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Why Music....

My beginnings in music were very much innocent. A fair amount of musicians I have encountered over the years in person and or read interviews when asked the reason why they started a band or performing there is quite often a mention of fame, money and women in no certain order...typically the later leads that reasoning! (Pictured below) This was what it looked like for me at 15. The walls of my room plastered with my idols as a reminder of what type of greatness was possible and a way to make it clear to anyone who entered what I was all about. I loved music, back then just heavy, fast aggressive music. The guitar pictured was the first instrument i owned. It came from my oldest brother. He had purchased it to learn to play. I remember the day i picked it up at his house and started fiddling around with it and by complete accident and chance I hit a few strings

and out came the opening notes to Welcome Home (Sanitarium) by my favorite band Metallica. My brother looked at me as i looked back and immediately he said "you might as well take it home. I've had it months and haven't made anything but noise!" Just that one little accident and seeing the shock on his face that something resembling music came out of a super cheap old Peavy Stratocaster knock off. This may sound like, "this guys a natural" NOT SO FAST!! That was a pure strike of luck as the following years and even decades would not be so kind to me. One undertone to this story is there were many folks very close to me that did not believe in any way shape or form i would ever learn to play let alone make a fairly decent run in several different styles of music over many many years. That type of negativity is something that really motivated me to stick to it and really dig deep to prove those folks wrong. When i really look back at all my experiences and so on that really seems to be the only constant thread throughout. Negativity


Not long into my learning process my best friend (also an avid metal head) would join me on the journey and he bought his first instrument, a drum set. We often would have sleep overs at each others house as it was and now we would stay up all night making tremendous amounts of racket just banging away trying to learn to play together to our favorite Metallica songs and so on...This pairing inspired another friend of ours to take up bass and I recruited the only other long haired kid in school with us. Just because of the shirts he would wear and the long hair I thought "He has to play music!" Turns out he did and he was a monster lead player, he was the youngest member but by far the most talented at the time in the group. I took up the singing portion out of necessity. In this scenario as well...NOT A NATURAL! Nonetheless the birth of my first band Metal Eclipse. (pictured above) We would perform at friends birthday parties, battle of the bands competitions and any place who would have us. This was the beginning of the bug. The collaboration writing songs, performing and the responses to the music you wrote or covered is something that cant be described unless you have felt it. Most all of the young men in this band were able to walk away from that with little no regret whatsoever. Me, I have taken time off between projects and it seems like i have lost some purpose in my life. I have far greater purposes in other areas of my life but this one is for me. This group disbanded after a few short years due to the typical band drama things and all of us growing up a bit and finding things we wanted to do individually. Mine was the same, "I'll start over and find more people to collaborate with. Moving forward I would periodically call on a few of my old pals from this group to do a one off show or fill in for bands I was a part of.


My passion for song writing continued and I kept on writing and improving until my next opportunity arose. A local group called "Legal Vender." This was one of the only bands I didn't personally have a hand in creating. This was a band already established in the local area. I was a bit reluctant to take the opportunity as it was not the kind of music i played and at the time i was not a huge fan of the "Adidas Metal" genre. I did take the gig however and i am glad i did. The guys in the band ended up being some of my good friends throughout the beginning to middle years of high school. This was the group i learned to be a performer on stage. I was not the singer in this group so i had stage freedom. I was a

significant contributor to original material. I was part of the process heavily on new material and even the older songs I'd alter those to fit my style and experiment with effects, and different playing styles. This really help me expand my grasp on music and the freedom to color a track how you hear it rather than replicating the style of someone else. In this group I had a single song I would take over vocal duties for and I began to notice and hear folks wanting to hear more from me vocally. One by one the group lost members to moving, and pursuing other things or other bands.


Shortly after the disbanding of Legal Vender Myself and Sean (pictured below) started a new project " MindRaped." In the heavy music genre this was by far the most successful band and longest running spanning 8 years 2 full length studio releases (pictured below tracking Superficial), live album and a third album of material in the chamber. I only held the vocal duties in this group. This would be the first time I had not played guitar on a project. I look at the time with these guys even through a few lineup changes very fondly. In MindRaped we had opportunities to perform with a number of our influences (most notably Seether) and up and coming bands on the heavy music scene. My first experiences opening for national acts on big stages at legendary venues across the metro Detroit area primarily. The above

listed "Negativity" comes into play here in a big way. Many of the songs were negative, abrasive and spoke to the struggles trying to make things happen in an area where quite frankly there was no "scene" for the style of music we brought to the table. Also playing into that negativity aspect was as a group, we had a polarizing effect on concert-goers. They loved us or hated us. Very few impartial responses. I learned a lot in this group and from each performance. The downside on my part exclusively was i did not treat these guys as well as i should have. At the time I probably didn't know how hard it would be again to find a group of guys all pulling in the same direction for an extended amount of time. The disbanding was not due to this but just reflecting back on the man I wasn't yet back then. The majority of the members moved toward bettering themselves through schooling, relocating and preparing for the real world. As many of my early groups we remain friends from a distance to this day and once again, I am the only member still in the music scene. As the heavy music genre evolved I began to hear many of the same elements we were employing many years before. I often wonder what this band would sound like today, what type of evolution we would have musically as the sound and style was continually getting more creative, more aggressive and overall just better collectively. Would we trend toward the melodic side or keep pushing toward pure chaos?


For a good portion of my stint in MindRaped I was finding less and less heavy bands I liked and the groups I did like were all disbanding and so on. Most of my time musically at home was spent playing acoustic guitar and playing country songs. In doing this is where i began to really find a voice singing, really singing! Many years go by after the end of MindRaped. I was spent on the music business, politics, propaganda and the fact that success in music had little or nothing to do with art itself. I began recording covers and posting them to YouTube of country songs. I enjoy doing these still but honestly once you've been bitten by the live performance bug and gracing those big cant quit! I kicked around the idea of just a simple little country cover band that i intended to be the lead singer...chemistry changes everything. Enter The Matt Ryan Band. The first meeting between Matt and myself was a good one. I was introduced to him by my brother who had stumbled across him singing karaoke one night. He had told me about him and that he needed a guitar player for his band. My thoughts are, great plug and play scenario and no headache of auditioning

people and having to do all that work. Well this was not the case. it was us 2 to start but the very early motivation came in the form of a tune called "I'm Here" that Matt presented the idea to me as a grainy cell phone recording of the vocal idea. Within a few hours we had it fully written and the basic chord structure. This remains the fan favorite among the majority of the MRB fans. That single song opened a massive amount of opportunities for us as it was always used in the booking process and its an instant draw at live shows even for first time listeners. The list of accolades for this band is to long to list. Lets just say we performed with a huge amount of our favorite acts and met so many very successful folks in the country music genre. The largest achievement was being the first act ever to perform at the Faster Horses Festival held at the Michigan International Speedway. A day in which we rubbed shoulders with country stars such as Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen, David Nail and Chris Young. Young was our early common ground. We are both huge Chris Young fans and it was great to find out the guy is as good as his talent. I view that day and that show as the pinnacle of everything I've accomplished in music for many reasons. Just on the booking portion alone, it was a long shot at best and was able to pull the right strings to make it all come together. A scenario not likely to repeat itself but I realize as an independent local act they are few and far between. We are currently entering year 8 in this group. As I write this I reflect back on the performance from last night and we had a great group of folks in the room with us, as we rolled from cover songs into a few of the original tunes and the dance floor stayed active, I had a recollection of all the years that have passed and how appreciative I am to see that...a few of those were songs written in my dining room at home on a single guitar and to see them well received by folks who wouldn't know me from the next guy nor care less about where they came from but just hear it as a "good tune." That's the ultimate compliment.


So now what? I remain with the Matt Ryan Band and I have carved out a little corner for myself through all the years with bands and collaborating with folks. I perform as a solo acoustic artist live and fulfilled a life long dream of mine to record music 100% on my own. I am tracking new songs in my home studio and performing all the instrumentation as well as producing myself. The finished songs can be found on my Home page and my YouTube channel as well, I thrive on the big stages as a support act for national artists. I suspected this may be a long shot to accomplish solo acoustic. Very quickly in the process i was able to get myself an opportunity to open for Neal Mccoy a handful of months ago. Hard work and preparation

has paid off for me in the past. No difference here. I was able to secure an additional opener for Colt Ford as well from the impression left by what I believe was my personal best performance. These days I'm a regular old Joe, husband, father and a day job working stiff. I do this for the love and artist expression and the creative process. It's my therapy so to speak. I don't intend on securing some record deal or fall into that cliche' pipe dream. Quite frankly that sort of thing really doesn't exist nowadays in the music business anyhow. With social media and digital music outlets i can get music to whomever is interested all over the world. There is no gatekeeper holding you out of stores. No huge overhead cost of production and manufacturing the physical copies. I can do what i love and you can get it if you so choose. That's a beautiful thing. In the title I ask the question "Why Music?" It's passion, it's life, it's who i am...without it I lose a part of myself. Thank you for any support you have shown for me, my bands and thank you for making it this far! Cheers

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