What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
My father got me into music, basically giving me drumsticks at birth and I gradually picked up instruments as I grew.
If I wasn't into music I would probably be in the film industry as a writer/director.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I love surfing, snowboarding, exercising and golf - but even when I'm not working on music I'm still working on music in some form in my head. Whether that means songwriting or working on the business side. Creating is what I love.
How long has music been your career?
I decided to make music my career when I picked up the guitar, though I didn't officially make the move until I graduated college.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I was born in Baltimore, MD but migrated to Boston, NYC, Florida and finally came to Buffalo, NY when I was 10. Buffalo has had an impact on my life that has been both positive and negative, which helps me tell a broad range of stories.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
The best show I played was at my first Rock Autism Music Festival, a music festival that I started with my family, where I shared the stage with my brother and my father. It was always a dream of ours to own a music festival.
The worst show I played was also at my first Rock Autism Music Festival because as the director of the festival I was extremely overworked. The stage sank in the mudd after it rained, the bands were being difficult, our wifi went down, I was getting shocked while I was performing - it was just one problem after another. However, I don't regret it or any show I've played.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My favorite venue I've played was the first venue I sold out: Mr. Goodbar. It's a famous Buffalo spot. I was very green with live performing but it was a pure raw, unadulterated rock show. The night couldn't have gone better. I plan on playing Red Rocks Amphitheater, The Royal Albert Hall, The Forum (Kia Forum) and The Hollywood Bowl.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
I'd love to do a show with my megagroup: Myself, M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold, Flea of the Chili Peppers, John Mayer, Dave Grohl of Foo Fights, Brad Paisley and a full orchestra.
With a lineup it would be: John Mayer, Tenacious D, Avenged Sevenfold, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Linkin Park, Alice in Chains & The Transiberian Orchestra
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
It's the music "BUSINESS." Develop a solid business plan and understand that talent alone won't be the factor that will get you there. Yes, find out what separates you from the other 10,000 artists like you but realize how you can be successful for promoters, agents, managers etc.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Play the long game, grind and have confidence in yourself and your music. The right people will come along eventually.
Don't date Amber.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Song 8 is probably the song that resonates with me the most. It's a story about myself coming to terms with being a musician and following my dream.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Colors, Lunatic & Sinner (both future releases).
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
My first approach to writing the music itself. If I don't love the music and melodies I won't progress that potential song. Once I find the right grooves and hooks then I'll dive into the lyrics and try to "feel," the music in relation to what this song should be about.
My brother and our personal family struggles are what I like to write about but a goal of mine is to make the message of the song vague or not as clear. However, I do enjoy it when people find out what my songs are really about.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Whatever music helps a person in that moment. Music is the most powerful drug so having that at your disposal to get you out of whatever dark place you're in is something that can't be matched.
To me, a good song is something that everyone can relate to in some form with a message that spans across a broad spectrum.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
Yes, I fire them - just kidding. Music can sometimes be collaborative but ultimately I tend to respect the decision of the person who wrote the song.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
US & European tour, playing benefit concerts for Rock Autism and producing my new series called "Setlist," as well as work on the feature film I wrote with my brother called, "Sonnyboy."
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