I was born in 1970 in Colorado, but grew up in a one-stoplight town of 3000 people in Oklahoma. I lived an all-American life growing up, riding bikes from morning until night on summer days and playing sports. In high school, we partied on dirt roads in the country while blasting Van Halen and Zeppelin.
When my friends and I discovered Metallica in about 1986, we decided to buy instruments and start a band. I was the only one who stuck with it after high school. I went to the University of Oklahoma and got a degree in Chemistry, but the whole time I had the intention of moving to Seattle to join the grunge scene.
All through those years, I saw every concert that came to Oklahoma and camped out by the tour buses to meet lots of bands, including Metallica, Megadeth, Faith No More, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and others. My most special moment was a picture taken arm in arm with Chris Cornell on one side and Eddie Vedder on the other, but it was taken with a disposable camera that never came back from the developer. I have a scrapbook documenting all of these shows, though, with autographs, guitar picks, pictures, etc.
I went to Seattle and got a job as a very underpaid (poverty level) chemist and developed myself as a solo artist, playing open mic nights and writing songs while I waited for my drummer from Oklahoma to come to Seattle. I saw lots of great gigs in Seattle, including an MTV New Year’s show with Nirvana that they didn’t even sell tickets to. I was also at the first night of back to back Nirvana shows that were their last in the U.S. I saw Bowie, Jethro Tull, Soundgarden, and tons of other great bands by winning tickets from the radio station, since my friends and I figured out a surefire way to win every time.
Finally, my drummer got there, and we started gigging, playing all the places Pearl Jam and everyone else played, but the scene was kind of jaded, and it was hard to get any support. Our biggest show was opening for Gene Loves Jezebel. At another show, we played with the Presidents of the USA, and I got in a fight with their lead singer. We recorded an album, but broke up as it was being completed, mainly because I was getting a divorce at the time. I played everything but the drums on the album and spent many thousands of dollars on it.
As it usually goes, the album never sounded as good as I wanted it to, but finally in 2017 I am proud to have released a newly mastered version that sounds fantastic. It’s on Spotify and available for download from CDBaby. Just search for Saturn Lander.
Some other interesting things that happened to me in Seattle included being asked by the drummer of Tad to join Tad when nobody else in the band knew about it and almost getting shot when I went to meet the band. I also literally eavesdropped on Chris Cornell while he wrote his first solo album in his rehearsal space above an area I had access to, thanks to where I worked. I was also at the Kurt Cobain memorial vigil at the Seattle Center you can see on YouTube. I talk about lots of these experiences on episodes of my podcast, “The Paperback Rocker Show”, which is available where podcasts are found and here on my website.
When grunge dried up, I moved back and forth between Texas and Seattle a couple times, but ended up living in Victoria, TX, where my parents lived. I planned to move to Austin, but I was burned out on city life and struggling as a musician.
I took about a decade off from playing music and became a writer. At the same time, self-publishing was becoming a viable thing for writers to do. I wrote my first self-published novel, “Black Dog”, which is about playing records backwards and the battle two teenagers have with the werewolf from the song “Bark at the Moon” as a result of their actions.
I got a good reaction from the book, then published “Band On The Run”, which I had written during a one month period of unemployment many years before in Seattle. I followed that book with a sequel called “Running On Empty”.
I recently released another long novel called “Blue Whiskey”, which is about a folk singer who goes to Greenwich Village in the 60’s and is in on some of the biggest events in rock history, such as Dylan playing electric. He’s kind of like a Forrest Gump character in the music biz, but not feeble-minded. I’m currently reading the book on my podcast.
“Band On The Run” hit #3 on the Amazon Kindle chart for “Rock Music”, and “Blue Whiskey” hit #3 on the Kindle “Folk and Traditional” chart.
I also give guitar lessons in Hurst, TX, and enjoy passing on my love of music to my students.