Well, actually this page features my "solo" stuff. I primarily just write songs at home for the fun of it. And even still, I haven't done much of that recently because I've been busy playing in a local cover band Punch Judy, and raising two awesome boys with my wife. The stuff you will hear here is stuff I've pulled from the archives, of various ideas, riffs, songs, etc that I've messed with. I'm not trying to be the most original guy either. I do it for fun. I was starting to hit my stride when "life" set in, so I'm on hiatus for now. But I plan to get back into it in the next couple years. Lord knows I have the gear to do it. for a guy that doesn't record, I sure have all the tools, software, and plug-ins to do it!
Well let's see... when I was younger I played the Sax in band and was quite good. I was always flip flopping with this other dude for 1st and 2nd chair. I was the featured player in Jazz band, and I also was in choir. Acted in many school plays, and usually had one of the lead parts cuz I could sing. Then when I was in my mid-teens I made friends with some dudes that played guitar. So I wanted to learn. I bought a cheap LP copy and used the recording input of my cassette deck as my amp! I put the thing in Rec/Pause, cranked the level input, and instant crap distortion! From there I just picked up little riffs here and there of like Deep Purple, Dokken, etc. I played around with the guitar casually for many years. Never took lessons. As it turns out, that was a HUGE mistake on my part. Sure, I had an exceptional ear, but only NOW is the fact that I don't know much theory catching up with me. I want to take my playing to the next level, but with a family, job, kids, it's almost impossible to find the time or motivation! So a word of advice to the young... Get as good as you can when you're young, THEN spend your adult life crafting it.
When I was in my late teens I spend most of my time as the lead singer in local bands. I was young, dumb, egotistic, and probably not nearly as good as I thought I was looking back.
When I hit my early 20's, my guitar playing had progressed quite a bit, though I wasn't really "good". One fateful night in 1992 my buddy and I walked into a local club and saw this band Funhouse playing. And the dude that was singing and playing lead just blew me away. The whole band did. But was really taken by this one guy because he sang every cover song like HE sang it. He played all the leads like HE would play them, and he was FANTASTIC. It hit me like a ton of bricks. The originality of all. I knew right then and there that I HAD to be friends with this guy. So, I did my usual "force myself on him until he relented" and it worked! As it turns out, we had a LOT in common anyway. The man in question is my best friend and current band mate Jimmie Bruhn. He was the one that encouraged me to write my own songs, buy some recording gear, and just do it. That songwriting was where it was it. Being just a player is boring he said. Boy, was he right! When I did this, it opened up a whole new world to me. And thru his guidance and influence, I kept getting better and better. Heck, up until then, I had never even CONSIDERED writing my own songs. But once I had that 4-track and drum machine in front of me, it became an obsession. So thru that, I got better and better at both singing and playing. I worked REALLY hard at finding my own voice. I stopped singing like Steve Perry, and actually started kinda copping Jimmie's style. It's funny listening to my old recordings cuz I'm doing a really bad job of it too. But gradually I worked myself out of that and found "my style and my voice". It's neat to hear the transition really.
From there I eventually joined Funhouse several years later as a co-lead singer/rhythm player. That lasted about a year or two I think. It's kind of a haze to me.
The band broke up and Jimmie did a few other small projects before joining Punch Judy. I stayed at home, locked in my bedroom, and tried to write songs. I eventually took the job as a bass player for some old friends who had a great reputation in town as being "original artists". We formed a band called The Brassmasters, which we later changed to Master Blaster. The Brassmasters had a horn band connotation, when really we were named after a vintage Maestro pedal called The Bass Brassmaster (which has become a highly sought after pedal). Todd Cravens used it as the staple of his guitar sound, and paid $15 for the pedal that's now worth about $500! I wasn't a bass player per se, but could play bass simply because I used one to record with at home (a borrowed Ibanez from my friend Matt). I bought a Jazz bass and an Ampeg 2x10 combo and started writing and playing with Master Blaster. The band was kind of ahead of it's time really. Fantastic musicians and songs, but way too obscure and abraisive for Indiana. We were kind of a melodic noise rock band, and would have probably done very well had we moved to like NYC. But we did pretty well. I was in that band for four years and had become quite the "rock bass player". I developed my own style over time, and drew influence from simple but melodic guys such as Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick, Paul McCartney, Doug Pinnick (King's X), and Chris Squire (Yes). The band wasn't really well suited for me stylistically, but it really opened my eyes quite a bit. In a weird way, it was an odd, but great match of talent. The band started to fall apart from drug abuse about the time my wife got pregnant with our first child. So I stayed in the band until he was born, then left. The band broke up after that, which is really too bad. My friends have since gotten their act together and remain productive to this day.
I took a fatherhood break, and ended up having two boys. In 2005 Jimmie asked me if I'd be interested in joining Punch Judy. So I did and the rest is history. I'm three times the singer and player since I joined too. I feel that my voice has NEVER been stronger, and my guitar playing has improved by leaps and bounds.
Usually in the Indianapolis area. Sometimes St. Louis. I really love being in the band I play with. They are my best friends, and we get along great. The band has been together at it's core for 15 years, but I've only been in the band a few years. My role in the band is mainly to help out on lead vocals and play rhythm guitar. I also handle the bookings.
Playing covers can get old real quick. The "newness" has wore off. It's now no diff than a part time job really. However, a job that I enjoy no matter what. I can do it in my sleep now. Learning new songs is what makes it fun. But lately we've been rethinking our set lists with the idea that we are going to get back to what we do the best, which is rock. In this business of being a cover band, you try and be as broad as possible. At least we do. The places we play range from high end play it safe type places to townie bars that wanna rock. So, striking a good balance is key, and can be difficult to do.
But I think we have collectively decided to focus on being more of a "rock" band again, and getting away from the My Girl type stuff unless we need it. The best two moments of my tenure in the band came during Xmas of 2006 where we were flown to Orlando to play the Fastenal Tools expo. It was top notch all the way. They paid for our flights, our hotel, picked us up in the airport in a stretch limo (equipped with a driver holding a sign that said Punch Judy), and to top it off, the people there were RABID! It was really like a rock concert. They were right up on us going nuts the whole time. We even played 3 encores totaling 30 min which is something we NEVER do. We are slated to go back again this Xmas. So they really liked us.
Another great moment came just this past weekend 09/08/07 when we played the VooDoo Lounge at Harrah's Casino in St. Louis. We've been there before, but this time we rocked up our set list, wore wigs, Kiss masks, etc. It was the most fun we'd had in years.
Well... I have a wide range of influences. The word influences gets thrown around a lot. I kinda hate even saying who my influences are, because to me I don't really sound like any of them. I sound like me, for whatever that is worth! I've never considered myself all that original or ground breaking, nor do I care. But I suppose if I had to name some bands that have inspired me to love music, I'd have to say Queen, The Beatles, Cheap Trick, The Who, Kiss, Zep, UFO, Scorps, Van Halen, Journey, Kim Mitchell, Rush, Jellyfish, The Producers, and King's X to name the big ones. I don't really think I sound like any of those guys guys though. I love music. And some of the "modern bands" I love are Bleu, Mike Viola, The Nines, David Ryan Harris, The Shazam, Army of Anyone, Velvet Revolver, John Mayer, Tonic (R.I.P), All American Rejects, My Chemical Romance, to name a few. I'm also a product of the hair metal days. Some of my faves are Nuno/Extreme, Winger (gasp!), Dio, Dokken, Cinderella, T-Ride... then Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, stuff like that. But I also simply LOVE LOVE LOVE Billy Joel, Elton John, Willie Nelson, George Jones, Stevie Wonder, and Motown/James Jamerson stuff.
So you take all that and you get a hodge podge of stuff that is rockin', melodic, lots of harmony, pinch harmonics, pick slides, etc. HA!! That is me 100%. I love it all.
I use a 1983 Gibson Les Paul Std with WCR PU's, 1987 Fender Strat Deluxe, Dean Z 1979 Reissue, 1997 & 1996 Fender Super Sonic, 1965 Fender Mustang w/ EMG's, 1969 Gibson SG Special, Line 6 Variax, Alvarez WY1 Koa Acoustic, Atomic 2x12 Amp, Line 6 XTLive pedalboard.
The songs I'll feature here are for better or worse really. Some are good, some are bad. I kinda just wanna feature some stuff that *I* like, ideas that I thought were cool, etc. I'm not trying to set the world on fire with my songs. I'm just trying to have some fun doing what I do.