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While I specialize in Doctor Who fan art, I’m certainly not limited to it. I can paint anything you want within my aesthetic style.

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Simple Verses

While I’ve always considered myself an artist, I’ve always felt someone uncomfortable defining myself as a painter - I was a musician who painted or a writer who painted, but never just a painter. I’m not particularly good at drawing. I’ve never taken any painting classes and I never cared much for art history, though I love strolling through the galleries in La Jolla and other places.  Still, despite the obvious focus of this website, I still struggle to think of myself as a painter. I’m just a guy who puts colors on a canvas for two reasons: I want to decorate my walls and I want to see what will come of it. This blog entry, however, will explore my musical identity.

As with painting, I’m a self-taught musician. I’ve never taken a class. I started playing guitar when I got an electric guitar for my 15th birthday. At the time, I was obsessed, as I tend to do, with The Beatles. I wanted to be John Lennon and I wanted to play music that created magical moments of melodic chaos, as seen in their Shea Stadium performances. Throughout high school, I played guitar and sang in several rock bands but did nothing significant with it.

Eventually, during my senior year in 1999, my obsession turned to punk rock. The local punk scene in Utah county was thriving. It seemed like there was shows every night, whether at a house party or at a venue. Each show I went to filled me with such energy as I have not since found again. It didn’t matter if the there was five people in the audience or 500. When I was eighteen, I picked up a bass guitar and faked my way into a punk band called Special Guest. I’d never played bass before, but it was the easiest way to find a band. Every music scene everywhere is flooded with guitarists. Everyone wants to be Jimi Hendrix. That same year, I bought a drum set for the same reason. I wanted to play in a band. It didn’t matter what I played. So by the time I was 19, I could play the guitar, bass, and drums well-enough to make appear as though I knew what I was doing.

Throughout my 20’s, I played in many punk bands. Sometimes I’d just fill in for a few shows. Sometimes the band was just a side project with some friends. But nevertheless, music was the ambition of my young adult life. During these years, I opened for nearly every punk band touring through Utah. I played to crowds that numbered in the thousands and I played to crowds that numbered in the single digits. The bands I played in toured around the western states and played the Warped Tour one summer.

In the Utah county punk scene, I was known by several nicknames - The Maverick, The Mav, Irish Thunder, Cougar. Also, since I was always a bit insecure about my musical abilities, being that I never took lessons, I compensated by putting on one of the most energetic performances you’ll ever see. My mantra was ‘always keep moving.’ I wanted to be visually entertaining. I jumped off shit. I spun like a madman and would spin my guitar around my body. Eventually, that was my reputation - the wild man on stage. My show was so energetic that I even tore my ACL during one show. I continued to play the rest of the show hopping on my good leg.

Eventually, my musical tastes shifted from punk to metal. And more specifically - melodic death metal. I was obsessed with In Flames, Soilwork, myGrain, Disarmonia Mundi, Protest the Hero, and other more aggressive metal. I started getting bored of punk rock and wanted to play more complicated arrangements, as tends to happen. This seems to be a natural progression for most punk rockers I’ve met. Also, I got married when I was 27 and became a stepfather to three kids. This put to bed all my musical ambitions and turned me towards completing my education. Still, despite the cold shower put on my musical ambitions, the desire to write and record music has never died down. I still continued to write music even though I had stopped playing in bands.

When I got divorced at 28, I decided to pursue my graduate degree in creative writing. And even then, my desire to write music only grew. In many ways, the desire to create music is stronger now than it ever was. The difference is that I no longer step on stage. I recorded five albums with three bands during those ambitious years, but I’ve also recorded five solo albums since then.

My current album is called ‘Simple Verses.’ The idea of this album was to create moody melodies that emphasized simple, but poignant lyrics. All the songs were recorded either in my apartment or my car (mostly vocals…as singing aggressively and screaming is awkward in an apartment complex). The album has elements of indie rock, punk rock, and metal.

Here are the tracks so far, and some others that I’ve uploaded to Soundcloud. Feel free to download, share, and follow.

Color of Your Hold
This Isn’t Me
Winter Me
Dead Kings (Oh Well)
Beautiful Disease
Sad Gas Mask
Caught in the Hourglass
Died in My Sleep
The Ship is Sailing Away (I am Icarus, circa 2010)
Pulling the Pin (I am Icarus, circa 2010)
Lost in a Hole (Portraits of the Young Man as an Artist, circa 2013)

Several of the songs here are older and belong to my ‘Portraits of the Young Man as an Artist’ album or my ‘I am Icarus’ album. But I included them because they are some of my favorites (The Ship is Sailing Away, Pulling the Pin, Lost in a Hole).

Beautiful Disease was a collaboration with a friend who currently resides in Portland. We were testing out an online recording program Ohm Studio to see if we could effectively write and record music together despite living hundreds of miles apart. This was the result of several weeks of back and forth.

Or whatever. I don’t care.