What sparked your interest in music?
I started bugging my parents for piano lessons in the 3rd grade. I went to see Red, White and Bluegrass, and I wanted to give music a try after that. I began playing guitar in college because I wanted a more mobile instrument.
More mobile instrument?
It’s just so hard to get rid of pianos. We had a piano at my house since 1996, and we couldn’t get rid of it. We tried Craigslist. We tried everything. Pianos are like pool tables and hot tubs – if you get them, you have to sign up for life!
Favorite local band or artist?
Charlie Parr. I love his style of music. He brings back a pre-World War II feel, only he makes it sound new. I like the idea of bringing back that pre-electric era. We are so overwhelmed with technology these days.
Most memorable Rochester gig experience?
I played at the Love Ugly before it closed. There was this beatnik vibe that isn’t real common in Rochester, except for in coffee shops. It was like a coffee shop that sold alcohol.
If you could run sound for one artist no longer among the living, who would it be? Why?
Robert Johnson. He doesn’t even need a sound man because he is just that good. He creates music that doesn’t seem possible.
One book you think everyone should read?
“Awareness” by Anthony De Mello. He is a philosopher who focuses on spirituality and being in the present moment. I always get something different out of it. It’s a very humble outlook on our path on this planet as far as spiritually is concerned.
Strangest thing you’ve ever seen an audience member do?
I opened up for a comedian about 20 years ago here in Rochester. Halfway through my set, I started getting heckled. Someone yelled, “Bring on the comedy!” The title of my next song was “Seen and Not Heard,” and when I announced it, the audience thought it was in reference to the heckler’s comment, but it wasn’t. The audience did get a kick out of it.
Kindest words from an audience member?
I had a woman compliment me on my blues playing and ask for lessons. I found out later that she was an accomplished musician herself.
What is your musical philosophy?
Music is a contradiction – it’s both selfish and sharing. I just want to be as unselfish with music as I can be. This isn’t to say I don’t want to make money, but I just to be able to share it as often as possible.
What motivates you to keep playing music?
It has become a part of the fabric of my being. It doesn’t matter if I play at home or in front of an audience anymore. I would probably still play even if I couldn’t share it with others. It’s that important.