cold as it is in these here parts in late January. My musical career began when I was ten years old. I played
in my school’s band and orchestra for eight years. My parents bought me a bass for my sixteenth birthday,
and my career as a rock star began. I don’t remember what kind it was, just that it was red. At seventeen, I
joined my first band. It was called Rhombus. We played some dates, made a tape (tape?) and that was
about it. Years later, I found a copy of it in a local record shop. I’m still waiting for royalties.
In 1991, I joined Schrodinger’s Cat, a three piece power trio/ prog rock band with virtually the same story.
For the next four years, I played with several forgettable bands. I say that only because I really have
forgotten their names. It wasn’t until 1995 that I started working on some productive projects. I answered
a handwritten ad from a guitar player named Steve Fleck. He cited Marillion as a big influence, and as the
only other person in New York who had heard of them, I had to reply. We made three CD’s together- one in
1995 with Parallax and two with Big Wedge form 2000 to 2003. Big Wedge’s ‘Minutiae’ was distributed
nationally, but had very little success outside of NY. Critics liked it though. I still have a box of them in my
basement. After the release of ‘Minutiae’, I was asked by Big Wedge guitarist Mike Jos to play for his band,
Doctor Son. So I toured New York City with them for a little over a year. That was a blast, but I put a lot of
miles on my car.
In 1995, I became part of a blues band called Coda Blues. We were pretty successful as a touring band, but
never made a recording. I played with them until 2000 and it vastly improved my skills. I learned how to
grooooove! Until then, most of what I played was influenced by progressive rock- lots of notes, times
changes and fifteen minute songs. I still love to play that stuff, but it’s pretty important for a bass player to
know how to be a bass player!
In 2000, I helped create Sleeping In Neon, another three piece band that unfortunately only lasted about a
year. Tension between members took its toll as it has in so many bands. I really thought this band would
have a long life. I’ve been tempted to see if we could get back together, if only to record, but the past is the
Two years later, I got an email from Chris Pellnat asking me to listen to some songs he’d written. We got
together, called ourselves Idiot Splendour (Chris came up with the name, I suggested the English spelling),
and stared playing as a duo. We decided that we weren’t loud enough, so I asked Brad Pingel to join as our
drummer. I had worked with Brad on Parallax and Big Wedge projects, as well as consuming lots a beer
together, but had never played a live show with him. Marc Jackson joined shortly after. We were in
Sleeping In Neon and had long since settled any differences. Brad left in August 2005 and was replaced by
Ed Donohue, who has brought some great ideas to the band.
With the departure of Ed and Chris in 2009, the band seeks to reinvent itself again with new members
Martin Szinger and Bernie Schallehn as it rolls into its eighth and final year in 2010.
Currently, I'm working on a prog-ish recording project called Message From Vega with Albany's best guitarist
Steve Werthner, singer Joe Cavazos and Jim Kerr smashing electronic & acoustic drums.
In the past thirty years I’ve played rock, pop, blues, progressive, R&B, and acoustic music. My
biggest influences have been Geddy Lee, Tony Levin, John Paul Jones, Leland Sklar, Pete Trewavas and
Current non-musical projects include moving on. I've never done cocaine or heroin or been arrested. Yet. I
was born with spina bifida. I love camping in the winter because you don't have to worry about beer getting
warm. Or bears eating you. I don't like politics or 'political correctness'. I'm a big Enya fan. Ann Coulter is
either mentally challenged or simply an idiot. I can pronounce Eyjafjallajökull. I rarely listen to commercial
radio. I love pb&j sandwiches. And my kids. Many of my friends I've known for 30 years. We've lost our hair
together. I sang to my dog. My ex-wife is a cunt. If you can see through it, it's not beer. I don't know (or
care to know) much about computers. Running this site is as much work as I need to do on one. I realised
earlier this year that there is nothing better than sitting around a campfire with close friends and getting
really drunk. Except kids. I'll never vote Republican. I use a drop-D tuning exclusively
Other useless information includes:
favorite CD: 'Brave' (Marillion), 'Passion' (Peter Gabriel)
favorite food: anything with meat in it, preferably deep fried
favorite color: black (it goes with everything)
favorite movies: Apocalypse Now, This is Spinal Tap, Life of Brian, Blazing Saddles, Broadcast News, The
Fountain, anything by Werner Herzog
favorite actors: Bruce Campbell, James Cromwell, Hugo Weaving
'My only mistake was having Ellen drive me - because I drank too much beer,
which probably negatively affected my playing.'- Chris Pellnat
'Enjoy every sandwich'- Warren Zevon
'Jazz is weird'- Alex Lifeson
'There are no wrong notes, only new parts'- Geddy Lee
'I still have a valid teaching license. But if parents see me with a kid, they'll want to call 911.'- Ron Jeremy
'Coldplay sucks.'- Kevin Distel
'It seems like he's inside your mind with you. When he knows you're not going to swing, he throws a straight
one. He sees into the future. It's like he has a crystal ball hidden inside his glove.'- Wade Boggs on pitcher
Parallax (1995): Prog rock at its most bombastic.
Coda Blues (1995-2000): A fairly successful blues band. We played over 150 gigs a year, sometimes more
than one a day.
Sleeping in Neon (2000-2001): Pop, rock and acoustic. A good band with far too short of a lifespan.
Big Wedge: 'Onset' (2001) A four song CD of pop, rock, funk and a touch of country.
'Minutiae' (2003) An even more diverse CD, this time exploring ska, progressive, instrumental and even
About Face (2002- 2003): Energetic pop/rock.
Idiot Splendour (2002- 2010): Quirky and diverse, covering folk, rock, progressive, acoustic and a little
punk for good measure.
Doctor Son (2004- 2005): Good, old fashioned rock & roll.
Jump Daddies (2010): swing, baby!
Message From Vega (2010 - present): prog/rock with three of Albany's finest musicians
1975 Fender Jazz (reissue) with EMG JV pickups, Badass II bridge, Hipshot D-Tuner (E-Tuner for me!)
Fretless Fender Jazz with EMG J pickups, Badass II bridge
Fender Geddy Lee Jazz bass
Genz Benz ML 200 watt 2x10 bass combo
Boss pedals- chorus, overdrive, octaver, digital delay, tempo pedal
Arion stage tuner
Behringer AB100 line selector
DBX 163X compressor
Samson AP1 wireless system
1 AMF bowling pin
1 human tooth
Size 9 Converse All-Star Chuck Taylors
Softcover copy of If Chins Could Kill-Confessions of a
B-Movie Actor by Bruce Campbell
Several Hawaiian shirts
Squishy foam earplugs
Rolaids (for the sausage)
|Chris with Tony Levin
photo by D. Appel
photo by J. McEntee
|Rilos with T-Lev