Story Behind The Artist

It was the early sixties and the Beatles had just landed in America and I was one of the many teenage boys influenced by the British invasion. I started taking guitar lessons and playing Rock and Roll in garage bands. I was playing in one of those bands at a party when I meet Marie. For the next four years we continued to date.

By the summer of 1968, I was trying to figure out just what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I had just graduated from high school and was still living at home. Marie and I were planning on getting married when she graduated in a couple of years.

That summer I was like most of the 18 year olds of the times. I grew my hair long which didn't sit well with my father, nor help in finding employment. It all came to a head that summer and I ended up living in my car. My looks and attitude also didn't sit well with Marie's stepfather, and I was not really welcome there either. With a lot of time on my hands I found myself hanging out on the streets. I met another girl named Connie, and before I knew it she was pregnant. I was faced with a real moral dilemma. I decided to break things off with Marie and to go live with Connie.

By the summer of 1969, I was living with a woman that I had known less than six months who was pregnant with my baby. As Connie would later come to remind me constantly, the first seven years were not good. As I look back now, I can see that my attitude was "You can make me stay here, but I don't have to like it." I was not what you would consider a thoughtful and caring mate. We decided not to get married, a decision that would continue for the next 23 years.



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I look back to that time now, I realize that even though I didn't make a decision about my future, it was made for me. Because I had chosen not to pick a direction for my life, life had decided what I was going to do for some time to come.

By 1974, I enrolled at San Bernardino Valley College to pursue a career in music. I dropped out after about a year and a half. Connie was not happy supporting me. I had joined a local group called Wherehouse, and we played in local nightclubs.

I held several day jobs in different fields and as most young people of the time, drugs and alcohol had become a part of my life.

Later that year I got a job as a studio engineer with a new company, Tel-Med, selling medical information audio messages the public could listen to over the telephone. I worked at this job during the day and played music in bars and nightclubs at night. This went on for the next eight years.

By 1982, at age 32, after playing with several different bands, and even starting my own group called "Rock Island", I decided that music was never going to pay the bills and I quit playing altogether.

My thinking was that if I put as much effort into my day job as I had into the music I should do all right. I turned my back on my music for what would be the next 10 years.

During my time as a studio engineer at Tel-Med, I enrolled and attended a private school for sound engineers in Los Angeles. The Recording Institute of America rented private studios all over the Los Angeles area to hold their classes. I attended class at Studio A at Capitol Records in Hollywood.

My judgment about applying myself at worked paid off and after a short time, I was promoted to Manager of Operations. I was responsible for the operation of the studio and tape duplication center. During the early eighties the business continued to grow and after several years, I was promoted to Vice-President. Tel-Med had annual gross sales of over one million dollars. At this point my responsibilities increased and I took over the day-to-day operations of the company and reported directly to the Executive Director.

In 1985, I decided to go back to school and enrolled at Valley College, taking a class in Basic Programming. Computers were installed for our work order/invoicing system at Tel-Med and I needed to learn more.

And then, the Internet appeared and instant access to medical information 24 hours a day and seven days a week created less need for our services. At the same time, the whole medical profession was undergoing a major change called managed care. The hospitals that used to pay for our systems could no long find funding. Sales started to slow down.

The company developed an automated system to compete with the Internet. This system did not require an attendant to answer the phone and was more cost effective than the manual systems. The system that we developed had many equipment failures and was constantly breaking down. Sales continued to decline. Profits declined even faster because now we had the increased expense of the warranty service that was being performed on the systems in the field.

The pressures on me were increasing and my personal life was not going very good either. Looking back now, from the time I quit playing music, I continually felt like there was something missing in my life and I thought that the more I worked the more that feeling would go away. But, it didn't! My drinking and drug use slowly increased in an effort to alleviate the pain. Of course this didn't help either.

By the time Tel-Med was sold to my boss, my addictions were out of control. I would still show up for work and do everything I was responsible for, but I was using more and more drugs to do it. Then at night I would drink to forget the pressures of the day. I would then repeat the process the next day. Not a good cycle to get into, but I was there.

In 1991, I was terminated from Tel-Med because I was the highest paid employee next to the owner. They felt that they could cut the budget and staff, and still continue to operate. Unfortunately, at the same time my personal life came apart. I had withdrawn my 401K from Tel-Med and received a good-sized check when I was terminated. This was going to keep me going while I started a new business that would compete with Tel-Med.

Within several months of my termination, Connie left her job on disability due to stress, which would later be denied. She was hospitalized twice for alcohol abuse and started to attend A.A. meetings. She moved out about 7 months after my termination and sued me for 1.2 million dollars for palimony, claiming that I had told her that I would take care of her for the rest of her life. I had to retain a lawyer for a sizable amount of money. I was in a downward spiral.

It was at this point that I realized that I had a problem and that I had better address or I would die! I started to read the materials from A.A. and sought counseling. Because of all of my problems and the time involved in getting healthy again, the new business failed.

Things were pretty dim at this point and it was then that the greatest gift I have ever received came to me. In a deep sleep I dreamt that Marie came to me and gave me a hug and then stepped back into the darkness. I woke up startled. It was one of those dreams that you can actually feel. I could feel her arms around me. I could feel her body pressing against mine. It was so real that when I woke up I looked for her. I thought about this for several days and I could not shake the feeling the dream had left me with. I thought about what I had done to her 23 years earlier. In the A. A. materials they have a concept called "Making Amends". It says in the step that you should make amends to anyone you have caused harm to whenever possible. I figured this would be a good place to start my program.

So I began to look for her. It had been 23 years since I last saw Marie. I looked in the phone book, thinking maybe she hadn't married and changed her name. There it was her last name with the same address as the house her family had lived in. It was her brother. I called. I was so scared I was shaking. I spoke to her sister-in-law. She said that they were not speaking to Marie but she could get a message to her through her mother. By eight o'clock the next morning the phone rang and it was Marie.

I was unemployed for almost a year and during that time I tried to find employment but discovered that even though I had a lot of management experience, I was competing with other candidates that had a degree. And then, as fate would have it, I got a call from an old client I knew at Tel-Med, that used our recording studio to do the narration for his fireworks programs. He was looking for a studio engineer and wanted to know if I knew anybody. I said that I did. Me!

I started at Pyro Spectaculars part-time and soon become a full-time employee. Pyro is a world-renowned fireworks company that produces fireworks shows all over the world for all types of events. Some of the shows we have done include Super Bowl halftimes, opening and closing ceremonies for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, movies like Sleepless in Seattle and Three Wishes and post game shows for the Angels, Dodgers, Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants, to name just a few. I have converted their studio from an analog to a digital studio, and we produce the soundtracks for large fireworks displays all over the world. For me it is the best of both worlds. I work with music and utilize a computer to do all of the editing and mix down.

When I started this job, I discovered what that empty feeling actually was that I had experienced for all those years. I missed the music! I now use all of the skills I learned from years of live performances; how to move and touch a crowd, how to tell a story with music. Now I can use all types of music, not just the music I had been trained in. You hear it from almost every performer interviewed; there is nothing like performing on stage, there is no drug that is better than that. When I go and see a show that I have produced the soundtrack for and I hear the crowd yell and scream, I get that same feeling.

In the summer of 1995, I decided to enroll at San Bernardino Valley College again. This time I majored in Computers and in 1999 I graduated with an Associate degree in Computer Science and I was able to finish the Associate of Arts I had started so many years ago. I continued to receive a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems from the University of Redlands.

That same year a friend introduced me to something he called Guided Imagery. I did my first weekend with Dr. Charles & Patti Leviton of Synergy Seminars. At the weekend, they used soothing music as a background for the imageries. For me, I found that the music really help set the stage for the experiences. I wondered if I was the only one that was moved by the selection of the music. I had been using music to tell a story at Pyro for years. Why couldn't it help to tell the story in imagery?

Over the next couple of years I went to several more weekends sponsored by Synergy Seminars and each time the music had a profound affect on me and consequently on my experiences during the weekends. I found Guided Imagery was a great tool for dealing with the stress of life and to help keep the cravings for drugs and alcohol at bay. It helped my sleeping problems and depression. I started to use what I was learning at the weekends in my daily life with positive results.

At one of these weekends during a break, I had a chance to talk with the Levitons about my experience with music and my emotional state. I have always found that my emotions were closely linked to the type or style of music I was listening to at the time. From this conversation, I found that my experience was not unique, but in fact is a universally understood phenomenon. For the next couple of years I spoke to other Guided Imagery Specialists and Vibrational Therapists about the different types of music and the associated emotions the body has to the music.

In 2003, I approached the Levitons about producing music specifically designed and recorded with the Guided Imagery experience in mind. I created my first three songs for them to listen to and they liked the way the songs provided different backgrounds to support different experiences. They shared two major problems they had with commercial music. First, often the music was not creating exactly what they wanted for a specific imagery experience, and second, the songs were too short for the total imagery and they had to change songs several times during the experience. For this reason I have created all of my songs to be at least 30 minutes in length. That way both the therapist and the client are not interrupted during the imagery.

I have been very blessed to be given the chance to work with such incredible and caring people as the Levitons. With their help, I have created 4 sets of music for Guided Imagery. I have finally returned to the music I love. And yes, Marie and I have been married for over 10 years and I have been clean and sober for over 13 years.

I have been certified as a Guided Imagery Therapist and I have finally found my passion, reclaiming my music.

I think that the most important thing I have learned from my experiences over all these years is that not often life gives us a second chance. So when and if it does come along, DON'T MISS IT!




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