I started playing the guitar when I was seven years old, back in 1964. My mother had bought a Silvertone guitar at Sears that came with an amplifier in the case. It was inexpensive, and hurt your fingers.
After a few years of taking lessons that taught me everything I didn’t want to know, like how to read the music, for all the tunes that my parents listened to when they were children, I just started asking my friends how to play “our music.” Around the age of twelve, I learned a few chords, and by that time had a $20 guitar from Mexico that I could take with me everywhere. It was fun but not a ‘real’ guitar. I knew in order to play well, I needed a ‘performance’ level guitar. I talked to my parents about this… often… but with a large family always needing things this was of little concern.
A few years later, I was about fifteen, my parents took the family over to my uncle jack and aunt Pat’s home in Escondido, California, for a few days. Much like young ‘Ralphie,’ played by Peter Billingsley, in the 1983 hit A Christmas Story, I saw my chance to plead my case. I explained, in front of the extended family, that I could really learn how to play the guitar if I only had a quality instrument. I could have fallen off my chair when my father said, “well son, when we get home, why don’t we go shopping?” Soon I had a brand new Ovation, acoustic guitar, with a hard case.
I had two friends that I spent most of my time with, Scott Maish and Steve Pursell. Scott was a better guitar player than I was, but Steve came from a family with twelve children, most if not all could not only play well, but they could also sing. From that time forward where ever we were, there was always a guitar or two close by.
Mike and I last year at an Open Mic run by Raul Odonell in Anthem Arizona
After high-school I went to Scottsdale Community College, studying Music and Theater. That’s where I met Mike Assad, who I did my first gigs with.
When Kathy and I got married in out early twenties, I put the music on the back burner. I played a little at home but was mostly trying to find my way as a husband and father of two.
And then, one day in my mid thirties, I was doing a barbecue at the local Bashas’ grocery store, and a kid by the name of Ryan Hall was helping me. We decide to play a few tunes while the ribs cooked. That was the basis of my starting to play as an adult. Soon I was playing with Mike again, and a few years later I found the Open Mic at Joe’s Grotto in Phoenix. From there I started playing and learning performance. I started running my own open mic and playing constantly. Mike and I have been playing out at least one day a week for most of the past sixteen years. We do a mix of acoustic blues and folk rock.
I was at home a month go when I had an idea… what about the band? I mean the band that we never had… Steve was now a great drummer and Scott was a great lead guitarist. We could play all those hard rock tunes that we loved in high-school. I called Scott, who lives in Tucson and Steve in east Chandler… they were in. I have a ton of equipment, thanks to Fender Musical Instruments. After one practice we decided to bring Mike onboard. Were tossing out all the easy listening stuff. Our motto, “More rock, less schlock!” Today we work on War Pigs!