I grew up in Seaside, California which is in the beautiful Monterey Bay, famous for its aquarium and wealthy neighbors Pebble Beach and Carmel. I’ve always been into music. I remember when the Simpson’s released a music CD featuring all the characters singing and of course Bart rapping. In elementary school, a small group of us would walk around the playground during recess rapping all the Bart songs. Growing up in Monterey County was classic Americana. A little bit like the movies The Goonies or E.T. extraterrestrial, minus the alien visitor of course. In middle school, after seeing the movie La Bamba, I told my friends at lunch time that I wanted to start a band. I quickly found out that Alex played drums and that Toby had a bass. It was perfect, I’ll play guitar! Once they figured out I didn’t know how to play any instrument, let alone the guitar, I was moved to bass. Monterey started to feel like a sleepy little town as I aged into my 20’s and I couldn’t wait to leave for San Francisco.
I arrived in San Francisco in 2003 to be a house music dj/promoter. I switched up my bookings as time went on to include different music genres. I even put on a comedy show once. I also began to play bass again and began to perform with several bands. I joined The Frail in 2010 who had a great local buzz and we really pushed the project. It seemed like we were so close to getting signed on the strength of our Lasers Over Lovers EP, which was loaded with strong singles. We were picking up endorsements, we recorded at the Converse Rubber Track Studios in NYC, we would discuss label interests with our manager, we were talking to record producers and booking agents. It was all very exciting. The band started to slowly drift in a different direction with the release of our Love Death Legend LP and I took that as my cue to exit. I threw in the towel. At its core, I was burnt out with the constant “check out our band, our video, our show…” and I walked away from music in Nov 2014. I deleted my Facebook, focused on my job and spent time with my son. I disappeared from the scene like someone who entered the witness protection program. A few years later though, I started playing bass with Fake Your Own Death who had a mellow attitude about playing live shows and recording new material. There was lots of down time as the members went on vacations with their families throughout the year. It was a great change of pace for me in the beginning but then a new problem arose, I wanted more. The words creative differences started to ring louder and louder. I really love those guys but I certainly came to a point when I thought to myself, “I’m just going to do this on my own.”
Once I went on my own. I figured that with all the connections I had made via playing shows and being a promoter, that I could focus on bass (the only instrument I really knew) and tap friends and colleagues to play guitar, keys, drums, sing, etc and I could handle the arrangements like an executive producer. I had spoken to some friends beforehand, putting out feelers to see if there was interest in such collaborations, and there was. Problem came when it was time to record, no one was there, crickets. I acknowledge that I did not do myself any favors by sending out rough demo’s that were really ideas. The Dream EP was kind of dead in the water. I was at a fork in the road. Do I hire studio musicians, whom I don’t know or have any kind of relationship with to finish my vision or just learn to play guitar and keyboards on the fly myself ? I decided I would teach myself and rough it out. I bought a $75 Epiphone Les Paul off craigslist, a $99 Casio keyboard and I got to work. As time went on, I got better and gained confidence as a songwriter, then help started to arrive. The Dream EP took a year and a half to release. A year later, it’s follow up the Rockn Roll Is A Feeling EP, the song ideas began to come faster. I was beginning to hear different instruments, notes, melodies I didn’t hear before and now the collaborations that I had hoped would have been there in the beginning are now coming from a wider pool of established and talented musicians.
It's been quite the journey so far and I look forward to keep at it, trying new things, reaching out to new artists/musicians and living my little rock n' roll dream.
Buy the ticket, take the ride.
Izzy The Gent