This is my life
I was born on the 6th day of March 1957 to O. Gene and Marcia Smith in
Warren Ohio. Being the second child they had time to figure out the process of
child rearing so I felt safe. Growing up in our house was about one thing, SINGING
which was incorporated into everything, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not a day went
by that was not filled with my father singing or reciting poetry. The effects of hearing
all of this soon became obvious to our parents when they began to hear my sister and I
reciting poetry in the closet at night when we were supposed to be asleep.
At times my father purposely would make mistake while reciting poems that he had
been reciting for years only to be corrected by attentive children. We were being trained
and we didn’t even know it.
Not long after that my Grand Mother, Uncle( dads twin) Mom and Dad would be sing together.
Soon we were all singing together, going out as The Song Smiths we would sing
at churches, schools and other events throughout the state. It did not take long for me to
realize that I did not like to sing and I noticed that the only one who did not have to sing
was my uncle, because he played the bass. So I set out to learn the bass thinking that
would get me out of singing!!!
My uncle then introduced me to jazz, people like Count Basie, Oscar Peterson,
Zoot Sims which changed the way I listen to all music. Music became a delicate dance
which needed to be creatively simple, this took me 40 years to fully understand.
Over the years I would get to play with great musicians such as Leann Ledgerwood
Zack Economos, Ted Pantelas to name a few, all of which left a lasting impression on me.
One moment I will never forget, at age 17 I got to spend time with to Jaco Pastorius
who was my all time favorite bass player. He was working with Herbbie
Hancock in Cleveland and we were able to get back stage and spend time with
Jaco. When he found out I was the bass player it was as if there was no one else was in the
room (at least that’s how I felt ) and it was just him and I having a conversation.
I asked him what effects he used and he smiled and held up his hands
… and said “this is all you need”, and then he brought out his bass to demonstrate.
The next morning I was pounding out the frets on my 1972 P bass.
Fast forward to graduation, I thought my life was set and music was all I needed
but I found myself going to collage to appease my father’s wish that I have something
to fall back on, and fall I did!! I had to leave school after 1 year to have my
3rd knee surgery and then the bills came due. While recovering in up state
New York I started working for the Fisher Price company to pay the bills, and music
was no longer apart of my life! I moved back home to Ohio but by this time
disco and dj’s were taking over so there were not many opportunities for bands, it was
wedding and lounge gigs to appease my musical appetite for the next 10 yrs while
working for GE.
Now all through this time I continued to write songs but didn’t have an outlet,
so they just sat around not being sung. (what is a song not sung… nothing at all )
Seeing the inevitable closing of the GE plant I was working at I felt it was time to
give life to my passion. I started producing demo tapes and began the endless pursuit
of finding an artist or publisher looking for material, all the while being told by everyone
that I should be singing them myself. ( not what I wanted to hear ) from Nashville to La
the same story though my life did take a dramatic turn after the La trip, and that’s a
good thing. ( for more you can read my testimony )
Fast forward to age 62, 2 more instruments and a longing to get back to my first
love but trying to embrace the one instrument that was always there but not used,
my voice. So here we are, hope you enjoy…