When did you first become interested in music?
Hmm, you’re asking for a bit of family history here. I can’t remember becoming interested in music. It has just always been there, probably because of my family. My Mom was an amateur cellist until her early 20′s, my Dad is a brass player and conductor (notably of the U.S. Army band in San Francisco during the final days of the Presidio), my Grandma sang opera, one brother plays violin, another played sax and flute, plus various other relatives who played various other instruments (including auto-harp!). Music is just part of life, like air and sunshine and thunderstorms. Please don’t judge me for the cheesiness of that line, but it’s true! I’ve always loved moving to music and making sounds.
Man, that’s a lot of music in your family, it seems like it was pretty much inevitable that you would start playing. Although, you could’ve also rebelled by completely rejecting it too I suppose. With all those musicians on hand, did your family ever play music together?
My brothers and I joked around about starting a grungy Hanson type band, but no. The closest we ever came to playing music together was solfegging the violin and cello parts to various symphonies on many long drives between Vegas and Reno (nerd alert).
What was it that drew you in to music?
Growing up, my Mom always encouraged me to pursue all my interests (probably because of my attention span issues). I’m what you would call a “high stress functioner,” or someone who needs a multitude of things going on at once in order to stay focused. If you give me one thing to focus on, I can’t. So, (through generous community support because we were dirt poor) my Mom had me in ballet, gymnastics, piano lessons, girl scouts, and various after-school academic clubs. I’m really lucky that so many people were able to make this happen for me. When I say we were dirt poor, I mean dirt. Section 8 housing, homeless shelters, WIC, food bank, seven people in a two bedroom apartment, moving every six months kind of poor. Our Christmases were provided by the churches and public donations and I remember a few occasions where I was told to go get a clean rock from the yard for stone soup. . . .