The number one catalyst for myself to want to learn how to play a guitar was seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show way back in the early sixties. Once I saw them, I knew at that young age I wanted to do that too. We even used to pantomime them by “playing” along with their records using brooms for guitars when we were kids.
With the guitar, ever since then at least for myself, the journey has been a long and very fruitful tapestry with so many vibrant colors woven in a thousand threads. One of my other main earliest influences was Dave and his friends trying to play guitars and them attempting to build their own home made amplifiers out of empty suitcases.
When I got my first electric guitar I used to practice all the time in my room, determined to get it right and unwilling to give up if I couldn’t. The Jimi Hendrix version of ‘the Star Spangled Banner’ and his ‘Machine Gun’ song became my launching pad into a world of screaming feedback & distortion, and I couldn’t get enough.
Steven was my first serious connection to the world of making music with someone else; we were both starting out and had the same appetite for playing. He and I began jamming in the garage after school every day, and even though we both weren’t very good at the start, as things often do, slowly we got better at it over time.
Frank has always had guitars and over the years we’ve swapped and traded, given and taken our share of guitars with each other. I’ve mainly been a strummer most of the time; and Frank has mainly been a picker; we used to sit and play for hours sometimes, with myself laying down chord patterns and Frank picking out leads.
George Luz and I went way back to the time that he had just gotten out of the Navy, and we hit it off right away. We started jamming at first, and then we began doing our own music together. He was always the consummate musician, while I was more of a lyricist and composer who played guitar. We had a real musical connection.
George is mainly a bassist but he is a great guitarist also, and aside from his impeccable sense of timing he fooled around with recording us too. He is a total perfectionist when it comes to music and always let it be known when something wasn’t just right, and the discipline he had really taught me many valuable lessons about music.
Max is one of the most musically gifted guitarists that I’ve ever met; and he could play several different instruments and was always experimenting with many styles and genres. He loved to play anywhere and at any time, on the street or on the stage or in the garage. Going to Golden Gate Park with acoustic guitars, sitting there jamming under a tree or on a slope in a meadow just playing for the love of it.
Regi lived just a few steps down the street from us back in the day, and they always had a band going, in which he was the drummer. But he played the guitar also, and he practiced a lot too. When their band took an extended hiatus once, George and I joined a few bands he started in which he was the lead guitarist. We had a lot of good times.
There were other guitar players that have come and gone and everyone was different in his own unique way, and that’s what was good about it. Steven has never given up the dream of getting together again and playing after all these years. Regi, Frank and Sean are all on You Tube. Bobby and Paul are formidable guitarists too.
And the next generation has carried on the tapestry, weaving their own threads and doing their own thing, continuing the journey, just as we did, like those before us.