BIO (cont'd.)

So I bought my first harmonica. It was a Marine Band model 1896, like the ones I still play.

I was real shy about anyone hearing my first efforts, so I went out to my parent's car to practice and I learned my first tune, "Mary Had a Little Lamb". I think it took me about four hours to get it right.

The first harmonica player I really listened to and tried to imitate was Paul Butterfeild. I owe a lot of my sound to Paul (May he Rest In Peace).

The first harmonica album I ever bought was Little Walter's "Boss Blues Harmonica" double Album which contains about half of the tracks he ever recorded under his own name.

The first time I ever played through an amplifier, was when I stopped by my uncle's church in Manitoba, (he was the minister) and checked out this funky old amp I found sitting there gathering dust. I asked him if he had a mike and he found one for me. It was one of those gigantic Shure Bros. models, all chrome and grill, the Shure Super 55. The sound that came out of this rig was ENOURMOUS and it totally blew my mind!

I was hooked on amplified harmonica from that point on. I later bought that amp, a 1953 Gibson Les Paul GA-30 and I still have it. I got my first chance to actually play amplified with a band about a year later. It was a dance at theis funky little hall in Burnaby BC. By then I was ready to jam. I remember the exhilaration of knowing the harmonica well enough to make up all kindsa stuff as I went along.

Soon after, I formed my first band "The Union Street AllStars" in 1979. We mainly played at a local strip club, behind the dancers. The totally nude exotic dancers could be a little distracting at times, to say the least. We played mainly "White Boy Blues", The Rolling Stones, John Mayall, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, etc.

During this time I also played a lot on "Skid Row" the term for the 100 block of Hastings Street in Vancouver. In fact, this is where I really developed the foundation for my improvisational style, playing with the Blues, Rock and Country bands in places like "Fort Boogie", "The Kit Kat Club", "The Smilin' Buddah", "Frank's Caberet" and other dark and seamy places. The bands who played these places were pretty bored playin in these places five nights a week and always seemed glad to let me sit in.

I was also beginning to play occasionally with one of the bands that was big in Vancouver during the 60's and 70's, "The Seeds of Time".







Toby, John DeConqueroo's cat, as a youngster

Toby gettin' ready to do his own web page...



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