My interest in music began at a young age. I would often hear my parents playing records from Warren Zevon, Neil Young, Tom Petty and the like throughout the house before I even learned to talk. My mom was the publicist for Caroline Aiken and Cowboy Envy back in the day, and I have memories of being in famed Atlanta venue Eddie's Attic on many an occasion to hear local and national touring acts from as early as age 2. At some point, I got my first harmonica - a Hohner Pocket Pal in the key of C. My mom and I learned to play from cassette tapes and instructional books by harmonicist John Gindick. To this day, one of the riffs he taught - a simple, three-note riff dubbed the "Good Morning Riff" - I use probably far too much when improvising harp solos.
When I was 12 or so, I got my first guitar - a black Squier Strat, the same kind most kids my age would get as their first. I taught myself all the open chords (except for F and B, screw those open chords) and drove my family crazy playing the same chords over and over in the house. Formal guitar lessons came after a relatively long hiatus at age 16 or so. I could finally play my first actual guitar solo - Mike Campbell's solo in the middle of Tom Petty's "Refugee."
But lead guitar wasn't where my heart was. When I was 19, I took a summer semester to study in Germany. There was this romantic fixation I had with street performing at the time, for some reason. Fortunately, one of the other guys on the trip brought his guitar with him. I'd borrow it and go try to earn some money on the street, and it worked out surprisingly well. The biggest money-maker was another Petty song - Mary Jane's Last Dance. This image of myself as a solo performer, an acoustic singer-songwriter, was something I really liked. So I kept going from there. While in Germany, I bought my first acoustic guitar, a black Yamaha, and brought it home with me.
Over the coming months, I practiced and practiced and wrote a song, albeit a very simplistic, terrible song. I performed it at an Eddie's Attic songwriter showcase, and although my performance quality was awful, being on stage gave me such a rush that I couldn't resist trying again. So from that point on, I began regularly attending open mics throughout Atlanta, trying to improve my performance.
Over the last 3 years, I've acquired quite a few more guitars, written enough songs to fill an album or two, and even played harmonica on three albums from other musicians around the city. I'm currently in the process of recording an EP to be released hopefully in the coming months.