:: MUSIC ::
Music is an important aspect of my existence. Writing and playing music, both solo and with some extremely talented musicians and friends, has pulled me through the toughest times of my life and created some of the most satisfying and memorable times as well.
I have been fortunate enough to grace the stage with musicians I don't even consider myself in the same league with, beginning with the first time Steve Pryor and the Mighty Kingsnakes let me play a few songs in between their set when they hosted a local blues jam. I grew up in Tulsa, OK which was home to rock'n'roll hall of famer Leon Russell. When I moved to California I began playing music with my friend Greg Noll in an acoustic duo called The Primates. We somehow maneuvered ourselves into the opening act slot for Leon Russell, my hometown legend. A few years later my band Angel.House found itself sharing the stage with Cheap Trick. I want you to want me. Yes, THAT Cheap Trick. We had a nice little string of luck, opening up for the legendary Spencer Davis Group, '80s hitmakers The Plimsouls, San Diego's own The Beat Farmers, Bloodline (featuring future blues legend Joe Bonamassa), Flat Duo Jets and quite a few other big label bands that fizzled out or moved on. We had our own tour bus and we toured the US and banged our heads against the wall in our hometown.
After releasing a couple of CDs (as Angel.House and later as The Deadlites) and playing major venues and hitting the road and struggling to make it happen, it finally became obvious it was time to move on. Although the band was no longer, I continued to write and record music. I put together a very basic home studio and hit the record button when inspired. The result was a homemade CD called
Everything's Swell. The next CD, called Good-bye California came out in 2008. I played most of the instruments and sang all the vocals and actually got a little radio airplay. There are also some great contributions on this album by my friends and former bandmates. In 2010, I decided to make a "Best Of" collection and offer it on iTunes after many requests from friends to be able to download digitally. Click the album cover above to be taken to an iTunes page for this album.
I've recorded a few new tunes here and there. You can download them for free at Noise Trade...I call the project The Catfish Hunters. CLICK HERE.
I have play an occasional gig with many of my former bandmates and musical compadres and we play as The Small Pox Mountain Boys. It's a musical conglomeration of seven of us, all playing each other's music and contributing in any way we can. Our gigs are fun and entertaining and full of spontaneity and good, quality music. No two shows are alike. I highly recommend coming to see us if you have the chance and you just appreciate good music. The band includes myself along with Rob Quillen, Dave Quillen, Michelle Quillen, Oliver Fiedler, Dianne Day-Fiedler, Mike Hawkins and occasionally Don Quillen. That's a lot of Quillens. We occasionally have guest musicians sitting in with us like Flogging Molly's Matt Hensley on accordion, guitarist extrordinaire Adrian Demain, bassist Alan Deremo (Men at Work, John Denver, Glenn Frey, etc.), Mark Vernon of A.M. Vibe on drums, and you never know who else will drop in.
The Small Pox Mountain Boys: Jaimie, Dianne, Dave, Oliver, Rob, Michelle, Mike, jaimie
:: GEAR ::
I'm a bit of a guitar freak. In other sections of this site you'll see links to my guitar blog The Ones That Got Away. And I've been fortunate to build websites for a couple of the top guitar makers in the world. In this section of the site I will go into my gear a little bit simply because I'm obsessed with it and love to share what I think makes a great set-up.
I am extremely fortunate to have found guitar luthier Mike Franks and his hand made acoustic guitars. Mike only makes about 15 guitars a year, so the fact that I own one of them makes me a lucky guitarist. The one I own is a custom built dreadnought with D-41-style inlay on the body and custom headstock inlay which was done by David Nichols, who has done inlay work for Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Aerosmith, and on and on. I will soon possess a new guitar built by Mike Franks that will be a replica of a 1937 Gibson L-00. Can't wait.
I also just took possession of a brand new custom Taylor guitar. I designed this guitar actually as a one-of-a-kind instrument to be auctioned for charity to benefit the Tony Hawk Foundation. Taylor actually made a second one and presented to me as a gift and it's a beauty. You can check it out here: CLICK. It's the gold one on top.
My other acoustic guitar is a vintage Yamaha FG-160 that I found in a thrift store, all beat to hell, for $25. I cleaned it up, replaced the missing tuner, put some strings on it, and it sounds great...especially for recording. I guess these old Yamahas have quite a cult following that I was unaware of and for good reason. Right now i have it strung in a Nashville tuning for recording purposes. Very cool.
The picture at the left is a little outdated. My current electric is a late 1994 Telecaster, which is completely stock. This guitar sounds and plays great but has no special mojo. I also have a Paul Westerberg signature model guitar from First Act...yes, the company that makes super cheap-ass guitars for Walmart and Target. But guess what...this thing sounds fantastic. And I found it for $35 at a swap meet. It's a keeper.
I have an old black Memphis brand bass (cheap but good copy of a Fender P-Bass) that is autographed by Rob Halford of Judas Priest...the Metal God. I use it for recording.
My current amp is a Fender Excelsior pawn shop series amp Awesome tremolo.. Love it.
I also use a Way Huge Green Rhino for overdrive. And an old Arion tuner pedal that works great.
I record my music in GarageBand using minimal amounts of gear...not because I like it that way, but because that's what I can afford to do. I was hesitant on the GarageBand thing, but I'm here to tell you it works just darn fine. I've got a Focusrite Sapphire interface . I SWEAR by my Blue Bluebird condensor microphone. My acoustics and vocals have never sounded more clear and perfect than with this mic and they aren't all that expensive. You can find one on eBay for around $200. Less if you get lucky. Get one.
And I also recommend the Audio Technica ATM41a microphones for playing live...better than the standard Shure SM58, though I've got one of those too. The first ATM41a I got was YEARS ago...I started hosting San Diego's only open mic night at the time at a coffee shop called Drowsy Maggies, and the guy who had previously hosted it was actually homeless. He needed money and sold me his mic for $75. Not sure what happened with him but he was a really nice guy and I've still got and use the mic at every gig.
:: MUSICIANS I AM INDEBTED TO ::
This could also be called the "influences" section, but really it's about much more than influence. It's about music really touching your soul and becoming part of your life...not just influencing what I play. Some of these are people you would never know.
The first concert I ever went to was when I was about 5-years old. My parents took my younger sister and I to see James Brown. This would have been about 1965. Yes, I'm old. But I still remember it. Very clearly. This was when James Brown was much younger...in his prime. We might have been the only white people there and my mom was dancing in the aisles with everyone else.
The next concert I went to was Willie Nelson. Much different than James Brown. I do remember the people next to us were smoking pot. The smell was overwhelming and I had no idea what it was. But still, to this day, when I smell pot I think of Willie Nelson. I'm sure other people do too, but not for the same reason.
The last concert I'll mention is the next one my parents took us to: Sly and the Family Stone, with opening acts Dr. John and a local, unsigned band...the Gap Band. Yes, the Gap Band was from Tulsa. And I saw them before they were famous. And Sly was pretty damn good too. And a chick OD'd right in front of us on the floor.
Now, on to the obligatory llst: Willie, Waylon and the boys, Delbert McClinton, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Josh Rouse, Jon Nolan, Ryan Bingham, Steve Pryor and the Mighty Kingsnakes, Jim Sweeney, Better Than Ezra, Chris Whitley, Dave Quillen, The BoDeans, Drive By Truckers, Smithereens, Gillian Welch, Shawn Colvin, Nancy Griffith, Dan Fogelberg, Michael Hedges, Talk Talk, Dwight Yoakam, Tom Waits, John Mellencamp, Lemonpeeler, Charlie Sexton, Greg Leisz, Lyle Lovett, The Replacements and Paul Westerberg, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Sam and Dave, Fender Telecasters, Elvis Costello, Son Volt, The Paladins, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Wilco, Shannon McNally, The Arc Angels, Rob Quillen, Mike Hawkins, Oliver Fiedler, Deliverance Machine, Joe Ely, Amos Lee, Kelly Willis, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Devlins, Chris Isaak, Leon Russell, Dr. John, Sly and the Family Stone, Al Green, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jeff Buckley, David Anderson, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, Gomez, Hayes Carll, Jason Isbell, The Jayhawks, M.J. Franks Guitars, The O'Kanes, The Walking Wounded, U2, Steve Earle, and countless others I will think of later.
Contusion Records is really just the name I use to release my own material. However, maybe in the future we'll do something beyond that.