I was born and raised in the Philadelphia area, switched from saxophone to guitar in my teen years, figuring I could meet more girls that way (it worked...still does), and was in my first band before graduating from high school and actually getting paid for it. My college years landed me smack dab in the middle of the hippie generation - you know - peace, love, flowers, anti-war, Kent State. Musically, I was profoundly influenced by the creativity of the era from folk music to the Beatles.
The first college I attended was a small school in St. Pete., Florida. In those days dorms were not co-ed and the girls had a curfew while the boys didn't. After curfew, several guys in my dorm would go around to the girl's dorms and serenade them (see...guitars - girls - they just go together). They would come out in their sleeping attire (remember Florida is warm) and listen to us serenade them through the fence. Three of us formed the Newton Trio (name after our dorm) and performed at college functions and other places in the area.
My next college was in Ohio. In addition to being part of a large group called Piper's Alley, I was starting to do solo coffeehouse performances on campus. In those days my overriding concern (like most other guys) was would I get drafted (and I don't mean by a professional sports team). When I discovered my draft board gave deferments for teaching, I naturally found myself drawn to that profession.
Fortunately, the summer after graduation I was working road construction barely 15 miles from the upcoming Woodstock Music Festival. Unfortunately, I had to cut my hair, fly to Florida, and start driving up the coast till I found a school that would hire me and write a letter to my draft board stating that my services were desperately needed. Thus, I missed (by a smidge) the defining musical event of my generation. Although disappointed, in the grand scheme of things, my long term health concerns were better served by these turn of events. To console myself, I took up surfing - every day after work by Ron Jon's Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach.
Good news arrives in bunches, and when I found out I flunked my physical (they didn't say why and I never asked), the good life of graduate school beckoned. I finished up teaching the school year and headed back to Ohio to grad school, ending up in a program that didn't quite exist at the time - Popular Culture. But when all was said and done, I received the second Master's Degree in the country in Pop Culture and my thesis was a creative one - I cut a 45 (remember those puppies). The A side was "Hour of the Wolf" and the B side was "Dream Child" (which I re-recorded for the CD).
By this time I was living in Corning, NY, drawn to the area by the lure of money from road construction (certainly not teaching). I discovered Wetgoods (the early days), a club where some great musicians were playing, including Steve Peao and Bruce Vanderpool, who ended up recording with me on my CD. So, despite the possession of two degrees and with stardust in my eyes, I decided to make it big in music. I began playing every club and college campus within a hundred mile radius. I went to New York and L.A. trying to get a break. I opened for Cheech & Chong and Orleans along the way (what a thrill). When I realized that a large part of making it big was knowing the right people (and I didn't), I came back to the Elmira-Corning area because living expenses were cheap and the music was good (and even profitable).
At this time, folk music was dying out, so I bought a used Strat off a starving musician and started playing rock and roll in bands. In the late 70's and early 80's I played in Sunshine, Blue Denim, and Onyx (even being in a Battle of the Bands).
It was during this time, much to the delight of my parents, that I got myself a real job, teaching English in Horseheads, NY. Remember those two degrees I folded away lo those many years ago - well, they still worked to open doors. "Always have a back-up plan," my granddaddy used to say. I think he also used to say, "Chastity is its own punishment." Smart man. Anyway, this was the kind of job, luckily, that allowed me to provide for my family (I had a wife, son, and step-daughter) and yet still play music on weekends.
About this time I hooked up with a guitarist/singer named Dave Sharman, and together we traveled around for a while as David & Dave. In 1982, a friend at Horseheads and the baseball coach, Jim Keenan, asked if I could provide a band for a raffle dance to raise money for his team. I said, "No problem," and proceeded to ask Rick DiGiacomo and Dave Fiorini, who were playing in another band that wasn't working much, to help. Naturally, we all decided practice was unnecessary (all being devotees of on the job training, not to mention the pay was guaranteed). The unexpected result was that we started getting more bookings. Now we had to come up with a name. In a weak moment (or perhaps it was an alcohol induced moment), Rick revealed that as a kid, he was called Little Ricky by his relatives and hated it. Having three Dave's in the band, I naturally named the group Little Ricky and the All Dave Band. Surviving a near death experience at the hands of Rick, my next close encounter was with a biker at a bar we played regularly who put his 47 tattoos (which were attached to his arm) around me and said that he loved our band but our name sounded like a faggot band. I assured him we could change and thus, the more manly sounding name, Nighthawk, was born.
Although different musicians have come and gone (the wife left, too) (see my Divorce Trilogy on the CD for more details), Nighthawk and I have been a fixture on the local music scene for almost 20 years. During this time we have opened for Badfinger and Survivor. In addition, during the last few years I have revived my acoustic act under my nickname KapEye (pronounced KAP - I), usually playing as a duo with Steve Peao as KapEye & Peao.
For me, the future holds retirement (from teaching not music) in June, 2002. I will continue to play in the Elmira-Corning-Finger Lakes area from spring to fall as Nighthawk and KapEye and then take my solo show on the road to someplace warm - hopefully the Caribbean (I've gradually acquired a fond admiration for Jimmy Buffett, who lived a lifestyle he wanted and had his music reflect that). So, wherever the future takes me, I'll keep you updated and hope to see you there. :-)