I grew up in Southern California singing and playing piano along with AM radio to sounds of the Beach Boys, Four Seasons, Motown and the country music that was crossing over. It was my ultimate joy to harmonize with these artists, When the Beatles came out my head exploded. This incredible music has influenced me throughout my life. I had found my passion and I began playing guitar.
We moved to Hollywood and I joined a band while attending Hollywood High School. Our drummer R. J. Myers (who would become my best friend) has a sister – Jackie DeShannon; that connection changed my life forever. Jackie was recording and writing hit after hit and touring and I was there to soak up the experiences. She wrote for and produced our band, Raga and Talas, including a single released on legendary Liberty Records. Recognizing our love for music, she took us under her wing, teaching us how to write songs and all about the music business, and we eventually toured with her as her road managers. Their family was originally from Kentucky and I was exposed to the music of Lefty Frizzle, Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson and so many others. I am indebted to RJ and Jackie and her family for sharing so much with me.
In the late ’60s I went into the army and to Viet Nam where, by a stroke of luck, I became the music director for Command Military Touring Shows, a branch of Special Services providing entertainment for the troops. I performed and produced bands who flew out in helicopters into the field, like in the film Apocalypse Now, performing on makeshift stages. It was another amazing learning experience.
In the mid ’70s I returned to school and received a master’s degree in Music Composition from USC; I wrote an opera as my thesis. Songs that I had written with Jackie and RJ were eventually recorded by various artists including Elton John drummer Nigel Olson, Kelly Garrett and Jackie herself. I formed Raw Meat, a Zappa-ish band, with my buddy PR Paul, who was on the television show Fame at the time. We were the principal writers of the songs and had a cello player in that band which was unique at the time. We played hundreds of shows in the LA scene.
In 1984 I met the love of my life, Cathy, and we married and started a family. I began writing music for television commercials and various projects, and while always keeping fingers in music we started a real estate company to help support our growing family. Just as my parents did, we insisted both kids play instruments. I took five years off to grow our ever more successful real estate business and I would coach the kids with their music lessons. It made me realize how much I missed music. I teamed up with poet and lyricist Stephen Kalinich, cowriter of many songs with Brian and Dennis Wilson. We are still writing together three decades later and our songs have appeared on his California Feeling albums.
Fate intervened again when I met Earl Brown, who played Dan Dority on the HBO show Deadwood. He invited me to join a band he was assembling – Sacred Cowboys. It was the perfect fit, giving me a new platform to write and perform with great musicians. He coincidently is also from Kentucky and our material is country influenced. All of my history had come full circle. We recorded an album which was mixed at Blackbird Studios in Nashville by Dave Ferguson, famed engineer to Johnny Cash and most recently Sturgill Simpson. We opened for Big and Rich, Gretchen Wilson, David Allan Coe among many others and played Stagecoach at Coachella. We are currently working on another album.
One of the Sacred Cowboys songs, “Tell me Your Secrets,” written with Earl, was licensed in the film Bloodworth, starring the Kris Kristofferson. In the past year I wrote music for the film Serial Killer Groupies. I recently collaborated with muti-grammy award nominee, country artist Deana Carter, writing the closing credit song “Celebrate Life”, QueenMimfilm.com which is now in consideration for an Academy award as best original song of the year.
In the fall of 2015 Cathy and I fulfilled a long time dream – we bought a one-acre ranch in NE Los Angeles. I converted the guest house into a recording studio and the music continues……