Music has always been important in my family. My grandfather, Homer Hatfield, played guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, piano, and harmonica. He taught several of his eight children how to play, and they would perform at dances and on the radio. When I was ten years old, my parents would take me into bars and clubs if they couldn't get a babysitter. I remember watching the bands play.
When I moved to Florida, I was taught some guitar by my mother, and my Aunt Norma and Uncle Ernie. The family would often get together and sing. I was 15 years old when my mom took me to a hard core country music bar to hear my aunt sing. There was a guitar player there who played the Spanish guitar instrumental, "Malaguena" on the guitar, and he made an impression on me. My aunt also wrote her own original songs.
The first couple of guitars my mother bought me weren't very good, but I played them everyday, learning old Rock, Country, and Blues songs. When I turned 18 and attended a local college, I met some people who exposed me to a wide variety of music, art, films, and literature.
A few years later I joined a band with the Parmelee Brothers. They were schooled musicians who could read music and play more sophisticated songs than I had been playing. While I was with them, we were hired to back the 50s vocal group, the Platters featuring Paul Robi whenever they performed in Florida.
In 2001, I met local musician Michèle Lane. We formed a duo, Troubled Children, and founded an independent record label, Hidden Records. We recorded our own songs in house. I also recorded several eclectic local acts for our label which included Mekanism, Kristina Boswell, The June Cleavers featuring Sandra Monday, and Vomit Pop, who I also played lead guitar for. Troubled Children won several songwriting awards from the Songwriters Showcase of America. We opened for the Irish band, Black 47, at the Social, played in Los Angeles a couple times, and toured venues up and down the east coast.
After the breakup of Troubled Children, I performed music part-time, continued my musical studies at Seminole State College and then the University of Central Florida (UCF.) I had an excellent guitar instructor, Steve Luciano, who taught me Jazz and Classical guitar pieces. I performed in the Jazz combo, Guitar Ensemble, and Chorus at Seminole College. At UCF, I studied Jazz Theory under Jeff Rupert, former sax player for Maynard Ferguson and Mel Torme. I also took music composition classes where I wrote pieces for string quartet, and solo cello.
I'm often asked who my musical influences are, and three come to mind. John Lennon of the Beatles - his songwriting and knack for colorful lyrics and haunting melodies. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys wrote some great songs, and his work on the Pet Sounds and Smile albums was more complex than most pop music at the time. Finally, Glen Campbell - he was a self taught guitarist and singer who couldn't read music, and yet he could play difficult pieces on guitar like Classical Gas, and the William Tell Overture. Glen was influenced by the Jazz guitarist, Django Rinehart, and he would add fiery Gypsy Jazz flourishes in his guitar solos. Glen was a member of the famous recording studio musicians, the Wrecking Crew, who performed the music to many hits of the 1960s. Glen was also gifted singer and could sing songs from most all genres. I attribute my interest in variety to him.