In the early eighties, an article on my band "Overdrive" appeared in the very first issue of an Alameda newspaper called "The Island Journal". As an Alameda native, I new most of the local musicians. Or at least I thought I did. Opening up the paper, not only did I find the story on "Overdrive" but also a story about "The Alameda All Stars". My initial thought was, "Who the hell are these guys?" Of course being only 15 at the time, I felt like most teenagers do at that age: invincible! ...and that this town definitely wasn't big enough for both of us. While Overdrive did perform some memorable shows in Alameda, we mainly performed original songs at showcase clubs in San Francisco or Berkeley. So it actually took years before I crossed paths with these All Stars guys.
Over the next 15 years or so, while on my own musical journey, the circles that kept us separated got smaller and smaller until one Sunday night at the legendary Park St. Saloon in Alameda, keyboardist Tommy Thompson asked me up to jam. They used to call these Sunday night gigs, "Sunday Night Church". I have to say I was shocked, because they had never asked me to sit in with the band before...most likely because we didn't really know each other that well.
It was nice to be asked to sit in because, over the years, I've come to realize that it's not a competition but rather a sharing of styles and energies that really makes playing music special. The jam was rockin' and a definite spark was felt by all. I began sitting in with the guys more often, and a good rapport developed. I enjoyed all the bluesy aspects of what they did. Combined with my rock/metal style, it seemed to be a nice blend.
With a deep desire to be musically diverse, I played my first gig with the All Stars in August of 1995. Initially I was filling in for guitarist Mark (Jellyroll) Burgstahler due to his family obligations. But I eventually became the full-time guitarist. Mr. Burgstahler came back to the fold years later to form the now 5-piece version of the band.
My involvement in the All Stars was the key that opened the door to an audition with Gregg Allman. I joined Gregg Allman & Friends in Fall of 1995 and remained on every show until summer 2004, only to return to Gregg Allman & Friends in March 2007 and for the remainder of that year. This proves that if you remain open-minded about life and choices, things can really pay off!