I originally wanted to be a drummer. My dad gave me a snare drum when I was little, but I lost interest after a while because he refused my requests for a full drum set. Then I remember having a Kiss record and jumping up and down on the bed with a tennis racket as a guitar. Even then, I could tell Kiss wasn’t very good. It was probably around this time that my 2nd cousin, Owsley (Bear) Stanley, took me backstage to a Jefferson Starship concert where I met the band. I told the drummer that I wanted to play the drums and he said I should be a lead guitarist because they “get all the girls”.
Soon after, I went to visit my cousin, John (Swami) Howard, in Orlando, Florida, where I was introduced to my first electric guitar, a tobacco sunburnt Epiphone. Cousin John played a few jazz chords and Electric Funeral by Black Sabbath and I was so blown away, my life was changed forever.
Fast forward ten or so years and I’m just now moving back to Maryland after a year of guitar studies at Berklee College of Music and a brief stint with a funk band out of Richmond, Va. It was around this time that Mark Smoot showed up at my door with a tape of Chainsaw Jazz, the amazing new avante-jazz-rock outfit featuring Paul Sears of the Muffins. Smoot and I (along with Chris Gallo), went on to form the prog band, Farquhar.
My first memory of Paul is us hanging out at his house, listening the Trout Mask Replica. This was my first exposure to Beefheart (thank you, Paul!). We were there working on music for what would be my first “real” recording, Chainsaw Jazz CD, Disconcerto.
Paul and I went on to play with Thee Maximalists and 9353, and continue to record together via remote recording on various projects, all of which I consider to be some of the best music I’ve ever been involved with.
Chainsaw Jazz was a great morphing of all the things that influenced me, though I didn’t realize it at the time. It had the experimental vibe of what was going on at D.C. Space along with the improvisational spirit of things that I was getting really into on guitar, like Mahavishnu Orchestra and Frank Zappa.
Finally, I’m very thankful for being in the right place at the right time to have hooked up with such a great group of artists as The Muffins, who have turned out to be great people and players who inspire me to play better.