I started playing tenor saxophone at 13 in Jr. High, then also at Van Nuys High in the marching, "pep", concert, and jazz ensembles. I enjoyed playing in all the bands...but didn't really catch the bug till I started playing and writing with friends when I was 22 and moved to NoCal to go to UC Santa Cruz.
Soon after relocating in '88, my guitar playin' buddy from SoCal (Chris Hoffpauir) enticed me into coming to Berkeley to sit in with some friends he had started playing with that later became Urban Twang. I learned a lot in playing with Chris over 7 years together. We played some pretty raucus campus oriented parties, a festival at People's Park, a couple of clubs, and were regulars at the campus pub (the Bear's Lair) where we played Friday Happy Hours in '89. This band featured Evan Schulz on bass, Scott Coleman on guitar, and Neil Gegna on drums. We started playing Dead, Clapton, and Stones covers and then began writing originals like Take A Hike and Nocturnal Tendencies which grew out of instrumental jams we had performed.
In the summer of '90 I sat in for a couple months with Avocado Sundae who I had met through Neil and his roommate/ bass player Sean Marshall who Urban Twang had jammed with on a few occaisions. I loved these guys funky rock vibe and filled in while their keyboard player was travelling to add a little color to the mix. They had just moved to the Marin area from Santa Barbara and we played this at Margaritaville in Capitola (When you go? , jam )
In '91 most of us moved to a house in SF where we built a studio and made allegiances to get a more professional project together. We found a bass palyer (Dave Gantenbein) who had just moved here from Michigan ...and also added a female vocalist (Liza Groen) and a violinist (Mike Kang...who soon thereafter moved to Colorado and got String Cheese Incident going, so we worked with viola player Jason P. of Paddlefoot ) We called ourselves Edgar as we needed a name and couldn't agree on one (something that has been a chore in many bands, and one that many don't often survive). It was supposed to motivate us to get a real name, but then we started getting some good repeat gigs and ended up using it for another year and a half. ( here's Broken Words )
There is a saying that a band is only as good as its drummer. Edgar had about a dozen of 'em which eventually really burnt us out on trying to teach our tunes to new ones constantly, not too mention the different feel the music would inherit with each one.The ironic thing is with a stripped-down reforming of Edgar introduced a time keeper among drummers to the mix....the much heralded Steve Dubois.
Steve was introduced in our new incarnation which was dubbed the BooHoos ( digression and tommy's tragedy , the place he knew ) We continued on in the same vein of Bay Area clubs and kept basically the same lineup, though further transmogrifications into NamelessTennessee and the Sensitive Locksmiths transpired till Scott moved back East to go to grad school in '95.
We still had a gig on the calendar when this happened and carried on with the likes of Andy Stoys on guitar and local rebel-rouser Dave Goob on keys to perform at the Hotel Utah as Skutch. (the shear jamming majesty of Elephantine Overlord in D was among the spoils of that union). We went on to play recreationally every few months for a few years, as well as semi-annually even to this day.
The first band that I pieced together after working with Chris and Scott for so long was called the Underlings (Bob Fagan guitar, Jeff Symunds Bass/guitar, and Fred Stark on drums - Drunk in my own House and Seems to Be). We had a name, 4 versatile and talented writers/singers, but unfortunately couldn't get together enough to really make shit happen....so I kind of got impatient and disbanded us several months later (and I had to sublet our space at "Downtown Studios" to 7 Year Bitch to re-coop some costs) .
|Right around this same time, I had been brought into a collaborative situation by Dave Gantenbein for a group we later called the Dynasonics. When we started really getting some recognition and the kind of gigs we wanted....the egomaniac guitarist had a secretive band meeting where he tried to convince the other guys that the band was better going forward without my contributions.The guitar player and I traded off being the front person and ultimately I guess he wasn't really into that. ( This version of Dr. Ziggy's Uptown Boogie and Hide My Keys came from this era.)
Over the next couple years, I backed off of playing a little.
I started going to Tech school and got a Computer Networking certification which enabled me into what was still a booming dotcom market which many of my friends had benefited from. During this time I had some great experiences with some temp gigs and sitting in with friends (Good Foot, Johnny Nitro's Doorslammers, the Internationals,Hand of Kindness slacker jazz )
|Later in '98,I played with M''man . We only made it about 5 months but was a blast and we grooved out some happenin parties in the East Bay including a brilliant one at the Jingletown Gallery and a few lounge gigs down on the peninsula. M'man was pretty acid jazzy and was comparable to bands like MMW or the Greyboy Allstars ( two of my favoritist of bands)...here's Placentia, On the One Hand and Whenever you Want from that project.
Later in '99, I filled in a several gigs for the T. Sax player in Sideways. These guys were a 4 piece with keys and a wailing woman singer. They had a very jazzy style that was grounded in rock and funk and left a lot of room for improvising within the context of their very dynamic songs. This snippet is from the Broadway Studios in SF: catapult
2000 was my big adventure with dotbombing and other than sitting in a bit and a few Skutch jams, it wasn't till 2001 I played for a couple of months with Passenger who was entertaining yet ultimately decided against the idea of adding a horn player. These guys have a great dynamic from years of working together and get into some deep jams ala the "Dead" vibe. (mercy,mercy,mercy)
Playing with these guys got me juiced to play regularly again and later this year Dave, Evan, and I started playing together and working up some old and new material for Mara Connection (of which you can hear some diddies generated in my digital studio on this page Mara Connection). It has been fun being able to primarily play guitar and do a lot of singing again. We working on a CD of new and old material and will have some assorted shows that will have to be somewhat limited as our bass player had to move to LA for a spell. Stay in the loop and I will update that ...but iun the meantime you will be totally stoked to check out this happenin band Sol Americano and you can hear some cuts below!
I posted an ad in the Musician's Exchange on Craigslist and got a call from Mike Reed of Sol Americano. I have been playing with these guys since the end of June 2002 and it has been fun playing some lively gigs and getting a chance just to play a lot of sax again. We released our first CD "Boogie Buffet" which was pretty much in the can already when I started playing in the group, but here a few cuts with a little sax mixed in by the magic of my digital workstation:
Unfortunately the band dis-banded in Dec 2003 to the horror of legions of fans (myself included). There are hopes that at least some of the group will play together in the future, but for now sol americano is gone...the website is still up at www.solamericano.com
Below are some live clips from a couple of shows:
(and heres an oldie, but goodie the Right Thang !!!)
The beginning of 2004 has brought in the sound of what will become the Powers That Be. Dave G and I have teamed up with ex-Dynasonics drummer Eric "Daddy Love" Persons,
guitarist Marc Lionetti, B3 pumping Abram Shapiro and female vocalist Edith Jordan. Here is a jam
from our first pratice... check out our demo, sign our mailing list, and look for upcoming gigs, announcements, and more postings at :