* Piano lessons at 7 with Ruth Diehl for 5 years. Practiced 1 hour everyday.
* Drum lessons at 14 with jazz great Bill Tims for 2 years. Practiced 4-8 hours a day.
* Bill Tims retired, continued drum lessons with Phil Verrill for 2 years (funk, rock, pop, jazz).
* Piano lessons for 6 months with teacher who's name I forgot (sorry!).
* Practiced piano again for a few months (chord theory, after a dream where Bob Dylan taught me how to write songs).
* Joined Low Tolerance, won 2nd place in Battle of the Bands in Portland, Maine. Recorded 1st time in professional studio as drummer and backup vocalist.
* Taught myself guitar at 18 in Queens, NY from a chart of 24 chords and listening to roommate Chris Whitting's record collection of Beatles, Elvis Costello and jazz records. Also began singing 4 hours a day minimum to Beatles albums.
* Continued teaching myself guitar while living in South Portland with friend Matt Beal. Briefly joined Twisted Roots as drummer until I pulled a stupid stunt and left band.
* Moved to Madison, WIsconsin, to join Regis and create a band. Left after 6-7 months (too cold), moved back to Portland, Maine.
* Formed power trio, Tao Jones, at 20 with Neil Carroll and Jeff Brown. Performed originals and covers at open mic nights (not old enough to get hired for gigs).
* Formal jazz guitar lessons at 21 with Valtimar Mollineux for one year. Studied Berklee jazz guitar method.
* Sight singing lessons with Jeff Greenleaf for 4 months. Incredibly important. Helped me get accepted for audition into USM as double-major for bachelors degree in jazz & classical guitar live performance. I never went, feeling that performing live was where the degree laid.
* Joined Rhythm Section of Shame and Go Button at 22 as drummer.
* Created The Off-Beatniks with Bill Hamilton, Max Kay and Jason Stewat
* Moved to Venice, CA to join up with Regis McNicholas and Neil Carroll to create Medulla Oblongata.
* Joined jam band Freshly Baked as guitarist, then became bassist. Toured for 3 years and recorded 3 albums.
* Played a few gigs with jazz fusion band, Ocean Street Jazz Band (Manhattan Bch, 2000-01),
* 2001-02, Bassist for Zrave, a theatrical band influenced by Queen, indie and punk.
* Created Woodshed with Tony DePiano. Larry Breedlove. Marshall Thompson and Halina Janusz joined shortly after. Changed the name to Mother Jones after 6 months.
* 2003 Released album, "Life Is Illusion" with Mother Jones Band. Toured regionally.
* 2004-2011 Played bass with Cowspace at Brennan's Pub every Wednesday night with Jeffrey Cleveland, Alan Combies, Bosco Scheff, Geoff LeDoyen, then Marshall Thompson and Chris Nyquist. Took a year off, then played bi-weekly until April 2016 (previous bassist Doug Freyre covered the other Wednesdays).
* 2006 Released "Union" with Mother Jones Band, continued to tour regionally with national radio promotion.
* 2005-2006, Bassist for talented songwriter/singer/guitarist/composer, Kari Newhouse, with Alan Combies on drums, for 1-2 years. Toured regionally and L.A. shows.
* 2007, met guitarist gunslinger, Jeremiah Roiko, began playing gigs under his name as trio or 4-piece , with Philip Clarke on vox/sax/keys, Joe on drums, then Perry Ostrin (drums), Stephen Riddle (drums), and Ben Martin (drums). Released an EP, performed until 2018.
*2008 Mother Jones went to Washington D.C. to lobby for indie internet radio stations along with other selected music acts. We were successful in getting the bill passed so indie stations could survive a changing landscape.
* 2008 Joined Sarah Goff Band as bassist, then became The Elizabeth Kill. Recorded album.
*2009 Began playing bass for Rich Sheldon Band (still fill in for him) and John Jakubek Band ( Chris Kirshbaum on drums and Billy Yates on lead guitar).
* 2009 Filled in as bassist for Stone Soul Band (2009).
* 2010 Released "Better Days" with Mother Jones Band. Performances were selective.
* 2016-2019 Joined Jerry's Middle Finger as bassist, performed and toured regionally.
* 2019 Joined the Doggie Llamas as guitarist/vox with John Jakubek, Perry Ostrin and Tom Camillo. Monthly residency at Sonny McClean's (Santa Monica)
* Present - I still perform live but only occasionally, putting most of my time and energy into recording my songs for film, television, internet licensing.
FROM PORTLAND, ME TO QUEENS, NY
At 16, I joined my first band, "Low Tolerance", with my close friend, Regis McNicholas. We were introduced to each other after much fanfare by our goth friends, Ziba and Mychelle. They thought we'd hit it off as bandmates. In fact, they adored us so much that they couldn't possibly conceive how we couldn't connect musically. Well, they were right.
The anticipation of meeting each other was palpable. We were in front of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in Portland, Maine. It was fall, Regis was wearing a WWII Army overcoat and I was wearing my tweed overcoat. We met and hit it off immediately. His sense of humor and imaginative mind quickly convinced me that we should play together in a band. We also shared a childhood that wasn't so pleasant, and that really connected us. We talked a lot about our dreams and rock star aspirations while roaming the streets of Portland, smoking cigarettes and crappy weed. We inspired one another at the most formative time of our lives.
We entered the '1988 Rock-Off Battle of the Bands' in Portland, Maine. We rehearsed for a couple weeks, performed our three songs and placed 2nd, getting the opportunity to record 2 songs for the 1988 Rock-Off compilation album. This was my first time in a professional recording studio and I quickly learned how important it was to play a consistent tempo. I also got to record harmonies for the first time.
MY BOB DYLAN DREAM THAT CHANGED MY LIFE
About a year later in the fall, I moved out to live with the band on Peaks Island. I was still the drummer of the band, but it was here where I began to write songs because of a dream where Bob Dylan told me and showed me how to write a song on the piano! Mind you, I had very little interest in Dylan at that time, but nonetheless, this dream was the most important event of my life, changing the course of my musical future.
This is the dream: I'm walking downstairs into a venue somewhere in SoHo or Greenwich Village, when I see Dylan singing on a small stage with his guitar. Once he was finished, I approached him and asked him, "how do you write a song?". Conveniently, we were both sitting on a piano bench, with a piano in front of us, and he says nonchalantly, "Well, it's really simple man...You just put these chords together like this, then you do that, and it becomes a song". He continued to explain what a major chord "sounds" like vs. a minor chord "sounds" like, while showing me how each chord can be moved around (positions) based on the song's key. So I nod, trying to absorb it all and thank him as he replies, "Oh, it's no problem, man". Add the Dylan drawl and you get the full picture.
So I wake up and try to remember everything he's 'taught me', completely inspired and on a mission. I go down to the piano and start backtracking the dream. I begin on middle C, playing the major C chord first, then the minor C chord. Then I move up to the D note, adjusting the same notes I just played on the C chord but a full step up. Then I go up to E, then F, then G, and right at that moment, it all clicked!. A hundred light bulbs turned on and I never looked back! I thought to myself, "If you know chords, than you can write songs!"
So I wrote. And I wrote, trying out different chord configurations with lyrics and melodies that kept pouring out of me. It was a wave of inspiration that had me singing a lot since all of these songs needed melodies for their lyrics. It was as if a magic wand was waved over me and I finally found what I wanted to do with my life. I also realized how much work it was going to take to become great, let alone good, at songwriting.
QUEENS, NY - LEARNING GUITAR AND SINGING
At age 18, I recklessly moved to New York City in the dead of winter with a friend named Lenny. He was this brilliant Russian guy who left NYU, moved around a bit, and convinced me to go to NYC with him, which I did. I had nothing to hold me back, just a dishwashing job and living with far right hippies without electricity. Crazy, young and stupid? You bet. So we took a Greyhound to NYC. It was 1989 and Bush Sr. was president. I was working with Greenpeace and Iiving in Queens with Chris Whitting, who was generous enough to let me stay with him rent free. I owe him a debt of gratitude to this very day (as well as $400). A very good man with an incredible record collection. He turned me onto so many artists, particularly The Kinks and Elvis Costello, whom I had very little knowledge of. Elvis' Spaghetti Western album is what convinced me how versatile a songwriter could be (besides the Beatles White Album). He also shined me onto Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker.
After a couple months, I was fired from Greenpeace ( I was a terrible canvasser! ). During that time off, I picked up Chris' nylon string, read the back of a guitar book and taught myself all the chords: major, minor, augmented and diminished. I soon became obsessed with the guitar, not only practicing chords but singing along to Chris' records, in full voice for 6-8 hours at a time, to the behest of the neighbors, trying to get a better voice. Luckily there was also a neighbor who played saxophone to Charlie Parker recordings in the apartment complex. Long story short, this is where I began to write songs on guitar and never stopped.
Late Spring arrived and I decided to move back to Portland. I moved in with my good friend, Matt Beal, in South Portland on Preble Street. His mom was an angel. She took me in as if I was one of her own. This period only lasted for about 5-6 months before I moved to Madison, Wisconsin to reconnect with Regis, with aspirations of creating a band out there.
THE 90'S - MY FORMATIVE YEARS
Madison, Wisconsin was a very interesting city. It was at once progressive but not the best place to start a band. However, I wanted to keep the dream alive of playing in a band with Regis, but the elements didn't sit well with me, so I left in April of 1990. It was also one of the coldest years on record, hitting 50 below for 10 days in January. I vowed to never be a part of that level of cold ever again, so I hitchhiked back to Portland, Maine.
BACK IN MAINE
Once I was back in Maine, I continued to practice both my playing and singing, and got a band together called "Tao Jones", with my close pal Neil Carroll (drums) and Jeff Brown (bass). We started playing open mic nights on Sunday and Tuesday nights at a popular local spots.
This band phased out and I joined another band, Go Button, as the drummer at age 22. It was a fun, endearing and hokey band that I couldn't resist (Peter Wolfe, Karyn Jenkins, Dave Naybor, and David the electric banjo player).
I was also playing with The Rhythm Section of Shame, a very fun band lead by Chris Goetz, with Max Kay on bass.
At age 23, I left Portland for a little while, then came back and started a band with members Bill Hamilton (lead guitar), Jason stewart (drums) and Max Kay (bass) called "The Off Beatniks". We played a few shows and kicked a lot of ass.
In the fall of 95, I decided that I needed to move to LA to grow as musician. Regis and Neil were also out there, and I wanted to give that a chance.