The soundtrack of my life began in February 1964. I was seven years-old and The Beatles' appearance on the Ed Sullivan show left an indelible mark that would never abate. The music of the 60's and 70's remains a strong influence for many of today's artists and represents the foundation for my work. Of course, trying to sound more contemporary while being true to my roots is always a challenge but I'm hopeful that my music appeals, not only to those of my generation, but to others who appreciate the history and quality of classic rock 'n roll. The legendary songwriters and artists of my era remain the primary inspiration for all my musical endeavors, and I suspect that is evident in much of my material.
Growing up in New York in the 1960's, my radio was always tuned to WABC (or as they called it back then, "W-A-Beatle-C"), the only rock music station on the AM dial at the time. I remember listening to DJ's like Bruce Morrow (Cousin Brucie), Chuck Leonard, Dan Ingram, Harry Harrison, Herb Oscar Anderson and others as they brought the British Invasion, Motown, Folk Rock, Soul and other new and distinctive sounds onto the scene. Whenever I was at home, my radio was on. It stayed on all night every night while I slept, and likely formed its permanent imprint on my soul during those formative years.
I can't talk about inspiration without mentioning the profound influence that a group of very talented musicians had on me back around 1970. While skipping school and taking a shortcut through the woods one day, my friends and I came upon this long-haired band chilling out on an old motel property that we had thought was abandoned. It was not. The band, called Nebraska Bay, was living in the staff quarters behind the burned-out motel. I soon befriended their leader, Carl Wilkenfeld, and his bandmates, Scott, Ritchie and Jack, and thus began a year-long adventure, where I would get to sit in and listen to them rehearsing the amazing classic rock music they were producing in the basement. At the time, they were frequently going to auditions with major record labels, but to no avail. Carl gave me a few guitar lessons in return for me mowing the grass around the cottage. I eventually lost contact with them and, though, in my humble opinion, they seemed to have been on a track to stardom, they were never to be discovered. One of their songs stuck in my head for over 50 years though. It was called "The Train Song (I Saw You)" which Carl had written. I've been able to recall the 1st verse, half the 2nd verse, and the chorus, but nothing more. In 2022, I decided to record the song myself and so I finished the now co-written version by completing the lyrics for the 2nd verse, composing two additional verses, and adding a bridge. That song, as well as "Nebraska Bay," the song I wrote about this unbelievably talented group, are on my "Troubadour" EP, released in 2022. Remarkably, I was able to reconnect with Carl during the 2022 "Troubadour" sessions (after I had written "Nebraska Bay"), and we have renewed our 50 year-old friendship. As Carl told me when he first heard from me after all these years, "I feel like I've known you all my life." Music really does bring people together!
As an avid Beatles' aficionado, one of the highlights of my adult life was in 2014 when I had an opportunity, through the connections of a dear friend, to take a private tour of Abbey Road Studios in London. Colette Barber, who served as Studio Manager there for 36 years, graciously hosted my visit and provided a comprehensive, behind-the-scenes look at this iconic landmark that remains an active recording studio to this day. Standing with her in Studio 2, where most of the Beatle songs were recorded, was both surreal and enlightening. Not much has changed since history was made and much of the equipment and decor is still there. In my song, Abbey Road, which was inspired by that visit, I make reference to Mrs. Mills and the "fabled four-tracks." Mrs. Mills was a British pianist, active in the 60's and 70's for whom a vintage 1905 Steinway piano, used on several of the Beatles' tracks, including Sgt Pepper and Lady Madonna, was named. That piano still sits against the wall in Studio 2. The famous four-track tape recorders, used to record the early Beatles' tracks up until eight track recorders became available in 1968, still sit in the hall outside Studio 2 (see photos I took below). If you listen closely to my song, Abbey Road, (or cheat by checking the lyrics on this site), you should be able to pick out eight Lennon/McCartney titles within the lyrics. One other direct link to my Beatles' influence is my song, Stranger, which I wrote about John Lennon visiting me in a dream.
Outside Abbey Road Studios
Hanging in Studio 2 with Colette Barber
The Mrs. Mills Piano
The "Fabled Four-Tracks"