In Southern California I learned how to surf and play guitar, two of the best things one can learn in life, in my opinion. In high school singing was the main focus. Mom found Pandeli Lazaridi, a vocal coach in San Diego, who instructed me for a few years on breathing techniques, tonal control, enunciation, etc. Around junior year, I became part of a band with three of my friends Bryan, Chris, and Frank. This is where I truly started to learn and where this musical disease of mine became terminal. We played around the San Diego area, on the sidewalk, schools, at private parties, all age venues, bars, coffee shops - like Java Joe's, Brick by Brick, Epicenter, etc., for the better part of five years. To say "it was fun" would be an immense understatement.
Now, I was adopted from birth, my younger brother, Tyler, as well. I don't even remember when my parents explained it to me - I just knew at a very young age that my parents are my parents, my brother is my brother, and that I was probably put up for adoption to have a better life. Which is true. Tyler and I are super, super, super lucky. We all know that that isn't always the case with adoption. Around senior year of high school I did get curious, just for curiosity's sake. I could have brought it up to my parents, but felt the best first step would be to ask my grandmother Lulu. Lulu was the quintessential grandma, just as our grandparents are to us. I miss her. She told me all she could remember was that my biological father is from the Lennon family and that his older sisters are the Lennon Sisters, a quartette of singing sisters no less. Bringing this information to my folks, I discovered that my biological father's name is Kipp.
One night, at Bryan's house, I was talking about the whole thing with him, his folks, and Frank. Bryan's mother suggested to search Kipp's name on the world wide web. We did and found the website for his band, Venice, discovering that the band includes his older brother and two of his first cousins. We clicked the tour icon and, I kid you not, the band was playing that very night, in San Diego, opening for Chris Isaak, at Humphrey's By the Bay. Already late in the evening, Frank, Bryan, and I got in a car and drove to the venue, just to listen from the parking lot. Alas, Mr. Isaak was already on stage by the time we arrived. But, in the coming days I would listen to "Born and Raised," a great Venice album, read the liner notes, look at the photographs, and sing along with my biological father, uncle, and cousins.
When I was twenty-two, my half-brother Tim, on my biological mother's side, found and contacted me. We had a fantastic conversation and he informed me that he, his brother, his sister, and Robin (my biological mother) were still friends with Kipp. He told me to call them back when I was ready to meet them. I finally did, when I moved up to the greater Los Angeles area a few years later and Kipp, Robin, myself, went to lunch - at a completely random restaurant that none of us would really ever go to - which was the beginning of an amazing relationship.
That lunch set into motion incredible moments in my life that are far too numerous to write about, and, more to the point, I would not be able to handle all of it if it weren't for my parents and the values and love they raised me with and how strong they are. Through Kipp I met his first cousin and bandmate, Michael. Michael first allowed me to play a few gigs opening for Venice when I was about twenty-five. Those gigs turned into us writing and recording songs and playing gigs together around Southern California. He has taken my music with him to the Netherlands and I have had the incredible fortune of performing my music throughout that entire country. Over the years he has taught me, and continues to teach me, the art of multitrack recording. Hours go by in the studio, without me even realizing - it's an absolute blast. We have published two albums on the Lennon Records label (a Bucket of Joy and the Off Shore Crowd). One of the songs, "My Neighbor," was even used on the CBS television show "How I Met Your Mother."
So, I write music about life. I got married in October of 2013. I have a cool dog named Clyne. I work at Asher Guitars and Lap Steels. I play gigs at a pizza restaurant in Ojai, an amazing brewery in Silverton, sometimes at awesome venues in the Netherlands, a lounge in Redondo Beach at King Harbor, an art gallery in La Jolla, private parties, and so on.
More projects are in the works!
A life in a nutshell.