I Chopped Off Paul Stanley’s Head!

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I remember it clearly.  Back in 3rd grade I had to create a shoebox project of “what do you want to be when you grow up”.  Now most of the normal kids had things like Fireman, Policeman, Teacher, etc. but being kind of the weird kid in class what I did instead is I cut out from one of my magazines the pictures of the members of KISS, arguably the biggest rock band in the world at the time, and created a little makeshift mini shoebox stage with each of the members standing up.  But with one small customization.  I chopped off Paul Stanley’s head and replaced it with my picture.

Now this might seem out of character for probably the most introverted kid in the class, but for some strange reason put a guitar in my hand and put me on a stage and thats a whole different situation.  I’m infinitely more comfortable on a stage in front of hundreds of people than talking to a stranger at a party.  So instead of going to parties I often stayed home and practiced.

For Christmas around that same time I got a beginner acoustic guitar on the condition from my dad that I take lessons.  Because of my young age we started out with beginner favorites like ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’.  Needless to say I was uninspired by this choice of material.  Then one day my teacher changed things up a bit.  He showed me the intro riff to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Heartbreaker’.  I was inspired by this.  Let Zeppelin II was one of the first cassettes I ever owned and wore it out playing it daily.  So when I was able to actually play a real bona fide rock guitar riff, I was officially hooked.  The teacher noticed the next week that I had the riff down and was like, “ahh I can tell you’ve been practicing”.

Well that was the start of it.  I spent my formative years wearing out my cassette tapes learning the licks of Jimi Page, Hendrix, Van Halen, Black Sabbath, The Police, etc.  And of coursed jammed in the obligatory high school garage bands.  I think there is even video evidence of some these musical misadventures somewhere.  Taking many many guitar and voice lessons and studying classical and jazz in college all gave me tools I needed to create and perform.  Back when hair metal was still the thing I did have the huge hair and at one point opened for Paul Di’anno of Iron Maiden.

From playing in so many projects in the East coast tri-state area I learned so much from having the opportunity of playing with top NY area musicians.  I’ve played with musicians that have played and toured with acts such as P-Funk Allstars, Pink, Dion, Paul Simon, Edgar Winter, Little Anthony, Al Di Meola, Scissor Sisters, Gary US Bonds, and many others.  By paying with these seasoned touring pros I learned what it takes to perform at that pro level.  Over the years a played on various recordings with bands and played probably a couple thousand gigs, an average of over 100 gigs a year for the last 15 years or so.

But after all of this, I had yet to have any recording that truly represented my style and musical vision.  So finally in 2010 I completed my first self titled album ‘Dave Blair’.  It was an amazing learning experience the skills of which I took into my second album Not Afraid to Bleed.  I felt that at that point I had better honed my songwriting, production and other musical skills.  Again this was a great learning experience and now at least have a vague vision for the next album which will be more ambitious.  But those details are for another post.

But of course it’s YOU the listener that makes the music mean something more.  Its like if a tree falls in the forest, well if an album is released without listeners, does it make a sound?  Now I’m not much of a self promoter, I kind of do it out of necessity because the days of million dollar record companies doing it for you while you just create are long gone if they ever did exist.  Today is the day of the entrepreneur musician where you don’t only write, perform, record, mix, finance, lead a band, perform live, etc etc.  These days you are your own marketing, pr, promoter, financier, etc.  Not really as much fun as writing and singing but, hey what’s the point of putting blood sweat and tears into creating something if nobody hears it, if it doesn’t make an impact in at least some peoples lives.  I remember one fan who was struggling with cancer tell me, she would listen to my album when going to chemo and it would help take her to another place.  Now if that’s not what this music is for I don’t know what is.

I look forward to many more sometimes-hard, sometimes-painful, sometimes inspiring experiences along this musical journey. Here’s to hoping that you are part of that journey.

If you’d like to hear the most recent milestone of that journey, click here to listen to my latest album ‘Not Afraid To Bleed’.

Thank you for being a listener and for making it all matter.

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