Origin: Vancouver, British Columbia - Victoria, British Columbia
I was born in Dublin, Ireland, and learned to walk on the Saxonia liner en route to Halifax. From there, we gravitated first to the prairies and then to the West Coast. After some years of going back and forth, my mother and I landed back in Vancouver smack in the middle of the Summer of Love in 1967. That was the beginning of my musical awakening.
There was an embarrassment of riches in the streets and on the airwaves: Great local bands playing psychedelic rock, R+B and country rock at funky little venues and high school dances and opening for the international acts at the cowsheds out at the PNE: United Empire Loyalists, Collectors, High Flying Bird, and Mother Tucker’s Yellow Duck, and Fireweed and the Cement City Cowboys, fantastic country rock bands that could hold their own on any stage. What a party!
For the record, my first Big Rock Show was Herman’s Hermits in Calgary in 1966. The second one was The Doors in Vancouver in 1968. Jim and his leather pants… Swoonsville! Meanwhile, on the radio: Beatles, Led Zep, Pink Floyd, CSNY, Chicago, Rolling Stones, The Guess Who, John Mayall, Chilliwack, BTO, Santana, The Byrds, Eric Burdon, Simon + Garfunkel, Motown, and some incredible singer / songwriters: Bruce Cockburn, Bob Dylan, Murray McLaughlin, Fred Neil, Randy Newman, John Prine, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Judy Collins, Neil Young, Tom Rush, Joan Baez, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell.
I immediately fell in love with Joni with her amazing tunings and deep, soul searching lyrical poetry. She is the gold standard in terms of masterful songwriting and fearless creative expression, and probably my greatest inspiration as a storyteller.
One of the photos was taken during my first open mic experience in a seedy club called the Parlour on Main Street in Vancouver around the time I was getting ready to graduate from high school.
I made the bus trip to the downtown east side with my guitar in a green plastic garbage bag because I didn’t own a guitar case. Two or three loyal friends came along for moral support that first night.
It was exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time. A short (and shaky) set of Joni, Neil Young and CSNY covers was all I had to offer, but after that I was hooked. I chose the life of a performer and never looked back.