Before I say anything else, let me get this out of the way. The name World's Most Dangerous Bass Player is an inside joke and clever stage name I came up with. It is in no way meant to imply that I think I'm so 'dangerously talented' on the bass. Long story short is that a police officer who told me I had to leave the area I was playing at in Times Square said that he had to keep the streets safe from us dangerous musicians. We both had a laugh and I had a cool, new stage name.
I started out in music in the 3rd. grade on the violin. I had a choice of voice, recorder (even though they called it a flute, I knew even then it wasn't a true flute) and violin. I quit three times before sticking with it and by 5th. grade I kw I wanted to be a musician. I played in the orchestra in jr. high school and really started to take to my craft. By high school I was seriously practising 3 to 6 hours a day. On days off from school I would actually put in a full 8 hours of practise. You say that to a lot of people, (usually non- musicians) and they can't believe it. Looking back I guess I could have tried a little more to have a social life. Not that I didn't have one at all, it's just that music dominated so much of my life back then.
By senior year I was the concertmaster of the orchestra. I also played French horn in the concert band. Not the coolest instruments in the world. Or at least that's what I felt back then. I started playing bass in the 10th. grade and joined my first band a year later. With all my musical knowledge, I really didn't know how to go about getting work or putting shows together. My mom, as much as she loved to hear me play violin, never really encouraged me to persue a career in music, instead telling me I need "something to fall back on" if I didn't make it as a musician. Fast forward 30 years and it's ironic that after losing my job of 13 years with the city, music is what I had to fall back on. Of course there's a lot that went on in those 30 odd years. And, yes, some of those years were very odd, indeed!
Because my college years were mostly spent, gigging here and there and being jealous of musician friends that were getting really good paying gigs and tours, I'm not going to dwell on them. I will point out though, that my first year is pretty much when I stopped playing the violin. As I said earlier, I was concertmaster of my high school orchestra in my senior year. For those not familiar with the term, that means I was basically second to the teacher and would occassionally conduct the orchestra. Not bad considereing I never had private lessons and all I knew about the instrument was from my own practising. But, unfortunately, I realize in retrospect, I went to a school that, even though it was the music and art high school for Queens at the time, lack of funding and heavy focus on the racial makeup of the school took away from the music program and I did not get the full musical education I probably would have if I went to Music and Arts or Performing Arts H.S. That was the school from the movie 'Fame.' No, I went to good ol' Andrew Jackson H.S. Anyway, I say all that to say that when I got to college, I got my ass handed to me by those orchestra guys. What kept me from giving up music all together was that I was playing bass and none of the bass players I met in college had anywhere near the style that I played with. Unfortunately, again, the University of Evansville did not offer a major in electric bass and I did not play upright bass. I came home after two semesters, worked for a year and started going to Five Towns College, which at the time was a two year school primarily for musicians. That's where I had all the buddies getting gigs and tours and I realized I wanted more.
Through the 80's I played with pretty much the same band. The original name was Oasis II, but we later changed the name to the Funktion Freeks. The name was an inside joke because the drummer's father promoted a lot of parties for the Carribbean community and in his address to the crowd he always included the line,"Me hope your function turn out right, mon." That was a cool band and we had a lot of fun and for a while we could say we were one of the hottest funk show bands in Queens, if not the whole city. One of the ironies of that band that will stick with me forever is that the least musically talented member of the band made it the biggest. Ed Lover. Trust me, I'm not mad at Ed, but I will admit to a little jealousy. First off, for those not familiar with Ed Lover, he was the host Yo' MTV Raps with Dr. Dre,(the fat one from the east coast, not the rapper from NWA); he and Dre also did a movie, 'Whose the Man?' which I guess could best be described as a hip-hop version of 'Car 54.' And finally, Ed hosts a morning radio show. The band broke up in 1988 and I haven't seen nor talked to Ed since 1991. Every now and then people recognize me from those days and ask about Ed and I have nothing to say because I honestly have no idea what's going on with him. Some say he's got a big head and forgot where he came from. I don't know and don't really care at this point, but it is ironic.
Over the years I have been fortunate enough to play with some very great people, and go to some really cool places. In 1995 I did tour with the Drifters, doing oldies in Tokyo. I played with a group called The Rythym Makers, which was the original name of the band GQ, a disco band from the 70's. I have also been fortunate enough to tour Europe, which was a blast. Here's hoping that 2010 will bring bigger and better gigs!