My musical journey began with the rather unusual step of asking my parents for piano lessons when I was eight. That provided me a great foundation for my future endeavors although I now wish I had kept up my study past high school...easy to say as a retrospecting (that’s not a word!) adult. Looking to expand to a "cooler" instrument I joined the school band in 8th grade and learned percussion continuing in marching and concert band through high school. I also picked up the drum kit on the way and spent several years playing for the jazz band along with an occasional "rock" gig for various school events.
Right around my sophomore year I discovered Rush and my love of progressive rock was born. Truth be known I was a bit of a geek, although without the stereotypical good grades. Rush's complicated tunes and "higher-minded" lyrics had great appeal in the days when hair-metal reigned, and it stoked my fancy for philosophy, psychology, and fantasy worlds all wrapped up in metaphor. It was like adolescent, intellectual crack. As a musician is was also an awesome challenge to try to play like such instrumental masters at a time when most cover bands were banging their heads to minor key power chords.
Certainly watching Geddy Lee move from instruments to mic was a great part of my inspiration to learn bass guitar but I also found appeal in the understated coolness of getting to work out with the front men but not being required to live in the limelight like the guitarists and vocalists. It was more of a quiet and subdued rock star that I liked if there is such a thing. So I borrowed an old guitar from the kid who lived behind us and began to teach myself on the lower four strings. Oddly, it was a good four months before it occurred to me that in turning his right-handed instrument over I reversed the order of the strings and was now playing upside-down compared to other lefty bassists. Work is annoying but re-work is worse so I decided I'd just live with it and restring any instrument I got to conform to my playing style (thus the Restrung Lefty moniker). I continued to play my different instruments in a variety of small-time cover bands through college but never with more ambition than to be a skilled hobbyist.
When I graduated I joined the Service and spent nine years on active duty and the instruments mostly stayed in their cases. What with deployments and odd schedules joining a band was pretty much a non-starter since there was no way to commit the time needed. When I switched to reserve duty and moved back to Dallas I decided to reconnect with my musical heritage and began to work up my chops again. I spent awhile doing Rush covers with some buddies but that being a niche within a niche market I decided to expand the horizons further since playing opportunities were few...actually none. While working with a composite group on some original tunes I first got the idea to try my hand at songwriting.
To that point I had always imagined it the realm of a rarified few with special powers of melodic conversance but now I saw that ordinary people could present ideas and develop them in a relatively simple trial-and-error style. Armed with a computer recording program I began to put together various instrumental noodlings, some stretching back to written notes I had from my early days of piano lessons. Once these had taken some shape I presented them to another musician who suggested we try to form a band to bring them to fruition. We did manage to get a couple of shows done before internal conflicts shut the project down but that was a great learning experience. Not only did I have an albums worth of material developed but we had proven it could be reproduced on stage. I also took away some valuable lessons about working with creative types in a band environment and some of the advantages and limitations of technology in an amateur band environment.
During that time I also joined Supernal Endgame (www.SupernalEndgame.com), a progressive band looking to complete and promote its first album and round out its lineup. While it began a bit slowly the album received a tremendous reception in the prog community and we were shortly signed on the Prog Rock Records label. Now, while that has provided exposure and a certain gravitas, prog rock is still a difficult thing to do live both technically and in terms of finding venues but we've performed several times so far and gotten a warm reception. Our second album is underway and we're looking for more opportunities to play live. Almost simultaneously I bought some studio time and recorded my own solo album with a host of hired guitarists and me doing all the other parts (it pays to be a multi-instrumentalist, eh?)(www.TomMoreMusic.com). While it didn't get released with much fanfare it did get some nice reviews and recognition as a very strong first album. I'm now working on a collaborative follow-up with a local prog guitar virtuoso and we'll probably be releasing our work as individual tracks vice a full album so keep checking back here for details or on my site www.TomMoreMusic.com !