I'm a proud native Detroiter who began playing guitar and electric bass in the 1960s after hearing The Beatles. Over the years, I have peformed with a variety of artists in Detroit, Cincinnati, and San Francisco, including (in no particular order):
The 1970s were a busy time for me as I really began to learn my craft. At Wayne State University I met several of guitar maestro Joe Fava's students, including Lee Dyament, Bill Doerfler, and Rob Abate. They helped clean up my technique and hand positioning. I had also taken up electric guitar and met drummer Jim Thele who helped steady my time. Jim had played in Plum Wine, a band that had been on the Grande circuit and played the ill-fated Black Arts Festival at Olympia. Another Plum Wine alum was Mike Kelly who had moved to Cincinnati, and was getting airplay with a country rock band Blackjack. His partner was a pedal steel player, Wayne Hartman (who later worked with the Afghan Whigs). Jim and I were recruited for the rhythm section and worked some great jobs down there.
Soon after, I met bassist Keith Buchanan while we both were auditioning for a band. We became lifelong friends and musical collaborators, crossing paths in several bands beginning with Wayne Willingham's country rock band Old Number Seven.
Eventually, I found myself a member of the notorious Cass Corridor bands The Lords , The Inside/Outside Band, and The Okeefenokee Swamp Band, earning a mention in the book Detroit's Cass Corridor , by Armando Delicato & Elias Khalil.
I also began "jobbing" in Detroit and was was mentored by Steve Shepard, Nolan Mendenhall, and Keith Warnick . Keith really took me under his wing, teaching me to walk the bass, play "standards", and just talking as we'd ride to practices together. His arrangements were brilliant, and I still use many of the musical conventions he taught me.
Living in California in the 1980s, I became a regular at the weekly jam sessions hosted by Alex Carlin of the band Psycotic Pineapple at Berkeley's venerable Ashkenaz. At the same time, I frequented jams at San Francisco's North Beach blues clubs, soon landing the bass chair with vocalist Alesia Panajota.
Returning to Detroit in 1990, I was recruited by The Ghost Band, an infamous subterranean group of musicians with roots dating back to the 1970s, founded by guitarists Michael Knight and Ron Kopack with drummer Leonard Johnson. We played rooms like Alvin's, The Miami, Cass Cafe, Third Street Saloon, and more. We survived several personal changes over the decade, and grew from primarily a cover band to a mostly original group, adding vocalist Jon Wearing and precussionist Roberto Warren along the way. Across the millennium, The Ghost Band would meet up with Dangerous Diane, Spodarek who documents our collaborations in ML Liebler's book Heaven Was Detroit . Ironically, I have become one of ML's Coyote Monk musicians.
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