I was a little kid just when American popular music began to rock and roll. Elvis, Jerry Lee, Little Richard & Chuck Berry had me hooked. I was a kid and I dug it. Does that mean that these cats were putting out “kids music”?
But it sure felt good to this little kid. Cool songs like My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It, Betty Lou Got a New Pair of Shoes, Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, Tutti Frutti, Hound Dog and Don’t Step on My Blue Suede Shoes: these were crazy, goofy songs that made you want to hop around.
After that I listened to soul and R & B and early Rolling Stones, with their incredible covers and social commentary originals.
Somewhere in this timeline, I discovered Mad Magazine, the Marx Brothers and then Monty Python. And Captain Beefheart. (From the Marx Brothers to the Allman Brothers.)
In high school I was heavily involved with sports but still found time to make up songs with various basement bands. When I was done with sports and college, I finally got a cheap guitar—I’d been subconsciously yearning for one for about a dozen years—and learned some chords so I could begin to create songs. I sold all of my rock albums and replaced them with old blues re-issues from the 20s, 30s and 40s: the music of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Blake, Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt and many others. Going to the source.
Making music has been the central core of my life ever since. I’ve had bands—The Barking Geckos, The Geckos, Under The Kitchen—produced countless jingles, written many songs and spent thousands of hours on the back porch or the front porch or the dining room or the basement or the recording studio or the stage, playing and singing and composing. While our kids were young, I frequently serenaded the neighborhood gaggle with absurdist marches and rollicking ditties.
My songs have been played on Public Radio, Public Television, most Chicago area radio stations, Doctor Demento and a host of Cable TV entities.