I first realized I wanted to play music when the Beatles came out in ’63-’64. I grew up listening to country western because my parents were diehard fans. I got my first drum set in ’66 and the great local drummer, Mike Reeder, became my drum teacher.
I played my first gig in ’68 in Edgerton, Mo., with Sandy Smith and the Ozark Mountain Ridgerunners. My next band, the Rick Burmett Band, was my first paying gig in ’70, while in college at Maryville, Mo. Around then, I decided to play guitar and bought a $20 nylon-string acoustic. My dad was a mandolin player, so when he passed away, I played his mandolin, after turning it around, because I’m left-handed like my hero, Paul McCartney.
I played locally with Norman Martin and Hal Stark. I traded my drum set for Stark’s Fender Bassman amp and right-handed bass. After many hours of practice, I started playing bass with some more local legends … Bill McCullough, Ron Langham, Rick Duncan, Jim Stockdell, Joe McAtee, John Rolando, and John Odell.
I joined up with my first real local band, Salt River Canyon Band, in ’75-’79, and we were the house band at The Coonhunt Room in The Oaks for a solid year. Our main competition was next door at The Touch of Blue Room in the Royal Hotel — Bill McCullough’s Band.
I played mostly at my shop/garage from 1980-2000. A group of friends joined up, including Monte Railey on harp and vocals, Jim Stockdell on drums, Tom Wielar on guitar and vocals, and Jan Owens with vocals.
We were The Out in the Shop Band and had a lot of fun, but never played anywhere except at private parties. Since then I met up with drummer Ron Owens, lead guitar Jim Davisson, and guitarist Bob Moore, and with Jan Owens contributing vocals, we formed Copper Creek Band. We have a classic-rock format, but can play folk, country, blues and a variety of songs that a lot of bands don’t touch, due to complexity. I recently picked up the banjo and hope to add it to some of our songs down the road.