What age did you get started or interested in music?
“As long as I can remember, music has been a part of my life. In 4th grade I sang in The Philadelphia All Boys Choir, and in 5th grade I took Trombone and Guitar lessons. In 6th grade, after seeing The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, I took up the drums and my path was set for life. I’ve been playing music since.”
When did you start playing professionally?
“I played in a few neighborhood bands that were very good in the late 60’s, like “Medusa”,”Dead Cheese”, and “Jellow Buzzard”. My professional career had a start in 1975, then it got side tracked until 1977. From 1977 on, I’ve been a full-time musician, with a short detour in the late 90’s into music retail.”
Where did your bands tend to play in the early days?
“In the very early days, we would play at neighborhood churches, synagogues, schools and community centers. Later, when I got involved in the club scene, many of the clubs on the east coast, but mainly in South Jersey, Philadelphia and Delaware became the places to play.”
Do you play instruments or sing or both?
“I play guitar, drums, bass, and a few odd things like synthesizer and a bit of mandolin. I also sing, and arrange vocals for many of the bands I’ve been in.”
What type of music do you play?
“These days, I’m playing mostly surf/hot rod style music. But, I love and play country rock now and again with some friends, and have dabbled in progressive rock, especially in the 70’s and 80’s. Amy (his wife and musical partner) and I write beautiful pop songs. I love a good well crafted song.”
Do you believe having a partnership with Amy has built a stronger marriage?
“In our case, it has made our marriage stronger. We connected musically as soon as we met and started writing and making music together almost from day one.”
Has it ever caused arguments?
“Well, just like any musical relationship, in a band or otherwise, there are always going to be disagreements over what goes where, or who plays what, or what word works best in a verse. That does happen. But that’s where it stops. The arguments don’t last long, and never interfere with our home life, which is very nice.”
What is your favorite musical moment(s)?
“I have many favorite moments, but the most memorable moment for me would be when I shared a microphone with Al Jardine of The Beach Boys, singing harmony on “I Get Around” with him. Another memorable moment would be performing with Chuck Berry at Great Adventure in 1977.”
How did each of those opportunities come to be?
“Playing in “The Rip Chords” (who had some hits in the 60’s,”Hey Little Cobra” being their biggest), I get the opportunity to appear on shows with many of my musical heroes. We play all over the country and the list of people we’ve been on shows with, plays like a who’s who of 60’s rock.”
Did you get to spend any time with them off stage?
“Yes. I’ve had some great conversations with some pretty amazing musicians.”
What was that like?
“Eye opening. Some of the stories from the 60’s touring days are pretty amazing. And of course, finding out what went on behind the scenes of recording sessions of some of my favorite songs is pretty amazing to hear. I feel very fortunate.”
Did you ever dream you’d have a lifelong career as a musician?
“I knew that playing music was what I was meant to do for my livelihood, so having a lifelong career is not surprising to me and I’m glad it worked out that way.”
Who has been your biggest inspiration musically?
“Most of my influences are either from teachers who have made a difference in my life, or musicians I have never met. The Beatles, especially George Harrison, influenced me greatly. Brian Wilson and Al Jardine of The Beach Boys have been a huge influence on me, and I’ve been fortunate to be in their company a few times.”
Was it difficult to make that a reality?
“It was tough at first, but as each opportunity came up, so did the chance for making enough to sustain myself.”
This week the Rock and Roll hall of fame inductions will take place. Who would you love to see inducted?
“The bands I would love to see inducted have never been nominated. “The Monkees” deserve to be in there. “Yes” deserves a place there. Chubby Checker and Bobby Rydell definitely belong there, as does another Philly great, Charlie Gracie.”
Some people would argue The Monkees belonging in there. What would your argument be to them?
“Well, although they were “manufactured ” for the TV show, they did become a real band. Mike Nesmith, who wrote Linda Ronstadt’s first hit, “Different Drum” before joining The Monkees, and Peter Tork, was playing the folk club circuit and living and jamming with Steven Stills before The Monkees. Both had a music industry background before The Monkees. And Davy Jones was a cast member of Oliver before he joined The Monkees, and also had an album out a couple of years before The Monkees. On top of that, they sold millions of records in the 60’s, records that have stood the test of time, and although they used studio musicians on the records (as most bands did back then) they did play instruments on a lot of the records, and sang on every record. No one can deny that Mickey Dolenz has one of the best voices from that time period. I think I make a strong case for them.”
Are there any current artists or bands that you like?
“I do like some of the new music that I’ve heard, but I couldn’t really name any favorites. Some of the new rock bands are good, and I am hearing much more influence from the 60’s and 70’s in a lot of the new music. That’s a good trend.”
What’s on the horizon for you?
“More live performances around the country with The Rip Chords, more recording, mostly for pleasure these days, and spending time with my wife and musical partner, Amy. I have a new album in the works, which would be my 5th solo album, but I’m taking my time on it, so it may or may not get finished this year.”
And these music sites:
♫ Mitch Schecter- Solo – The Complete Collection of Instrumentals
♫ Cobra Beach – The Rip Chords. Listen @cdbaby
♫ Box of Crayons – Amy Lynne. Listen @cdbaby