I'm a banjo puriest rebel. That is to say that I seek to create new methods of playing the 5-string banjo. I advoid the popular bluegrass and clawhammer styles, but thats not to say that I dont respect & admire players of such styles. Some compare my music to that used in movie background sets. I tend to focus on three things: tone, feeling and simplicity. (however there are exceptions to the later) I enjoy breaking the ground rules of traditional banjo playing. I also try to never give in to playing guitar.
No members other than me. If anyone is interested in creating a "cyber-band" via file trading of tracks online please contact me.
1988 RB250 Gibson Mastertone 5-string banjo.
My 5-string banjo instrumentals are rarely ever planed ahead, rehersed nor "tabed out". My music comes from the emotions felt at the time the recording is made. I sometimes dont know what I will be recording untill after the fact. I create all my songs from clips taken from emotionally charged private "self-jamm" sessions which are later remixed. I always try to be original, and advoid typical banjo book methods as much as possible.
My father (who plays scruggs style), My "father's father" (who played clawhammer style), Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, Bob Seger, Jean Luc Ponty, Ozzy Osbourne, The Eagles, Trance, Modern Jazz, Jimi Hendrix, John Denver, Stevie Ray Vaughan, MTV, The Weather Channel, Saturday Night Live, The Muppets, God and sobriety.
None that I'm aware of.
I was first exposed to the 5-string banjo by my father at around 2 years of age. I had my first real interest in the banjo at around 8 years of age- to which later my father inspired me to take some bluegrass lessons (I lasted only a couple months) when I was about 12. My banjo teacher said I was progressing well and wanted me to play a tune in public.. But I was quickly becoming the target of jokes by the local "party" generation teens that prefered the music of bands such as Kiss & Ozzy Osbourn. In fact I was surrounded by a generation of Hard Rock fans while growing up in Grand Blanc Michigan. In time, I buckled under to the peer pressure.. after all, I was an only child that didnt make friends too easily. I did love the banjo and the sound of it, But this southern born/nothern translplanted guy was already having too tough a time making friends as it was. Popular T.V. shows like Hee Haw, The Beverly Hillbillys and The Dukes of Hazzard didnt make things any easier for a kid seen packing a banjo.
Thus I had to lose the banjo picking image to not be picked on (no pun). But, I secrectly played when I could ever find a quiet spot all by myself. Some of those unrecorded improvised jams will stay with me forever. I learned most of what I play now from years of playing my banjo in private. Just picking notes... and I all but thew away my two books on playing. So, untill the age of 24, I would play my emotions out on my banjo about every week or so in private (I was ashamed to admit it)... Often when I would be in a saden or frustrated mood I absolutely NEEDED to play my banjo to cope with everyday life's problems, and to just feel normal again.
But my love of playing the banjo was greatly accelerated when I was 24 years of age. It was at that time, during a depressed state of mind & deep within a reality attack I started to question the direction my life was heading. All of sudden it seemed to me that all I ever did was work and come home. I had no reason to be depressed, everything was going well for me, in most people's eyes. I started questioning what God wanted me to do with my life. What purpose did I have on this planet? Was I simply to work and come home? I knew I wasnt happy playing the game of worker longer hours to get more stuff (you know.. working for another new "toy" such as cars, motor cycles, snowmobiles etc.)I suddenly realized that I had to "find myself", and it came to be a very painfull yet very rewarding experience for me that is still very much going on today. When I made the descion to live the life of a "care-giver" for my handycaped (former) girlfriend , it would become my ONLY source of income for many years. I knew I would have pleanty of spare time to get serious with my music. What I didnt know was the extreme price I would pay to society for my decision. It seemed the harder I tried to do what I fealt God wanted me to do, the least anyone around me understood it.
When I was 24 I had a very religious thing happen. Ever since then I have had the highest priority to produce/create music on the 5-string banjo. Now that I'm 39 years of age, I work a production job and find myself as religious as ever. My drive to play music untill the day I die remains a major focus of my religion. I feal that God wants me to create music on the banjo. I may never understand what possible purpose my music could ever have in a world already so full of more talented musicians. Perhaps it's only a small purpose, but a purpose nevertheless. For example, maybe the purpose for my music is for cheering up a sick friend every once in awhile. It's really not for me to question. All I know for certain is that I'm supposed to play the banjo.
Many thanks to the kind folks at songplanet.com online radio for playing Kentucky Morning Vision.
Please sign my GuestBook: