I started out playing live music with my family on holidays. From the time I was 8 or 9, at Christmas and other family gatherings, my grandmother, uncle, father, cousins and brothers and sisters would gather around my grandmother (who played the organ), singing and playing a myriad of instruments, playing carols, old songs, and novelty numbers (like Shaving Cream, Sweet Violets, For I Had But 50 Cents, etc.).
My siblings and I all learned three instruments each growing up: piano, a string instrument (mine was violin), and a band instrument (mine was clarinet). I played from the time I was in second grade, adding to that list guitar, bass (electric and upright), saxophone, trumpet, accordian, lap steel (my father’s instrument) and various and sundry percussion. I even took drum lessons for a while. I also sang in choir from my seventh grade year on. So there was a lot of live performance: talent shows, band concerts, recitals, contests, etc.
In high school I formed a band with a couple of friends. We didn’t play any gigs, as I recall, but we practiced a LOT, often with small audiences of friends.
Then after high school I played in professional bands, all over Los Angeles from the Central to Madame Wongs, street scene festivals, and so on.
Then I went to Berklee. And played the subways, mostly. LOL. Made more money on the Blue Line than I ever made playing the Troubadour, I can tell you.
Moved to Memphis, started playing solo acoustic gigs. I played the Java Cabana coffeehouse every Sunday for 8 months and also did a gig at the Antenna Club as an Elvis impersonator. After Memphis, I moved to Seattle and played in a country-folk band. Played the Northwest Folk Festival, played in back rooms at bluegrass festivals, etc.
When I relocated to Ohio, I played in a classic rock cover band that did a couple of gigs, including a Harley Davidson club party.
Then I moved to New Orleans. And you would think that being in that city filled with music I’d still be playing. But as often happens, life gets in the way. I’m older now, and hanging out in bars is less healthy. And I’m set in my ways.
But playing live music is always a wonderful experience. Even if it’s just two people sitting in a living room and jamming. So if the opportunity arises, I’ll do it in a heartbeat. Just no touring, or thinking of getting a record deal. LOL.