Tell us about your tour vehicle. Any notable breakdown stories?
We’ve been asphalt gypsies the last four years and travel in a 2016 Lexus that’s a workhorse and still one of the best cars for touring that we’ve ever owned. We’ve had many trucks, vans and other cars that always needed repair from being on the road. Four years ago we went for the Lexus and it was worth it and then some. Being on the road for weeks is so much more bearable now and it’s also a hybrid so gas isn’t as bad as past vehicles. I guess we don’t have any notable breakdown stories because our current car is so reliable, knock on wood.
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
Eating on the road. Man, that should be a vlog series on Youtube. I travel a lot with my wife, Suzanne, and she’s really good at keeping me on task with eating as healthy as possible on the road. We carry a large cooler and pack it with food instead of resorting to fast food temptations. We also love Starbucks and the occasional takeout burger…but not McDonald’s or Burger King.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
I break maybe four strings a year but I change strings on three guitars about every two weeks. I use Elixir Strings and end up paying about $40 each time I do a 3-guitar string change. You’re talking about $1000 a year? I’ve never really counted it up, now that’s scaring me a little…
Where do you rehearse?
I rehearse at home in our sunroom. Nothing crazy really, only the occasional glass of tequila if I’m rehearsing and practicing guitar at night.
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
I think it was a song about the civil war, I wrote it in high school, it was called “Cavalry”. Can’t remember the melody, but the first line was something like “It was in the year 1865 and hardly a man of sixteen alive”. That makes no sense at all now and why the civil war, I don’t know – I was in high school.
Describe your first gig.
I was in the seventh grade. We played at a local party/dance as “The Perpetuals”. Run of the mill 60’s garage band playing surf instrumentals and radio hits like “Born To Be Wild”. I think we made $15 apiece. Good money for a 13 year old.
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
I write songs and perform solo acoustic guitar…that’s who I am now. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have made a living in music all my life as a folk singer, then a rock musician, then a composer for film, TV and I’ve scored over 75 video games over the years. Now I’m back where I belong as a folk singer and solo acoustic guitarist and loving it.
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?
I had good success as a composer for many years. I decided to focus mainly on my folk/solo guitar career five years ago, it’s been a great transition so far. My album “The Man I’m Supposed To Be” came out in 2017 and helped me get more live gigs. But winning the Grand Prize for American Songwriter’s Bob Dylan Contest last year really put me on the map for better stage gigs. For the next 5-10 years I just wanna keep playing, writing songs and meeting and making new friends on the road.
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
Starting out in music, I wish someone had taught me how to slow down. I was always in a hurry, trying to find my next lucky break. I was hell bent to find a better gig, get a better guitar, write a better song, find a record deal, etc. It took many years to learn to slow down and “smell the roses”…sounds cliche but it took years for me to realize what I had achieved in music and relax a little bit. It’s true, life is what’s going on while you’re busy in your room playing guitar.