Music is a lifelong passion of mine.
I learned to play keyboards as a kid, then later taught myself guitar and bass.
While I enjoy listening to a wide variety of different music styles, from classical to jazz fusion all the way to extreme death metal, I am particularly passionate about modern progressive rock in its various incarnations.
Some of my favorite artists in that genre include:
- Spock’s Beard - one of the top acts in the genre today, I became a huge fan since I first saw them live. I have also become the official online manager for their keyboardist, Ryo Okumoto, and I help manage his online presence and social accounts.
- Neal Morse was the founding member of Spock’s Beard, and left to pursue a solo career focused on Christian prog. An incredibly prolific artist and definitely one of the founding fathers of Modern Prog.
- Dream Theater, the gold standard for metal-infused musicianship. John Petrucci is one of my favorite guitarists and I play his signature MusicMan guitar.
- Opeth, a Swedish death-metal band that evolved into one of the most innovative prog bands today.
- Steven Wilson, along with Porcupine Tree, is one of the flag-bearers of modern progressive rock.
- The Flower Kings, another very prolific Swedish progressive rock band. Roine Stolt is another pillar of modern prog.
- Pain of Salvation, yet another very eclectic progressive rock/metal band from Sweden. Daniel Gildenlow is a genius.
- Transatlantic, a prog supergroup started by members from Spock’s Beard, Dream Theater, the Flower Kings and Marillion. A big gateway drug for me when I started exploring the genre.
- Mike Keneally, an all-around musical genius and Frank Zappa alumnus who is a fixture of the LA prog scene. I try to catch as many of his live shows as I can.
- Heliopolis, a brilliant new prog band on the LA scene (and cool friends to boot).
- … and so much more.
On the more popular side, these bands are considered foundational to progressive rock and really helped shape my taste in music:
- Queen, my first love with rock music. Bohemian Rhapsody is still my favorite song to this day.
- Pink Floyd, the kings of psychedelic prog.
- Rush, on the harder side of prog.
- Yes, who with Genesis and King Crimson defined the early days of prog in the 70s.
I go to a lot of live shows, and living in Los Angeles we are very fortunate to have access to regular performances by some of the top musicians in the world. I can honestly say that I go out to see more live concerts than movies in theaters.
I can be spotted very often at gigs of my favorite artists around town, and I am a regular at the Baked Potato club in Studio City. So much great music happening all the time there, this place almost feels like a second home to me.
CalProg is a great organization putting up consistently awesome prog shows in Southern California. I am proud to have been a regular patron since its inception back in 2003, although they have since stopped putting together their annual festival.
My first musical instrument was the keyboard, for which I had lessons as a kid after showing an early interest. I even started writing my own music as a child.
These days, my favorite instrument is the electric guitar. I bought my first Ibanez RG at the Guitar Center store in Hollywood in 2001 and am completely self-taught.
I later expanded to other stringed instruments and can be occasionally spotted playing electric bass with the Peninsula Symphonic Winds in Palos Verdes, where my wife also performs on French horn.
I have also started learning to play the drums in the summer of 2017. I have been posting a few videos of my progress on my YouTube channel.
I am otherwise not currently part of any band or studio project, though I have been known to occasionally write and record music in my home studio.
For a recent performance of my guitar playing, here is a video of myself performing the classic “Johnny B. Goode” at my wedding in July 2014.
Through my new company Catloaf Productions, I have had the privilege to help some of my favorite musicians with their online presence, social media, marketing and other business needs. Most notable mentions are Ryo Okumoto from my favorite band Spock’s Beard and ProgJect, a prog supergroup he recently joined. It is truly a labor of love for me!