What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
I would have to say Church. Being raised in a southern holiness church atmosphere, music was an intricate part of worship. The pastor’s wife was the piano player and she had a Mickey Gilley style of playing and you just had to clap your hands pat your foot. That is what planted the seed for music in me and I have been cultivating it ever since.
How long have you been playing and what's your motivation to play?
Well I guess I was around 6 and my mother had a 1969 jumbo Gibson she kept under my parent’s bed. I would ease the top open and just strum the open strings. I remember the D,G & B strings was very pleasing to hear. I didn’t know about chords but them 3 sounded great together. One day I was strumming away and looked up and mom was standing over me. Thinking I was in trouble BIG time she said I`ve known every time you have played with my guitar son. I will talk to your father and see if we can’t get you one that’s a little smaller than this big ole thing. That was 44 years ago. My motivation to play music is that it is a spiritual thing for me. Not in a religious sense but when I hear a cool lick I will laugh out loud or a minor phrase will evoke such a powerful emotion you almost tear up.
What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
Without a doubt the Roll studies. A solid Roll I think is the magic power of the banjo. Earl Scruggs was a master at incorporating the melody within his roll pattern. A lick is short lived but a roll continues to the end.
What’s your goal when playing?
Well when I`m practicing Banjo Goals it is something I struggle with. I have yet to learn an entire song (totally my fault). I get distracted too easy and jump around too much. But I’m having fun too. I need to develop a structured plan to practice by. My goal when playing with others is to make everyone sound as good as possible.
Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
Upright Bass is the instrument I`m Most proficient at. I also play guitar (mostly rhythm)
I love to play electric bass with my son Brandon. He is a killer electric guitar player. We play mostly rock ie. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jimmy H, AC/DC ect.
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Pick, Practice and pick some more…
How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
Since Feb. 2018
Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
There’s a technique in jazz called “comping” where you do things to compliment others and make them stand out even more.
My favorite movie is “Drum Line” The best take away is “One Band, One Sound”
What artist(s) most inspire you?
Tony Rice. His picking of course but the way he knows just what to add and when, is a perfect example of the comping technique.
What do you do for a living?
I am an automotive Technician. I worked at a Ford dealership as a drivetrain master tech from 1995-2009. I currently work for local government in the Vehicle Maintenance Department keeping patrol cars and ambulances rolling down the road.
How did you find out about Banjo Ben?
You tube. When I first got my banjo it was a no brainer to join as a gold pick member. This is the best way to learn.
Who are your favorite pickin’ heroes (bluegrass and country artists)?
Tony Rice, Del McCoury, Roy Clark, Jerry Reed, Doc Watson, Mark Shatz , Todd Phillips, Mark Fain, JD Crowe, Earl Scruggs, Ron Block, Ron Stewart, George Jones, Tommy Emmanuel, Stewart Duncan
The Banjo, Guitar or any instrument you play is Consistent. It delivers exactly what the player puts into it. We the player are in-consistent. We are human and that's OK. Let the Sun and Moon cycle and try agin …