School : Atlanta Institute Of Music (Doraville, Georgia, United States)
Education : Some college
Smoker : No
Drinker : No
Favorite bands :
Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Rush, UFO, Metallica, Megadeth, Neko Case, Kate Bush, Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep, Savatage, Yes, Fates Warning, Annihilator, Dio, The Cars, David Bowie, King Crimson, Blue Oyster Cult, Heart, Fleetwood Mac, The Pretenders, Robin Trower, Gram Parsons, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Alice Cooper, Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash, Concrete Blonde...
Favorite guitarists :
Ritchie Blackmore, Steve Howe, Randy Rhoads, Alex Lifeson, Tony Iommi, Michael Schenker, Jimmy Page, Yngwie Malmsteen, James Mankey, Buck Dharma, Criss Oliva, Jeff Waters, Marty Friedman, Junior Brown, Albert Lee...
Favorite bassists :
Les Claypool, Geddy Lee, Chris Squire, Dennis Dunaway, Geezer Butler, Roger Glover, Cliff Burton, John Paul Jones.
Favorite books :
There are almost too many to mention, although I do tend to read a lot more biographies than anything else. Especially about musicians! The Power Of Myth is pretty good stuff too.
Favorite tv :
Breaking Bad, Wentworth Prison, Luther, The League Of Gentlemen and The Wire for starters. Although I'm an American, I much prefer the stuff that's coming out of Britain and Australia.
Favorite movies :
Whiplash, El Topo, A Woman Under The Influence, Pulp Fiction, Amelie, Hardcore Logo, Army Of Darkness, Life Of Brian.
Robbitd is ranked #14151 contributor among all users.
Robbitd has made 7 contributions to the site total :
I've been playing guitar for the past 36 years. Although I took some lessons early on, I opted to take the harder road of teaching myself to play. This decision probably delayed my development, but allowed me to find my own peculiar understanding of how to read music. I toyed around with an inexpensive acoustic for the first few years, but then heard BLACK SABBATH. After beholding Tony Iommi's opening riffs for "Lord Of This World", I decided to dedicate myself more seriously to the task.
After becoming enamored with Randy Rhoads' classical guitar styling's, I opted to take Classical Guitar lessons. I stayed this course for at least 6 months, but abandoned them when I sensed my teacher's zealotry about Classical music and his distaste for Rock music. It wouldn't be the first time I experienced this sort of cultish perspective towards music genres.
I played with some original metal bands in Albany, NY during the late 80s. We played some covers, but were mostly focused on writing our own songs. It seems were imitating the bands we admired at the time (Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, etc.) but was still a worthwhile learning experience for me.
In 1990, I left Albany for Atlanta, where I attended Atlanta Institute of Music for 2 semesters. This was a good opportunity for me to fill in some of the blanks in my musical education. I decided to leave the school when I began feeling that a few of our instructors weren't taking our education as seriously as the students were. The school was marketed to attract technique hungry rock players and then teach them jazz theory. Learning improvisational techniques was quite helpful and worthwhile, but there was also a subversive anti-rock attitude among much of the faculty. I have great respect for jazz musicians, but it wasn't my genre of choice at that point in time.
In April 1991, I got a call from a friend and former bass player in Albany about his new band, Suspended Animation. He sent me some tapes and was instantly impressed with them. I 'd always loved Scott's playing, but I was blown away by the drummer he'd found. His name was Jason Bittner. I auditioned for them several months later and we all instantly clicked. They fired their original guitarist and singer shortly thereafter and reformed the band under the name Fear Itself.
After spending months learning their material, I returned to NY. This was the first band I'd ever felt played at a level of musicianship that satisfied my own standards. We recorded seven songs in the studio and had plenty more ready to go. Stylistically, we were playing thrash/speed metal stuff, but with a more consciously technical mindset. Malcolm was gently trying to coax us towards a more rap-metal direction, but the rest of us weren't as keen to follow his lead.
After playing a well received headline show at a local club called Saratoga Winners, I made a very difficult decision to leave the band and return to Atlanta. As much I loved playing with Fear Itself, there too many personal & professional reasons for me to depart. We were all pulling in different musical & geographical directions and I didn't want to continue starving for my art. I hated living in Schenectady and I seriously needed a REAL job & home, while the other members lived more comfortably with family members.
Although I did play in a few Atlanta bands after my return, I always felt dissatisfied with one aspect or another of these projects. Some players were just too lazy and unprofessional, narcissistic or had some type of chemical dependence issue. After a while, I got weary of the constant babysitting and ego battles and opted for a simpler drama free life. I never felt at peace living the "rock & roll lifestyle" and always preferred practicing over drinking. I was always focused on being the best player I could be, but just didn't have patience for all of the BS that comes with being in a band.
Much of the reason I haven't pursued playing live gigs in recent years has to do with the curse of my tinnitus. Although I'm sure this problem gradually developed over years of playing at white noise levels through my Marshall's, it was pushed to another level after attending an X show in 2006. My left ear constantly rings with a high frequency tone that has taken time to accept as part of my normal environment. My right ear is sensitive to volume and will sometimes convulse like a blown woofer if pushed too hard.
Regardless, I do the best I can with what I have to work with. Music will always be in my blood and I still get that same buzz from playing guitar. Although I tend to listen to more Americana styled music nowadays, I still prefer to play old school hard rock & metal when I click on my amplifier!