Little did I know I was stepping into a wacky combined musical workshop and playground. At first we played simple, slightly off-kilter pop songs that Bill had written, but as our chemistry gelled, we all began to contribute material and we discovered our own style. Much of what we did was demanding, mentally and physically, for me. It was a time of joyful challenges. Being part of a team, yet having the opportunity to express myself musically, to write lyrics, to truly contribute to the sounds and textures of our original songs, to build our arrangements together - it was fantastic, and ultimately, very important in developing the way I experience music. Horsefeathers was one big experiment! We were our own mentors, encouraging and inspiring each other! We dared to be different! And we were just arrogant (young) enough to occasionally attempt musical feats of daring that were, technically, somewhat beyond our reach! (Fortunately, passion counts more than precision in music. We were certainly passionate about what we were doing, and our audiences could feel it. They knew and appreciated that we were trying to launch ourselves into a new musical universe.)
I've played, written and recorded a lot of music since Horsefeathers was hunkering down, sweating through El Cajon summers, blowing our eardrums out in a tiny spare bedroom lined with carpet remnants. Most of that music has been quite different than anything Horsefeathers might have done, and yet, what I look for in music has remained basically the same. I listen for passion. Passion crosses all the imaginary boundaries implied by genres. If I can sense sincerity in the hearts of the people playing music, I will probably find something to enjoy in that music. For me, music is all about self-expression, and I figured that out while playing in Horsefeathers.
My Horsefeathers experience also taught me that, no matter how ordinary one's life may seem, with a simple change of perspective, there is always something to discover. The group welcomed my first foray into unusual instruments with the mountain dulcimer (not documented on this album, maybe in the future?) and since then I've picked up some other oddball instruments, such as the kalimba, and these days, ukulele. Whatever instrument I play, I look for unique possibilities. I'm obsessed with improv, and I do my best to discover onstage the fun we might overlook in real life. I read, I bike, I meditate, I cook with my wife - I lead a creative life! For these blessings I owe my father, a visual artist and an all-around interesting guy, and my mother, who remains legendary for her love and total support of both her son's efforts.
I also owe Mick, Mark, and the two Bills, for their years of friendship, and for inviting me to take a HUGE first step along my creative path...
Oh yeah, The Beatles, too. I owe them, too.