I was born and raised in Speers Hill, Pa. which is about 30 miles south of Pittsburgh. My original instrument was bass and I started out in a garage band called Nightstack. My best friend Rob 'Cat' Whitfield was the guitar player and when he graduated high school in 1974 he went on to pursue his dream of major league baseball. Whitfield was drafted by the Orioles and went on to play AA in Charlotte, NC. and was starting shortstop in front of some unknown guy named Cal Ripkin, Jr. We all know how that story ended. For some reason I can't recall I switched to guitar in 1975 and have been there ever since. Nightstack continued with different members and my graduation present in 1976 was the Gibson Flying V that I still play today and used on the current Starr album.
After graduation, my cousin and I took a road trip to Pueblo, Co. to visit my Aunt and Uncle and I immediately loved the area.
Disco was ruining the rock scene and my desire to play was fizzling. After a series of go-nowhere jobs in Pa I moved to Pueblo in 1981 and got a job as a country DJ where I met some guys who played in a country band called Murphy's Law. While not a solid member of the band, I jammed with them regularly and it was during one of these gigs I met my wife Pam who has put up with me now for 25 years. She has been and continues to be a wonderful wife and mother to our 17 year old son Kevin, who you'll hear blowing the Alto Sax on the Starr song 'Mesa Stroll'. The bio is about me but I could write several pages on Kevin who is truly a gifted musician not only on the sax but also the clarinet. But I digress.
In 1984 Murphy's Law members John Dorland, Chad Stevens, and myself formed an oldies band called Better Daze. It was then I met Brad Rice who joined the band as the keyboardist. 'Daze' was popular in the southern Colorado circuit for several years and finally disbanded in 1992. It was during this period that the transition was occurring for venues to feature karaoke instead of live bands. The video age was now in full stride and live music continued and continues to take a back seat. Lend a careful ear to my lyrics on the title track 'Listen Up' to explain my feelings on this subject.
After a few years 'laying low', 'Daze' bassist and good friend Cole Chambers were one half of a classic rock band called 'Free Agent', which played regularly for the next year and a half. The band was short-lived but it was great to play some good rock music again and have people appreciate it. In December 1995 drummer Scott Thomas called me to see what I was up to since he wanted to put a band together. I had known Scott as a fellow member of the 'Pueblo' scene although we hadn't played together. I always admired his playing so I was eager to jump onboard. Scott and I eventually convinced Brad Rice to join the band and along with bassist Mark Litton the band 'Hit List' was born. Locals will best remember the band for the song 'Broncos Ride Again' which was a salute to the 1998 world champion Denver Broncos. The song got some airplay and we sold a fair amount of CDs. Hit List played classic rock covers for a few more years until Litton left the band in 2002. It was during the latter part of that year that a big New Year's Eve concert featuring southern Colorado bands from yesteryear was organized.
Of course, one of those bands was Starr, which forced guitarist Rob Pike to get his Les Paul out of mothballs. I didn't play with Starr for that gig but it was shortly thereafter I met Rob and realized that we had similar playing styles and musical influences. I've never met someone I've been more comfortable playing next to. Over the next year we jammed and started to write a bit, and fortunately, I joined Starr for the follow-up New Year's Eve concert in 2003. It was a great show and we knew we had a special line-up of musicians to start down the creative path. The new 'Starr' was born and the creative juices began to flow, which now leads us to the present.
This album, in my opinion, could have been released 30 years ago as we've strived to capture the 'feel' of that era. As mentioned earlier, I wrote the song 'Listen Up' as a dream to return music to it's intended format...audio.
As kids in the sixties we listened daily to the radio and knew nothing about MTV and videos although watching The Monkees on TV was a prelude of what was to come. The music alone can take you on a journey that is personal. When you listen to any song from the fifties through the seventies, you are immediately transported to a place and time. You relate your own personal experiences of that era directly to a song. THAT'S what made the music so special.
Can intelligent Rock Music be found again in the 21st Century?
Do we really have to 'look' at music?
Pick up the Starr CD and LISTEN UP!
Last Updated: Mayl 21, 2009