Guitar, Vocals & Recovering Drummer
As a youngster I'll always remember nights around the Tennessee campfire where my dad played guitar, covering all of the 50's and 60's doo wop and Beach Boys you could want. I was fortunate enough to be a teenager in the 90's, back when you could hear and feel the motivation that came with new music. Throw in the development of "grunge" and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. During this time my friends were getting guitars to play the latest Nirvana song so I, naturally, chose to play the drums. Around the age of 14 I got my first kit, a Sunlight five-piece (yes I know), and thought that would be my ticket. I made it so far as to be the drummer of a band that actually put out an album and thanks to Myspace we were kind of big... in Yugoslavia. Seriously, we were 6 weeks at number 1 on a Yugoslavian radio station.
After a few short years I realized that a full time job was the better future for me and music would be there for fun (enjoyment instead of employment). I stepped out from behind the drums, strapped on a guitar, learned some chords, grabbed a mic and played every song I ever knew. As it turns out people keep asking me to do this. I've played hundreds of nights in Charlotte’s bars and clubs as well as up and down the East Coast. I've played weddings, hosted open mic nights and performed for dozens of fundraisers and benefits.
There's no doubt that playing music for a crowd is therapeutic for me. It allows me to be myself, "in the moment" every time I play a song. I've never said no to a request and I've always received the call for "ONE MORE SONG!” I keep two things in my car at all times, golf clubs and my guitar. I’ve found ways to use them both at the same time because with me you never know what's about to happen...
Bass, vocals, A / V wizard & driver of the Winnebago
Growing up my family always had music in the house. My dad liked to listen to country but we would also listen to the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean and even big band music. At night, when we watched TV we also saw the musical acts on Hee-Haw and Lawrence Welk. We had an organ us kids didn't really know how to play but we got to experiment with the pre-programmed loops. “Dixie” was a 12-bar Blues progression and it was with that organ I figured out the famous C, F and G chord progression but I had no idea that’s what I was playing.
Dad always had a guitar and Keith, my older brother, was learning the drums while I was in middle school learning viola and reading sheet music. I wanted to transition to the guitar so, after trying to build my own out of particle board, I bought a no-name, black sunburst electric guitar for about 50 bucks. I quickly found out I'm not very good at playing chords, my fingers just won't hold the strings right. Then i discovered the guitar's deeper-voiced brother, the bass. I started playing bass when I was about 14. I didn't have my driver’s license yet so I would drive our lawnmower to a friend's house, dragging behind it a little trailer with all of our musical equipment.
To fully support our music our dad bought us a PA. I got to be part of my brother's band early on by being the equipment mule and during gigs I would make adjustments to the sound, boosting lead guitar solos here, evening out the vocals there. I got really serious about music around the same time Keith’s band needed a bass player. I agreed to fill in until they found a permanent replacement. Well years have passed and three bands later he still hasn't found a replacement for me yet.
By being at so many shows I was immersed in real-world training for sound reinforcement and lighting. All along the way I kept adding skills and equipment until now where I have a state-of-the art sound and stage Production Company called Smythwerks Stage & Sound. On any given night in Charlotte you may see me playing bass, mixing sound, running lights or any number of things needed to make the show a success.
Drums, vocals & other things that make noise
As a young teen growing up in Boston Massachusetts in the 80's I was drawn to a variety of sounds that formed my musical taste for years to come. On the radio at that time you could still hear the great guitar rock of the 70's, the emerging hair bands of the 80's, and the influence of electronic pop music from Europe. Sprinkle in a bit of early hip hop and R&B and you had the perfect mix of awesomeness! Over the years I have played guitar, bass, and keys, but I've always come back to my first true love, the drums. My first exposure to the drums was when I was about 14 years old. I was visiting a friend’s house and when we got there his older brother was placing an old drum kit out for the trash. It had no tom stand and the snare was half broken. That kit never made it to the curb and instead took up the better half of my basement for the next year. The tom sat on top of the kick drum and was held up by an old paint can, and the snare sounded like a dying cat. But I played that kit day and night and drove my parents crazy!!! Since that time I have bought and sold more gear than I would like to remember.
Many years of playing in pop, rock and R&B bands from Massachusetts to North Carolina has further shaped my love for all types and styles of music, and today I still have the same passion for the drums that that 14 year old boy had… Although now I have a job so no paint cans required.
Guitar, vocals & lead sarcasm
Few people know my mother worked at a radio station when I was young. I grew up around recording studios, promotional 45’s and on-air celebrities that had pleasant voices and questionable personalities. The programming at the dual AM/FM station included classic rock and the first wave of “new” country. Alternatively, at home my dad listened to R&B and soul classics along with Carolina beach music. In middle school I picked up the trumpet and was exposed to classical, big band and jazz music while being taught the fundamentals of music theory. Lastly, add to this mix of musical genres the launch of MTV and my musical world opened up to funk, rap and the crazy music that came out of the 80’s. This multi-faceted atmosphere turned out to be the largest, indirect influence in my musical career.
I picked up guitar in college, secretly practicing on my roommate’s guitar when he was gone and I started singing at an open-mike night when no other singers showed up. Fast forward to today where I’ve soloed the national anthem at the Charlotte coliseum, performed session recordings for other artists and played hundreds of bars, nightclubs and weddings.
I love the moment of live musical creation. Like Doctor Frankenstein, I am exhilarated the moment my creation takes life in front of others ("It's alive!"). I’m addicted to this moment and seek to create a memorable experience every single time I play.