I started playing guitar when I was about 15, with the encouragement of a school friend, Jeff Greenspoon, who was already an accomplished jazz guitarist. (Had studied piano previously.) Jeff introduced me to a lot of music & musicians around the Twin Cities area. But in my first band, with the silly name Spur of the Moment, I played harmonica & a miniature stand-up piano which we miked. That band had a spangly Elvis-lookalike lead singer, and 2 blond guys from Wayzata who did the "Cream"-imitation endless guitar/bass solos. We played a lot of proms & frat parties. I remember we did the tune "Heat Wave" in Hinckley MN, a farm town mostly famous for the terrible Hinckley Fire in the 1880s or so. So we changed the wording of the song (instead of "heat wave.. heat wave... HEAT WAVE" it was "Hinckley..."). I know this is fascinating, everybody. Tom Davis, of Davis & Franken fame on Sat Night Live, was our groupie. The back of the van smelled strongly of marijuana, thanks to Tom. It was my dad's van so that worried me much of the time.
I learned harmonica the usual way, from old Sonny Boy Williamson & Sonny Terry records. Tony "Little Sun" Glover, of Koerner Ray & Glover, was based in Mpls; I studied the little purple handbook he wrote. (I am lucky to have heard the terrific Spider John Koerner in concert a few times.)
In college I didn't do much music. Getting back into it was part of my "missionary activity", in a way (but only in a way), after the mysterious-weird "Shakespeare/Bible flip-out" when I was around 19 yrs. (written up partially, as you know, in Glass of Green Tea). I was "full to bursting with the Spirit" in those days. The plan was actually to bring that message to/with the Rolling Stones (which is why I introduced Biblical studies into my conversation with Keith Richard). Can you believe this stuff?
In a way, though, getting back into music was liberating too. My newfound faith-visions gave me "permission" to drop out of college & wander around the country.
But I allus came back t'SCHOOL, fer some reason!!
I started playing again, after many music adventures in London, in the early 80s, with a country-blues guy named Jim Chapin. We have gone through several music formations since then. Jim was just given a cache of almost 100 old "Recordio" home recordings his father & family made in their kitchen back in the 50s (his dad also played guitar & mandolin). A treasure-trove of folk, country, popular music, some wonderful singing on there. The Smithsonian or somebody should take an interest.
I got the reminiscence blues today, sorry folks.