Sunday, December 3, 2023


on stage with Michael Johnathon, June 2023
"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?"
- Satchel Paige

My annual obligatory birthday post!

Sooo...another trek around the sun, as they say - 59 such treks. This year, as every year, has been quite the roller-coaster ride...from another successful Lexi Music Awards event to hosting open mics to performances at local charity events to national TV to a couple of fabulous studio sessions to performances at both the Prince Tribute show and the Tina Turner Tribute show and so much more on the professional & creative front!

And, of course, its been amazing to continue to watch students & former students go out into the world and be creative and chase their dreams!

Here at SD Universe, I made 12 entries, including a percussion workshop article, a lesson article of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", and four RIP pieces (Tina Turner, Harry Belafonte, Gordon Lightfoot, and Jeff Beck).....while at SD Magazine we published two "Sonic Sorcery" lessons, a Superbowl Music lesson, and two "Looking Back" articles ("Synchronicity" by the Police and Revel Yell" by Billy Idol). birthday weekend:

Friday (10-20) was a hard workout at the gym (final pre-birthday workout) and included 60 minutes of cardio, 30 minutes full body resistance work, and capped it off with weighted carries (45 pound plate in each hands while walking laps around the gym).

Saturday (10-21) was a set at a charity gig for Greenhouse 17 organized by Ned Bellau at The Cellar, and then a pizza party with the kids!

Sunday (10-22) was the annual Birthday Jam! We packed the patio at Goodwood and had a blast! I also broke a 30+ day alcohol-free (also an annual thing for me) with a really good scotch!

Monday (birthday) I got up feeling a tad ragged from the weekend festivities, but after getting the kids off to school, I hit the gym HARD, then went home to a super-rare steak with shrimp and guacamole, raw mixed nuts, and a nap! 

Unfortunately, the ragged feeling turned out to be a cold or mild flu which lasted for over a week, but if that's the worst thing that happened, nothing happened (haha!).

Also blessed to receive hundreds upon hundreds of birthday wishes via text, email, snail mail, social media, phone calls, & the like...and as I do each year, I took my annual ODIS (Old Dudes In Shape) pictures as a challenge to my buddies who also post ODIS pics. Good accountability and keeps us all motivated and disciplined!

On the off chance that you are interested in the stories & photos from past birthdays, you can punch THIS LINK, which will list them all.

That's it for now. Gotta get to work prepping lessons, Lexi Music Awards, my annual "thankful" post, and more....and please check out my Patreon page ($5/month for Total Access to writings, performance clips, music instruction, diet & fitness writings, AMAs, etc)!

See y'all person, online, on TV, or wherever we shall meet!

#StayFierce #SkinnyDevil #FierceAF #SDMLguitar #LexiMusicAwards #ThisIs58 #PirateLife

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

SUMMER FUN: Free Resources, Gigs for You, Lessons, More!

How is it we're almost halfway through 2023?!

Well, I hope you are enjoying the year so far...and I have a LOT of resources for you on your musical journey! Before we hit them all, I thought it prudent to share some basic background info for those interested. You can read my bio & student success stories HERE.

OK, here we go....

1) Summer Lessons - We have a new summer group session of guitar classes starting Thursday, June 1st at Willis Music (attend in-person or via Zoom).....and I have several private lesson slots open NOW!

Contact me for details at or 909-929-2007.

2) Free Articles/Lessons - Already this year, I've written (free for the public) lesson articles on Tina Turner, Gordon Lightfoot, & Harry Belafonte, plus a piece on "found percussion" (& basic concepts), lesson article "The Music of O Brother Where Art Thou?", and more all at SD well as my entries at SD Magazine, which include pieces on "Heart of Glass", a tribute to Jeff Beck, lesson on Chris Stapleton's Superbowl performance of "Star Spangled Banner", another "Sonic Sorcery" lesson exploring alliteration, as well as the first two entries of the new LOOK BACK series, Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" and the classic "Synchronicity" by The Police.

Active students also have access to our supplemental pages, where we've included a lot of info plus over 60 song charts so far this year!

3) Gig Opportunities - In addition to 4 solo/duo recitals per year and an additional 2-3 "rock band" recitals per year, we've also kicked off the "Second Sunday Open Mic" where we have students and non-students alike on stage to perform! We prioritize students participation, but the idea is also to allow greater networking with area musicians of all ages and all styles!

Contact me if YOU want to perform!

4) Field Trips - We're attempting to organize and confirm dates NOW to local radio stations and more, including a trip to be a crew member at Woodsongs Oldtime Radio Hour (shot in Lexington, KY and broadcast on 500+ stations worldwide and dozens of public TV stations across the country).

Details soon!

5) Misc - We'll be setting some VERY specific goals for summer to keep current students on track.....I'll be conducting several songwriting workshops in Lexington, Nicholasville, & more during the summer & can subscribe to my Patreon Page for only $5/month - and for current students, at NO EXTRA COST (the $5 monthly fee for patreon will be deducted from your lesson tuition).....and all of my social media can be accessed via my FB page.

That's it for now - stay in tune and I'll see you soon!

If you value my work and want to support me for lessons (guitar, electric bass, ukulele, social drumming, songwriting, etc) or feel free to leave a tip (one-shot or monthly):

PayPal (one-time or monthly options)

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Thursday, May 25, 2023

AMA - Thoughts on Tyson Fury & Jon Jones Controversy

I got a good laugh at this question, as I'm a musician, not a fighter (and when I fought, I was average at best, and that was long ago).

Be that as it may, I figured it might be fun to weigh in on this.

"Did you hear what Joe Rogan said about Tyson Fury and Jon Jones? Now Tyson & Jones are talking back and forth on social media. Who do you think would win?"

Yes, I heard what Rogan said, yes I heard some of the back and forth (though not sure of the chronology or who said what first following Joe). Who do I think would win?

Well, I think boxing and MMA are two entirely different sports. Sure, they're both combat sports. But understand the rule set of boxing and the rule set of MMA are radically different, and the salient point of "different" in this case is that boxing enjoys a MUCH more limiting rule set.

So how a fight between them would turn out? 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

RIP Tina Turner

The undisputed Queen of Rock-n-Roll.....RIP Tina Turner.

Her influence began almost immediately, showing young ladies the far boundaries of what was possible in the music business. Tina's career spanned from roughly 1960 until well into the 2000s, and every generation was profoundly impacted by her voice, her music, her style, and her sheer force fighting against all odds.

Performing & recording with Ike Turner & his Kings of Rhythm in the late 1950s, she exploded onto the airwaves with her debut single "Fool in Love" in 1960.

Friday, May 12, 2023

RIP Harry Belafonte

The world lost a huge talent in April of '23 - bigger than most of the 21st century music press realized....

Today, we look very briefly at his life & career (with song charts and video below).

Harry Belafonte was born March 1, 1927 in New York City, his father & mother both born in Jamaica and moved to the US before Harry was born. He spent his first 5 years in Harlem, but then moved back to Jamaica to live with his grandmother and attend school. Moving back to the US in his teen years, Belafonte, he dropped out of school, served briefly in the Navy (serving in WW2), and worked as a janitor throughout the remainder of the 1940s.

It was then that he met Sidney Portier (also completely unknown at the time) and fell in love with theater, radically altering the course of his life.