When Jon-Ross was 15 years old, he began to desire to play the piano. Edward was doing it, and Jon-Ross felt that he could do it too. His Mom, always completely supportive, bought him a book of scales and had her husband buy an organ for J-R to practice upon. The events of December 8, 1980 were devastating to everyone who loved John Lennon and the Beatles. For Jon-Ross, this date is also the date wherein he began to be able to play songs, but especially to understand and know chordal structures and melodies and understand how they worked together. The two events are for Jon-Ross forever linked.
Guitar was the last piece of the puzzle. When Jon-Ross was 17, he saw Journey for the first time, a Day On The Green at the Oakland Coliseum baseball park. It was enthralling; they were so passionate and so good at what they did. The show was so amazing on every level. It was after seeing Neal Schon perform live with Journey that Jon-Ross really began to desire to play lead guitar. He got a copy of ESCAPE and, one day after school, using Rob Neidel's Les Paul copy, taught himself the lead guitar part to "Who's Crying Now?" After that, he progressed fairly quickly even playing lead guitar on 2 different solo concert projects in the next year: "Nowhere Man" wit Edward, Robert Allison, and Mike Perreira, and "Heartbreak Hotel" for that kid who sounded like Elvis.
(to be continued)
Jon-Ross has been pursuing music since he was three years old. Ever since he saw the Beatles' film "A Hard Day's Night" one cold February afternoon in 1969, he has wanted to be a Beatle himself. Although that lofty goal remains nearly impossible, Jon-Ross *has* managed to carve out quite a musical career and set of life experiences that make him unique in some very significant ways.
Music was always a very big part of Jon-Ross' life. Both his parents and all of his siblings (he's the youngest) had very specific musical tastes, while he loved just about everything he heard. Some very early influences include Frank Sinatra, John Philip Sousa, the "Jesus Christ Superstar" original Broadway cast album, Neil Diamond, Miriam Makeba, the Lettermen, the Beach Boys, the Beatles, the Jackson 5, the Osmonds and the Partridge Family, Spanky and Our Gang, Tom Jones... a lot more , but those were some major ones.
Drums were Jon-Ross' first musical love. Although he's never owned a drumkit of his own, over the years he has become a pretty good drummer. He now uses his electronic keyboards' key-based drum sets for recording drums on his records, and frequently actual drummers have been fooled by the authenticity of his finger-based performances.
Bass came about when Jon-Ross was thirteen and the stage band at Davis Junior High School already had a drummer. When Mr. Smith asked Jon-Ross if he could play the bass, Jon-Ross lied to his face with a yes, took the bass home, and struggled mightily with it. Because he had a very good ear, faking it was possible, and Jon-Ross faked it well, for about a year. When high school started, he found himself in WAY over his head with the bass. Fortunately, the Universe supplied him at this point with a wonderful mentor, the amazing John Gutierrez who, in addition to giving some needed street credit to Jon-Ross, gave him rides to school, frequently bought him Taco Bell, and basically took over as a surrogate older brother, also brought J-R along far enough musically for him to have made some real playing progress by the end of freshman year at Oak Grove High School.
It was also around this time that the most significant musical partnership of Jon-Ross' life began, with the incredible Edward Keller, also known now as Edward of Sim (Sim standing for similarity, symmetry, and simplicity). Edward wrote a beautiful song for Jon-Ross to sing, a teen angst classic called "Alone In A Crowd" and they performed it near the end of freshman year at an event called Senior Night. It was the first time Jon-Ross ever sang solo in public, and he was lucky enough to have his brother, his mother, his favorite uncle AND his grandmother in the audience that night. It was the first of many triumphant performances, and Jon-Ross had a glimpse of a future where he and Edward would be musical partners, like Lennon and McCartney or Jagger and Richards. It was a very clear vision, and has definitely come to pass over these 31 years between that night and now.
(to be continued)