Tell us about your tour vehicle. Any notable breakdown stories?
My current vehicle for solo shows is a 2019 grey Honda Accord with light road wear (11,000 miles), scraped in all the right places and souped up with a portable CD boom box and an orthopedic pillow.
I have a fond memory from years past of breaking down/waking up at a goat farm. It was quite pleasant and pastoral.
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
Through the kindness of friends and friendly strangers.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
I have a pretty light touch, so I don’t break many. I usually change strings every 3 months or so; a set of strings is around $6 a pop. Is it gross self-promotion to say that it would be cool to have a string endorsement?
Where do you rehearse? Any interesting stories about the space?
My current rehearsal space is at home, a 9’ x 10’ room that doubles as an office. There’s a computer on a desk, a Vox AC4C1 amp on the floor, and some pictures on the walls for inspiration (Dan Hicks, Johnny Mercer, Otis Clay).
My wildest rehearsal-space experience was in a room in downtown New York rented by my first band, The Individuals. The water pipes in the building broke, and we had to go down there and remove the equipment. It was like The Poseidon Adventure; I used my Fender Super Reverb as a raft.
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
I wrote my first song when I was around 7 years old. I sung the melody while I beat on a box of Kleenex tissues with a pair of chopsticks. I don’t believe the song had a title, but the chorus was: “Is your phone / ringing right now? / It could be an important person / or it could be Elsie the Cow.” Elsie the Cow was, of course, very important — she was the face of Borden milk. What is it about goats and cows? Maybe farming is my true calling.
Describe your first gig.
My first professional gig was with The Individuals. I think it may have been at the much-loved Tier 3 in NYC. The show was probably sparsely attended, but I’m sure some musician friends (the dB’s, 8 Eyed Spy?) were there in support.
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
Currently, I’m fortunate to have a day gig working as a copywriter in the entertainment industry. My favorite day job was when I was 19, working for the extraordinary Alan Betrock, founder of the legendary paper, the NY Rocker. Alan hired me to help archive his collection of music magazines. My favorites were the old 16 magazines. Paul Revere and the Raiders! Dino, Desi & Billy!
How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?
My music-related income has been negligible over the past 5 to10 years. I don’t expect the release of my new album, Fabulous Twilight, to substantially change that (although I do urge your kind and discriminating readers to check it out). More than money, I hope the future brings greater opportunities to share my music and to collaborate with artists whom I admire.
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
I wish I had realized the immediate benefits of seeking out opportunities to play with more accomplished musicians — to play above your level. When you challenge yourself that way, you develop quicker and stay sharper. Oh, and did I mention the orthopedic pillow?