My music career began, as I expect many did, after watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. At the age of 13, my interest was sparked by the Fab Four from Liverpool. I don't know if it was the music or the screaming girls, but I felt I had to do what they were doing. I started playing the guitar, but eventually switched to keyboards (or "organ" as is was called back then). My first organ was a Farfisa which was attached to a Leslie speaker and controlled by a sewing machine pedal. The organ became popular when some early groups such as the Doors, Santana, Deep Purple and Steppenwolf began to incorporate the organ sound into their music. During the sixties no one took music lessons, unless you were 'encouraged' by a parent who wanted you to be more 'well rounded'. You just figured out chords and mimicked records until you eventually learned to play most anything by ear. Only later in our careers did we develop an appreciation for music theory and technique. During my long experience in the music business, it has been interesting to follow the evolution of musical instruments. In the early days, electronic instruments were analog. Eventually everything became digital. That is except for the mighty Hammond B-3 organ that was used as early as the fifties, but which has even more desirability today.
My first "real" band experience was with a group of buddies who had a similar life changing exposure to the Beatles. We called the group "Joint Session". It was a name that I came up with during that period of time before I owned a car and my Dad would drive me to school. Listening to talk radio, the news announcer would refer to the joint session of congress. I thought the name perfectly described the collection of me and my fellow blocs playing music together. We started in July of 1970, just after we graduated from high school in 1969. John Grove, one of my earliest friends from junior high, had a natural talent for playing the bass guitar. He has honed this talent very well over these 40 years since. We covered all of the great music produced during this prolific era. We played songs by the Beatles, Credence Clearwater Revival, Crobsy, Stills and Nash, as well as many of the one hit wonders of that time. The group lasted for about a year and 9 months. Not long after that, in July of 1970, some of the remaining members formed a group called "Cody". This group only lasted about 8 months. That's the music business for you. Playing in a band is like getting married to four or five people. That's why it is amazing that the Rolling Stones have survived all of these years.
I took off several years during the mid-seventies to attend college and managed to receive my degree in business administration. By that time, disco had pretty much killed the live music business anyway. I have been working in the accounting field ever since. Being an accountant provided a much more stable income, but I still had the love of music in my soul.
While working at my full time accounting job, I got the chance to take a short sabbatical beginning in March of 1978 along with some local friends who were asked to form a group to backup Jan Berry of Jan and Dean fame for a comeback tour following Jan's long rehabilitation from an auto accident which almost ended his life. (He had just done a show in Colorado Springs and his entire band fired him.) Jan sustained severe head injuries and had struggled back from several injuries from the accident including major paralysis on one side and the inability to coordinate his speech and brain activity (Aphasia). I was joined by John Grove, from our first band, Carl Brenner on drums, and Gary Snyder on guitar who was from Wichita Falls, Texas. We toured the East coast and many Southern States for about six months. The band was received fairly well, except from those who were expecting both Jan and Dean. Dean had decided he had had enough of the road and his childhood friend Jan for a while. After a challenging and eye-opening experience on the road, the tour ended. Jan returned to California and we came back to Colorado.
Mike Hough, one of the very talented guitarists for Starr and I played together in an oldies group called "Better Daze" from 1984 to 1992. We played mostly clubs and special events. Rounding out the group were John Dorland who played guitar and Lenny Tompkins on drums. This was truly a garage band. We used to have to warm up Lenny's garage in the winter before starting practice.
After the eventual demise of "Better Daze", Mike Hough and I were joined in 1996 by Scott Thomas, current and original drummer for "Starr", and Mark Litton on bass guitar. When Mark left the group in 2002, we employed the talents of John Grove,the original bass player for "Starr", my lifelong friend, and fellow musician. We were recently joined by Rob Pike, also one of the original members of Starr. Rob Pike and Scott Thomas played with Starr in the mid-eighties and had some regional success with their first album, "Memories Never Die". This recording includes songs written and performed by the very talented Rob Pike and Scott Thomas who are also members of the current Starr lineup. After playing several gigs performing mostly cover material, we decided to begin work on some original musical ideas. The result of our collaboration is the CD, "Listen Up". We hope you enjoy it!
The most enjoyable aspect of my music career, aside from the music itself and those who truly enjoy and appreciate it, are the friendships and camaraderie that has developed with my brothers in music. We truly become one with the spirit of the song.
Last Updated: March 10,2008