I began my career in music at age 9, playing violin (or rather, making sickening screeching sounds on a violin). Though not originally from New York City, I went to a high school there run by Quakers, where I re-discovered music (something besides violin). I spent a fair amount of time in Greenwich Village playing bass for various jazz artists, and occasional rock and blues people. After a few years in and out of music school (Berklee, in Boston), I’d had enough of New England and found myself back in New York, at a production company where I did sound, lighting, and trucking.
I moved to Colorado in 1985, and got involved with various festivals and coffeehouses, and the Big Mountain Support Group, who sent material aid to Navajos resisting forced relocation from their homes in Arizona. I also played bass and sang for my friend Jon Sirkis for a few years, as well as helping him put on the Boulder Folk & Bluegrass Festival in Boulder’s Chataqua Park. Much of my time has been spent in the music industry- I’ve played in opening acts for Peter Rowan, Tim O’Brien, Norman & Nancy Blake, and Shawn Colvin, among others, and provided lighting and sound for many more. By living in the mountain west, I’ve probably missed a number of musical opportunities available in places like Los Angeles, New York or Nashville, but like most of my friends here, I’ve put quality of life ahead of career and so far I haven’t been sorry.
I also happen to be one of the roughly half million Americans with Tourette Syndrome, a neurological condition that causes physical twitching and jerking movements, among other things. The people with Tourette’s depicted in the media are often the more extreme cases- most of us lead successful, productive lives, and, coincidentally (or not), often have a keen musical ear. For me, dealing with Tourette’s has mostly meant facing one of the barriers people often have in getting to their “core” energy- something performers tend to be particularly interested in, since it can mean the difference between a good show and a great one.
Climbing is as much a “practice” (yoga, dance, etc.) of mine as it is a sport or an adventure- these days it’s replaced music as a reason to travel- it’s much more fun to load the van with climbing gear and head out to the desert than it ever was to load instruments and equipment and head to smoke-filled rooms with late hours. It’s still fun to pack an instrument as well, though, so the next time inspiration comes calling… when I’m home I run an auto repair service, and do electrical and computer work.