I was 8 yrs old sitting in the living room of my family’s home. An old upright piano, that I eventually learned to play was beside me and in front of the window sat a stereo console cabinet. Under the lid was the turntable, ours even had an 8 track tape player too! Those of you of a certain age will relate, to those younger I likely sound like a dinosaur.
My three older brothers helped shape my musical tastes. Big brother, Stephen also helped me acquire some hockey skills. On this night my brother, Andre and his friend put on a record. They held up the album cover in front of me and my jaw dropped. The guitar player looked to me as if he had pink hair. Of course, it was just the stage lighting hitting his blond flowing locks. When the music started they looked at me and said, ”now this, is a rock record!” It was “Frampton Comes Alive.” The album has since become one of the best selling live albums of all time.
Around that same time as my introduction to Peter Frampton I’d sit on the steps leading to our basement and watch my guitar playing brother, Dan rehearse with his band. I remember thinking, ”that’s what I want to do!” In the big picture you could say the music bug had bit me.
Eventually, my mom and dad saw that I took well to the piano and lessons ensued. I was learning all mostly classical piano during my youth.
Fast forward decades later, after tours across Canada, piano bar stints overseas, performances in 39 states, including Hawaii, and an appearance at a Super Bowl, I still get a rush out of chasing down this life in music.
Full Circle Moment
In 2007, I got a call from a country rock artist from the Detroit area, Hunter Brucks. He was looking to add a keyboard player mostly for some summer concerts where he’d be opening up for national acts. I gladly jumped at the opportunity, plus I enjoyed his music so it was a great fit all around.
One of my first gigs with the group was on a beautiful July day in Toledo, OH. We were the opening act for Peter Frampton. Now truth be told I realize this story would sound so much more impressive if I could say that I had played in Peter Frampton’s band. But on that day, it felt like a full circle moment. As I stood side stage listening to those classic songs, I recalled the first time I heard that “Frampton Comes Alive” record so many years earlier.
I’ve since had some fun opportunities to open for several more acts, including Sheryl Crow, Foreigner, Daughtry, Huey Lewis & The News, Lenny Kravitz, Starship, Deep Purple, Loverboy, Edgar Winter, Grand Funk Railroad, Lee Brice, and more.
The musician lifestyle is not necessarily conducive to family life. There are sacrifices. I miss holidays and my immediate family (who live in a different country), dear friends’ weddings, funerals, high school reunions, you name it, because of commitments to gigs and to fellow musicians.
I’ve been on umpteen long drives across the country in vans and trucks loaded with equipment. I know by memory the rest stops along the I-80, including ‘The World’s Largest Truck Stop’ (yes, that’s its real name) in Iowa where I filled up the tank at midnight in -21F temperatures. There have been countless load-ins of gear through back alleys and up freight elevators. I’ve stayed at dingy hotels, and then later had the luxury of moving up the ladder to stay at gorgeous resorts when performing in such locations as The Bahamas.
Have I written a hit song? Nope. Am I famous? Nope. Piles of cash? Hell no, but I’ve been blessed to do what I love since 1995 and for some crazy reason I’ve kept at it. I’m grateful for the many worthwhile experiences and opportunities that I’ve had.
I love jumping on stage, bringing smiles to faces, and writing and recording songs. But in the end the most important part of it all is YOU, the listener. It’s you who makes it all matter.
As my musical journey continues, here’s to hoping you’ll be part of it. If you‘d like to hear my most recent milestone on that journey, click here to listen to my latest album, “Another Lucky Day.”
Thanks for being a listener, you really do make all of it matter.