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I'm a multi-instrument recording artist who comes from a very artistic & musical family. Although music was always an influential and driving force in my life, my public performing began in grade school band camp with a snare drum. I got my first drum set at age 12, and was lucky enough to have friends and neighbors who loved coming over to my cool sound-proofed basement jam room to accompany me. We jammed and wrote and learned and put on "concerts" for our friends and family. My first real band was called Menagerie. The first band that had real gigs was a very popular local band called Arch Angel, which I was very flattered to be asked to join, since they were all in their 20's and I was still in high school. Toward the end of the 1980s, we all moved out to Los Angeles, because that's where we could be DISCOVERED, like Guns & Roses and all the others of that genre. We didn't get amous, but we did play all the cool Hollywood clubs like The Whiskey a Go-Go, The Roxy, Gazzari's, The Troubadour, etc.
When that had run its course, I came back and started a progressive heavy metal band with my old friend, guitarist & songwriter extrordinaire, Paul Stoddart.
He also invited a super-cool amazing chick singer he met at Berklee, Kari Nelson. The band was called Graphix, and we played everywhere in Northern IL and Southern WI. After Graphix, I played in a handful of jobbing bands (a couple with my father-in-law, Bob the Hawk Dawson) We played a lot of bars, parties, weddings, etc. The Nighthawks, Starfire, the Bill Jesse Band, Crush-Proof Box to name a few. Throughout all those bands and all those years, I was the drummer. It wasn't until 2007 that I became a singer/front man in a band called James Band. I had always sang and played other instruments just enough to write and record my own little ditties on my Tascam 4 track recorder. I had gotten a taste of what it felt like to be out front, when, during my drum solos in Graphix, I would come out playing jingle sticks on anything and everything (mic stands, bleachers, guitars, and I would be jingling and jumping & running around, then do some spoken word/poetry into the singer's mic while the rest of the band took their break. I liked being where the crowd could se me and interact with me. It was very different than being hidden behind all my drums!
When I was a kid, my older sister, Antonia, spent a lot of time introducing me to many kinds of music and educating and encouraging me in all things artistic. She asked me, looking at the Cheap Trick "Live at Buddahkan" album cover, which musician would you most want to be? I couldn't pick just one, so I said ''all of them''. We grew up hearing stories about our grandfather-who died before Iwas born, but everyone said I was a lot like him- he was a musician/actor who went by the name Ramblin Frank Cunningham on the Mississippi radio station he disc jockeyed for. He passed it along to my dad, who would entertain us by playing and singing Hank Williams and Johnny Cash tunes. My earliest memories are of his Epihone,plugged into his FenderSo, it all comes full circle, now that I've gotten serious on guitar, and got to be a front man. I play all the instruments on all the music I write, but obviously can't really gig and play my music until someone comes along who wants to play my music. I don't know if it's selfish, but I'm at a point where I don't want to compromise all that much, as far as doing cover tunes at bars and learning other peoples music. I know I'll find that perfect collection of like-minded freaks who want to learn MY music!!
start music was all around me, it was swirling around my ears & feeding my soul with something that resonated in me so much that they became some of my earliest memories. My dads dad, who died before i was born was a disc jockey in Mississippi, his moniker was Rambling Frank Cunningham. A singer/songwriter &
an actor, radio show host/entertainer. My dad told me that i reminded him of his father, & that he wished that he could've met his grandson. I loved it whenever My dad would plug his epiphone into his fender vibro champ & sing Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Roy Orbison. I would get my moms knitting needles & play on a sheet that was spread on a bed & make believe that each ripple my drumming made were the shapes of people dancing. This was when i was 2 years old. My sister Antonia was 7 years older than me and was always playing music & telling me, asking me which part of the music was my favorite. I could not make up my mind so i said all of it! She influenced me alot growing up in regards to music. It so hard for me now because on my33rd birthday she lost her life to drugs & alchohol. I guess the death of our parents was too much. But she has never heard these songs of mine, my mom n dad never got hear my music & i just want to reach as many people with my craft as i can. Its tough but i will keepkeeping on in my own musical way.