As much as I love my Hammonds, it’s songwriting that keeps me out of bed at night.
The club I’m in is not exclusive, but it’s small. Most singer/songwriters are guitar slingers, with the occasional piano player thrown in. I happen to push around a Hammond organ. That’s not by any grand design. Just dumb luck – the day my dad and I went to the music store near my boyhood home, they had a beat-up three-quarters dead Wurlitzer electric piano, and this organ with a Leslie speaker. We had a station wagon so we went home with the organ and the Leslie. Thanks, Dad.
And playing the Hammond has afforded me the obligatory “sideman credits” section of the bio, highlighting Grammy nominated artist Paramore, Deep Banana Blackout and the Pure/Desco (now Daptone) Records house band. But, to paraphrase myself and encapsulate: “Hammonds – awesome. Songwriting – awesomer.”
I’ve been making up things since I was 6. But I didn’t write a GOOD song until I was 23. In the year after my father died something changed and I found myself digging deep and the songs just started coming one after another. I’d finish one and think to myself, “I can’t wait to hear what the NEXT one is like!”
A writer needs an outlet. I front a rock trio called Bigger than a Breadbox, with my fellow ex-sidemen Jay Gogan (guitar) and Andy Sanesi (drums). It looks like we play the jazz, but no, we play the rock.
I’ve submitted two songs from our first album, “Is It?” And honestly, you don’t NEED a Hammond to play either of them. It don’t hurt though, does it?
I couldn’t write this in the third person I do enough of that with my 4-year-old…”Daddy’s going into the studio now. Here, watch some Wallace and Gromit.”