I was born in Chicago, IL on September 17th, 1985. I met music young, and I played in bands throughout my teenage era, but never (really) left home. I tried college for a bit before leaving to videotape and roadie for local pals and up-and-comers, The Academy Is…
Within a couple of months, we were hitting the road with Panic! at the Disco. The first night of the tour, Panic!’s guitarist Ryan Ross, was having issues with his effects pedal, and noticing the familiar frustration, I offered my help. Within a few hours we were talking about our favorite bands, movies, and food, and then we started playing guitars. The next few days, I spent my free time hanging out on the Panic! tourbus, getting to know the other guys and uncovering many similar interests. Within a few weeks they hinted that things weren’t working out with their current bass player, and within a few months I was on stage playing my first show with Panic! in front of 15,000 people at KROQ’s Weenie Roast. After that show, we spent two years touring relentlessly to promote their debut album.
After that, we took some time to work through ideas and creative kinks, finally finding solace in a collaborative effort. A few interesting months later, Pretty. Odd. was complete. Four formative years and a line-up change provided a relatively sharp contrast to Panic(!)’s first album, and though the record was met with critical praise, “underwhelming” sales in a declining music industry brought creative and personal conflicts to the forefront of ourover-worked and under-experienced band. Two world tours and a few short discussions later, we parted ways to follow our hearts.
Fellow bandmate/songwriter Ryan Ross also left Panic(!). We had a handful of songs we had been collaborating on, so we started a project called The Young Veins. We retreated to a California canyon to write, and in a few months we finished and recorded our album Take A Vacation. It was a few more long months until we found an independent record label to release it, and after a couple of tense tours and many disagreements, it became obvious that the creative and personal issues of the past had carried over to the new project. Rather abruptly, The Young Veins were officially “taking a vacation”.
It was winter, I was back home (at last), and I was confused and exhausted. Then I became inspired. I finished and demoed some songs I had been working on, and impatiently decided to self-release these Home Recordings. It felt good. I kept writing songs, played a couple of shows and soon had enough material for a full length album. A few months later, New Songs was recorded and self-released.
In the aftermath of those crazy years, my wife Cassie and I found ourselves in between living situations and wanting to get out of Chicago for the coming winter. We spent countless nights on the internet researching our options finally deciding that the jungle was our best bet. We sold most of our belongings, packed our suitcases, and with our dog and 2 cats, we moved to a small village in Costa Rica. We spent our days getting to know the planet and ourselves better. It was great.
Six months flew by, and we are back, currently staying near Chicago, working on our work and enjoying our time.
To be continued…