Born in 1968, I grew up around live music via tube amps, reel-to-reel analog recording, scratchy vinyl records, and a father who played drums professionally and recorded songs in collaboration with Wayne Carson, Charlie Daniels, & Conway Twitty. My first concert was Elvis in 1974. I’ve been exposed to an appreciation for all kinds of music: country, folk, rock, gospel, jazz. My music is a product of those influences.
Where are you based?
I’ve lived in Oklahoma most of my life; was raised in the city of Jenks; but now I reside and have my home studio, “Symmetry Studio” to be exact, in Glenpool, OK. USA
How long have you been making music?
Honestly, I’m not sure. You can do the math. I started playing acoustic guitar and writing original songs at age 11. It was this pawn shop beater, action an inch off the neck, and hurt like heck to play. Never had patience with the guitar early on. So I picked up bass guitar at 14, because it only had 4 fat strings, and seemed it would be easier to play than 6 skinny strings, and the local band needed a bass player. And it was easier! Of course later I learned the proper role and function of bass within context of actual professional music. I’ve found that less is usually more. Young bands tend to play like more is more. Shredders don’t appeal to me at all. Give me David Gilmour all day long as an example of a master lead guitarist. But I digress. So I fell in everlasting love with the bass guitar! I’m a bass player, first; a songwriter, second. I played/recorded with bands for 10 years, then at around 24 I quit playing anything for 20 years or so, due to family commitments. I just picked the instruments back up about 5 or 6 years ago, I think in 2015, shortly before I had a stroke at 47. Really, it was like riding a bicycle, at least the songwriting and bass. The difference now is that I’m more focused on my guitar playing than before, both acoustic and my Tele. I’m hardly a guitar player, but I’m always aspiring to become better. I’m older, wiser (hopefully!), and have more patience to dedicate to my craft of Musical Artist/Compositional Instrumentalist. Plus, it makes a difference in one’s self-motivation since I’m a paid musician, actually making a living from my art.
What genre would you consider your music to be?
Honestly, I don’t know! I call it Rock Music. But let’s follow it out logically. I discovered long ago that I’m an eclectic at heart and in soul. I’m also an Indie artist. Since I’m an Independent Artist, we could call my music “Eclectic Indie Rock,” with sprinklings of “Eclectic Prog” thrown in for good measure, such as hints of Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree, The Pineapple Thief, Riverside, Rush, Yes, Page/Zeppelin, even early Black Sabbath, etc. That first “Black Sabbath” record is in Top 5 of my all-time fave albums. Nobody was playing so heavy and so dark in 1970. Huge early influence on me musically, particularly Geezer’s bass style and tone.
What inspired you to pursue a career in music?
My Dad, first. As a kid, I had constant exposure to music, his bands practicing in our home, and his vinyl records. My Dad had an eclectic collection of 45s and albums, artists ranging from Nazareth to Neil Diamond. So growing up in a musical environment left its indelible impression. Next, I discovered Kiss as a pre-teen, and listened to records by Mac Davis, Grand Funk, Missing Persons, etc. As a teen, I discovered the debut “Black Sabbath” record, and I was mesmerized by the vibe they captured. Geezer is why I pursued bass. My biggest inspiration is the simple love of creating something artful out of nothing. Music always seemed natural to me, an ingrained love, the best means whereby I can express my authentic soul.
What are your biggest musical influences?
That depends on which period of life, really. In my 20s, it was Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dokken, and the like. Overall, I’m now influenced by many elements simultaneously. The raw power and courage of Black Sabbath, the psychedelic story-telling of Pink Floyd, the master musicianship and elaborate compositions of Rush, the melancholic honesty of Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson, the acoustic folk of Dave Matthews, the rich vocal harmonies of CSN and Kings X, the unconventional experimentation of Jeff Beck and Pat Metheny. It all applies to the music I create. Yet I never try to sound like anybody but myself, for better or worse.
Are you signed to a label or are you an independent artist?
I’m an Independent Artist signed with CD Baby as my Publisher and Administrator. CD Baby has been awesome to work with, and I can speak firsthand how they take good care of their Artists. Totally professional outfit. They build the highway; I drive the car. It’s been a synergistic relationship, and I love it that way. I’m not really seeking a label anymore, because I enjoy the 100% creative freedom and control I have as an Indie. Whatever the scenario, I must remain authentic. But I never say never. Whatever God has in store for me, I’m willing.
What have been the biggest challenges in your music career?
My own self-imposed limitations, and believing in myself. I’m highly analytical, sometimes to a fault. But in making this record, I quit overthinking everything, which leads to “paralysis by analysis,” and just moved ahead more with my gut instinct, God’s direction, and my keen ear. My motto is: If it sounds good, it is good. I’ve always wanted to do a concept album, but felt I didn’t have the right songs. For “Symmetry,” I had most of the songs written and recorded as rough demos 3 or 4 years ago, but they were either in need of additional layers or of remixing/remastering, and were not originally intended for a concept record. “Dogs of War” took me over a year to complete, while I was busy overthinking; but the record itself, as a conceptual album, came together fairly quickly once I stopped overthinking and just started recording, editing, mixing, and remastering. I went from rough demos to radio-ready mastered tracks in about 3 weeks, all from my home studio using Reaper DAW. If you’re in a “writer’s block,” just pick up the instrument and start making noise, then see what falls out. You might be surprised at what you’re capable of achieving when you stop thinking so much and just start doing what comes naturally. It works for me anyway.
How many songs or albums have you released to date?
I have one album to date, “Odd Symmetry.” I’ve written other songs which I plan to eventually release as singles.
Can you tell us a few things about your latest release?
The title hit me one day in 2020 as descriptive of my life, odd symmetry. the word “symmetry” denotes a sense of harmonious and beautiful proportion and balance. The life lesson ironically of my personal experiences through 2020: God is always there, resolving. The record is one ‘rock opera,’ following a timeline of tragedy vs. triumph; the worst of times, yet the best of times: calm in the chaos. It’s my painful story of human “brokenness” and Divine resolution, told conceptually. I think of myself as the “Shamrocker,” because I’ve come close to death 3 times (that I’m aware)–via car accident at 16, stroke at 47, Pancreatitis in 2020. So I’m lucky to be alive and to even play music. I have God to thank for my life, and I am truly blessed. I believe God’s providence and grace has preserved me thus far, so I play music in reciprocation for His glory. I am openly Christian, but the album is not intended as a “Christian” record. I don’t write Christian rock music, but I’m a Christian who plays rock music. There’s a difference. Nonetheless, “Symmetry” is a God-inspired record, definitely.
Any plans for new music or upcoming projects we should know about?
Yes, I have more videos planned for the record. I’m working on the official video for “Sometimes She Cries” currently. I also have recorded some Country demos that need remastering. Once remastered, I can release these as possible singles. Besides this, I’m always writing, creating, and drawing inspiration from everything in life.