Multi-Instrumentalist, Vocalist, Songwriter
1.What have been some of your most inspiring moments as a bassist and multi-instrumentalist for well-known artists, such as Rod Stewart, Carly Simon, Andrea Bocelli and the others you’ve worked with?
In general, when first starting to work with such iconic artists as those you mentioned, it’s always amazing to hear their voices live in the room with me while I am playing my instrument supporting them, after hearing them on TV and the radio for so many years…kind of like a dream. Some specific inspiring moments that come to mind are when I performed with Rod at the “Concert For Diana” at Wembeley Stadium, when we met Prince Charles (3 different times, actually), and it’s always a thrill to perform on national and international TV shows.
2. Have any of these artists had a particularly large role in your career?
Rod has had the largest role in my career in comparison to other artists based simply on the fact that over the past 8 years I’ve worked about 50% of the year with him on average. The rest of my time is spent working in studios (including my own), broadway theatres and other live venues around New York City, as well as with other artists and some shorter tours. I give Rod the first priority though, which has prevented me from accepting many other tours, but I’m not complaining…
3. What influences led to you releasing your own debut album, “Live, Love, Leave”?
I’ve gotten more and more interested in songwriting over the past decade, with influences from Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Jeff Buckley, Damien Rice, and other great storytelling songwriters. I love playing the bass, but by nature it’s generally a “sideman” instrument, and as I began to write more and more lyrics and melodies and got more involved in composition and production (including playing other instruments: guitar, keyboards, percussion, writing string quartets, etc), making my own CD was a great creative outlet.
4. Can you tell me a little bit about why this album is so special to you?
It’s a collection of mostly melancholy and poetic songs, some of them from my own experiences, some of them just stories. I have many other songs in different styles…many more upbeat and commercial songs, but I made this CD with a specific mood in mind, not necessarily with any commercial goal but as an “art piece”.
5. Many of your songs are very poetic. What kinds of things influence your writing style?
The ballads of Tom Waits were a big influence…the way he uses characters and nature to tell simple human stories in such a charming way.
6. What are your roots and how do they influence your music?
I grew up in Philadelphia and studied piano from age 6 until the middle of high school, when I switched to bass. I grew up around 80’s music, but then dug deeper into Led Zeppelin, The Who, and other great classic rock music. When I went to Temple University for my Jazz degree I immersed myself in jazz and other styles branching from jazz (Brazilian, Fusion, etc), almost avoiding rock music except for an original band that I kept throughout college which had a funky hard rock style similar to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. After moving to NYC I got into the singer-songwriter scene and studio work, so I began to branch out again into other styles, and they all influence each other. Since Rod’s career spans so many decades and styles, I’m able to tap into many of my influences from over the years…some of which came from him!
7. What do you admire most when working with other artists?
I admire how great artists can get up onstage night after night and really deliver the goods. Audiences can tell when you are just phoning it in, and it’s not easy to perform the same songs for sometimes decades and still deliver them with the same enthusiasm that you had when you first created them. There’s definitely an art to that, and it’s something I realize more now that I have been promoting my own CD.