My latest musical release Orphan is a mash up of the various influences that have shaped my artistry and approach to guitar. The album features a cleaner presentation than my previous releases. For the recording I played a Stratocaster. I absolutely love John Frusciante’s guitar playing, and it inspires me in new ways every time I listen to him. I played more with dynamics on Orphan, which is representative of the contrast between the voices of reason and the polarizing voices of grief and emotion that inspired the writing of the album.
I don’t know what kind of rock Orphan is. I do think that it is an important landmark to where I am going. It is the third and final entry into the ‘my so-called life’ trilogy.
My first three records certainly have a thread that runs through all of them. The exploration of a dark side can be of a tumultuous sort to an individual, and ultimately provide great healing and strength. I can find no reason that an authentic sonic recreation of such should be anything less than exhilarating to your learnedness and very flawed in your perception of what should be, and how it should be. We’ve learned to be machines. This was a fight to be human.
I record all of my records in my own home studio. Growing up one of my goals had always been to release my own music. I taught myself how to play bass and guitar. So, of course I learned how to produce records the hard way. I bought all of the mics, stands, cables, interfaces, and recording software in pieces over a three-year period. Then I cut three records in my basement that wont ever see the light of day. It was a slow gradual learning process. Cutting teeth. Recording has become a passion of mine. It’s almost as fun as writing the songs. Almost.
In July of 2019 I recorded the twelve songs that would come to be known as In the Tumultuous. I released that album without having it mixed or mastered. It is performed rough around the edges. I was a total character on that album. Artistically I love it. I wanted to give all of the people who think they know what music should sound like a big middle finger. It is out of tune and out of control like the themes. All of the underground I listened to paid off.
The record that followed was Banshee Tea. In style it was a throwback to the Neil Young & Crazy Horse records I love, meeting up with a love of grunge. The themes were very much of trauma, and of learning to live with the past. It was a major stepping stone for me as an artist. In presentation it was a coarse ugly record, but growth hurts. Those songs are fluid and open to any interpretation and style. This is a theme I will continue to explore as an artist.
My history with music goes back to the days when I was a little boy. Some of my first memories of rock & roll are riding around the country with my dad listening to Neil Young, Tom Petty, Z.Z. Top and R.E.M. on the radio. It’s been in my bones ever since. Later on, in my teenage years I found Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains. Those melodies cut through me. I would be remiss if I failed to mention The Band, Bob Dylan, John Prine, and Townes Van Zandt’s impact on me as an adult. Honest songwriting and exploration. Rock and country music have certainly shaped my character. I am from the sticks of rural Monroe County Missouri and I am proud of it. Stubborn. I grew up around people who had acoustic guitars and pianos in their house. They were playing music because it touched them. It meant something to them. They weren’t doing it for money, or for an image they were trying to sell. They did it for love and they had a sense of community. That stuck with me. I think that there will always be a little bit of that ethic in my music. Be authentic. Be an original. Be yourself. Support each other.
I had booked shows throughout the spring of 2020 in anticipation of supporting my Banshee Tea album. Of course, these have all been cancelled due to the current world event. I don’t think I have to explain it to you. I am hoping to reschedule most of the cancelled shows later in the year, but as all other things this is a developing situation. I will know more in time.
Having my shows cancelled has allowed me to focus my time on finishing the book I had started writing a couple years ago. I am happy to say that I finally finished it. I self published it. It is called Beautiful Belligerence. It is based on real events. It is a dark comedy. If you read it, I hope you think it is funny. I tried to represent the people who lived it with me in the realist sense. They are some of my best friends. I have been lucky like that. I have good people around me. I hope that you do too. Now, let’s create a world together one piece of artwork at a time.
Peace, love, and empathy-