Cobblestone Streets & Endless Sounds
'It's very hard for me to separate the events of my life from music in general. It's as if with every song and every album there's a memory to go along with it. An event. A place. A person. A time. A car ride when I was 16. A wedding when I was 9. A party when I was in college. Just so we're clear...I'm not just talking about my music. I'm talking about all music.' The Childhood Years 'My father was a DJ. He knew everything about the music and the bands of his generation. I was lucky... so lucky as to be brought up in an environment where music meant so much. 'Taking the two hour drive home from my grandparents always turned into a competition between my brother and I as to who could name the artist, title, and year of a song on the oldies radio show. We had to learn how to distinguish between the sounds of the different bands. Is this the Dave Clark Five, The Beatles, or the Monkees? At the age of 10 that's a tough call. 'While my father was a DJ, he would always bring home the latest records, and yes, I know I'm dating myself by calling them records, but it's really the most appropriate name. As a result at a very young age I was able to play the songs I wanted to hear - when I wanted to hear them. I was able to develop my own soundtrack. It seems like every year since 1988 there's been one album that I must have listened to a million times.' (see right column) The Early Adulthood Years 'My freshman year of college at the University of Buffalo... was eye opening to say the least. After spending my whole life surrounded by music I was suddenly becoming involved in it. 'I became the lead singer for a band. We were awful, but it was a great experience. That year was the fist time I ever picked up a guitar. The kid across the hall from me got an acoustic guitar from his mother for his graduation gift. After a week of him not even attempting to learn how to play it, I borrowed it and taught myself how to play. I never returned it until the last week of freshman year. Some people tell me I play a little unorthodox, but it's really the only way I know to get across the emotion that I feel. 'The scene in Buffalo was incredible, so many bands, so many different types of music. I must have gone to 100 Hardcore shows my freshman year. Hardcore led to indie rock shows, indie rock shows led me to Ani. The first time I saw Ani Difranco, I finally knew that someone could play an acoustic guitar and still really rock. It was just so raw. I haven't even picked up an electric guitar since that show.'