I started writing songs in high school, learning to play the guitar in a variety of styles. I gravitated most towards blues and roots music, a la B.B. King, and Roy Buchanan, as well as pop songwriters like Randy Newman and especially the Beatles. In Mark Kopfler and Richard Thompson, I found artists who seemed to synthesize everything I was trying to accomplish.
I attended the University of Denver as a music major, but grew disillusioned with the program offered at the time I attended, thinking that while it was thorough in offering everything a fledgling musician could hope for in terms of instruction in harmony, theory and performance, that it was stodgy and unrelated to forging a music career in the real world.
Upon finishing my coursework, I logged time in a diverse number of bands, ranging from country/western swing to rock, pop, funk and fusion and blues.
Tiring of the non-musical aspects of live performance, I built a small recording studio, and began concentrating more exclusively on composition, writing underscoring for various small theater and film projects.
Along the way, I continued writing pop songs, and am now ready to unleash them on an unsuspecting world.
I'm more interested in writing songs for others to cover than in finding a record contract for myself. I write in a variety of styles, and am on the lookout for parties looking for fresh material.
I used to play live a lot, and enjoyed the time spent onstage immensely. It was the time before and after that I didn't care for too much. I did a lot of small jazz combo concerts with my various university groups during the '80's, and during the 90's I logged time in a country/western swing group, a funk-rock band, a power-pop group and a jam band a' la Phish. These days, I do play live, as a member of a for-fun-and-profit covers band I have with my brother and some friends. That's a lot of fun. We play Hendrix, the Beatles, Steely Dan, Funkadelic--you name it. I play lead guitar and sing on some of it. By and large, I don't appear as a solo artist due to my lack of resources to maintain a band, as well as my utter loathing of the earnest-guy-with-acoustic-guitar school of doing things. Ultimately, I'm more interested in writing songs to be covered by others than in performing them myself, and as a result am way more interested in creating solid, engaging demos
Blues and roots performers, such as B.B. King, Roy Buchanan and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Progressive rockers like Rush and Pink Floyd. Pop songwriters like Tom Waits, Jules Shear, Randy Newman, John Hiatt, the Beatles, Richard Thompson and Steely Dan. Jazz and Fusion artists in the mold of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Mike Stern and Robben Ford.
In fact, if I had to name a performer who does what I want to do already, it would have to be Richard Thompson. He's a triple threat--a tasteful writer, player and singer.
Over the years, I've used a variety of electric guitars, mainly Strats or customized Strat copies (with replacement Telecaster necks), however, I had a black Standard Telecaster that I bought in 1988 that was my main guitar until I purchased my first Strat.
My main guitar from 2000-2007 was a black Steinberger Spirit.
Currently, my go-to guitar is a 2007 Fender Midnight Wine HSS Stratocaster (what used to be called the "Fat Strat" ), with a rosewood fretboard. It has a standard trem, and standard Strat electronics, with the exception of a humbucker in the back position.
I use Fender Bullet strings, starting with a .10 on the high E
I use a medium brass slide on my little finger when playing in open 'E'
I use a medium chrome slide, cut in half, when playing in standard tuning.
The half-length slide allows me to fret notes with my little finger, and when playing in standard tuning, allows me to switch between slide lines and standard left-hand fretting.
'Melinda', was played in standard tuning using the half-length slide.
I was a firm believer in digital multieffects systems until my Digitech RP12 simply quit on me in the middle of rehearsal after seven years of reliable service. Before that I used a Digitech RP1, and before that a Boss HM-1 Heavy Metal pedal, a Boss Stereo Chorus, a DOD 10-band graphic eq and reverb and channel switching from whatever my amp was.
Now I use a Boss Tuner pedal, a Boss Super Overdrive, a Boss Super Chorus, a standard Jim Dunlop Crybaby Wah-Wah and an 80's vintage Boss Analog Delay. I'm experimenting with a Boss Loop Station and Giga-Delay as well.
The Strat goes into these effects in the order in which I just mentioned them, into the 'normal' input channel on my battered mid-70's Peavy Classic 100-watt combo amp (purchased in a junk shop for $200 in 1997).
The overall sound is like Ty Tabor of King's X, or Stevie Ray Vaughan's only darker