From the first time I heard the Beatles’ “She Loves You” to my first real rock concert at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre I wanted to play Rock n’ Roll. I love Rock N’ Roll. The simplicity of the music, two guitars, drums bass and vocal connecting into something bigger is intoxicating. For me the wonder of Rock N’ Roll is that three chords and a beat can make a difference.
At 14 I convinced my parents to let me have an electric guitar. It was a red Kramer that did not stay in tune. I did not care. I wanted to rock. My first band rehearsal can be summed up in one word…troubling. I was undeterred.
Through high school and at the beginning of college I played in cover bands. In college one of my friends in Seattle band Sweetwater told me that playing other people’s music was weak….I needed to write my own tunes.
I took his advice seriously and put my efforts into songwriting. It was life altering. My college bands starting playing my original songs which set us apart. After college my rock band, Harvest Day, toured, got played on the radio but never got the magical record deal. We broke up. It was heartbreaking. I cried and started writing songs immediately for the next project.
Today I am 37. I have a job a wife and a child. I am not a touring musician. I still play shows, write and record with my band Sweetlou. To date we have written and recorded three full length records, I am working on the fourth. Most of the people I used to play with stopped rocking long ago. People often ask me when I will stop….”never” I tell them.
Rock N’ Roll has taught me humility, how to get along with a wide variety of people, especially the guitar player who can’t stay in tune.
Rock N Roll has taught me about perseverance, how to fail, break up, call the next drummer and start writing songs again.
Rock N Roll has taught me to keep an even keel. No matter how good of a show you play you still have to load out your gear. No matter how bad you play there is always another gig.
I have had many people tell me that my songs were no good but just as many say that something I wrote moved them. I experienced the excitement of hearing my songs on the radio and also felt bitter disappointment as songs that I poured my soul into were ignored.
The funny thing is that with as many ups and downs as I have had with Rock N Roll I always find myself writing the next song, booking the next gig, standing on stage plugging in my telecaster and counting off the beginning of a song. Rock N Roll is my life’s work and my life’s passion. That’s just not something you give up on.
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