Where were you born?
How and when did you become interested in music and making it?
During the summer before I went into high school, some of my friends started to get into the guitar. When it would come time to decide who I wanted to go play with, the fact of whether they had guitar or not basically made my decision for me. We would sit around and play the same two Nirvana songs we knew over and over again, but it never got old. That's when I realized that playing music would be an important part of my life. I asked for an electric guitar and an amp for my birthday that year, got them both, and started to play immediately as often as I could.
Do you have any formal training in music?
Nope.... just figured it out as I went along. I can barely read music. Sometimes I wish I had taken lessons or studied theory more, but other times, I'm really glad that I have to rely on my ear because it can be a challenge, which in turn helps me grow. I guess it works the other way as well, I just didn't choose that route for some reason. Probably because I'm stubborn and I like to figure things out for myself.
Do you remember your first song? What's it about?
Not at all. I'm sure it was instrumental, and because I can't sing and I had to concentrate so hard, it probably meant nothing. I was just learning and experimenting with new musical ideas.
What's your typical day like?
I make coffee as soon as I get up and walk down the hall to my workspace. I'm surrounded by musical instruments, so
inevitably I'll play songs and flush out ideas throughout the day, but I generally don't force musical creativity on myself unless I have to. I like to at least take a little bit of time every day to polish up a part or piece of music I've been working on, play it over and over a few times until it becomes almost automated and I don't have to think about it. At night, I usually eat dinner and hang out with my wife all evening.... pretty simple. I also really enjoy taking a lunch break to watch HGTV or DIY network.
What are the essential items you carry?
Wallet, cell phone, guitar pick.... that's it.
Dress shoes: brown or black?
Depends on what I'm wearing. I generally lean towards black when it's time to look sharp.
Preferred facial hair style? Mustache? Beard? Combo? Clean shaven?
If we're talking preferred, a beard, but for some reason, I haven't been blessed with the ability to grow one. So I have to stick with the combo — it's the closest thing I've got.
Describe you favorite pair of shoes.
I'm a bit of a shoe fiend, so my favorite pair changes often. Lately, it's these brown leather mid-tops. They have this powdery substance that's always there (I think it's supposed to protect the leather, that's what the salesman told me anyway), so they always look well worn and loved. I like to wear them loose to add to the well worn feel.
What are your non-music-related influences?
My wife, a few friendships and sometimes spiritual things.
How would you describe your music writing process?
I don't think it's ever the same. I like to write lots of different styles of music, and I also like to write with other people. The only consistent thing is that I like to start with rhythm and melody at the same time, not just chords for a melody to be put on top of later. I want the initial musical concept of of a song to be able to stand on it's own with one instrument making a solid musical foundation. From there, I like to view everything else as bonuses. I figure out a lot as I go and don't plan everything out in a song. Often times, I write and record simultaneously.
How do you know when a song is finished?
When there's constantly something to either grab on to or wait for in a piece of music. I used to tend to exhaust all my options in a song and it would easily loose it's original intent and could suffer from loss of feel. Now I just like to make sure that those two bases are covered and that's it. If I have too many ideas, I just start a new song.
Best place to eat/drink in your hometown?
The Ravenous Pig (Eat) and Red Light, Red Light (Drink)
Photographs: JonPaul Douglass
Interviewers: Aaron Martin, Danny Jones
Introduction by Aaron Martin
8-Track Collection, Harmonicas & Something Secret
You're an avid collector of 8-tracks, why did you start collecting them?
Some friends of mine gave me a portable player as a gift, and from there it was pure novelty. I think 8 tracks have some sort of playful quality to them... probably because they are basically a toy. They are a fun but rather flawed invention.
Can you educate our audience about any interesting information regarding 8-tracks?
They sound like crap. You can't pick where in the music you want to play from and the four tracks can bleed over each other. A new one can sound pretty good for the first few times, but they wear quickly. The artwork is printed on a label which is slapped on the cartridge, so they're fun to look at.
What's your most prized 8-track?
I have both cartridges of the White Album.
Top 3 most significant moments of your life thus far?
Proposing to my wife. Recording in a studio for the first time. Finding Jesus.
What's something about you that most people don't know?
I can kickflip.
A Lifelong Voyage Through Musical Instrumentation