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Playing Since: 1964
Experience Level: Expert/Professional

[Teaching] [Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: Writer-Musician-Engineer-Manager

Gender: Male
Age: 74

My Instruments:
Old Gibson Banjos - F/H & R/H
Mandolin and Guitars

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Sooo many !

Classified Rating: not rated
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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 6/4/2010
Last Visit 8/3/2014

Born in Washington DC, Grandfather (mom’s side) started teaching me to read and write music at age 5 (he was with US Marine Band 30 yrs. and a player in JP Sousa's band, who also was his personal friend). Father’s family were country folks (from the deep South), and played Bluegrass and Old Time music informally around the DC area. In turn, I was exposed to, and developed a taste for, Bluegrass and Old Time music early on.</P> After starting Clarinet at age 7, learned and played woodwinds in school until I was 14. Then I took up the guitar due to a strong interest in folk during the Hootenanny era (1964). After hounding my mother for several years, got my first guitar with 3.5 books of Blue Chip Stamps; and it had that great string action/playability (i.e., like a Dobro). My friends felt sorry for me, since they gave me several guitars and banjos to play over the first ten years or so. </P> First banjo was a mid 30's John Grey (London, England) original 5 string resonator banjo, given to me backstage by rock legend PJ Proby in 1965. Right away, I just couldn’t wait to tighten up that original skin head so I could sound like Earl – BOOM !!! No tab until Earl’s book came out so I played plectrum, tenor, and a very roughly-hewn Scrugg’s style.</P> I took a couple months of classical guitar lessons before getting bored, so a friend introduced me to Jerry Garcia, who was my first real guitar and banjo teacher. When the Dead took off, it morphed into occasional jam sessions with various bay area players. One of the great things I learned from Jerry was how guitar and banjo can be played using similar techniques and ideas, and how the stringed instruments typically used in different music styles were easily interchangeable in many cases. </P> Jerry also taught me that most western music styles are in fact connected, inter-connected and sometimes co-dependent. Individual music styles are often defined/named mainly as an easy cop-out to support record label marketing, A&R niches, radio airplay, and distribution channels. In fact, if you play multiple styles, the music industry really doesn’t know what to do with you (but that’s another subject).</P> Met Dave Holcomb in 1969 when he returned from Nam. Dave really cleaned up my playing and expanded my skills and knowledge over the next couple years. </P> During nearly 50 years of playing, my guitar and banjo styles started with acoustic folk, then continued through electric and acoustic folk-rock, blues, jazz, rock, country-rock, country, then acoustic bluegrass, jazz, calypso, salsa, and various other styles. Played in numerous groups in all these styles, covering many types of venues and events. Although I remember the players pretty well, I long ago lost count of how many bands/groups, recordings, and original songs/tunes I’ve done.</P> Many in Bluegrass know me as the inventor and originator of the ClimateCase thermal and humidity buffering case cover, which was a popular product for acoustic and Bluegrass players; I hold a US patent on same. </P> As a teenager, I was part of the San Francisco bay area scene of the mid-60's, and first worked in music supporting Bill Graham and Chet Helm in setting up and running concert venues such as Hunter's Point, Fillmore, and Winterland. Others know me from my work as a Bluegrass Radio DJ or Broadcast Radio Engineer, Recording Studio Engineer, or from my time working in the Grand Ol' Opry house band or other bands. </P> Back in 1982, I helped found the Santa Cruz Bluegrass Society, which is now known as the Northern California Bluegrass Society. I was also a charter member of the California Bluegrass Association. Spent several years playing Bluegrass/Newgrass in Australia, and have since supported various Bluegrass organizations, festivals, radio stations, and venues throughout the USA.</P> I am extremely thankful to have known, learned from, and played with so many gifted musicians in various music styles. I don’t want to specifically list my influences and mentors because I just know that I would leave out somebody important. </P> Playing is a continual learning process for me and no matter what, there are always plenty of folks ahead or behind in the path of knowledge and skills.</P>

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