What is a bio? Bio’s are largely flowery bullcrap, so i’m going to attempt to tell the story from the beginning. Here goes.
Mom and Dad met in a Piggly Wiggly’s in Lubbock, Texas. She lived in Albuqurque, New Mexico and he lived in Lubbock, Texas. They had a long-distance, penpal type relationship for a few years, and then married when he was 20 and she was 17.
Dad was a boyhood friend of Buddy Holly’s. They learned to play guitars together, and had a due called “Buddy and Bob”……….Dad wrote songs like “Heartbeat”, “Wishing”, “Down the Line”, etc.
He later wrote songs like “Misty Blue” and “Back in Baby’s Arms” in our basement in Madison, TN.
One time my dad, Elvis, and Buddy Holly all went to see a movie in Lubbock, Texas on one of Elvis’ tours through there. Imagine if a bomb had gone off in that cinema? Rock and Roll would not have been the same, and I certainly wouldn’t have been here!
Mom sang on “Suspicious Minds”, “In the Ghetto”, and “Kentucky Rain” by Elvis. She also sang on “Everlasting Love”, and many others.
I cannot remember a time in my childhood when my father was not in the studio producing a record.
Almost every night as a child he would come home and play us what he’d recorded during the day. We were expected to sit and listen, and comment.
I spent alot of time asleep on the couch in front of the control board in Soundshop Studios when I was a kid-which he owned and produced alot of records in. I learned to sleep with music blaring on 10 above me. I studied my dad as a producer. I watched his every move, and tried to figure out what he was hearing.
When I was 19 I lived in New York City. I busked in the subways with songs by Springsteen and Steve Earle. I decided then that I wanted to be a singer-songwriter-the guy with a guitar singing songs that meant something to me. So, 2 years later I drove myself across the US to Los Angeles where I immediately hit the clubs, and bars……..playing every open mic night I could find. I found an attorney, John Frankenheimer, and almost exactly a year to the date I moved there I had my own show at Genghis Cohen. He brought Larry Hamby from A&M Records to the show. I got a record deal that night.
So, I was on the hottest label in town, had a publishing deal with Sony Music, William Morris was my agent. I made a record called, “Fear Nothing” with Ed Cherney (Bonnie Raitt, Rolling Stones, every surviving Beatle), and toured with Sheryl Crow, David Crosby, Peter Himmelman. I learned about performing from Peter Himmelman. I loved David Crosby for his kindness, and support.
The Crosby thing happened like this-I opened up one show for him at Liberty Lunch in Austin, and after I played I walked backstage, and Crosby said, “So, are you opening up the rest of my shows?”, and I said, “I don’t know anything about it”………he walked to the payphone, and dailed his manager and said, “knock off all the opening acts on the tour…..I want this kid to open my tour”……..so, off I went. I found him to be a perfect gentleman.
So, had some tours under my belt, and it was time to make a second record. A&M didn’t really know what to do with me. My music was not really rock, and not really country, and Polygram had purchased A&M, and the beast needed to be fed.
I had a publishing deal, record deal, the top agent in town, and NO money coming in. There were days when I went through the floorboard of my truck looking for spare change so I could have enough gas to put in my truck to go to work. By that time I’d gotten a job at Borders Books and Music on La Brea in LA. I was also going out on movie and TV auditions via William Morris.
I guess the strategy was to send me out as an actor, and see if I could land a movie or tv show…….thus saving my record deal.
I think that was the nail in the coffin for me and LA.
Basically, I couldn’t stand auditions, but was having some success with them. I read for a pilot, and the lady who was casting it said that she “wanted me for the part”, and would a read for the producers at Warner Brothers in two days. She even read with me the next afternoon.
So, I read for the producers, and blew it. I spent three days in the fetal position! I knew it was mine for the taking and my nerves had gotten the best of me, and there was $150,000 out the window.
I gave up acting AND Hollywood soon after. A&M suggested I move to Nashville and make a record for the Nashville division. I did, but asked out of all my deals soon after that. I’d had enough.
Spent the next few years working around Nashville. I worked at Sam’s pushing carts initially. Where I succeeded in pitching one of my songs to Paul Worley who was producing Martina McBride. She ended up cutting “I Won’t Close My Eyes” on her 3 million selling Evolution cd. That was cool.
From Sam’s Club I graduated to banquet serving at Opryland Hotel for two years, then valet parking (4 Years), and delivering papers for the Tennessean (2 years, 7 nights a week).
During this time I wrote more songs, and produced an artist on Universal named Anna Wilson. I also got an ex-girlfriend a record deal with BMG on the agreement that I would co-produce the record. She axed me as soon as she got the deal, only to have the deal fall through a few months later. I could have told her that would happen, but she thought she was clever.
Ok, i’m bored with this……..i’ll write the rest tomorrow (Sunday, June 6th, 2010)
UPDATE-ok, so it took a couple of years to get back to the “bio”……….well, since June 6th, 2010……..I’ve completed another 50 States in 50 Days tour to raise awareness of the plight of kids aging out of foster care in America in conjunction with the Orange Duffel Bag Foundation. I’m now the “Celebrity Spokesperson” for the Foundation. I”m also the only person in the world to have completed three 50 States in 50 Days tours. The fourth 50 States in 50 Days tour begins on Aug. 24th of 2012.
Probably my most proud achievement was being the Luncheon Honoree for the CASA’s of Orange County’s Holiday Luncheon 2011. I showed this video from the 2010 50 States in 50 Days tour, gave a 7 minute speech, and played a couple of songs. They raised $350,000 that day. It was one of the coolest days of my life.
Oh, and I was one of CNN’s “Most Intriguing People” on Wednesday, Dec. 10th, 2010. I only got one day, but it was hump day, so I figure that is pretty cool.
The new cd “Some Comfort” was fan-funded and will be released in August of 2012 in conjunction with the 2012 50 States in 50 Days tour. I’m filming a documentary in collaboration with Bob Harris from BBC2 that we hope, most all, that will inspire. The winter will see another tour of the UK/Ireland, and Continental Europe.
In closing, I guess a pretty good example of who I am is embodied in the new video for “Some Comfort”………..we spliced in footage from “Red-Blooded American Boy” video with the new footage. Cory Oliver, the girl from the “Red-Blooded American Boy” video agreed to be in the new one……..20 years later. This video feels like my life’s work…….look for it on GAC, CMT, and CMC in Australia very soon……………here it is. Thanks for reading.