Wow, what a topic, my head is spinning. It's really great to see that things have progressed to this point here, we have a real family here.
And yesman, that's very good news about your brother, I hope everything turns out alright.
It'd be next to impossible to try to address everything that I've just read in here, but there's no question that we have a bunch of (ok, cliche warning) all good people.
I suppose that I have to admit that even though this topic already has 100 replies, this is the first time I've read any of the messages in this thread. I'm SERIOUSLY behind in YEStalk, and it's getting worse - as the messages continue to get better.....the replies get better...and then the messages get better...on and on.
But I guess this is the Revelation topic, so I'll try to stick to that. I guess the main thing about me is that I always have too many things going, and the result is that I miss out on a lot of stuff, including chatting with everyone here. You'll see what I mean when I get to the part about what I'm up to right now.
Anyway, I'm a city boy, born, raised, and lived all my life in New York City, except for a short stint at Oregon State U. I'm 46, on my second marriage, my 2 boys are grown up and already live on their own. My first wife self destructed on blow about a decade ago, so I finished raising the boys, which wasn't necessarily a great success story.
I'm now married to Deb, we've been together for 10 years, we got married in a cave. Our wedding song was "The Meeting". We've shared our love with close friends on occasion, but I think maybe we're getting too old for that now.
I've been involved with music as long as I can remember. Even when I was really young, I would love listening to any kind of music that my family would put on, and would love watching stuff like Lawrence Welk...although I think that had something to do with the Lennon Sisters.
I started taking piano lessons at about 5 or 6, and did that for a couple of years. I can bang out some chords and play really basic melodies on a keyboard now, but that's about it. And I still remember some music theory, and if I study a page of music for a long time, I can sort of read it. When my 10th birthday was coming around, I decided I HAD to have a guitar, and pestered my parents to get me one. They did - I was the proud owner of a PLASTIC Emenee "electric" guitar. It was a 100% plastic acoustic guitar, and it had some kind of weird setup where a transducer kind of thing plugged into the bridge, and that was wired into a little battery powered amp. Very cool. Soon I was playing Secret Agent Man, Wipeout, and I think maybe Satisfaction, but I soon had a problem. I'd play all day, my fingers would bleed, and the blood would get all over the neck and strings and then I couldn't play because..it hurt..and because it was sticky.
Needless to say, I kept at it, and now, 36 years later, I almost feel like I know what I'm doing...until I hear REAL guitar players and remember how good they make the instrument sound.
I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school, became an altar boy, sang in the choir, played folk guitar at those new-fangled "folk masses" they started doing around 1966, and went to Catholic high school too...all boys. So the whole Jesus thing was pounded VERY deeply into me from a very young age.
Started really listening to music in '64 and started buying all the popular "45's". My first one was Downtown - Petula Clark, and eventually every other top 40 song in the next couple of years. Did my first slow dance with a girl to "To Sir With Love". Those school girl days.....
Music was pretty light at the time, but a couple of things kept peeking through, and somehow I heard most of them. I was still REAL innocent though, my friends were starting to listen to "albums" and were listening to FM, and I was still digging The Archies and Tommy James. In the middle of it though, were a couple of interesting things...Kenny Rogers (yup, same guy) did a real strange tune called Just Dropped In (to see what condition my condition was in), and I thought, "oh, this is very different". Then, Pictures of Matchstick Men turned up (Carl Palmer was the drummer in that band, as I recall). Hey, this stuff is pretty cool.
The first real revelation though was the Moody Blues. I finally decided that I should getting into albums, so I went to the record shop, looked around for a while, and came home with Every Good Boy Deservers Favour. What a great cover, I thought, and I already liked them, a friend used to play me some of the earlier albums.
Soon, I was putting the speakers on the bed and laying down between them so I could REALLY hear what was going on. Oh man, songs about little animals jamming in the woods, and other stuff like that. Now we're talking...this is MUSIC. The first song I learn from that one is Story In Your Eyes, wow, that was a great solo.
Suddenly, the floodgates open. Now I'm listening to all sorts of stuff, it was probably "summer of '69" by this point, so there was great music everywhere. But Yes eluded me for the most part. I knew about them, but there was no impression.
Keep playing for a few more years, by now hanging out in the park and jamming with other people, and already playing on stage by this point. I'm just growing up a bit.
Then, it all comes together. I could never reconcile all the garbage that was drummed into me in catholic school, and some things bothered me that I could never figure out....why were the catholics the only people who would go to heaven, why was everyone else doomed. We were taught that catholicism was the "one true religion". Wait a minute, what about the Jews, they're the "chosen people".
Then I got turned on to Close to the Edge..I guess I should leave that story for the "how did you get turned on to Yes" topic though.
One of the keys was certainly "a dewdrop can exalt us like the music of the sun". Of course, that's it. God is in everything, from the smallest drop of water to the most intense celestial light show. We are ALL his children, and all this organized religion stuff is just a tool some people need for whatever reason. It was suddenly clear to me that we are all, indeed, one, and the most important thing was enjoy the gift of life we have been given. A God this amazing wouldn't be looking for a world of people who spent their lives attending silly religious rituals, he'd be more likely to be happy with people who lived their lives true to themselves, and sought to never hurt anyone.
This may or may not have been around the first time I ..umm...heard about blotter :)
I have certainly experimented with a myriad of items over the years, but that has mostly passed. Mostly.
I played in rock bands throughout the 70's, when there was a big club scene - live music everywhere. But then punk and disco pretty much killed that off in a hurry. Soon, if you were a working band, you were out of work.
Got involved in the pet business for a while. First worked for 2 small aquariums, then opened a "portable" aquarium in an indoor weekend-only flea market in the early 80's. Got heavily involved in VERY exotic pets, everything from gila monsters to monitors to lories to Madagascar Cockroaches to big snakes. Was somewhat of a salt water fish expert - was invited to write a column for Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine after being the first to have a live birth of a Snowflake Moray Eel in captivity. It made all the papers. I've kept some very strange things at home, everything from a Midwestern Diamondback rattler to rare old world chameleons.
These days, I work for a real estate developer, been there for 12 years. I pretty much oversee day-to-day operations, and make key financial decisions. I'm also heavily involved with computers, so I run the network..netware 5, web server, fax server, groupwise, etc.
As far as computers, been involved since college (Electrical and Computer Engineering). Programmed the first version of After Hours on my TI-99/4a in 1985 in assembly language. After Hours was the first adult conversation bbs. Back then, most people thought it was nuts that people would actually go online (with their 300 baud modem) and write messages. Little did they know!
The software for YEStalk is a heavily modifed version of a public domain bbs program that I've done quite a bit of work on. Fez (a friend from After Hours) actually got me started on it, and he wrote some of the key routines that have enabled this to work. From there, I've been building in all sorts of enhancements. What's interesting about that is that I didn't know ASP until I started working on it, so it was slow going at first.
In 1996, I started The YES WebRing. Soon after, I added The Guitarists Complete Guide to YES, and then YEStalk. The guitar site came about because I always forget my yes tunes. I would spend months...no years...learning to play something like CTTE, then I'd get involved with something else for a while and completely forget it and have to relearn it again. Then, I saw all the inaccurate tab on the net, combined with commerically available books that completely skipped all the guitar solos. I had to do something for myself to remember, and figured I might as well share it.
Needless to say Howe has been quite an influence. I've studied his playing since the 70's, and never cease to be amazed at his ability to pull new things out of that treestump he plays. Unfortunately, he's sort of ruined a lot of things for me, because they don't stand up, so it's hard to enjoy a lot of music if I feel the guitar playing isn't good enough. That generally means that if you play the same blues scales that 10,000 other guitar players play, I'm not gonna listen.
My influences have been diverse though. Besides Howe, people like Carlos Santana, Joe Pass, Andres Segovia, David Gilmour, Steve Hackett, Mark Knopfler, Steve Morse, and some others are the kinds of guitarists I like to listen to. More generally, I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, but not as much anymore, and I find it hard to warm up to much of the newer stuff.
Newer stuff...liked Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, had a hard time with Dream Theatre, can't get into the Seattle thing either.
We went camping a few weeks ago, I brought some Zep, Floyd, Boston, Asia, GTR, YES, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Doors, and Eagles. Next time it might be completely different, Miles Davis, maybe some classical, or Loreena Mckennitt.
In 1999, I released "Millennium Guitar" a solo album of mostly classical guitar, featuring pieces by such diverse names as Segovia and Howe.
For about the last year of so, I've been spending every spare moment writing new music with Tim Martin. We're almost done, and we hope to have our album, tentatively titled "Ancestral Voyage" out maybe by the fall. It's a concept album of progressive music, and I would think that the target audience would be......everyone here :)
I don't drink much, but lately have been enjoying a shot of tequila now and then...that stemmed from a friend bringing me some homemade mescal moonshine a few years ago...another great story. And I enjoy a good beer once in a while..Spaten Optimator or a Celebrator would be best, but I like a Heinekin too.
I've been to around 30 yes shows over the years, spent many nights at Madison Square Garden too far back to see anything. In those days, they'd sell out the Garden for about a week straight. $10.50 for Orchestra seats!
I missed them on the Drama tour, and I'm sorry I missed that.
I skipped every show during the Dark Ages, but was first on line when the Rennaisance arrived. Yeswest..or Cinema...was a great band, I just wish they didn't insist on using the name they did. Trevor and his Backup Band would have been more appropriate. I know, I'm gonna hear it now. Did I forget to reveal that I've become opinionated :)
Almost "sat this one out", but when tix weren't $100 each, immediately grabbed 4, and will be "cautiously optimistic" about the concert. PREDICTION COMING: I'm POSITIVE we're gonna hear stuff from the new album, so how could I miss it. On the other hand, remember my last prediction was that there wouldn't be a next album, so don't depend on me for anything.
I guess if I had kept this short, someone would have actually read it, but this is exactly what happens, I start something, and get carried away. I should be doing stuff at After Hours, I should be writing music, I should be cleaning up, I should be working on the software update for the board...uh oh, today's Deb's birthday, I should be wrapping her present instead of writing this. Yikes!
I guess one of the things I'm happiest about is how nice things have remained at YEStalk! Don't yell at me for not being around so much, hopefully our music will be worth the wait!