Nobody in my family was a musician, but I was drawn towards that path as long as I can remember. As a small child, I can remember being really drawn to Elvis. I was 3 when he died, but a couple of my slightly older female cousins were total Elvis freaks. Plus, he looked like the Fonz, only cooler. At some point around that time, I attended my first concert, with my mom and my two older sisters. Ernest Tubb and Loretta Lynn. So the country influence was always there. It was hard to avoid, growing up where I did, in the hills of southernmost West Virginia. I can recall playing and replaying 8-tracks by Merle and Buck during that stage. And, of course, Hee Haw was on every Saturday. But I wanted to rock. The first rock music I remember being obsessed with was surf music. I learned all the words to the Beach Boys’ hits around the same time I learned to read. I just realized I’ve ALWAYS been most fond of older music. It’s a rare “new release” that can move me like something that has stood the test of time. Happy Days also shaped my ear. The excitement of that early rock cut right through me. Rock Around the Clock, the Everlys, Fats... and always Elvis. Drums were my first instrument. I joined marching band in 7th grade, even though all my friends were playing football. I needed to learn how to play music. That was just a foot in the door, so to speak. I’d begged my parents for an electric guitar for years, but they didn’t think I’d stick with it. I guess a couple of years in band helped them realize how serious I was about it, so I got a cheap strat copy and even worse solid state amp for Christmas in 9th grade. It’s also around that time I became obsessed with my single greatest musical influence, The Rolling Stones. This is around the time they got back together for Steel Wheels. And they also released a documentary called “25x5: the Continuing Adventures of The Rolling Stones.” I had that on VHS, and I probably watched that a hundred times. I mean, I STUDIED that thing. It had lots of great performance clips, and they were the perfect archetype. I’ve got lots of other important influences, but this is the stuff that’s my foundation, to this day. The Stones, the early rockers, a little Beach Boys, a little classic country. That’s me in a nutshell.