Good Timing on Getting Born. The Life and Times of inmyhands.
January 5th of 1955. It was a dark and stormy night. Really. 10:34 p.m. in the middle of a thunderstorm at Lutheran Hospital in south St. Louis city. No shrine marking the spot yet, but, these things take time. This was the year that Rock & Roll also really made its entrance. In 1955 the first Rock & Roll song to top the charts occurred with the success of Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets. Chuck Berry kicked it up a notch with Maybellene. After that it was off and running.
A cool little side note. As many of you know, a group of Dinos got together at the 2008 winter NAMM show in Anaheim at the Convention Center that sits across the street from Disneyland. My hotel was just a block up by one of the main entrances to the park. Research on the year I was born led me to find out that Disneyland opened its gates to the public in 1955.
My first exposure to the solid body electric guitar came in 1959 when my uncle Clarence bought his Les Paul. He’d been playing for years by then and was excellent at performing the standards for soloist style of music. He was by no means a rock player, but, he knew a good guitar when he saw one. I’d just started writing music at the time and seeing uncle Clarence play his LP was akin to my guitar roots being planted in fertile ground. My dad purchased a guitar for me in 1961 and I’ve never been without one since then.
By 1964, now armed with a solid body electric of my own and quite a few original songs, I, like everyone else, was treated to the first wave of the British Invasion. Most folks point to the arrival of The Beatles as a definitive moment in rock history, but, I also remember 64 as the first time I heard hints of how rock music would evolve with releases by both The Kinks You Really Got Me and The Zombies She's Not There. A taste of Heavy and a taste of Psychedelic. Both really influenced my songwriting and my playing from that point on. Those heavy chords I heard The Kinks using were just such a rush of adrenalin that it set my brain on fire with all these ideas about what could be done with an electric guitar. I'd played strictly clean until then and that was the turning point for me. I never gave up my love for other types of music, but, I'd never loved any of them as much as what I'd just been presented with. No gain pedals were at my disposal. I'm not sure they even existed yet. I'd never heard of them at the time. I just turned up my Silvertone Amp-in-Case until the tiny speaker got nasty sounding. I guess this is when I became a Dinosaur. At 9 years of age. A tiny Dino in the woods. A little Dino spud.
1965 continued this new trend with The Yardbirds Heart Full of Soul, The Zombies Tell her No, and the first time I'd heard a truly super distorted guitar demonstration with the release of The Rolling Stones (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction. 1966 followed with The Troggs Wild Thing, The Who's My Generation, and even the Beatles got involved with some cool riffing on Paperback Writer. Rock & Roll was dead and some heavy shit was on the horizon. Armed with my first electric axe upgrade in the form of a Penncrest as well as my first amp that didn't live in my guitar case I was stage ready and full of piss and vinegar.
In 1967 I got pissed on. I joined with four other dudes and did the whole rehearse three nights a week, put out feelers, get a few people to notice us thing and got offered a gig. A kid that lived at the orphanage told his preacher who was planning a graduation party that the class wanted us to play. Without bothering to find out what we played the preacher agreed and we were hired. I swear to God I had no idea that Southern Baptists weren't allowed to dance or get down and party. Hell, the priest at my church was drinking beer out of ladies pumps. Damn. Up on stage we were kicking it into high gear while our audience sat in folding chairs dressed for chapel services and applauded politely between songs like they were at a social. Anyway, we played harder, we got louder, we urged and egged them into getting out of the damn chairs and party. We were bodily tossed off the church property and had to beg to get our equipment back. Humiliating. Still, the summer of 67 was at the doorstep and we quickly moved on into better times.
Between 1967 and 1970 I just played constantly. This band. That band. I can't even imagine how much more I could have done if I'd been old enough to drive. Also in 1968 I became an Eagle Scout. Yes. Even then I struggled with multiple personalities. Around 1971, while listening to Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, King Crimson, Yes, ELP, Free / Bad Company, Led Zep, Mountain, and The James Gang I got my first true Dino Guitar, a Gibson SG Deluxe, and a paying job as a guitar teacher.While working there I got to meet some name performers as well as music industry executives who were friends with the store manager. He'd been a pianist on the Las Vegas casino stages as well as having worked for multiple studios as a session man. In 1972 he hooked me up with some dudes from a recording studio down in Georgia and they offered me a job to do sessions just like he did.Well, I had just started dating my future wife Debi, still going strong, Dad didn't like the idea and Mom wouldn't even listen to anything about it. Anyway the good son won out over the wild man. I worked a few more months for a manager who constantly reminded me of how he got me a break, and how he'd gone out on a limb getting those studio dudes to listen to me play, and blah, blah, blah. He was never mean. He really was a highly talented fellow who was just trying to help. So. To keep my streak going I took the next illogical step in my life and joined the Navy.
January of 73 through February 77. I served as a Hospital Corpsman with the U.S.N.. I also discovered Styx. In January of 74 I came home just long enough to get married to Debi and take her to Florida with me where I was stationed at the time. The SG, of course, was already down there. Damned if I didn't knock her up in less than a month. Our first son was born slightly less tham 10 months after we married. Dinosaur nutsacks should have a warning label on them. In 75 I sold the SG and went acoustic with an Alverez 12 string. It was time for Kiss, BOC, Alan Parsons, Armageddon, Angel, and Starcastle,
All through the 1970s I listened to Hard Rock and Prog. Rock. EVH arrived on the scene and my focus went from rhythm to lead. Didn't everybody's? Our daughter was born followed two years later by our 2nd son. I had traded in my 12 string by this time and replaced it with an Acoustic Black Widow Electric and bought a huge freakin' amp. It was time for Randy Rhoads and Gary Moore and Whitesnake. I also took a job at a Water Company where I still work today. With children ages 6, 3, and 1 my most radical personality to date took over. Daddy. During those most cherished years of Dino music I was Daddy. Buy a house. Baseball, softball, and soccer games for the kids. I still played and listened to music. I started home recording in the mid 80's. In the 90's I turned the FM radio off and learned the joys of AM talk radio. Nothing musical being created that was performed on the radio held any appeal. I continued to buy Dino records as they popped up here and there. I continued to play. In 1999 our youngest and last child moved out and Debi got a job.
In the year 2000 Twenty years of G.A.S. began to be released. 2001. Yep. Still got G.A.S.. 2002, 2003, 2004........................G.A.S.
In 2004 we bought our first computer, which I'm typing on now in 2008. We discovered the internet and started checking out all of the different music and guitar sites. Along the way I found Dinosaur Rock Guitar. I read about the earliest Dino Bands and the time frame. I realized that I had come full circle. I'd found a site that appreciated the very same type of music that I was helping get started when my ass was thrown out of a Southern Baptist orphanage.