Early Musical Life
I'm originally from New York and grew up there. My early influences were 60's & 70's rock and Motown. I started playing the drums at age 9 but i switched the guitar at age 14 the morning after listen to 6 Jimi Hendrix albums. My life deteriorated from there as i became obsessed with guitar. My first time on stage was in 1989 at age 19 in Charlottesville, VA. I got to sit in with Jimmy Thackery and the Assassins, after which i knew what i wanted to do with my life; play guitar and travel world doing it.
I skidded through a few rock and metal bands in the New York City area, but by 1990 I found myself living in St. Louis, having moved out there with a girlfriend. I got into a college rock / jam band that played colleges and clubs and really got a feel for playing live and honing my performing skills. by 1994 and age 23 I had tired of the Midwest, my relationship failed and i found myself wanting to move back to the east coast. After reconnecting with a high school friend who now lived in Maryland, i moved to Baltimore in 1995.
Playing with Brickfoot
I kicked around and worked on a solo project with local musicians, but ended up becoming a founding member of the Baltimore based band, Brickfoot. Brickfoot was a rock act mostly influenced by 60's rock. by 1997 we released our 1st album and began playing in the Mid-Atlantic relentlessly. We got some breaks opening for Maryland bands like Jimi's Chicken Shack, Kelly Bell and Laughing Colors. After a few years and a few more albums, Brickfoot was "the next band to get signed" in Baltimore. We packed every room we played and began getting slots opening for major national acts like Kiss, Skid Row, The Flaming Lips, The Smithereens, Fast Ball, & Nine Days.
As the internet progressed, Brickfoot had a song picked up by Billboard Magazines Unsigned Artist Top 100. our song "Surprise Ending" became the #1 most downloaded song for 42 weeks straight. It was after this we got invited to perform on "the Jenny Jones Show" The show aired in early 2002. We were in regular rotation on satellite radio and stations all over the Mid-Atlantic. Eventually we were finalists in a national Battle of the Bands and were mentioned in Rolling Stone Magazine as "up and coming artists". By this time we had released our 2nd album which eventually sold over 20,000 copies.
Things really picked up after we signed a contract with The Armed Forces Entertainment and The Department of Defense to tour internationally for US Forces overseas. From 2001 to 2005, Brickfoot toured 27 countries playing for thousands and thousands including the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In mid 2002, after a show at the Philadelphia Music conference, we were offered a production deal by world famous producer, Shelly Yakus (John Lennon, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, and the list goes on and on). We recorded an album that Shelly produced and shopped for a major label deal. We were talking to Columbia, RCA and Warner Brothers at the time, all of which declined to sign the band. We got picked up by an independent label called Concrete Records in NYC. After we dis-agreed artistically we left the label and got out of the contract.
By the late 2000's the band was completely burnt out after we released our 4th album. Interpersonal relationships within the band deteriorated, drug and alcohol abuse was a real problem and our 5th album, which we began recording at the time, wouldn't come out till 2014. It was released and we played a small handful of shows, without some of the original members by that point. We drove Brickfoot completely into the ground along with ourselves.
More Recent Work
By 2010 i joined a local Americana band called the Petticoat Tearoom, featuring a local singer-songwriter Tomas Motta. That band lasted about 2 years, gigging regularly. It was because of this relationship that i met a band called Old Man Brown and made friends with a very mild-mannered guitar player named Alex Rankin. During these years, i was recording and producing music for a lot of local bands, and I recorded Old Man Browns second album, Brand Me Immoral. I became very good friends with all of them and Alex and I stood friends.
Ursula Ricks Project
By mid 2017 i had nothing going on musically and spent a lot of time going to Alex's gigs to watch The Ursula Ricks project. Now, I had known who Ursula was for years and years as she was a Baltimore fixture on the blues scene. I never really interacted with her as i was more immersed in the rock scene. I had seen her play a handful of times at various venues and festivals and of course, The Full Moon Saloon, where i spent a lot of time in the 90's hanging out with Jimi Sexton. When Alex mentions there was the slight possibility that i might be able to jam with Ursula, i jumped at the chance. Having seen her sing on a regular basis now, i knew she was the real deal. No fake bullshit here. Ursula lives it, and her voice is to the blues what Freddie Kings guitar is to the blues; it doesn't get any more real and honest than this. I knew i wanted to play onstage with Ursula because that meant i got to not only watch her sing, but feed of of her emotion and energy to fuel my own playing and then be able to give that back to her and the audience. I didn't know if she would like my playing. I was afraid i was going to have trouble not sounding too "rock". But i found i was able to shake that off and really get back to what i was playing in my bedroom as a 15 year old. The Blues!