My humble beginnings began at St. Anthony's Catholic Grade School in St. Cloud, Minnesota. I began piano lessons at age 8, after convincing mom and dad to buy a piano after I heard a 78 rpm record of the Mendelssohn violin concerto. I took lessons from a nun, Sister Elvin, who was very strict, for a few years, followed by Sister Elizabeth, until the end of 8th grade. She discovered I had perfect pitch at one of my lessons. I had also started violin lessons at age 9 from Mr. Mueller, so when I started at Cathedral High School in 1970, I began at 4th chair 1st violin under the direction of Mr. James Strang, and became concertmaster by the beginning of my junior year.
I began playing in the Minnesota Youth Symphony then under the direction of Ralph Winkler, and in the summer before senior year in 1973, MYS went on a 3 week tour of Romania. Not taking piano lessons anymore, I kept up practicing the piano during my free time in high school, played the organ at church, and bought a Fender Rhodes piano and a Hammond M3 organ, plus a Harmony guitar, a Vox Royal Guardsman amp, a Voxton Les Paul copy electric guitar, and a Framus bass guitar.
I played in two bands during high school, Glass Condor (60's and 70's rock and country), and Wild Ivy (a seven piece horn band specializing in the music of Chicago, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Cold Blood, and Tower of Power, but also tributes to Jeff Beck, Van Morisson, Boz Scaggs, and Loggins & Messina). Glass Condor (3 piece guitar, bass, and drums--I played bass) played many gigs at area bars and schools beginning when I was about 15. Members were Bob Will (drums) and David McAlister (guitar & vocals), and myself (bass & vocals). Wild Ivy was a conceptual band, formed of 7 of the best musicians from all 3 high schools in town. We got together for practice every day after school. We had about a dozen or so gigs before our breakup 3 months after graduation, but we had a rare, highly energized sound that was truely ahead of its time. And there is a live recording that survived that was remastered to CD during the 1990s. These guys are still my best friends, and they have all gone into a career in music in one form or another. They are: Bill Kloss (drums), Scott Wenner (guitar & vocals), Glen Johnson (bass & vocals), myself (keyboards & vocals), Al Asmus (saxophone & flute), Peter Schaubach (trombone), and Dan Rassier (trumpet).
After graduating from Cathedral High School in 1974, I moved to Minneapolis with Bill Bigley, a guitar player from Sauk Rapids. We started a progressive rock band called Ornge doing heavy rock classics such as Jethro Tull, Edgar Winter, Yes, ELP, Elton John, ELO, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Steely Dan, and Joe Walsh. A year later, we revamped into a band called Glider, and continued the progressive rock tradition in the Minneapolis music scene for another year until I decided to move back to St. Cloud. Band members in Ornge were Bill Bigley (guitar), Jay Graf (guitar), Chad Thompson (bass & flute), Dan Patch (drums), Jim Latourneau (vocals), and myself (keyboards). Band members in Glider were Bill Bigley (guitar), Jay Graf (guitar), Reid Schilleman (vocals), Jack Lamonde (bass), and Dan Davis (drums), and myself (keyboards).
After getting settled in St. Cloud, I began my college career at St. Cloud State University in 1977. I soon became a music major at SCSU, taking piano lessons from Dr. Carmen Wilhite and Dr. Charles Echols, and violin lessons from Dr. James Johnson. I took music theory, music history, conducting, arranging, and played in the college orchestra and jazz band. I also studied pedagogy of winds and brass, and took lessons on cello and bass. I played in various bands such as Living Color, On Tap, Wichita, and The Sound Production with various musicians as Scott Shardin, Steve Burt, Mark Bragelman, Lisa Davis, Dan Ploof, Dan Preston, John Wayne, and Sandy Babick. I played violin in the St. Cloud Civic Orchestra, and in 1981, I composed music for the theater production of "The Good Woman of Setzuan," a play by Bertold Brecht at SCSU.
The Sound Production became The Cloudy Towne Strutters in 1978, and we became probably the best band in the area. The band consisted of Walt Moorhouse and Becky Lentner on lead vocals, Scott Shardin on guitar, Bill Becker as bassist and engineer, Mike Smith on drums, and myself on keyboards. A year later, Bill Becker was replaced by Steve Burt (BJ) on bass. We practiced at Sound Production Studio in East St. Cloud, which later became Four Winds Music (Ev Zenzen). We cut a 45 rpm record of "You can Make it if you Try" by Sly and the Family Stone, and "Put your Hands Together" by Cool and the Gang. The studio became Reel People Studio (on Roosevelt Road) in St. Cloud, with Walt Moorhouse as president and Mick Mctee, engineer. Mike left to play with Madgic, a band creation of Mick Mctee in 1980. Steve Hilla and Joe Garbareck replaced BJ and Scott on bass and guitar, respectively. Randy Venaff replaced Steve on bass, and Steve took over on guitar. Then Becky left, and Walt and I added 3 horn players, making a 8 piece horn band that lasted 5 months doing great 70's music including J. Geils, Bruce Springstein, Stevie Winwood, and Chicago. The lineup was Walt (lead vocals), Paul Diethelm, (guitar), Mike Zelany (bass), Mike Smith (drums), myself (keyboards), Charlie Schneweiss (trumpet), Jeff Wood (trombone), and Randy Benson (saxophone).
Then Walt and I started over again with new musicians Joe Cruz, Ed Melchoir, Marie Hubbard, and Jeff Dunn, and went on the road playing full time (6 nights a week) across Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana for 6 months. We were recorded on various occasions, and played music by artists such as Billy Joel, Robert Palmer, Journey, Loverboy, Doobie Brothers, Pat Benatar, Heart, The Cars, Gary Newman, Cheap Trick, Phil Collins, Eddie Rabbit, and Bob Seger. We always brought the house down, and in those days, the clubs were always busy.
In May of 1983, I finally graduated with my B.A. in Music, Walt and I decided to go part time, and I became employed as a cab driver, which I would be for the next 10 years. In May of 1985, the Cloudy Towne Strutters broke up temporarily due to financial pressures, and I joined a country band named "Beat's Working" with Scott Maleska and Doug Dwinell. After 3 months, Scott and I left the group and started an 80's rock group called NRG. In November 1985, NRG teamed up with Walt, and began the next phase of the Cloudy Towne Strutters with Walt (lead vocals), Scott Maleska (saxophone), John Kipka (drums), Mike Zablaski (bass), Kris Crandall (guitar), and myself (keyboards).
In the spring of 1985, I started college again taking pre-business courses, and in the fall, I took a music composition class, while working part time in a warehouse, cabbing, and gigging. In the fall of 1986, I took a full time night job in a food distribution warehouse, and stayed there a year, still gigging. In 1988, John, Mike, Kris, and I got married. Then I went back to college full time, studying accounting, still gigging and cab driving. In February 1992, I graduated with a B.S. in Accounting from SCSU, and The Cloudy Towne Strutters broke up for better or worse that year.
In the fall of 1992, I began playing piano and organ at the Church of St. Paul in St. Cloud, and in the fall of 1993, I met up with guitarist Larry Anderson and drummer Bud Danzl, and we started the band One Nite Stand. I played keyboards, the bass parts with my left hand, and organ & piano with my right. All 3 of us did the lead and background vocals. For 16 years, we played an average of 100 nights a year in taverns and clubs around Minnesota. Bud left in 1999 after 7 years with the band. Also, around 1994 and 1995. I began writing songs in my home studio and released a CD of original music called "Shades of Blue" in 1988. Doing it right, I had them copyrighted, 3 of them were demoed, and 1 of them won 5th place in a national songwriting contest. My best friend, Ron Thienes (who has since passed away), played bass guitar on several tracks, offering moral support and encouragement. Larry and I also created several songs spontaneously at live gigs and we recorded them live at those gigs, and we also put those on a CD called "One Nite Stand" in 1998.
After Bud left, we had the fortune (or misfortune) of playing with a lot of different drummers, most importantly Mike Ranck, Stu Johnson, Al Stumpf, Jim Voigt, Steve Short, and Tim Chandler, and 3 other short lived drummers. With
Bud, we played 60's, 70's, a little 80's, and lots of country. Beginning with Jim, Steve, and Tim, we no longer played the country portion of our songlist, and focused specifically on classic rock. I also began work on a Masters degree in music and business in September 1998 and graduated in December 2003 from SCSU with a M.A. in Special Studies entitled "Business in Music." I have since had employment in substitute teaching, tax preparation, grocery store work, and most recently, commercial cleaning. Tim Chandler took over in the position of drums and vocals in 2009.
March 19, 2010
One Nite Stand played their last gig on December 17, 2011 at the Blue Line in Sartell. My wife and I separated on January 15, 2010, and divorced on March 5, 2012. On November 16, 2012, I got a call from Walter, the lead singer from the Cloudy Town Strutters, to say he found a band needing a keyboard player. I packed up my keyboard and headed out for Eden Valley the following Sunday, November 18, 2012, for a practice/audition. We all got along great and it sounded pretty good. We started practicing every week, and did our first job on New Years Eve of 2012. We started playing regularly after that. If we were not playing, we were practicing every weekend. We're called the Valley Garage Boyz, because most of the guys were from Eden Valley, and we practiced in a garage. We started as a 4 piece band plus a soundman to make it 5. About a year ago, we enlisted the help of a new drummer, but the original drummer still contributed to the band on rhythm guitar, as well as lead vocals. The guitarist and bass guitarist also sang lead vocals. We consisted of "Doc" on guitar and lead vocals, Dave Breeze on bass guitar and lead vocals, Scotty Brossard (Chico) on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Chad on drums, myself on keyboards and background vocals, and Kenny Schriefels on sound and harmonica. We played our last gig on July 9, 2016.
July 12, 2016
Well now it's almost the end of 2020, the year of the pandemic, although we're not through it yet. This year I jammed with some guys for a couple months during the summer, but the band broke up before we could make it happen. Stay tuned for new developments. In the meantime, enjoy the songs I have for you here on this website. Happy New Year!!
December 31, 2020
POST COVID UPDATE April 17, 2022
How can someone who has not finished college write good music? I ask myself that once in a while. A lot of songwriters just know how to write good songs, and it comes very natural. And a lot of them just have a guitar and sing to it. They have clever lyrics and a catchy guitar. Some people never try to write, but they can play someone else's music, otherwise known as cover music or a cover band. Or tribute bands are very successful. I wrote my first CD using MIDI keyboards, a vocal mike, and a four track cassette recorder with the goal of writing a hit song. Hit songs though become hits because of where you live or because of the breaks you get, but they have to be good songs in the first place. Some people write lots of songs and make lots of CDs, and none of them are hits, except for the people that come to hear them play. The music industry is full of people that play venues that are much smaller and manage to support themselves, traveling to different places to keep food on the table, but their songs are never top 40 hits. Some people play cover songs of the big stars that people love to hear. It takes a lot of equipment. Other people use very minimal equipment. This is a lot easier than setting up and tearing down if you don't have roadies. How do you get to the gig? Do you drive a car or a bus or even fly? How big is the band? How big is the audience?
So here I am. I played music as a kid and in high school and in college and in professional bands. Did I mention that we sold a lot of liquor? I also played in churches and in symphony orchestras. I play piano, organ, and violin. Not a lot of fiddling and I am not much of a concert pianist. But I play electronic keyboards such as electric keyboards and synthesizers. I have synthesizer modules and sequencers and a drum machine, and they don't lend themselves to live gigs. I would much rather play a piano or an organ. I have a lot of musician friends, but they have gigs, and naturally they are out for themselves. This is what happens when you get old, and you have make a living doing something else. So that is why I am not playing anymore.
April 17, 2022