The first time I actually bought a guitar was in 1994, and that was a really huge moment and was maybe the first time I had actually picked up a guitar really close to my chest. It was a Fender Strat that had a bunch of strings on it. I hadn’t really learned the basic techniques of strumming and fingerpicking until I saw these guys. They were the first guys that I actually bought my first guitar from.
They were just like these other kids that were into the music, but had a unique ability to pick this particular guitar up and go, “Oh man!” When they got it home, it was like they were like, “We could really play!” I kind of did the same thing with guitar playing. It’s almost more of like a thing to do when you’re really young, to have a guitar that feels a little like you just got something in your hands.
Why did you choose to start a band and make music?
I’d been playing guitar since I could play—before I was in school, a lot of kids that were like me were playing guitars. I would always pick up a guitar and play some shows, but I’d never really thought about making it my career at that point.
Then I started playing with them for five years and started getting to know these guys from Ohio, Ohio, a pretty unique sound. We got signed to an indie label named Eel Records. I played that thing from the day I got it to where I’m right now. The thing that kind of gave me the confidence to say, “Okay, I have my own thing.”
Where did you start playing the guitar as singer?
A friend of mine, who was a part of the band, used to record me singing as a replacement in the bands that he was a part of. Now he was the singer of the band. That’s his wife’s husband. She was in my band, this indie band called The Misfits, and she was very supportive of me playing guitar. I started playing a few different styles of guitar and the same thing happened with me going into bands and singing vocals as a replacement.
For me, it happened when I realized I was actually a singer. Not a guitarist. I was in an electronic group that had an instrument that’s called a sampler, which is a really weird instrument to use in a band. That was also my first taste of actually playing music. It was really liberating.
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