All my words and music are spontaneously created, never to be done again-thus the name Spontobeat. I have done over 1 million spontaneously created songs so far. There are no overdubs or prethought out ideas. Everything you hear was done live at the same time with no tricks. I simply pick up my instruments and songs flow out. God blessed me with the ability to do this and cursed me with the disability to do a cover, even one of my own. My brain gets totally scrambled. But when I just let it flow, I have an endless bag of songs. When I am in the groove, I walk into the song. The only way I can describe it is to imagine walking into a big screen movie. I become the songs as it unfolds. I can see, feel, smell, taste, all the details of the songs. I am currently asking the universe to connect me with someone who sees Spontobeat as something they would want to promote. I hate this end of the business. So, if you find my approach to music interesting, give me a ring. If you are still with me, here is my story. "THE COSMIC COWBOYS COSMIC COWBOY" - Bob Guccione (founder penthouse magazine) I have traveled the highways of the world for the past 45 years. I resided in Austin, SF Bay Area, NYC, Brussels, Oslo, Ohio, Arizona, seeking the blues greats and places where my approach to music would be accepted. I have lived with Lousiana Red, and played and toured with many of the blues greats. I have lived the high life and the low life during this journey. The countless experiences I have had are being written to a book by Nigel Price, an author from England . I got tired of dealing with the struggles to keep a top band intact, and became a full time, 1 man band(bass drum, snare, high hat, guitar, piano, vocal, harp all played at once) about 10 years ago. I learned this from Wilbert "Kansas City" Harrison, in the 70's, back in Newark, NJ. Wilbert had the biggest 1 man band commercial hit to date with -Let's Work Together. This has allowed me to have that band sound behind me 24/7. All the songs you hear have me playing everything at once, one take, no overdubs, never to be done again. I built my own recording studio to capture the music, and record approx 300 full length cds a year. With such an output of material I spend only a few minutes mixing each song(I know guys that spend a year on a song). With everything within a few inches of each other this becomes quite a recording puzzle that never ceases to fascinate my interest. Recent accomplishments: Feature story on my musicial life Nov. 2009 - NBC channel 4 news, composed the soundtrack for the 2009 NBC Thanksgiving special "Stories", 2010 NBC valentines special "Stories" soundtrack(probably the only spontaneously created soundtrack in network history), won the 2009 Bushman World Harmonica Contest and represented the Columbus Blues Alliance in the 2008 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. I also recorded 30 cds in the month of Febuary for the RPM Challenge. This is a world record that was covered in many music publications around the world. I was going to have it recorded in the Guiness Book of World Records but they charge to be listed in their book (something I could not wrap my head around). SOME OF THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE ENDORSED, JAMMED, OR BEEN IN WALTER TORE'S BAND OVER THE PAST 40 YEARS: BOB DYLAN, CHARLIE SEXTON (GUITARIST FOR BOB DYLAN, AND ARC ANGELS), WILL SEXTON, ERIC JOHNSON, DAVID GRISSOM (GUITARIST JOHN MELLENCAMP), DAVID HOLT, EVAN JOHNS, MICHAEL BEEN (THE CALL), ROBBIE ROBERTSON (THE BAND), JIMMY CARL BLACK (ORIGINAL DRUMMER FOR FRANK ZAPPA AND THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION), BOBBY KEYS ( SAX PLAYER FOR ROLLING STONES), RONNIE LANE (SMALL FACES), TIMBUCK 3, MARK RUBINSTEIN, UNCLE JOHN TURNER (DRUMMER JOHNNY WINTER), JOEY RAMONE, FAST FLOYD, LOU ANN BARTON, LOS LOBOS, DOUG SAHM (SIR DOUGLAS QUINTET), JIM RISSMILLER, HARRY DEAN STANTON(MOVIE ACTOR), BOB GUCCIONE(FOUNDER PENTHOUSE MAGAZINE), THE DEAD KENNEDYS, DAVID JOHANSON (NEW YORK DOLLS), ROY SMECK LIGHTNING HOPKINS, SONNY TERRY, LOUISIANA RED, CHAMPION JACK DUPREE, LONNIE BROOKS, ALBERT COLLINS, WILBERT HARRISON (KANSAS CITY), PEE WEE CRAYTON, JOHNNY LITTLEJOHN, JOHNNY COPELAND, KIM WILSON, HUBERT SUMLIN, FRANKIE LEE, COOL PAPA, JOHNNY B GOOD, TROYCE KEYS, MARK NAFTLIN, CLIFFORD ANTONE, IAN MOORE, CHRIS DUARTE, INDIANA SLIM, AUGGIE MYERS, ESTABAN JORDAN, DWIGHT YOAKAM, TOOTS THEILMAN, DAVID SANGER (DRUMMER ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL), TEX THOMAS, MONTE WARDEN, TEXICANA DAMES, RICH MINUS
I started playing music when I was a teenager, in the Newark, N.J. area. One day, Wilbert Harrison, of Kansas City fame, literally followed me down a sidewalk in his Cadillac, screaming at me to get in his car as I walked and played my harmonica. He had women in the car, champagne glasses on the dash, and almost crushed me into a building. He wanted me to play in his "comeback" band. I didn't know who he was, and was worried for my life. He kept holding up empty album covers from the 50's, screaming "boy get your ass in this car. My name is Wilbert Harrison, and I want your ass in my band." I got in and my life changed forever. I spent time with him playing from the elite Tramps Blues Club in NYC, to pot bellied stove dives that had no restrooms. You peed on the sawdust floor and the local hardcore wino would sweep it up twice a day and spread new dust for a free drink. I learned that beat he had and tuned it my own way. I also learned the one-man band concept (bass drum, high hat cymbal, guitar, and harmonica, played simultaneously) from him in those places. During this time I played with local blues bands and was often fired for making songs up on the spot. I would spend my free time playing at the local train station to the local winos. They taught me more than anyone else about singing and performing. I would make up songs on the spot, which were usually about them, and the energy level would hit the ceiling. From that point on, I pushed this concept into my professional concerts. During this transition time I kept close to the old blues men, including living with Louisiana Red on Long Island. I played around the NYC area with him a lot. He turned me on to many great blues men like Lightning Hopkins, Sonny Terry, Champion Jack Dupree, Bo Diddley, Lonnie Brooks, Eric Burdon, and others. Red moved to Europe and I continued to play the NYC/NJ scene. I soon left too, for Arizona, and then Ca. In Ca I played with many blues men including Sonny Rhodes, Cool Papa, Mississippi Johnny Waters, Frankie Lee, Mark Naftalin, Charlie Musselwhite, Johnny B. Good, Troyce Keys and J.J. Malone, and began a long friendship with Albert Collins. I lived in Sonoma County, Ca. during these years and also had my own band called Walter H.K. Tore and Below Zero. A famous guitar player from Norway heard me playing in Oakland and brought us over for a tour. We ended up living in Brussels for two years. I played throughout Europe and Scandinavia with my band, and a lot of festivals with Louisiana Red. He is a great blues man, and a great man. He still lives in Germany. He and Champion jack Dupree lived together there. I then moved back to the NYC area, and then on to Austin for 11 years. The Austin music scene is the best in the USA. I met hundreds of great musicians there, and the ego trips were minimal compared to the other 20 or so cities I had tried to break into. We all shared food, equipment, and housing. I had dozens of drummers through those years, and many were quite well known. Among them were Jimmy Carl Black, the drummer for Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Uncle John Turner of Johnny Winter, and Dave Sanger of Asleep at the Wheel. I also had the good fortune of being the house band at the famous Black Cat Lounge in Austin for eight years. This club was a hangout for the best musicians in town. We would often start at 9pm and play until 5am. Every top musician in town and those touring through would stop by, and often sit in. Joan Baez was even there one night after she saw me pulling up in my 1963 cadillac. The owner Paul Sessoms (who is now dead), inspired me to follow my dreams. He was the most determined visionary I have ever met. Those nights in that club are legendary. He let us audition drummers on Friday and Saturday nights while we played. Jamie (my bassist) and I would put an ad in the local music paper for drummers to show up at 10pm. If they sounded good they got the job, if not they were asked to leave. It was kind of like the Gong Show, in front of sold out crowds. What other club owner would allow this on their most profitable nights? I had complete freedom there. I could play solo, loud, quiet, long sets, short sets, have anyone up to jam I liked, take no breaks, or two-hour breaks, sing, talk, cry, or preach. Listen to The Story of the Mojo Guitar on Live at the Alpine Hall cd, and you will learn all about Paul. Through the Black Cat Lounge I met and became friends with many musicians including Dwight Yokum, Ronnie Lane, Doug Sahm, Bobby Keys (sax player for Rolling Stones), Will Sexton, Evan Johns, Timbuck 3, The Call, and countless others. Major touring bands would stop in the club to get the famous Black Cat t-shirts, and while their busses were idling in front, they would often sit in with us. I even met Badfinger during one of these episodes! I have spontaneously composed and performed over 1 million songs, which is probably a world record. I refuse to compromise my musical concept, Spontobeat, where all my songs are spontaneously made up. I also believe I am the only person out there who makes it all up as I go along. I never rehearse, or sing the same song twice. My bass player for over 10 years, was Jamie Greenan. We met in Sonoma county, Ca. in 1980. We came up with the name Spontobeat - spontaneously created music - around 1985. Together we turned this concept into a reality. He traveled with me until the early 90's, and acted as band director, and conceived many promotional ideas to get our concept better known. These included a Spontobeat documentary, which was shot on a playschool video camera, complete with narration and soundtrack. Many major record labels have approached me through the years, telling me if I would follow the traditional approach of writing, rehearsing, recording, performing, the same songs over and over, I would be as famous as my friends. I am glad I didn't, because I may never have become a teacher! Nowadays when I play as a trio, here is my band. Between us we have about 200 years experience. Mark Rubinstein- Bass, keys, accordian Mark Rubinstein has been making recordings since he was a child, when he became fascinated with his father's reel-to-reel tape machine. He produced his first professional recording at 14, and has since forged a musical career juggling the dual roles of recordist and performer. His work as a recording engineer has led to Grammy nominations and platinum records for his clients, and his productions are noted for their clarity of sound and attention to detail. As a performer, his eclectic taste and ability on a wide array of instruments have combined to generate a checkered career with a number of strange twists and turns. Mark's main instrument is piano, but he has played drums in punk bands, electric bass in salsa groups, and accordion in settings ranging from symphony orchestras to avant-garde theatre pieces. His interest in ethnic music has led him to seek out performance opportunities in Greek, French, German, Italian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Brazilian, and traditional Jewish music. Career highlights include music direction for the Winter 2008 production of “The Blue Flower" by Prospect Theater Company in New York; music direction for regional tap dance festivals “Soul To Sole" in Austin, TX and “Third Coast Tap Festival/Jazz on Tap" in San Antonio, TX; performances (on piano) with legendary jazz flutist Herbie Mann, seminal jazz bassist Eddie Gomez, and saxophonist Bunky Green, and legendary tap dancers Arthur Duncan, Dianne Walker, and Sarah Petronio; European tours with noted songwriters Dirk Hamilton and George Carver; membership in influential early Texas punk band The Rejects; and recordings (as engineer) with many noted artists including: Grover Washington, Jr., Shirley Horn, Cher, Liza Minelli, Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, 3LW, Judy Collins, Najee, Gerald Levert, Scarface, George Duke, Bobby Womack, Backstreet Boys, and Natalie Cole. As an educator, Mark has served on the teaching staffs of Texas Tech University and St. Mary's University, and was most recently a Lecturer in Audio Technology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Mark continues to be an active freelance musician and recording engineer/producer, and he joined the staff of the School of Music at The Ohio State University as their audio engineer in September 2009. DOUGLAS IAN MCKENZIE - BASS Douglas started playing guitar at age 13. Being the youngest of six, his older brothers had an influence on his musical exposure. The oldest of the six was Robert, AKA Fast Floyd. Floyd was a professional musician with many years experience playing coast to coast from New York to San Francisco with bands such as Mink Deville, the Spiders, and his band Fast Floyd and the Famous Firebirds. Douglas played bass with Floyd's band as a teenager and soon the Below Zero Blues Band was formed. The band played extensively in the north S.F. area backing local blues stars such as Sonny Rhodes and Mississippi Johnny Waters. Then in 1984 Below Zero disbanded and Teresa and the Brewers were formed. The Brewers developed a faithful following in the bay area. Doyle Bramhall Jr. was a member of Teresa and the Brewers. Shortly after Johnny Campbell gave him a call and the Pulsators were born. The Pulsators have played shows with the Nevilles, Meters, Little Feat, Bob Dylan, BB King, the Radiators, Al Green, Joe Cocker Katerine Stevens- Drums- Walter's all time favorite!
Have you performed in front of an audience?
I have been playing around the world for the past 40 years, doing 200+ gigs a year for over 20 years. Each time I play live, the audience's thoughts, feelings, pass through me. People often think I am a mind reader. I simply channel energy and each audience is different, thus a never ending flow of songs is always there. I have based myself out of Austin, Tx, for 12 years, Brussels, Belguim for a few, SF Bay area for 14 years, NYC/NJ for a bunch, and about 20 other cities throughout the world. I loved getting to see the world and meet so many nice people. I have so many special moments, it is hard to pick one. If I had to, it would probably be playing with Lightning Hopkins. There are lots of stories like having Robbie Robertson of The Band seek me out to play harmonica on the movie The Color of Money with Tom Cruise and Paul Newman. It was to be with Robbie and Eric Clapton but I said no because I did not want to rehearse because that goes against where my soul takes me. Another was with Roger Slovine, then the president of BMI. He hounded me for several years to sign with BMI, let him shack me up with top nashville songwriters and hone my ideas to hit songs. If I did this he promised to personally guide me to fame and fortune. Again I said no. I have said no to many opportunities like these because I am pioneering a new way of doing music and have no interest in doing the traditional aprroach of writing, rehearsing, recording, and touring a song over and over again.
Your musical influences
everyone I ever heard that caught my ear, from famous to unknowns.
I never thought I would get to this place in life -peace in my heart. Life is good!