“I’ve played in empty bars, I’ve played to crowds of 50,000. I’ve played with rock royalty and played with others that should have been. I’ve played with the Devil. I’ve have managed to get airplay in 11 countries, that’s why I always return to writing and recording. I am now on my 8th solo album and continue to produce uncompromised material.
I am revved yet again to be working with Producer, Engineer, Musician and Juno winner Siegfried Meier.
This new album ‘Through the Dog’s Eyes’, would not have come to fruition without his vision.
Through all the years of making music I have had the great pleasure of playing with some of the finest musicians you will find anywhere. There would be too many to mention in this short essay so I will mention those with some notable history or success. Those not mentioned have not had any less impact in helping me get to where I am now.
My direction was always towards song writing. I spent years on the road in bands. I worked as a jobber or in studios as a session player but I always returned to writing my own material. I played in too many bands to mention all their names.
Played with James “Fat James” Grosvenor, recipient of the Washington Blues Society Lifetime Achievement
award. We were under aged kids playing clubs and university pubs. Jim followed a blues path…great guitarist. I cut my teeth on the road with Kenny Hollis from Copperpenny. They were signed to RCA and Columbia and warming up for such acts as Led Zepplin. We played 6 nighters back to back promoting Kenny’s single Goin Hollywood and Ruby Baby. Two years of this taught me what I did not want to do.
Backed up Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon. We played several venues throughout Ontario including Chum FM’s Greaser’s Ball at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto. There was an estimated crowd of 50,000 people. His single Pallisades Park hit #3 on Billboard and Tallahassee Lassie sold I million copies. Played a stint with Breen LeBoeuf just after he left New City Jam Band. A fine bass player and vocalist. He has played with Celine Dion, Offenbach and most recently April Wine.
Did studio work with Jim Evans from Waxworks. Jim had just returned from England playing with a band called McGuiness Flint. They were ex-players from Manfred Mann and John Mayall. (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton )
Ushered in the decade with an afternoon gig at the Leisure Lodge with a
then unknown bass player. He said we should write together, music to my ears! He then got a call to go back to England to play with Paul Young. He has since moved on to be one to the most sought after session players in the world. Pete Townsend, The Who, Peter Gabriel, Elton John and as of late the John Mayer Trio. Pino Palladino ranks second to none.
Sat in cold at a gig with Steve Cooley, CBC session player and member of Studebaker Hawk (Rainbows, Pots of Gold and Moonbeams) and members of Ronnie Prophets band. Sessions at Elora Sound
Into the writing mode with another great bass player Bill Koluk. Billy has played with Kelly Jay (Crowbar) and Paul Kersey (Max Webster). Bill and I collaborated in many bands. Autonomy, with guitarist George Chaggares, released an EP that went on to receive airplay in 12 countries. We wrote…hmmm… jazz fusion speed rock. We probably wrote a total of 3 albums. All are demos besides the EP.
While writing caught the interest of Rick Hutt as our producer (Tom Cochrane, Northeren Pikes)
Worked with Paul Benedict, audio engineer. He worked with Ronnie Hawkins and the members of The Band, Tower of Power and Christopher Plummer.
Gigged with, and later went on to record with Greg Dechert (Uriah Heep, Bad Company, David Gilmour)
Sessions at Signal to Noise with Rob Sanzo (Scratching Post)
Sessions at Cedartree Studios
Built Cyberaudio Studios. For ten years or so recorded bands, orchestras, voice overs, movie soundtracks and of course my own material. I have had great guests on my material:
• Siegfried Meier
• Andrea Wingalaar (Chicago, The Rat Pack)
• Doug Johnson (Gordon Lightfoot)
• Jack Smith (AX)
• George Chaggares
• Mike Whaling
• Chris Monteiro
• Mike Chhangur
• Aaron and Dan Gottfried, my greatest achievements.
Call it a passion or escapism. Either one would be correct. It’s a place we all should call home. It’s not physical, it’s spiritual. We take what manifests there and we break it down into many different presentations whether it’s dance, fine art, music etc. It seems once it is presented, it’s already impure because it left that perfect place and is delivered with the limitations of the physical universe.
Regardless, it’s through these vibrations I write. My writing takes effect this way. I sit behind the piano and smash out a few chords or broken chords. When some emotion is stimulated I repeat that chordal progression and expand upon it to see if it grows. If it reminds me of anything I’ve heard before I desert it. If it speaks to me, I will change its rhythm, its tempo or time signature to maximize the emotions I feel are coming to life. If it continues to develop I will try to write the song in its entirety then and there with the exception of the lyrics. If that song does not manifest in the next ten minutes I do not pursue it any longer. There are times when I will write a partial song and need to pound it out for a few hours, sometimes days but the essence of the song is written in the first ten minutes of sitting down.
This secondary part of the process is performance and arrangement. I do not follow a strict template for writing as far as song structure is concerned. I am not attempting to slot it for a particular listenership. Nothing new will arise if we don’t divert ourselves from the norm. Young song writers know this but the big music machine discourages diversion. That is a whole other subject. While I am writing the music, the lyrics begin to present themselves, sometimes in vagaries, sometimes defined. The lyrics will be determined by the emotions I feel from the song thus far. Next I record the keyboard beds. I have several keyboards I mix together to get the ideal sound or simply the right piano tone. Then engineering comes into play to treat that sound to help set the direction and tone. Now I start on lyrics and work on any arrangement that may be needed. As a rule drums are laid next, followed by vocals. Then come the guitars and the bass. Finding just the right talent to compliment the song is vital and having a talented producer who can observe and assist in the growth of a song keeps the vision pure.