Etched in Rock
Dennis Paul, born November 12th 1964 and a true Scorpio by any definition, was immersed early into a well-rounded music appreciation. As far back as a toddler can remember his parents always had the tunes playing in the family home so you can well imagine his early influences were very diverse in genre. He recalls jamming along with the greats in front of his parents Symphonic record player with a non-tuneable toy guitar. Later on in grade school he ran across an old Harmony acoustic guitar in his grandmothers storage shed, the neck was a little twisted but could be tuned open string. He soon 'invented' automatic tuning by simply bending the strings to get the right sounds as he was trying to play. His parents recognized his abilities in this field, skills in Mechanics and Electronics were also being displayed during these early years. No stranger to the bush, he spent many long and some times cold hours on his own exploring the forest on the outlaying areas of his hometown of Red Lake and the surrounding Chukuni river system. With no formal training on any instrument until high school, an alto saxophone he still plays today, he was always involved in musical activities of some sort and learned to play every instrument he could get his hands on including woodwind, brass, percussion, key and string. Living in the sticks of North-western Ontario presents many obstacles for the young aspiring musician the primary being the lack of facilities, resources, and proper training. By the age of 19 he had played in several bands and with no major success he decided to turn his attention to his job in the Red Lake Campbell Gold mine's mill as an Operator class 1. Digging deep into theory and systematically collecting much needed gear from his earnings, the goal was simple ... cut an album by the age of 40. Maturity has a way of adjusting priorities. With a home, a wife, three young girls (the oldest of which is a childhood leukemia survivor), a file drawer stuffed with diplomas, transcripts, certifications and other documents of achievement all covering a wide range of interests. His favourite subject in University correspondence was physics (Particle Dynamics, Sub atomic, Astro, etc.), he said this gave him a deeper understanding of the world around him. Not just looking at face value, but the base structures, compositions and driving forces. His developed skills range from the Arts (music, sketching, painting etc.) to Electronics (technical, design, application, schematics drafting etc.) to Computers (assembly, component design, programming, software design, networking etc.) to Carpentry, Residential Electrical, Masonry, Drafting, Landscaping, the list is endless. All this while rearing a family and maintaining his 12 hour rotating shift job. One day in his late 30's, while cleaning out an old storage area he stumbled across his Sax and his Fender Acoustic guitar, upon picking the old girl up the old passion and fire came flooding back. Tunes had always been present and current in the home but there had been something missing for quite a while and he could never quite place his finger on it, until that very moment. It took nearly one year to design, build and wire a sound proof studio to accommodate current and future equipment scenarios, another year to study over 3500 awesome songs from the 40's till present time and another year to perfect over 200 playable from memory. On his 39th birthday he went cold turkey from all tunes. February 2nd 2004 was the date pen went to paper and the album Etched in Rock started to become reality. The motive for the creation of the CD had altered slightly, rather than fame and fortune it was now about the music and the ability to leave a memento for friends and family (present and future). In a totally solo effort 30 songs were written, recorded and mixed with no outside participation. 25 numbered test discs titled 'Rockin' the Hut' were handed out to check the sound on different stereo systems and to check all age groups for any potential audience. With just minutes to spare before his 40th birthday the master and a stack of completed CD's sat before him on his kitchen table, the goal had been achieved and to his surprise the music was received well by all age groups, his highest measure of success had been far exceeded and very quickly. To describe the man is difficult at best, I'd have to say that having an ambidextrous tendency (which he considers both a gift and a curse), allows him to be equally gifted in art and science, very well rounded in many fields. This, coupled with the true Scorpio flare for logic and fantasy and armed with the continuous thirst for knowledge and improvement, makes him a very complex individual. Where no formal training is available he'll figure it out himself. He makes no bones about self-training as in his own words, 'Giving up is not an applicable solution to any situation, there is always a way to solve any problem.' He considers each new skill, talent or achievement as another brush stroke on the canvass of his self-portrait with a level of modesty suggesting that his canvass is still quite bare.