Our Children. I generally prefer my private life to be kept just that. However, I felt it was important to chronicle at least some of my path for my family. So much of our personal stories are known only to those closest to us.
How did you get started playing music?
My aunt had a guitar, and she would let me play it. We also had an organ in the house. Hold for applause.
What was your first musical “big win” that you let you know “I can do this, I can be a musician.”
I don't know that I've ever had that moment. Writing stories and singing have always been a part of my life. I suppose the word "win" implies someone has also lost. I prefer milestones. Points of reference upon which we build or progress.
Do you have set methods or habits for starting a song? Do you have to “connect” to inspiration through work or does it just hit you?
The process varies. Internal and or external stimulus.
How is wine making like songwriting/producing?
The word produce is associated with both and for good reason. I believe we are simply stewards of these processes. That intersection where the human interacts with the non-human is the point where these artistic moments occur in my opinion.
What is it that you know/understand about the ingredients at the start that allows you to anticipate and plan for the finished product?
Experience and a solid faith in your intuition.
What happens when the results are not what you expected?
That all depends on whether the unexpected result is a happy accident or a disaster. We act or react accordingly.
You’ve been a part of a wide variety of successful projects with many different types of musicians- what universal qualities do those people share? What makes a good collaborator?
Those who understand that we should endeavor to be more than the sum of our parts make the best collaborators.
In your book you say, “Satire helps push through heartfelt emotions and serious issues,” and there’s a section detailing Puscifer’s Conditions tour and the combination of rock and comedy. What is it that draws you to combining these elements? How is a joke like a song? (if at all)
We will always be engaged in that never ending pursuit of balance. Comedy and tragedy are our Yin and Yang.
As a very dynamic performer, are there techniques that you rely on to deliver a great vocal? If so, what are they, and does your approach differ when performing live and in the studio?
When performing, the vocal is the primary concern and focus. All other activities or agendas are secondary at best.
References in your music and even the naming of your wines exhibit wide-ranging influences and creativity from many different sources. What are some of the most surprising things you have done in search of inspiration? What inspires you that we’d be surprised to know?
I don't search for inspiration. We're surrounded by it at all times. You just need to be open enough to recognize it.
What do you do to improve your craft? Vocal exercises? Practice? What is your goal, and even definition of “improving”?
To quote the late great Benny Hill, "I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you?" There are many titles that could be hung on you, artist, vintner, singer, songwriter, author, what’s next – stand up comedian? Fire Engine.