As the last couple weeks have unfolded and I’ve made several new connections on Facebook, it occurs to me that a lot of you may be wondering, “Who is this guy and what’s this whole Cathedral Records deal? Why is he sharing all our content and where did he come from?”
Haha…makes sense really…so here’s a little about me:
I began playing when I was a kid and by the time I graduated high school my dear friend David Elbert (currently a member of The Glass, Apple Scruffs and Fake Believe) and I started doing what so many of us do…we started hitting the open mic circuit, acoustic guitars in tow.
After a while we really wanted to plug in but who was going to play drums?
Well, as the only one with a full time job and a credit card…haha…that responsibility fell to me.
I vividly remember going to Mars music and buying my first drum set. We threw it in the back of my Toyota pick-up truck and went to our new practice space in Francisco’s. Now mind you, I’d never played drums before. I put it together like some caveman and we counted off – him running through a 5150 head/cab and me at me behind my Sonor 5-piece.
Wait…I can’t hear him…he’s trying to sing. Crap. We need a PA…damn it.
We drove to Guitar Center and bought a PA and ran back to Francisco’s…set it up and we were off and running.
Our buddy played bass and came to join us and our first band was born!
We gigged semi-regularly for a good while…culminating with some great shows at the Oven and at Fitzgeralds…never made it upstairs but we played out hearts out…never made a dime…haha.
Then we briefly shuffled roles and I started singing and playing guitar (my main instrument) in a different incarnation that didn’t last long. For a time I went back to drumming behind a very talented singer/songwriter who played keyboards and ukulele and then began doing solo-acoustic shows around Clear Lake.
I’d always been going to school and working full time so time management was always a challenge and I never firmly planted my feet in one world or the other, business or music, daytime or night.
Around 2000 I took a full-time job at Guitar Center which I did enjoy for a while. I met a lot of really talented musicians and was able to contribute to the community in an entirely different fashion but the schedule really wasn’t conducive to performing…nor were my increasingly serious back troubles. I had my first operation in 2003 and was married shortly thereafter.
Around 2004/2005 I jumped back into performing, this time focusing on singer/songwriter material with a very talented player and we began hosting showcases around the Montrose and downtown but with very little success, crowds were sparse, we never found a venue that was really willing to invest and things sort of fizzled out.
In 2008 or so my dad decided he wanted to perform again…him asking me to be his principal guitarist was the single most validating moment of my life as a musician. After spending so many years practicing, performing, writing, and trying to hone my skills – to have the man who inspired me to begin with actually come to me and say “hey, I want you to be my guitarist and help produce these shows” was amazing.
We gigged regularly for a few years around Houston and in Dallas performing variety shows that combined jazz, Spanish boleros, pop standards from the American songbook, as well as a litany of songs from across Latin America and the Caribbean.
Working with these very mature, experienced, professional players was an incredible learning experience. It was eye-opening how little I actually knew about playing and performing and those years with the Rolando Becerra Celebrate Music Show really transformed my playing and songwriting. We played some big shows, the Arena Theater with Julio Iglesias the biggest…and we certainly took our lumps playing to some tiny crowds…but it was tremendous in every capacity.
As that wound down (it’s incredibly difficult to find venues who are willing to pay enough of a wage to support a 7 piece band AND provide sufficient marketing and advertising) I went through another back surgery, bought a house, finished my BA, started my post grad work and…most incredibly of all – had a son.
As all this was happening I found myself realizing that my days as a performing musician were probably coming to an end. With my day-time career, my new family, and the realization that living that upside down life where I’m getting home at 3 am, loading and unloading gear was probably not in the cards anymore…not saying I’ll never perform again, I do want to…but I sincerely doubt I’ll ever find myself in a full-time band again. Maybe…never say never…but the circumstances would have to be perfect.
So…I built a pretty good home studio and entered the next phase of my life as a musician. I’ve been working on learning Ableton Live and going through the process of recording all my songs and writing new ones.
As I’ve been recording, I was wondering what I would do with all these songs. I want to self-publish and distribute but I wanted my own “company” or “label” under which to do this.
Simultaneously, I’ve often thought back to my adventures and I often think about “had I know this” or “gee, I wish someone would have told me about that” or “man, if there had only been a place where…”
Thus, the idea for Cathedral Records was born.
I want to create a place that young, aspiring musicians can look to for information, for guidance…somewhere that could help with whatever they needed but I don’t want it to be a “label” per se because I don’t want to own anyone’s publishing or copyrights. I don’t want to be that kind of gatekeeper.
Rather, I want to showcase talent, educate and inform, and serve as a conduit through which service providers, musicians, retailers, and fans can connect with one another.
I think this is the next phase for me as a member of the community.
Whether it’s encouraging promotion and collaboration or helping a venue organize a showcase or providing informative sessions where community members come to The Cathedral and teach aspiring musicians about any and every aspect of the business…I want Cathedral Records to serve as a good steward of our community here in Houston.
I believe in the old saying “leave it in better shape than you found it.”
I want to do that with our community. My son may be out there in the clubs, playing his heart out just like I did for so long and just like so many of you are doing every night.
I want to make sure the community is the best it can be for him and everyone else coming along behind us.
Be well and kind,