From the first time I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, my fate was sealed. Ringo looked like he was having a lot of fun, and so I was off to ask my parents for a drum kit. Within a few months, some friends and I put a band together and started playing teen dances on the weekends in Spokane, Washington. We were actually getting paid to play music. What a great way to make a living (and the fact that the girls seemed to pay a lot more attention to us, didn’t hurt!).
All through high school I played in various bands and every chance I got, I’d go see my “heroes” in concert: Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, CCR, Blind Faith, Weather Report and so on. It was an exciting time in music. The drummers in these bands influence me to this day: Mitch Mitchell, Ginger Baker, Cozy Powell and Aynsley Dunbar along with jazz greats, Elvin Jones and Louis Bellson (and let’s not forget the man who started my journey - Ringo!).
The Northwest scene was exploding at this time, and we’d go to Tiffany’s every week to see the hot Seattle bands - Merrilee Rush, Surprise Package, Floating Bridge and one with an insane sax player, City Zu. I would always go home wishing I could be a part of that scene. (Be careful what you wish for!).
In 1973 I joined a popular Spokane band called Orphin Anny. The next year we decided to try our luck in Seattle. The group broke up, but I fell in love with the Northwest and decided to stay. I freelanced, jammed a lot and got to know as many of the local players as possible. In 1977, I joined a 1950’s show band called Kid Chrysler and the Cruisers. Besides the 50’s show, we did a parody of famous rock stars and the Cruiser’s guitarist, Randy Hansen, did an amazing Jimi Hendrix impersonation. Randy, Larry Epperly (on bass) and I decided to start our own trio. Within three years we went from a house gig in Kent, Washington, to touring all over the U.S. We did shows with Heart, The Kinks, The Beach Boys, John Cougar, Stevie Ray Vaughn and many others. We were also written up in Guitar Player, Crawdaddy and Rolling Stone magazines.
My next project was interesting because I was the only male in a female fronted outfit called “Lips”. The lead vocalist/guitarist was Meredith Brooks, who had some success in the 90’s with the single “Bitch”.
The early 80’s were spent traveling through Canada and a year living in Denver, playing with local favorite Lee Malone. Back in Seattle I played two years with the Neil Rush Band.
In 1987 I made my first trip overseas, playing on military installations. The tour got off to a slow start, as I decided to take my first and last surfing lesson in Hawaii. I broke my knee. After surgery it was off to Japan and the Philippines. Two years later, we toured through the Mediterranean. We played bases in Turkey, the Sinai, Greece, Italy and Spain. We were able to see the Pyramids, the Parthenon in Athens, Pompeii and many other incredible sights.
When I returned home, I was putting a new act together (Smiles Revival) with two friends when I got a call from a local agent, wanting to know if I would be interested in checking out a band that needed a drummer - City Zu. I drove to Bellingham, WA., played a set and got the gig. That started a long relationship with Jerry Zu that continues to this day.
In 1991, City Zu was invited to play the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong. The gig was very successful. I liked it so much, I spent the next four years freelancing in Asia, sampling the culture and cuisine of Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong. You haven’t lived till you’ve dined on chicken feet and snake soup! I worked with Soto, a popular Latin band, Curly Cooke and a techno act called “The Club”. In 1996, I traveled to Istanbul, Turkey for a three month engagement at the Hyatt.
Back home, I got a chance to work with Seattle Women in Rhythm and Blues, which featured Kathi McDonald and the legendary, Rich Dangel on guitar.
In 1999 I received a call to come to Las Vegas and work with Spiral Starecase (More Today Than Yesterday). It was a great band and a lot of fun. One of the singers was Lena Prima, Louis Prima’s daughter, so we played many of her dads great swing tunes.
Since then, City Zu has occupied most of my time. When I’m not on the road, I try to squeeze in original and recording projects such as, Sunny Loudin’s debut CD, rockers 7th Order and most recently, NW Artists Against Domestic Violence.
All in all, its been a great ride. I’ve been able to make friends all over the world and work with some great musicians. Can’t wait to see what the future will bring!