All I ever wanted to be was a drummer
who became an Entrepreneur, real estate investor, world traveler, Bass player, Guitarist, Key broadest, Singer, composer, recording engineer, producer, friends with some of the biggest names in entertainment and the Coffee King all because I love playing drums.
All I ever wanted to be was a drummer.
This is a path that few follow, it's never straight, it's always uphill and once you get to the top you just see a bigger mountain to climb.
For me, it was all about my passion for playing and nothing else mattered however I did have the knowledge that music rarely pays or at least what I wanted to play and get paid.
So I found ways to make enough money to support my dream of making my own music.
But interestingly enough being a musician was the best way to meet people and create many interesting businesses.
I AM DRUMEREPRENEUR
As a kid, I remember telling my mother I wanted to play drums for the grade school band but instead, she rented me a TRUMPET. It didn't last very long and soon it went back to the music store. WHAA WHA WHAA..
About a year later or around 11ish she showed up with a set of practice pads. (I hated them) but I played them every day for well over a year maybe two.
I remembered going to my "rich" cousins in Iowa for the summer and they had a four-piece Gretch kit and I loved it.
About a year later sadly my cousin Edward died and my dad ended up bringing me his old drum kit. (to this day I use the ride cymbal, hi-hat (secondary) and the snare drum)
All this was perfect timing for my new found favorite drummer was Neil Peart, so I bought an old Pearl kit with my paper route money and put them together so I could have that cool double bass and "MORE DRUMS"
I even added my practice pads for the upper concert toms until I bought a set of Roto toms shortly thereafter.
DRUMS COST MONEY BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR
No problem, I'll just start my own company to make more money to buy more drums..
I started my first company around 16 "For A Clearer View" window washing company and didn't do too bad, made some good side cash to buy more drums, and get into women troubles should have kept the biz going but started dating that older woman. Well, we'll get to the women issues (problems) later.
Speaking of women.
Good thing I had such a wonderful mother who's the only requirement for playing drums was Chores and homework finished and no playing after 8 pm on weeknights and 10 pm on Friday and Saturday nights.
I remember I began to know every Everett city cop within a few months since I had some old man across the street calling the cops once a week minimum.
Kicked out of band
I joined the band in school, hated it but could play the set once in a while, the problem is I could never read sheet music so I winged it until I got kicked out of choir for hitting the cymbals too hard and telling the teacher she couldn't keep time in a bucket. (maybe that was why I was removed??)
CREATING my own BAND
I quickly created a band but never went anywhere with it seems my future was always to be a one-man show.
I had a good friend named Dean he was into Rush but I don't think he had a guitar so my mother helped him get one and I think he still has it to this day. We jammed a little and like everything, to this point, 40 years plus later I am always the dominant dedicated one. Then around my senior year I had some dude (can't remember his name) he was smoking fast could play George Lynch and randy rodes perfectly and we even had a bass player who was also very good but not very dedicated. (the big issue)
Then I started working with another guitarist named Paul who like myself was a Rush fan (by the way, back then not too many Rush fans) I also just bought a new set of drums.
I had been working on a fishing boat as a welder making killer money so I did it and bought the monster kit I always wanted 100% custom. I think I paid Two grand for it so in today's market that would be about 8-10thousand but I still play that same kit. The biggest issue I had with Paul is that every bass player we auditioned said "I'll play with you but I don't like the guitarist. He was never flashy and his soloing was lacking but I wasn't into Glam metal or flash, I was always into grove and artistic sounds
OUT ON MY OWN, BECOMING A LANDLORD AND INVESTOR
I just got hired on at Boeing, 19 yrs old (I was the youngest person ever hired into the Boeing Tooling division)
With big paychecks comes a big set of drums and I needed to get out on my own.
Now, where do I go with my drums? I can't rent an apartment and finding a roommate who is reliable is impossible to find but it just so happened that a young couple had bought the home across the street and he just so happened to have a Duplex for sale and so I bought it.
I remember coming home and telling my mother I was moving and she said where? I bought a duplex, I think she was shocked.
I always made good money and from this blessing, I tried a few times to record, but I needed a bass player and a guitarist that could show up.
I was able to make a demo around 1989 after saving some cash. (Back then boys and girls it was $80 hr plus tape at $150.00 a 15min roll and I needed two) unfortunately, the first go-around was a waste I could never find a bass player and my guitarist was always late.
This was the point of me learning the bass. I bought a peavey P bass clone and a Peavey bass cab.
I then just started playing and like everything I do I never take lessons (Because I know everything)
THE FIRST STUDIO
After the whole issue with the first studio experience, I bought a 4 track Akai MG614 some mics and set up a studio in my Duplex.
After working with my guitarist (Paul) for a few months I booked another studio and this would be the first time I would start recording all the parts myself. Since he was never on time I ended up recording a few songs all alone and due to the cost of the project everything was rushed and it sounds like it. (I still have the DAT Tape maybe someday I will release them)
A NEW HOME AND CREATION STUDIOS
Not one to allow people to say "it can't be done"
I knew I wanted to build a recording studio after spending a few grand on a recording I felt rushed into finishing.
So while working at Boeing on the third shift from 11 PM till 5 AM I started mopping floors at a Dairy Queen after work.
I did almost anything to help pave the way towards my dream and working for someone else was never an option to get me there.
So I rented out my duplex and moved into my family home. A large turn of the century craftsmen with a basement perfect for a recording studio.
Creation Studios was a 24 track DA-88 set up with a brand new 32x8 Mackie board (I still have the board) tons of outboard gear, miles of cables and around 30 microphones. I spend 125,000 thousand setting it up Owning a recording studio during an exploding music scene in Seattle made for some very interesting projects. Some good some bad. 1993.
But it gave me my space to create.
I then began to open it up to record other artists and bands.
Including George Clinton, P-Funk All-Stars, The Time, The Seed's, Sky Saxon, Members of Prince, and many Seattle bands from that time frame around Seattle.
I also became a session player playing on over 150 songs and groups from Country, Hip Hop, Funk, Rock and everything in between.
TIMES A CHANGING
1992 Boeing had its annual layoff.
1992 Help build the first SMART HOME
1993 Built Creation Studios
1993 Started College
1993 started G.E.C Energy Systems with my dad. (A commercial boiler company) I knew nothing about boilers but could land bids and before we even had a van ready I had a winning bid for $30,000 job.
I was recording bands and writing my own material, making trips to LA producing and consulting bands and artists.
In WA I was working on film projects during Washington's bid to become Hollywood one of my consultations was on Northwest Studios in Renton (A full movie sound stage and entertainment center) and creating a concept called Creative Minds Unlimited with former UofW Rose Bowl lineman James and brother of the Orioles lefty hitter Curtis Goodwin.
One of the coolest things I can list from this venture is during a meeting with the artist Baby Face I suggested he should do something with Eric Clapton, he did and they went on to win a Grammy.
WHEN A MISTAKE CHANGES EVERYTHING
By 1995 I had four albums worth of music, so I released a double CD. Good thing I returned to Boeing because after printing up 2500 CD's we found that the mastering was done in MONO so the whole things had to be scraped to a loss of about $5 grand.
In 1996 I started working on what would become my best selling and critically acclaimed album.
"A Generation of Time VII" released 6/1/1997
This album changed everything for me, the way I wrote songs, tracked and arranged them, my view and focus were changed forever. at that time I had no clue that even to this day no one has ever done musically what I have done.
This album still this date has a few stations that play it in it' entirety once a year All 58 minutes of it.
BACK TO BOEING
IN 1996 I returned to Boeing (finishing my vesting time to have retirement) and to recoup the money.
I was pushing myself to the max. Working full time, finishing a new album while running a recording studio, producing music in LA on the weekends, Dating a Rockstar, doing small jobs with my Boiler company and still being a Landlord.
Well by 1998 my body said STOP and I blew out my L5 S1 lower back disc. This meant the tour I was creating for my album "A generation of Time VII" would not happen.
Back surgery never stopped me, just gave me more time to finish a new album as I saw it. During this time I recorded my first top ten hit song called "I Don't Think So" from the album "A Road Less Traveled" released in the summer of 99.
A ROADLESS TRAVELED
JUNE 1 1999
THIS ALBUM WAS A COLLECTIVE OF FIVE YEARS WRITING AND THE FAILURE OF MY COMPILATION CD IN 1996
I CARRIED OVER 7 SONGS FROM "TAKE A LOOK" AND "OUTSIDE YOUR WINDOW" IN 1996.
I ENDED UP ADDING A FEW MORE SONGS AND THAT WAS A GOOD THING. THREE OF THEM ENDED UP IN THE TOP 20.
THE SONG "I DON'T THINK SO" BECAME A TOP 7 HIT.
CHARTING AT #7 ON NEW MUSIC WEEKLY #8FMQB AND #9 ON GAVIN
I ALSO MADE WAVES WITH THE TITLE TRACK GOING TO #15 FMQB, NEW MUSIC WEEKLY, AND GAVIN REPORT.
was also released in 99.
This CD had 7 tracks from the double CD from 1995 with 3 new songs. A very heavy sounding album
"FREE" was a Cd of instrumentals I had collected over the years and was given away FREE.
Yes not only was my albums charting but my love life was as well and soon I would have a son well 9 months later.
A Nation of Stars VI
This was the follow-up CD to "A Generation of Time VII" in 97
but would be the last album I would record for 12 years.
UNDER THE KNIFE
Forced to do things in a different way is a struggle but can be done due to endless fighting with Boeing and the insurance company to fix my back with a lower L5S1fusion in 2003 and a DUAL CARPEL TUNNEL surgery in 04 forced me to find new ways to pay the bills for Boeing was set to medically lay me off.
BACK TO REAL ESTATE AND BACK TO SCHOOL
I ended up buying a home on beautiful Camano Island north of Seattle, I loved this area and was my dream home but the dream would be short-lived.
I was also sent to Collage by Boeing to retrain me and took some Business classes.
MOSES LIVES IN ME
In 03 While in Uzbekistan, I visited a Granite quarry, they had types of granite that you could only find in that area and at the same time in the states (and still to this day) were having issues with Ten Commandments, so I created hand-carved versions. I could not get Churches interested.
I had forgotten about the Ten Commandments but this goes to me being the Moses of this Generation.
I put the Torah to music (Genesis and Exodus)
I created Ten Commandment monuments
Now just to lead people from bondage.
CREATION STUDIOS 2.0
I built a nice recording studio to bad I would never record a single thing in it.
it was a true 360 surround sound room with each speaker set by a laser to be a perfect 6.3 to the center of the control room.
BLACK DOT COFFEE
While visiting Moscow Russia for the third time I saw absolutely no coffee, not even a Starbucks they had not got into Russia yet, so I came back and started talking to local coffee companies but found no takers so I started my own company.
It took some time to deal with all the "RED" tape and to be honest America was the hardest to deal with at the time since they refused to grant me a Phyto Sanitary certificate but we worked it out and became the largest exporter of American Roasted Coffee to Russia.
At about the same time I was dealing with getting my coffee into Russia, I began selling locally and within a few months, I had 50 locations selling my coffee right next to the big boys.
People loved the coffee, I even got letters from people telling us their favorite blend.
It did not take long for Black Dot
to be in a few hundred stores and growing faster then I could handle and that was only the start.
By 2005 Black Dot Coffee was growing and was about to grow even more.
I was one of the first coffee lines ever to co-brand with a celebrity.
Hendrix Coffee did very well, but bad timing.
I created a deal with both Leon Hendrix (brother of Jimi) and Janie Hendrix who runs the Jimi Hendrix Estate.
Unfortunately, I could not get both sides to "Wake up and smell the Coffee" (see the press release here)
WORKING WITH A LEGEND
Around 2006 I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of a store I sold coffee at and got a call from some guy asking me a bunch of questions. You the guy doing Hendrix Coffee? yes, Well it's the best coffee I have ever had and I know Howard (Howard Schultz of Starbucks) What else do you do? I said Music, Well I knew Jimi and did a few shows with him back in the day, We need to meet.
We would be great friends until his death in 2019
One of the greatest Rock Promoters in history.
It was at my lake Stevens store and this guy came to me and said:
"Man I love your coffee" and wanted some for his boat.
2007 found me blessed with a beautiful daughter.
I then get a call from Phil talking about his near-death experience and ask if he could help push coffee.
So we had a meeting and I made it happen.
This was my biggest business mistake I could ever make. (click on photo to read more about it)
In less than 45 days I had Deadliest Brew in about 50 stores and within 6 months over 250.
GREED is a terrible thing and even more so when the one who is taking has more than enough already.
On Feb 9th, 2009 I lost everything in a setup divorce and hostile business takeover by Phil Harris and his manager. From this GREED for money and control I lost everything, a family, business, two homes and due to a letter written to a judge by Phil, the ability to see my kid for almost 6 months.
divorce and losing everything
Unfortunately, this was not the typical divorce, this was a covert effort by Phil Harris and his manager to take my business and my then-wife. I think I can say this for a fact that having a guy that's a TV star tell your wife that just had your daughter that you were cheating. (I HAVE AND WILL NEVER CHEAT ON ANYONE)
My response is God knows all and he did Phil Died ONE YEAR LATER TO THE DATE AND HOUR of my court date to where I lost everything, Two homes, My Studio, and my business and any and all money in all accounts that left me homeless, penniless and until they came for my car, without a ride.
HENRY HILL AND GOODFELLAS
I loved hanging out with Henry Hill, I wish the coffee thing worked out a little better, seems we were a little ahead of our time.
He would call me almost every week to talk about anything a few times I went to Vegas with him for a few events and they were always eventful that's for sure. From getting lost in Caesars Palace to making his famous sauce at his sisters on her birthday. I could write a book on the events that unfolded around Henry Hill. I called him on his birthday he died the next day RIP.
A WILDMAN of the B3 and just as wild when not on stage.
Goldy was a great guy, loved music and coffee and why we got along so well. Unfortunately his past was always trying to take from him. this coffee line should have been bigger then it was but within a week I was getting threats from people who claimed to have ownership over Goldy and anything he did. I got one call from John Kay, then some manager in California trying to school me on rights and well I laughed and hung up.
I have dealt with Jimi Hendrix and have no fear, but with Goldy he had a few people working overtime to contact and create as many obstacles possible to make Goldy suffer and take anything that would make him an income, Sad..
When I signed Goldy I was being asked by other artists to do Coffee lines so I started the "Legends of Rock" coffee line to tie in my past Jimi Hendrix Coffee and some of the new artists.
I worked with Sky Saxon back in the 90's within the music business recording and performing with him on a few songs and shows.
He was a trip, the one who started the "Flower Power" movement and the creator of the "Garage Band" sound.
Vert few remember this man but I will never forget him, Kind, giving and as crazy as they come.
I tried to get back into things and had many prospects like Henry Hill (Goodfellas Coffee) to even talking with Charlie Sheen during his epic breakdown, but it was the deal that never became that I decided to empty the pot. I was talking with Alice Cooper to make a coffee for his new song Caffeine but dealing with his Manager was a pain but I did what I could. The industry changed and being 2009/10 it was getting bad for many coffee lines.
* GOODFELLAS COFFEE Henry Hill
* GOLDY MCJOHN
Born to be wild roast.
* Quicksilver Messenger Service
* The Sweet
* Sky Saxon
* Michael Wilton Whip Roast
* Sportsman's Brew
* John Hul
* Hemp Fest Coffee
* Summer of Love 40th anniversary
* Woodstock 40th anniversary