The Influence of The Other Half : A First Meeting
The year was 1970 and we had just moved into a new neighborhood. I remember my father
walking in the house and enthusiastically declaring: "They have a band across the street!" Being nine years of age, a "band" to me,
for some reason, implied tubas, trombones, a snare drum, and more horns - almost a marching band type of configuration. Much talk
about the band continued for weeks around our house until one day, my father decided to take me across the street to hear the music.
The band was "The Other Half" and "across the street" meant Steve's house. As we walked in, Steve, George, Fred, and Greg were rehearsing
a song. Not having heard live music like this before, I was instantly transfixed. I believe that the meeting initiated a profound
interest in music that I carry to this day.
As if it were yesterday, I remember the band playing "All I Have to Do is Dream," an Everly
Brothers song. The song was being played repeatedly, which was another aspect that I found both unusual and intriguing. The musicians
were in the process of recording the song on a two-track, reel-to-reel tape recorder that was sitting in the middle of the floor.
The reels turned as the band played. The rehearsal had been my first exposure to real, live music, and undoubtedly, a most profound
and influential experience.
I Would Really Like to Play: I am Humbled for the Opportunity
Over the next year or so, I had heard the
band play a number of times, which drew me in further. I had wondered what it might be like to play music like that, but at nine years
of age, that would be a goal out of reach. I had already been playing piano in grade school. I played at a few recitals and in the
school talent show. Fast-forwarding a few years, I had the good fortune to run into Steve and George again. While having nothing to
do with the music, their support and friendship to our family had been immeasurable over the interval. I am proud that those most
valued friendships endure to this day.
Its all a blur now, but one day, the question was asked if I would be interested in "jamming
with the band." "What an incredible honor" is all that I could think. Almost a decade had elapsed between hearing The Other Half"
for the first time and having the opportunity to possibly be a part. On the rare occasions when we have the chance to rehearse together
in current days, I still think of what an honor it was then - and what an honor it is now to be doing this.
From age nine to
present, music continues to be a major aspect of my existence. I believe that I owe this to the influences of: my father, a fan of
music, whose apparent enthusiasm for "The Other Half" led to the idea to take me over to hear them, my mother, who continually played
music in the house and played it LOUD, and to the music and friendships of "The Other Half." I guess that the moral of the story is
that you never know the kind of positive, perhaps even life-changing influence that you can have on others. Music has made my life
better. I am grateful to those who had that kind of influence on me.
A Closing Thought
In the Summer of 2006, for the first and only
time, I had the opportunity to play with the entire band: Steve, George, Fred, and Greg, along with Craig, who joined the band about
the same time as I. It had been 37 years from the time I met the band, until the time I was finally able to play. Thank you.
Also, the earlier material of many harder-edged and innovative bands such as Deep Purple, Styx, REO, Rush, Queen, Meat Loaf, The Tubes, Starcastle, FM, Yngwie Malmsteen, Al DiMeola, and dozens of others.
A Few Other Favorite Bands and Artists Over the Years: