one. As a songwriter myself I adamantly believe it's all about duly representing my influences. Even in a covers band? Especially in a covers band!
Genrewise I am an avowed Leathercaser, steeped in the conviction that the best songs of my decade first reached the airwaves through the first "pocket" transistor radios before FM Stereo made them obsolete -- the radios, that is.
Technically I specialize in the unteachable assets of identifying harmony gaps and finding that elusive chord. While texture and efficiency at this level are hard to formally train in, they are quite easy to casually write out, so I guard the selection process quite jealously.
As our new line-ups catalogue builds I remain somewhat on the fence, pending my own input. Like It or Lump It is not a takedown to me, it is a choice over which I waste little time deliberating.
If you could jam with anyone, who would it be?
Dave Davies. Versatility. Conveyance. Engagement. Passion.
What's the biggest audience you ever performed to? What's the smallest?
Biggest would have to be "Rock Jam New Milford", Nov. 19, 2011, New Milford, NJ; 230 in attendance. In accordance with event rules I played covers, but got to do so on the same bill as the bands I used to just watch as a kid. Most gratifying by any measure; more so because it was my first time I carried my own gear to and from stage since a spring bout with labyrinthitis.
My smallest audience was a mispublished community center gig. Great acoustics though!
You're stuck on a desert island and only get to bring one album with you. What do you pick?
"Something Else" by The Kinks. I bought it sound unheard in the early weeks of 1968. This album made me not only want to write songs but believe that I could and that it was worth my while. There has never been another album like it. Only The Kinks have come close; and even them only once, with its sequel -- and my lone alternate choice -- "The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society". Nearly fifty years later, I still tune my 12-string to its B-side opener, "Animal Farm".