What was your first instrument? When and where did you start playing?
My first instrument was the piano and voice. My father plays the piano. I started piano lessons when I was 5 years old and I started singing in the church choir around the same time
What was the inspiration behind why you wanted to play music?
According to my parents I was always musically inclined. I use to make up melodies and stories all the time. My entire family is full of musicians and singers so it was very natural for me and I had a very good ear. When I was four years old Michael Jackson released Thriller and that was it. Nothing else mattered. I had the glove, the socks, the red leather zipper jacket, black loafers and black trouser flood pants. There was no turning back after that vinyl pressing hit the airwaves and poured into our home.
What are some of the earliest/most influential concerts you attended?
The first concert that I ever attended was The Jackson’s Victory tour. I was four years old. My dad took me to see them at Exhibition place in Toronto. We followed them like a bunch of deadheads to Buffalo and Detroit.
Funny story… my father and I later went to go see The Grateful Dead in Maryland after my taste in music had shifted ten years later. I remember him buying me a tie-dye shirt that had a bottle of vodka on it and the writing on the tee said Absolute Dead. I loved that shirt. It was a hit at overnight camp and the latenight campfire sessions we had.
What are some of the best memories you have from playing early shows with your first bands?
I remember playing a lot of little places around Toronto and honing our chops there. I was very young when I started jamming. I was no more than 14 years old when I started playing in clubs and bars under-age. I used to play at this little cafe/bar called The Corner Cafe on the regular. The owner made a deal with us kids. We played there once a week and in return he would let us store our gear in the basement and rehearse there every day. It was a pretty wild scene we created – under-age kids playing for their under-age friends. We were living the dream. There was one night when the famous Eddie Shack of the 67′ Maple Leafs actually came into the bar because he lived nearby. We were so excited that there was someone famous in the audience. I remember walking up to him and asking him what he thought of the band. He replied with simply “the music is garbage, keep practicing or just give up”. It was fantastic! So we practiced, and on my 19th birthday I ended up playing The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern for the very first time.