One of my earliest memories is of me trying to play along with my parents' stereo on a plastic toy guitar. I must have been about 3 years old at the time. I remember being frustrated because what was coming out of my guitar did not sound like the music I was hearing -- which was one of my mom's Elvis records. As a kid, my parents' house was always full of music. Elvis, CCR, Simon & Garfunkel, Jimmy Reed, Lightnin' Hopkins, The Carter Family, The Everly Brothers, Johnny Cash, Los Indios Tabajaras, Carlos Segovia, Beethoven, Bach, Mahalia Jackson -- it was all there.
Around 3rd grade I had the 45 rpm single of "Beth" by Kiss because it was a popular song. After listening to it about a hundred times I decided to see what was on the B side. "Detroit Rock City" was the song, and the moment I heard that distorted guitar I was hooked. From there it was Kiss, Boston, AC/DC, Styx, Priest, Maiden, Scorpions... and then I found Black Sabbath, and that's where I've been ever since. I started playing guitar at age 6, but didn't seriously pick it up until I was in my teens. I've played in a series of different bands off and on since the mid-1980's.
Then, in 1998, I saw someone playing a set of bagpipes. I have always loved the sound of the pipes, but had never seen one up close. Having grown up listening to and playing hard rock and heavy metal, I appreciated loud instruments. I was amazed that so much sound could come from an acoustic instrument. Curious, I searched the web to find out how bagpipes work, and found pages on how to learn. I also found plans and blueprints for bagpipes, and having a background in woodworking and as an amateur machinist, I made a few sets. This experience has been invaluable when it comes to pipe set-up and repairs.
Having been trained in music from an early age, I began teaching myself the pipes. Later I joined Silver Thistle Pipes & Drums, Austin’s only competition pipe band. Since then I have continued to study bagpipe music and practice daily. I have won dozens of awards in solo and band competition, playing around the United States and internationally. In 2011 I competed in the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.
In addition to my experience with bagpipes, I am a formally trained musician, with over 30 years of study, performance, and competition – including guitar, saxophone, and general music theory. I have also played electric bass, mandolin, and drums.
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