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A Little Bit About My Life and Music

A Little Bit About My Life and Music
I was born in Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York. At 5 years old, my family moved to the 'suburbs' LOL ... Queens, New York, where I grew up and lived till 20.
We were SERIOUSLY dirt poor! My father was essentially unemployable. He was smart ... and an artist. To make money, he wound up doing the lettering and an occasional graphic on Superman comic books.  He shoulda stuck with it ... but he was able to make more money selling Encyclopedias and Cemetery plots door-to-door. My mother had her hands (more than) full raising me and my younger sister.
The neighborhoods we lived in in Queens were majority affluent black. From elementary through High School, I would guess it was 70/30 black/white. The black kids most often lived in private homes with back yards, while I lived in a 'Garden Apartment' ... where I had to sleep on the living room sofa!?! I often joke about this but - I SWEAR IT IS TRUE - I was not aware that blacks in America were having such a grievous experience till I got to college!
Well, no wonder that my first musical idols were the black girl groups of the early 60s (the Shirelles, the Marvelettes, ... ) ... nor that I married an African-American woman. 
My mother and father were both musicians. My mother played the piano and my father play the guitar. I tend to say that 'I never took any music lessons'. That is accurate in some sense, yet, every day was a music lesson for me. I can not read or write music but, listening to my parents play, and occasionally asking them what they were doing, developed my ears and my understanding of music theory.
By college age, my exposure to the larger world grew. I discovered white people and white culture LOL. As my musical and cultural exposure grew, my musical heroes became a little more normative for a white kid in the US -  Jimi Hendrix, The Stones, Beatles, Bob Dylan and the Band. 
 
I played in rock groups from 13 through 28, mostly the bass. Like Paul McCartney of the Beatles (who was originally a guitar player with the Beatles), I wound up playing bass because - no one else would or could!
After college, I traveled in Europe and was exposed, for the first time to music from other parts of the world (Greece, Turkey, Spain, ...). I was shocked by how soulful the Greek kids were playing their Bouzoukis. Same with Spanish kids playing Flamenco.
The rest of my musical career is predictable. Little-by-little, I started to bring together all of my early musical influences - R&B, Rock, Mediterranean, etc.
It's not easy! - but it sure is a lot of fun!
Eric

Follow Your Star

Dear Friends and Fans (especially the young ones),

 

In the USA, at least, it has become a cliché for several decades that one should 'follow one's star' and do what one loves in life - not what one's parents, peers or society expect of you. It is a lot easier said than done! ... and very few people actually do it. The courage required to be oneself and follow one's star is enormous - more than most people have - including me!

 

I am now a grandfather with 5 children plus grand-children! When I was much younger, my full time career was as a rock player in a band. It was a tough life and eventually I migrated towards software development. I spent 40 years working in IT for large international corporations ... and then I finally got the courage to 'be myself' LOL.

 

My years in corporate America were certainly not wasted. I had a lot of fun, I had plenty of opportunity to be creative in technology and, of course, I made good money.

 

But, if I had it all to do again, I would have 'followed my star' as a young man and been a musician from the start. That was clearly my destiny ... but I didn't see it clearly at the time. One of my teenage friends, Paul from KISS, did follow his star . and the rest is history.

 

If your passion is selling socks or stocks or finding a cure for Ebola - go for it! Don't think a lot about it! Just do it! The Universe will reward you ... although it may be hard to see how in the moment.

 

Paz y Amor, Love and Peace, Eric

Dear Friends And Fans

Dear Friends and Fans,

To state the obvious, many people these days do not appear to love their fellow Man. Well ... I do! ... and I am sooooo pained by the state of insanity we are seeing these days.
 
When I finished University (Queens College, CUNY - that's all I could afford ... $0.00 per year back then), I put on a back pack and found myself living with newly-made friends in Central Paris. The 'hang-out' spot was the Latin Quarter ... as it is today ... just like Greenwich Village was in NYC.

Every evening, I noticed that a group of migrant workers would assemble on the quai of the Seine in Paris and play their music ... from North Africa, the Middle East, et al. I was dying to play with them and one evening, I actually brought my guitar and kind of hung around them, waiting to be invited to join in. Well - that didn't happen! These guys were tough, suspicious and angry (as you would expect) and armed. I did the same thing every evening for about a week and eventually, someone made a gesture to join in.

I can only play by 'ear', since I never studied music, so I was able to join in pretty easily. This went on for quite a while. The longer it did, the less 'odd' it seemed and the more they trusted me and allowed me into the 'band'.
 
This experience made an indelible impression on me and certainly laid the groundwork for my 4 'World Fusion' CDs. With a little work and persistence (and personal Risk, I suppose) , I broke through a seemingly impermeable cultural barrier.

That the world is such a mess today really hurts me! I am not simply a naive musician! I spent most of my adult life working in the world of large-scale international business ... and I assure you, I know 'the deal'. I also know that we all love our wives, children, grandchildren, homelands and cultures. We all want to be respected and treated with dignity!

Our leaders are letting us down IMHO! ... and they will continue to let us down until we, the People, demand better!

I wonder how you feel about this?

Eric

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