It all started during
the summer of 1979. I was 15 years old, and my brother Kent and
I were spending the month of August visiting our father in Hawaii.
Interestingly enough, it was also during that visit that I caught the
"computer bug", so much so that I spent as much time writing programs
on my father's Commodore Pet (one of the very first home computers) as
I did hitting the beach (already a computer geek at 15!!!).
father had a home recording studio, and during that visit, he spent
several hours teaching me the concepts of Music Theory. What was
so fascinating for me at the time was the way he explained everything
as mathematical relationships...in fact, we hardly even discussed
actual keys and notes, as it really didn't matter --- they all derived
from the same math formulas.
I got back home, I immediately obtained an acoustic guitar, and got to
work. It was amazing how quickly and easily I progressed, mostly
due to those priceless Music Theory lessons. I soon graduated to
electric guitar, and continued to apply those math concepts as I
learned how to play notes and scales. I was on my way to lead
ahead to 1987: I auditioned for lead guitar player for a newly
formed band, The Jim St. Anthony Project, and got the gig. We
wrote, rehearsed, and recorded some demo tracks, but the band broke up
before we ever played out.
stayed hooked up with the rhythm guitar player, Kirk Caravello, and
soon we brought in my longtime best friend, Brian Haigh, on drums.
Then came the really hard part --- finding a Bass player (FYI:
drummers and bass players are the most difficult positions to fill in
any band). After several auditions, we found someone who
"clicked": Rohnny Click was a shredder bass player and gave us
the final ingredient to our musical recipe.
months of rehearsals, writing originals, and recording some demo
tracks, we were ready to play out...only one problem though --- we
still needed a name. As we kicked around ideas at practice,
eventually we came up with a unique concept and name: The Dudes.
Keep in mind, this was in the late 1980's, and THE big thing was Glam
Rock. Bands like Poison, Motley Crue, Stryper, and Warrant were
the flavor-of-the-day, so we set out to put our own twist on the Glam
Rock image --- we called it Surf Glam. Now, musically speaking,
The Dudes were a very melodic Rock Band. But our visual image
morphed the big-hair, spandex, and makeup of Glam Rock with "Bill
and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and the Beach Boys "endless summer".
We played a few
gigs in 1989 with this lineup, but then Brian decided to leave the band
and marry his girlfriend. We went through a few different
drummers over the next year, and a name change in late 1990 to Kid
Ego. Kid Ego only played one gig, as Kirk was the next core
member to quit the band. He wanted to be a "terrifying" lead
guitar player, so he left the band, and enrolled in the Guitar
Institute of Technology (when he graduated, he was definitely a
full-fledged "ripper"). Shortly after, the drummer flaked out
on us. Rohnny and I were the only remaining "Dudes".
We decided that
rather than try to replace Kirk, we would just find another drummer
and play out as a power trio. In 1991, we renamed the band Mr.
Lixx, recorded some new demo tracks, and played a few gigs. But
the constant member turnover of the previous years, each time having
to start over from scratch, had worn on me. I began looking
outside of the band for lead guitar auditions.
In 1992, I had to
break the news to Mr.Lixx --- I was leaving the band to join a
well-established San Diego act with a large local following and record
label interest: Bastille. Bastille's members included
Rodger First on vocals, Jay Strauss on guitar, Joe Mahoney on bass,
and John Sheppard on drums. They wanted to add a second lead
guitar player to the band, and I got the gig.
Bastille was a progressive-metal band, but they were moving into a more
mainstream direction, and my writing and playing style fit in
perfectly with this new direction. We wrote, recorded, and
played several gigs, until one day Jay abruptly quit the band.
At the risk of sounding arrogant, I blew him away guitar-wise, and he
couldn't handle it.
We then had to
fire the bass player, Joe Mahoney, due to drug problems. Rodger,
John, and I continued to rehearse as we auditioned for a new bass
player, but were having no luck filling the position. Then, in
late 1993, I was blind-sided with the news: I was being kicked
out of the band. Jay had "kissed and made up" with Rodger and
John, and somehow managed to convince them that they should go back to
the original lineup, so I was out. I was hurt, but understood
that they were reacting out of insecurity, and did not hold it against
late 1994: out of the blue, I get a call from Rodger. He
had moved to Columbus, Ohio, had a financial backer, and wanted to fly
me out there for three months to record pre-production demos for an
album. Long story short --- I went, we rehearsed with a bass
player and drummer from Florida who both turned out to be a complete
waste of time, and got absolutely nowhere. Three months turned
into a year, and in March 1996, Rodger and I returned to San Diego,
determined to find a bass player and drummer to record the demos with
us. The financial backer, Jim Blanchard, was still involved, and
was going to pay for the studio time when we were ready to begin
We brought in
Bastille's old drummer, John Sheppard, and after a few
auditions, found our new bass player, Steve Romaglio. As we were
rehearsing for the recording sessions, practices seemed to be getting
less and less productive, and soon we realized that John's heart just
wasn't in it. So in a painful decision, we had to let John go,
and rather that waste time finding another drummer, we proceeded to
record the demos with a drum machine.
We completed the
demos by the end of 1996, and the next step was to pick which tracks
would make it on the album, then re-record these tracks with the help
of a producer and a live drummer. But history repeats itself,
and somehow (to this day, I don't know how he did it) Jay managed to
weasle his way back into Rodger's good graces...next thing you know,
I'm getting a phone call from Jim, basically saying that he wants to
fire Steve, and wants me to begin rehearsing with the original
Bastille members for the studio recordings. In no uncertain
terms, I told him that I felt this was a huge mistake, that Steve had
played a big part in getting the demos completed, and that I had no
desire to be in a band with Jay. Well, I guess he didn't like
that answer, because soon after that phone call, Steve and I were both
out of the picture. Not only that, but Jim used Roger to take
back a guitar from me that Jim had supposedly purchased for me prior
to the demo studio sessions...apparently, it was really just a
After 10 years of
chasing the dream, I had finally had enough...I decided to retire
from pursuing music as a career. The music business is a
meat-grinder, and I was tired of being chewed up.
But in the end,
things always come together, and now I have a very satisfying career
in the field of Information Technology. Of course, had I never
tried to make it as a Rock Star, this is where I would have ended up
15 years ago, I just took a very long detour getting here. But I
wouldn't trade the journey or experiences along the way for anything.