The year was 1968. Bill Chase walked into the Thunderbird Hotel Lounge in Las Vegas and heard me perform for the first time. I was playing trumpet and singing with my band, "Fire & Ice." Why his interest? Because Bill had written all of the musical arrangements for our show, called "It's a Funky Fiesta," and he wanted to hear how well we were able to pull it off. As you can imagine, the trumpet parts were demanding, but my Double Gs and my voice apparently got his attention. Over dinner one night he shared with me his vision for creating a new sound in the music world, and then he asked me to join him to make it happen. I did...and then we did! For the next two years I toured the world with CHASE, performing before numerous live audiences--and we brought this new sound to the world. The sound of powerful, soaring trumpets cascading to the most exciting elements of Jazz and Rock. In 1971, we performed our hit single “Get It On” and “Open Up Wide" (audio available in the Gallery) on the Tonight Show, starring Johnny Carson. You can't imagine how excited I was to play these tunes while one of the greatest trumpet players in the world, 'Doc' Severinsen, stood nearby listening. We also performed both tunes on the Smothers Brothers Show (video available in the Gallery). Those guys were two of the nicest, most friendly guys I had ever met. It was a thrill seeing "Get It On" not only stay on the charts for 13 weeks, but also to see the impact it had, as it became a favorite for nearly every college marching band in the nation. Our next honor would be to receive a Grammy nomination for “Best New Artist” that same year.
Samples from our first album (1971): CHASE
Samples from our second album (1972): ENNEA
In 1977, I teamed up with original members of CHASE to record a Tribute Album entitled, "Watch Closely Now," in honor of our late mentor, who, along with three other band members, died in a plane crash in August 1974. On this album I played trumpet, arranged a number of songs, sang lead vocals on a couple of songs, and wrote the song, "Those Eyes." It was great to see and record with the gang again!
So what have I been doing for the past 40 years? It is so unbelievable that it is probably better shared in an autobiography. Although a book project is very exciting, right now my focus and goal are meshed together in this campaign, my music, and you!
Even though I continued to write music over the years, my direction in life took me along a different path, and, as a result, most of my songs have not yet been recorded in a studio, except for the few songs I recorded literally on a shoestring budget years ago. I am ready to pull them out of the time capsule and change all that NOW! I will not only record them with the best musicians and sound equipment available today, but will combine these songs with some of today's best contemporary sounds to produce an exciting new sound. Really, my next CD/album could start a resurgence of great music that I believe will stand the test of time. I have been away from the recording studio for far too long. But the pieces are now coming together quickly and I am back with bigger ideas than ever. I feel that my time is now! And I hope you will join with me to make it happen.
In today's world of technology, musical elements can be created and pieced together digitally. With the wide array of software available, even someone with relatively little musical knowledge can sit alone on a computer in their basement and come up with songs and arrangements. Even though most of these will not rise to become music standards that will stand the test of time, they do offer a quick way to a quick goal.
I'm from the old school where talented musicians have trained hard for years, and they come together, read real sheet music, play real instruments, and record their phenomenal sounds in real music studios operated by competent sound engineers who know how to capture it all together to bring out the very best sound.
So what does this have to do with "Our Needs?" Unlike putting a quick tune together on a home computer, the tried and true way costs a lot of money. I have to pay real musicians, real studio owners for our studio time, real sound engineers, real music transcriptionists, real distribution centers, etc. What you will get from all these real people is a sound that reverberates within your soul, a sound that stays in your head because you like it there, a sound that forces you to unconsciously tap your toes, a sound that you cannot wait to take to your friend's house to play on his audiophile sound system where you can hear each and every subtle musical detail. Get my drift? Real music-lovin' people appreciate music with substance, played by gifted musicians, who haven't cut corners to save money!
I believe music today needs a rebirth, a shot in the arm, so to speak. There is just something natural and beautiful about the authentic sound of real musicians playing real musical instruments to create real music with substance. Music with direction. Music that you can close your eyes to and experience the story WITH the story teller.
Eras of the past cannot be brought back. I get that, but I intend to use my musical talents and experience to bring back the best elements of a great era, combined with what's best about today's contemporary music, to create something totally new and exciting. And there are strong indications that there are A LOT of other people just like me in the world who would welcome this creative blend of exciting sounds to create something totally new. Are you one of those people? I hope so, because together we will create a new sound, and make musical history at the same time--and your help in this endeavor will be key in making it happen.
So why don't I just secure financing from a record producer to record a CD? Because I want to introduce my sounds without the tight leash that would change my sound to someone else's sound. And besides, a CD doesn't tell my story or accomplish my purpose. It's about ushering in a musical revolution to a world that I believe would welcome it with open arms. And I have a growing list of notable musicians standing by right now, waiting for me to assemble the troops and pass out the sheet music. And with your help through this campaign, you will have that new sound. I've done it once, and I'll do it again!
For those of you who would like to support my musical comeback, and have the means to do it, I am deeply indebted to you. Even though, as the Beatles song goes, "The best things in life are free," assembling the best musicians in a recording studio is far from free. It takes the generous support of music-lovers like yourself to make this musical adventure become a reality. So go ahead, choose a perk, and let's get this snowball rolling together.
Believe it or not, there are a good number of you out there who just want to support what you believe is a worthwhile project, and you have the money to do it. If, after choosing a perk, you still have money to give, there is a space provided above the perk you selected where you can increase the amount.
There are some of you who are just not able to come up with the funds at this time. I know, times are very hard for a lot of people right now. So let me first say that I am grateful that you took the time to stop in and check out my campaign. That means a lot to me, but there is a way you CAN still be a partner. If you believe in what I am doing and share my vision, please take part in my campaign by SHARING it with all that you can. Really, to make this project a success, it doesn't take a lot from any one person, but if a whole lot of people contributed even a small amount, it'll happen, and in a BIG way!
Contributors and interested individuals alike, I need your help to get the word out to all of your music-lovin' friends and family, co-workers, Facebook friends, Twitter friends, and however else you can help advertise my passion to return great music to the people. Let's make a concerted effort, together, to talk it up. You are my marketing team! Let's spread the word together!