I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and didn't have any formal music trainng except for a disasterous encounter with the trumpet in 8th grade. When I got a job as a delivery boy for Chicken Delight in high school, the manager would occasionally bring in his guitar and taught me a few chords to get started. A year later, my sister Sheila went to Mexico as part of a foreign exchange program, and upon her return, excitedly told me of musicians that would board a city bus, play a few songs, 'pass the hat', and move on to the next bus.
It was the most romantic thing I had ever heard of, and I knew this is what I wanted to be!
I started teaching myself the banjo, mandolin and 'fiddle' as well, and after graduation in 1971, took a train to New Orleans, where I heard they did this type of thing on the streets.
Life in the French Quarter was grand in the 70's with lots of different musicians coming from all over the world, and it was there I began to pick up on these many different styles and incorporate them into the many 'street acts' and Bourbon St. nightclub bands I played with.
The next few years were filled with many wonderful playing opportunities including college concerts tours across America, hundreds of bars, nightclubs and street corners across Europe, living in Nashville playing the Grand Ole Opry, and of course 'everywhere' in New Orleans...as that was always the 'home base' I returned to.
I always had a fascination with Hungarian Gypsy music, and in 1982, took all the money I had, and travelled to Budapest, (which was back then still 'behind the Iron Curtain') in the hopes of finding someone wanting American dollars in exchange for teaching me the music and the style of strolling.
I did indeed find a most such a gentleman, and later friend, Gyula Bartvai...and may he rest in peace.
Upon my arrival back to the states, I settled in Cincinatti playing the many French and German restaurants, and moved to Detroit for an opportunity that came up there. In 1985, one of my music partners booked us for a two week engagement at a resort in the Florida Keys, and I never went back to Detroit, enjoying 'island life' for a year or so!
Now, with a beautiful wife, three wonderful kids, a dog, and a comfortable home in Tamarac, I feel truly blessed and fortunate to have met so many wonderful people in the past and continue to do so every day!
Thank you for taking the time to learn a bit about me, and I look forward to learing a bit about YOU!