I searched a long time before I found bass. I found a guitar in the attic of a house my family moved into in 1969. It had 2 strings and I taught myself taps. Unfortunately that was a song you heard often back then and it must have stuck in my head. The first thing I remember about bass was in 5th grade when I heard Roundabout by Yes and that bass line blew me away. It left such an impression that I still remember lying in front of the radio on the living room floor when I first heard it. Through my years in school I played the recorder, drums, trombone and I was in chorus. We never had the means for me to get a bass but I had friends with guitars and they taught me how to play a bit. One fateful day I happened to be at a party where a band was going to be playing. The bass player of the band was grounded and couldn’t play the party. One of the band members knew I dabbled on guitar and asked me to play bass. After a quick explanation of their songs and how to play a bass, I went in front of people for my first time on the instrument.
I believe the black and white pic might be my first “band pic.” The band was called Narmer Menes. This wasn’t my first band but this is the band that drove me in the right direction. We all liked a huge variety of musical styles and we did covers to match those tastes. From the Sex Pistols to Al Dimeola and Allman Brothers to Rush. It was always a good time jamming with these guys.
We were such an odd collection of people with a wide variety of musical tastes and all of us loved many different styles. I had so much fun with these people. Every rehearsal was fun, serious and silly, and every gig was the same. We really tried some lofty pieces of music be delving into Rush, Yes, Iron Maiden and a slew of other heavy weight bands. We were in the process of coming up with an original concept when I was given an offer I couldn’t refuse but I’ll never forget this band.
Not sure what to say that I haven’t said a million times. My years with Jack Hammond, Steve Albue, John Slattery and Mike Cascio were the most important in my musical life. I had jammed with John many times before so I wasn’t too nervous about that but Jack and Steve were accomplished writers, players and had albums. There was a pretty quick connection musically and under Jack’s vision and leadership we created a hell of a band. The rehearsals were relentless when I look back on them but in order to play at that level you had to put the practice in. There was a lot of pressure too because you knew the other guys in the room were bringing their A-game every single time. As regimented as the music was, the feel within the band was always loose and we had a great time. All these years later I still feel we left something on the table. I still practice this stuff too. It’s great for keeping your chops up and you never know if you’re going to get the call.
My musical life after Tools was bleak and yet very important for me. I spent 3 or 4 years trying to find a band I could fit into. I got very used to being in Tools and I couldn’t find that work ethic anywhere. Once out of Tools I realized just how special of a band it was. I decided I’d forget about the music scene and focus on writing and just teaching myself about music. This led to experimenting with other instruments and gaining a wealth of new knowledge that also helped me in my bass playing. I spent 15 years without a stage (other than an open mic here and there) and I wrote copious amounts of music in different styles. When I decided to come out of my self-imposed exile I wanted to do something different and with a lot more groove and improv.
Kool Kat Daddy was a band based around singer, Byford Landry. The band was a blues band but the rhythm section and guitar were more rock based. The rock based rhythm section gave the music more punch but Bill and I were quite capable of controlling ourselves when we should have. It was a lot of fun playing blues based music. I loved being able to do all that improvising too!
Beneath the Stares brought me back to that feeling I had with Tools of Ignorance where everyone in the room was right on all the time. We learned fast and we were tight right from the get go. I had some of my most amazing stage times with them. I’m tickled pink now because Lisa is with me in Hyper Jive. I can’t tell you how happy I was when she said yes to jamming with us. She’s a great band mate, musician and friend; I can’t wait to get back on stage with her and Hyper Jive!
Skinny Lombard was insane. We were a moneymaking cover band. We had a few originals in the end but our very cool library of cover songs gave us the ability to play a variety of different shows. We rocked the S#!t out of any venue we played and didn’t care how loud we were. It was just a fun band that could go from Neal Diamond right into Slayer and we did! I was also happy to be able to explore some pretty outlandish outfits in my days here. We even had our own satellite band, The Amazing Lombards!
This was my last metal band. We were pretty polished. There have been a lot of members in this band over the years. I think I was at least the 5th bass player and there’s been at least 2 since me. I appreciated my time here as all the musicians were pretty good and it’s always a treat to play with good musicians. I was never really able to do anything but play bass in this band so I left. It was hard to sit back and watch when you know you can contribute so much more to make the band better. I have no ill feelings, this band just functioned that way.
Betty Bleu was a luck fest with me. I’d seen Michele play locally so I knew who she was and I got a tryout for her band. Her drummer decided to quit so her and I started Betty Bleu. We brought in Lynn. I’d known Lynn for decades and I've always wanted to jam with her. Eventually we brought Larry on board and we finally had our band.