My music career started back in the early 80s where I was raised in Bloomington, Minnesota. Some friends and I put on an after school show with other local bands at my high school, Lincoln High. The show was only somewhat a success but I was hooked and wanted to be a rock star ever since. After jamming with a variety of musicians from around Bloomington and even playing a few gigs including Mound High School lock-In and a big crazy college party at Mankato State University, my first original band was formed. Dave Wagner on bass guitar, David Paquette did the lead singing while playing the drums. I played the guitar and sang a couple songs plus background vocals. We called ourselves, Ancient Green and had a set of original songs written. We played a few parties and only had boombox recordings of our stuff. My personal music influences at that time were The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Aerosmith. But our songs didn’t sound anything like those bands. Shortly after, I introduced the guys to Louie Paretta. I saw Louie playing in a cover band at a party and I came up to him after to talk about music ideas. I had known who he was since childhood, as I had friends on his block growing up. As Louie and I talked, we both realized we had the same goals with song writing. The guys were skeptical at first but it worked and Louie was our lead singer, rhythm guitar player. We called ourselves, The Color Blue.
While still the early to mid 80s, The Color Blue rented a multitrack portastudio and we recorded and mixed our first demo tape ourselves. Louie and I brought our demo on cassette tape to KFAI radio and asked the DJs to play it. KFAI did call us and said they were going to play our song, “Save a Wonderful Dream” on air and man were we excited!! We had a gig booked at the Union Bar, Minneapolis the night KFAI was airing our song. At midnight our band took a break and Louie and I went out to the car to listen to Save a Wonderful Dream on the car radio. With help from a couple friends, we did all the band promo/booking ourselves. Besides the Union Bar, we were also playing at Fernando’s in Minneapolis and The Mandarin Yen in Bloomington, MN. We even got to warm up Limited Warranty at Roosevelt high School in Minneapolis as well as Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN. Another stand out gig was playing Weedstock with The Urban Guerrillas. High times there!! One night playing at the Mandarin Yen, Dave our drummer hit on an older woman and they talked then we all talked and that’s how we met our first manager, Kathryn Yochis.
Kathy asked us, “why be just one color” and suggested we change our name to The Colour. So we did. It was also Kathy’s idea for the British spelling as by this time our influences were The Cure, Psychedelic Furs, The Church.. Just to name a few out of many. We loved the British sound happening during the 1980s. I was switching off playing keyboards and lead guitar. Kathy got us in a studio in Minnetonka where we recorded another demo tape of songs. Her first gig for us was a garage party with The Clams very first show. She also booked us at Ryan’s Corner in St Paul with Obsession and roller rink gigs with The Phones and another with Chameleon. Our time with Kathy didn’t last long. I think one issue that ended the partnership was because she opened a checking account under both Daves and didn’t include Louie or myself. I think Kathy’s reasoning was because Louie and I were both alcoholics pretty much by that time. However, the checking account without us was uncalled-for. Anyways, the teenagers at the roller rinks were loving us so we started playing a few more roller rink shows on our own with multiple sets of originals and cover songs.
During the last few years of the 80s, we found another manager Terry “Griff” Griffin, late night KSTP 1500 AM talk show host. Griff as everyone called him, booked us in a few studios with Jack Jodell and also New Moon Studios in Minneapolis. We had a handful of demo tapes and a couple failed record deals. Griff booked us all over the twin cities in many dive bars and bowling alleys playing full nights of covers and originals. Griff got us a couple big warehouse spaces to practice and throw keg parties and fed us lots of beer. He even got The Colour a sponsorship with G Heileman Brewery. We shared one space with the band, Crow. That was an honor for me getting to know Dave Waggner. We played a few pretty big shows with Crow. We were also guests on Griff’s late night local music show with Larry Sahagian of The Urban Guerrilla’s. A couple more college gigs stand out such as, playing with Mazerati at The Whole Music Club U of M and Coffman Union U of M with Great Nation. As the 1980s were coming to an end so did the band. I had stopped playing the keyboards and only played lead guitar as we were developing a heavier sound. We played 7th ST Entry and the Uptown Bar before calling it quits because of musical differences. My son Aaron was born at that time in 1989. His mom, Jonna Lingley was my roommate nine months prior to her moving out to Seattle where Aaron was born. Louie and I did stay together writing songs and put out ads looking for band members. We played under the name Alias Smith and Jones and also Next Life at Fernando’s. We did have a brief band with Josh and Ian there. But don’t recall their last names. Then Robb Neilsen and John “JD” Sykes came along. We were Next Life at Lee’s Liquor Lounge for one show and did record a demo at New Moon. Then one night Louie and I were at Fernando’s and saw the band 2 Minutes 50 and thought the drummer and bass player were a great fit for a heavier sound we were playing. Of course, I have to mention Bleem their guitar player. I looked up to Bleem and learned a couple guitar tricks from him. But hey.. Bleem’s drummer and bass player were a good fit for us! And so the 1990s began.
As the 90s began so did The Colour part 2 with Louie on vocals – rhythm guitar, myself on lead guitar, Lane Allen on drums and Mark Scott on bass guitar. We all sang backups and had multiple sets of originals and cover songs ready to go. So now that we were established, Griff once again managed us along with GMA and introduced us to MCA recording artist, Melvin James. Melvin recorded us at Junior’s Motel recording studio in Iowa and we also recorded more songs at New Moon Studios Mpls. So now on our 5th or 6th demo We got booked at The Cabooze in Minneapolis and played there quite a few times for a couple years. Griff and GMA booked us in multiple states including The Civic Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with Bad Finger. Tensions built up with Lane and Mark so the band only lasted a few years before breaking up. Griff passed away from leukemia. It was sad. Once again Louie and I were back trying out band members. Nothing was really working out but we did go back to New Moon Studio to record songs with Brad Mattson of Stickman (The Phones) and once again with popular bass player who played with Sugar Blue, John “JD” Sykes. The four of us did play out live at 7th St Entry and Lee’s Liquor Lounge. After that short run, Louie and I briefly played with Dave Wagner again on bass and Dan Reif on drums. We played once at the 400 Bar then Louie quit the band. Dave, Dan and I kept practicing and I tried lead vocals on songs that I was writing but then Dave quit. Dan and I started writing songs with another singer that I had seen singing karaoke in a bowling alley bar. I don’t recall that singers name. Unfortunately Dan was killed in a car accident and that was the end of my Minnesota music career and I also ended a brief marriage to Renee Campolito. John “JD” Sykes eventually passed away from complications with his diabetes.
Life really sucked and I needed a change. I was fired from my day job then started my own internet business which started doing well. So I decided to move to California with my girlfriend, Sandra Clemens since I had the freedom to do so. We loved living out there! I was making decent money and life was nothing but a party. I took a few years off from music before starting a band with an old high school friend, Steve Nadon. Steve and his twin brother Allen had been living in California since high school graduation. It was a fun band playing covers at parties and weddings in Malibu. I did try working with some other musicians on original band projects but nothing was really working out with that. After living in Aliso Viejo, California for over a decade, I was drinking more and more until Drs told me I was going to die. I quit drinking and was hospitalized battling for my life. Sandra and I were still living together but basically the relationship was over and she wanted to move back to Minnesota where her kids lived. When my health got better but still needing Drs care for illness, we moved back to Minnesota in a townhouse in New Prague. I own and live in the townhouse to this day and no longer even crave alcohol. My health has also been back 100% for a few years now. Sandra has moved out and found her own place in Mankato.
Right after we moved back to Minnesota while my health was so so, I started working on songs with Louie Paretta again. We rented a rehearsal space downtown Minneapolis and practiced with Lane Allen again on drums and Dustin Hauer on bass. Larry Sahagian booked us at The Driftwood Char Bar for a packed show. We named the band, Chasing Colors. Lane and Dustin didn’t work out so we asked Dave and Dave from the original 80s band and things clicked pretty well again. My health also came back 100% by that time. So we recorded with Melvin James once again too at his studio and released an EP that received airplay and still is worldwide. We played a number of gigs around Minneapolis-St Paul including Fine Line Music Cafe, Eagles 34 with Johnny Rey, and playing at Hard Rock Cafe, where we were the runner-up for best Midwest rock band. After being back a few years then recording a couple songs for a new album, Louie stepped away from the band before we completed recording anymore. Dave, Dave and I found another singer, Michael Felix and we did play a block party in St Louis Park for Gabriel Rios that went well. But with Michael’s personal obligations, it just didn’t work out. I started finishing writing my own songs and finally got up the nerve to sing lead on them. Dave, Dave and I were getting some songs completed with recordings then Louie did call and wanted to get the band going again. The guys were pretty excited with Louie back but it was the start of the covid-19 pandemic. I wasn’t so excited because of the pandemic and some disagreements going on with the band. Nothing was moving forward, so the guys moved their stuff out of the rehearsal space. I had to close up shop there. Chasing Colors is on a hiatus.
I have been writing a lot of songs this year while being quarantined from covid-19. I have posted a few videos on Facebook of me singing and playing acoustic guitar and I have a received some good feedback from that. It took a lot of nerve for me to do, as I’m just too damn shy. Right now I’m working on a full solo acoustic album that will be released soon, definitely before the end of 2020. Two songs I wrote have already been released by my publisher and are currently being digitally distributed as singles around the world on most music download and streaming services. The songs are Immigrants Poem and Mother Nature’s Song. Both songs are politically motivated and I feel these are important for people to hear now before the November 2020 presidential election. Our current president and GOP promote racism and have divided our country with hate and lies.
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