Big R's Biography

First of all, thanks for visiting my site! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have researching, building and maintaining it since 1998. What started out at age 11 as a big hassle playing sub-par instruments that shredded my fingers to taking lessons from geriatric instructors who didn't share my rock-and-roll musical visions eventually turned into a very fun and rewarding lifelong hobby and career for me.

I was born back in the late 60's. One of my earliest memories was of our neighbors cranking the Doors and Jimi Hendrix at all hours when I was only four years old. I loved the songs so much that seemed music was going to be in my future one way or another . . .

One could say my music career began when I started singing in church at age five. My mom always said I had a good voice, and I worked on my singing skills throughout my childhood years by singing in the various choirs at school. Over time it definitely helped develop my voice and ears.

I started playing the guitar in 1979. My mother kind of "forced" me into it, but I will be forever thankful. The first guitar I had, we bought from the neighbor across the street. It was an old Regal acoustic, and my dad paid $10 for it. It was basically a piece of crap (no truss rod caused some interesting neck twisting), but, hey, it was my baby.

From there, I owned a couple of acoustics and finally graduated to my first electric guitar, a Hondo Les Paul copy in 1981. That axe did everything but stay in tune. Oh it was bloody awful. Owning that guitar turned out to be a valuable lesson in patience.

Throughout high school I was able to play in a rock band with my neighborhood friends and write and record original music. We were very fortunate to have access to a studio. There I learned many aspects about the recording and mixing/editing/mix-down process. I have used these skills many, many times since.

After high-school I attended the University of Northern Colorado. I had a great time and met a lot of AWESOME musicians. Wound up playing with a diverse selection of folks, doing some recording and playing a lot of gigs.

Really changed it up in 1990 and joined the Army. Over the next few years, I took my musical experience to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Ended up playing gigs in many different countries. At some points we were playing six-nights a week. If you're interested in some photos from that era, click here for Gig Photos

During my Army tours, I always made time to continue my passion of collecting, buying, selling and trading vintage amps and effects. I love guitars too, but consider them more of a utility item, rather than a collector item. Once I find one that really resonates with me, I tend to hang on to it. All of my vintage ones still get played quite a bit.

Once the Army stint was over, there was a slew of bands, jams, hired gun, studio work, local gigs and some touring from the late 90s into the early 2020s from Texas to California to Maryland. Robbie G. and the Texas Roadkill, Emergency Blues Band, SA Blue Cats, Feral Cats, Catherine Denise, South Texas Destroyers, Chris Bell, Billy Kiesel, Primal Vinyl and All Fired Up just to name a few.

Yes, I am still playing music. Some years have been more active than others. No matter how I try and "retire" from the game after 40+ years, well, I guess I'm still in it. I love doing it and having fun meeting new folks at gigs and jamming with other musicians. Yes, I still collect gear, but I'm not as active as I once was. Occasionally I find something cool that I will buy, but mainly it is buying gear for a specific purpose i.e. a pedal board for a new band or upgrading the PA system.

I hope you enjoy the items and pages presented here. This site is updated on occasion, so feel free to check back once and a while.

Other special thanks to:

Mom: If it wasn't for you believing in me, I would never have experienced the joys of the guitar. Only Mom would forgive the Bassman 135 and the china cabinet. UHHH...oops!

Dad: Had the talent for tinkering and repairing everything! He did not trust ANY repair man within 500 miles. His curiosity and talent rubbed off on me in a big way. I can now rebuild my amps and fix my own gear, the right way. THANKS DAD!

Without the following friends and fellow musicians, I wouldn't be half the player I am today. THANK YOU!

Kyle and Jay Dedrick, Tony and Jim Wilk, Jeff Pitts, Alan Feldman, Ted Overall, Pat Loehr, Danny Dumm, Dave Iannone, Jan Mandryk, Russ Chesebro, "Austin" Jim Ford, Dave Daubermann, Doug Dub, Rich Craig, Clint, Alison Raven, Chris Pate, Danielle Muskatell, Dave Gillespie, Xavier "Bonz" Polk, Rick Salcedo, Leigh Koltun, BOO 2, Robbie G, Ted Soret, Mike Pintagro, Cletus, Phil Ortega, Zoey Karabin, Doug Caldwell, Lee Hall, Ken Norton, Urban Urbano, Mike Davis, George Briscoe, Mark Stewart, John Cockerell, Michael Clark at Clark Amplification, Chris Forshage at Forshage Custom Instruments, Jon Bessent at Tonecraft Amp Repair, and Jason Rinn and Richard Diaz-DeLeon at Spacetone Music.

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