Doug's musical training began around age 8. His parents were both musically talented: his mother had studied classical piano for at least 10 years, and Doug grew up hearing and appreciating the genius and emotional power of Chopin Polonaises and Beethoven Sonatas on piano. His father was more of an intuitive musician, with his background established in Drum and Bugle Corps, where he took up snare drum and, later, baritone horn. His father also had a passion for Wagner and Puccini operas, and often woke Doug up on weekends blaring the well-worn LPs on the stereo.
Doug's first instrument was trumpet, taken up at age 8. He switched to trombone a year later, and at age 10 began taking piano lessons. He studied a combination of classical, popular music, and the foundations of music theory for roughly two years. From that point Doug became a self-taught musician, picking up guitar, continuing to improvise on piano, and often jamming with friends. He joined a rock band in junior high school, playing keyboards and singing lead and background vocals. The Beach Boys, Steve Miller Band, Bachman Turner Overdrive, and southern rock bands such as Lynrd Skynrd (Free Bird!!!), Molly Hatchet, and Bad Company were the staple of the band. Doug caught the performance bug playing out with this band at school concerts, at car shows, and the local VFW.
In High School, Doug formed another band which branched into a bit harder rock: AC/DC, The Clash, Boston, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, and some original music became the focus of this band. After only a few weeks in existence, the band took second prize in the Lisbon Falls, ME "Battle of the Bands" contest—and the $50 prize exactly covered the price of the sound guy.
While the band gigs were fun, Doug was interested in more challenging music. A big fan of progressive rock bands that had "real musicians" and compositions (Kansas, Yes, Genesis, Rush, Peter Gabriel, Queen, Boston), Doug spent endless hours playing favorite songs from these bands, making up his own piano arrangements, and sometimes recording tough keyboard parts and playing them back at half speed to learn them. He was also exposed to Broadway music by performing in High School drama productions, where he began to get some voice training foundations.
College years were relatively dry musically, as Doug focused on his studies in electrical engineering. He did no live performing in college, but did keep up his piano, improvising and occasionally composing never-quite-completed songs for his friends. Nothing was ever written down, and more than a few good compositions are unfortunately lost forever. But some have survived and are being dusted off, brought back to life, and completed through Glass Bottom Music.
Doug's years since college have been filled musically with classical choral music, Broadway stage productions, classical voice training, and work in his recording studio. His collaboration with Jem Treadwell for many years on original music is a way to bring years of improvisation and musical doodling to a more complete and concrete form for posterity. Doug hopes to bring to his music a combination of classical roots, jazz harmonies, and demonstrate more than the tired 1-4-5 structure of pop music. Dismayed by what passes for popular music today, he would like to fill a lost niche for music that appeals to a musically sophisticated listener, but at the same time is accessible and interesting to a general audience.
In 2003 Doug's wife Doris gave him a gift certificate to start studying composition with Felix Molzer, founder of the Monmouth Conservatory of Music in Red Bank, NJ.
Felix inspired Doug through concert opportunities and public performances of his fledgling string quartet and quintet orchestrations. Felix Molzer passed away in 2005, at the age of 83. Doug will always appreciate, and miss, his inspiration, teaching, sense of humor, and friendship in that year and a half or so of study.
Felix had introduced Doug to the current Executive and Artistic Director of the Monmouth Conservatory of Music, Mr. Vladislav Kovalsky, a world-class concert pianist who has performed in some of the finest concert halls in the world. Mr. Kovalsky generously took Doug under his musical wing, and became a mentor. Doug was inspired to study music theory in a more structured approach, from the very beginning, and in a few months had progressed enough to develop a set of Music Theory classes, and an Ear Training/Theory Computer Lab. Doug now teaches these classes to students at Monmouth Conservatory, and really enjoys the whole experience.
After a few years of concert collaborations with Vlad Kovalsky, they released a self-produced recording of Schubert's song cycle "Die Schöene Müellerin," which is available on iTunes. Focusing on classical singing and performance came at the expense of delaying writing and recording of Doug’s original music for several years.
Doug's work at Glass Bottom Studios has been slow and not always steady, but it reached a more focused and productive stage in early 2013. Recent efforts are an orchestrated version of Golden Wedding, and a new song with lyricist Jem Treadwell called Perfect Night, which is in final stages of production. His goal for 2013 is to FINALLY release the original music he is most proud of, in a debut album.
Doug’s latest project news can be found at www.glassbottomstudios.com