Can you share a brief description of your musical background (gigs, tours and recording projects etc)?
I always had a fascination with music and actually played saxophone before becoming completely fixated with guitar at age 13. Early on, I was greatly influenced by Van Halen and Slash and would lock myself in my room and learn their solos note for note. When I discovered the world of jazz and fusion, a light bulb went off. I listened relentlessly to Mike Stern, Tal Farlow, John McLaughlin, Allan Holdsworth, Alex Machacek and Pat Martino. I attended and graduated Berklee College of music and was exposed to a universe of musical knowledge. I had the undeniable privilege of playing and recording with drum legend, Rakalam Moses (Pat Metheny, Gary Burton) and was a three-time member of Mark White’s advanced guitar ensemble, “The Eklektik Elektriks.” I also did a few tours on Holland America Cruise Line’s Veendam and Westerdam as a member of the Halcats. I played with the JT Project, an up and coming jazz band out of NYC with Nathan Webb on drums (Kenny Garrett). I’ve recorded on countless studio sessions in a plethora of styles from pop to shred. I started working with my main band and source of passionate inspiration, Boy Meets Machine, in 2009 and we’re currently playing a ton of shows all over the map.
What do you have going on now?
As I mentioned before, my main focus right now is my original project, Boy Meets Machine. We’ve showcased for Grand Hustle records and are really trying to get our name out to as many people as possible. We’ve got a diehard legion of fans and each show is getting bigger and bigger. I also play with a fantastic cover band called Johnny Drama that plays up and down the east coast. Last year we played over 150 shows in some really high profile venues such as House of Blues, and the Borgata in Atlantic City. I was recently endorsed by Vigier Guitars and will probably be doing a bunch of clinics in the upcoming year. They make unrivaled instruments and I’m happy to be part of their team. I’m still doing studio work here and there as well and also teach a bunch of lessons. I try to stay as busy as humanly possible.
Where do you see the direction of music going in the future?
I think music is in limbo right now. The industry seems to be in a perpetual state of flux and it’s a very trying time for original artists. It’s really become a “do it yourself” operation. Record companies are being phased out and record sales have plummeted. Digital media has become the standard and it’s blatantly obvious that the tangible aspect of being able to possess an album and its artwork has taken a back seat to an itunes playlist. We are dominated by a world of “singles,” and substance has been traded in for production and entertainment value. Shows like “American Idol” have completely devalued the original artist and turn music into a popularity contest. It’s tough to stomach at times. The only way to persevere is to be incredibly well educated and business savvy and to have an iron will.
What role did music education have on your career?
Music Education definitely paved a solid foundation for my growth as a musician. The Harmony and Ear Training classes I was enrolled in at Berklee were absolutely invaluable. Obviously, the exposure to great players and teachers was truly life altering. That goes without saying. Perhaps the most underrated and important aspect of my time at this institution was the networking aspect. I was able to make a massive amount of contacts that keep panning out for me in my professional life. It’s all about having a personality and reaching out to people. Tenacity is the most important quality of a successful musician.
Why do you like Pickboy picks?
I use Pickboy Picks because they have the best tone, consistent response, and lighting fast rebound off of the strings. To me, the give the player the greatest sense of control. I can’t tell you the graveyard of picks that I’ve amassed throughout the years. I’ve tried every brand and make from standard to boutique and nothing matches up to a Pickboy Pos-a-Grip Jazz 1.5 in my opinion. Pickboy makes a stellar product and I hope to be working with them for years to come.